I wanted to be up for the sail into Sydney Harbour, but we arrived at 4am and I’m afraid I was not awake. It was probably dark anyway. Now that we are down in this part of the planet, the days are getting shorter. It’s like fall at home and it gets dark early now.
So excited to be in Sydney, and today we have our special world cruise event, the Sydney Harbour Cruise taking in the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the spectacular city skyline, the harbour and finishing with a tour of the Sydney Opera House. Lunch and drinks were included on this special boat which is like a beautifully appointed floating restaurant with glass windows and great views. Food was excellent, drinks were plentiful and we all had a grand time.
The tour of the opera house was amazing. What a beautiful, unique building and piece of architecture. There was an international competition to choose a design for this building and Jorn Utzon, of Copenhagen Denmark, beat out over two hundred other entrants. But at first his work had been rejected. It was only after American architect Eero Saarinen came on board and did not like any of the entries that were being considered. He asked to see the ones that had been rejected and chose Utzon’s design. That was in 1956.
Work began on the opera house in 1959. In 1965 with a new government in power, they began questioning Utzon’s designs, schedules and costs and they stopped payments to him. In 1966, another architect, Peter Hall, was appointed to design the interiors. Utzon left and took his family back to Denmark, never to set foot in Australia again.
In 1999 Utzon agreed to develop a set of Design Principles to act as a permanent reference to guide all future changes to the building. After all this was his baby. The building has had changes over the years, most notably the windows that replaced solid walls to let in natural light and give views to the outside.
In 2003 the Opera House celebrated its 30th birthday and Utzon was awarded the Pritzker Prize for architecture. The citation read “…there is no doubt that the Sydney Opera house is Utzon’s masterpiece. It is one of the great iconic buildings of the 20th century, an image of great beauty that has become known throughout the world – a symbol for not only a city, but a whole country and continent.”
In 2007 the opera house was put on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Although Utzon never saw the opera house completed, his son said, “he lives and breathes the opera house and as its creator he just has to close his eyes to see it.”
By the way, the original cost in 1957 was projected at approximately seven million dollars. In the end the total was $102 million.
We only had one day in Sydney, which was not long enough for any of us. But we ended up getting an extra evening, because a storm in the Tasman Sea, cancelled our stops in Melbourne and Burnie. We left Sydney the way we arrived in the middle of the night and made a beeline for Auckland, New Zealand, hurtling across the sea to keep ahead of the storm. It was a pretty rough, three day crossing and many were feeling the effects of the rolling sea. Not me. I guess I really do have my sea legs. But I did get soaked one night when I went out on my veranda to have a look around and got soaked to the skin by a wall of water that blew over me. I wish I had taken a photo!!