Sydney Opera House drawings

An International Competition for the design of a National Opera House at Bennelong Point was held in 1956.

Jørn Utzon competition drawings

These are the original competition drawings for which the assessors of the Committee awarded Jørn Utzon first prize of £5,000 on 29 January 1957. As a result Mr Utzon was commissioned by the Government of New South Wales to do final drawings for the Opera House, and to supervise its construction.

The design competition attracted 233 entries from around the world. Construction began in 1959 and was completed in 1973.

View the drawings (NRS 12825) in the State Archives catalogue

Other competitors' designs

According to the "Brown Book", designs submitted for the international competition - except the design that placed first - were to be returned to competitors free of charge within four weeks after the closing date of the competition.

Copies of some competition designs from other competitors are held at the State Library of NSW.

Search the catalogue for records about the Opera House competition held in the State Archives Collection.

Examples of records about the Opera House competition

Sydney Opera House booklets

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Brown book, 1955

Sydney Opera House - the 'Brown Book'

Conditions and Programme for an International Competition for a National Opera House at Bennelong Point, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Yellow book, 1962

Sydney Opera House - the 'Yellow Book'

This 1962 report (commonly known as the 'Yellow Book') comprises plans submitted by Jørn Utzon and consultants

Sydney Opera House - the 'Gold Book'

The printed booklet, commonly known as the 'Gold Book', was issued to accompany the “Ceremony to Commemorate the Commencement of the Sydney Opera House” on 2 March 1959

Guide to the records

Sydney Opera House

Highlighting Sydney Opera House records in the State Archives Collection

Published on 
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Government Printing Office 2 - 29953 - Opera House from Unilever Building [Sydney Opera House (N.S.W.); building construction] [GPO original locations or series - unnumbered] [4/03/1966]

Sydney Opera House construction

We hold records relating to the construction of Sydney Opera House including the stages of construction, who was who, correspondence, plans, contracts, accounting records and more

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

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

Government Printing Office 2 - 08376 - Opera House Committee at Public Works Building [Department of Local Government; interiors; architects; public servants] [GPO original locations or series - 47927] [11/1/1957]

Management of the Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House Trust operates and maintains the Opera House on behalf of the NSW Government