It was expected that the project would take three years to be built at a cost of seven million dollars --- it actually took sixteen years and the cost was 102 million!! When the contract was awarded there were no working drawings or detailed plans - it was just a concept. The internal configuration of rooms was not decided on either - just done as the construction progressed. It really is a spectacular design- created out of spines of concrete that were all made with the exact same curvature with varied spaces between them. The concept came from peeling a tangerine. You can see the idea in the pictures I have posted. The end result was five theatres - including two concert halls and three smaller intimate theatres. It is open every day all year round with sometimes more than one event in a theatre. There are over 3000 events held a year! The construction was financed with a lottery and completely paid for within a few short years of its completion. All the theatres are rented out to users such as the Synphony Orchestra, local Opera Company, major plays, musicals, world entertainers. The ticket sales for these events cover 85% of the operating costs and the balance is paid for by the Victoria State government.
After the Opera House we took a tour to Bondi Beach --- a famous surfer beach - beautiful and we did get to watch a bit of surfing while we were there. During the tour we had a few photo stops -- one was this fantastic cliff area
. Unfortunately it is a common place for suicides -- there are signs there promoting a help line. Also there is a house across the street and the owner, after seeing someone he felt was despondent, would walk over and ask the person to a cup of tea at his home. He is credited with diverting over 40 suicides.
In the afternoon we walked downtown --- I was on a mission! A couple of days ago I had a problem with my camera (Oh No!!!!!). It froze in the zoom position and would not work at all. Eventually it righted itself but it had happened a couple of times so we went on the hunt for a camera shop. After visiting a couple I bought a replacement. Decided to do this as was too nervous that I would get into this problem in Indonesia or India and not be able to get the one I wanted. So the pictures will continue!
In the evening we went to the Captain’s Reception -- our Captain is Scottish as you can tell by the picture. Then a dinner with some friends for the Sail away from Sydney.
Thursday Feb 23, 2012
A day at sea -- cruised the coast of Australia. Dinner with some friends that we met on the South America cruise.
Sydney is a beautiful city! We arrived early in the AM -- before the sun rose so needless to say i did not see us sail into the harbour. When we did get up & look out the first site we saw was the Opera House. What a beautiful site. We docked in Sydney Cove & had fabulous views of both the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge which “Sydneysiders” call the Coathanger. This bridge was built in 1932 and is still the world’s widest bridge. One of our options for a tour was to do the “Bridge Climb” where you are tethered well and you actually walk up along the girders of the bridge. Unfortunately (or I should say fortunately) we did not have time to do a couple of tours and our first choice was to tour the Opera House - (I do have pictures though of people doing the climb taken from the Opera House). There was a contest in 1957 for architects to submit their designs for the new Opera House in Sydney and it was won by a Danish man named Jorn Utzon.