Photographs and oral histories of Sydney Opera House


With the exception of those images in NRS-21689 that can be viewed in the State Library of NSW catalogue, many of the images listed below are not digitised and must be viewed in our Reading Room.

Government Printing Office; NRS-21689, Images, 1870-1988.

Low-res copies of many of these images can be viewed in the State Library of NSW catalogue. High-res copies from the original acetate negatives, transparencies and slides can be ordered from us for a fee.

You can search our catalogue by the Government Printing Office number found on the State Library of NSW catalogue. Example: Search our catalogue for 3 – 18782 to find the image numbered Government Printing Office 3 – 18782 on the Library’s catalogue. The full State Archives item number for this image is NRS-21689-1-14-GPO3_18782.

  • Tourism NSW; NRS-20506, Images of tourist attractions and destinations, 1985-2003
  • Government Architects Office; NRS-21502, Images, 1905-2008
  • Department of Public Works; NRS-21503, Images, 1859-2003
  • Department of Public Works; NRS-12816, Photographs, 1960-1972
  • Department of Public Works; NRS 12688, Photographs taken by Max Dupain showing the various stages of construction of the Sydney Opera House, 1959-1973

Requests for permission to publish these images are directed to the Dupain family.

Oral histories

Sydney Opera House Trust; NRS-20947, Oral History Tapes, 1966-1988

This series consists of interviews that were conducted between 1986 and 1988 as part of the 10th Anniversary celebrations of the construction of the Sydney Opera House and the Bicentennial celebrations. Also included are three interviews with Peter Hall taped in November 1966. Requests to access items that are open to public access should be directed to Reading Room staff.

Guide to the records

Sydney Opera House

Highlighting Sydney Opera House records in the State Archives Collection

Sydney Opera House drawings

An International Competition for the design of a National Opera House at Bennelong Point was held in 1956. We hold the original drawings submitted by Jørn Utzon and other competition records

Photo of Jørn Utzon in 1959

Utzon v the Minister

After the election of a new Liberal government in 1965, control over payments for the Opera House project was transferred from the Opera House Committee to the Minster of Public Works

Fort Macquarie, a man stand at boats moored in front of the building

Fort Macquarie, Bennelong Point

Fort Macquarie was constructed between 1817-1821 and demolished in 1901. The Tram Depot was opened in 1902 and pulled down in 1958 to make way for the building of the Sydney Opera House

Fireworks above the Opera House on the night of the official opening, before the commencement of the opening concert. October 20th 1973.

Opening of the Sydney Opera House

The Opera House was officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen on 20 October 1973. This was followed by a two-week festival of events