Home #WHERETONEXT Australia & New Zealand Sydney Opera House turns 50 this October!

Sydney Opera House turns 50 this October!

Sydney Austraila
Photo: Steve Drake

Australia’s iconic Sydney Opera House (SOH) celebrates its 50th anniversary this October. To mark the occasion at this UNESCO World Heritage Site, a month-long festival of music, dance, theatre, art, and free community events will mark the anniversary, culminating in an open house on its birthday weekend October 21 – 22. 



  • SOH by the numbers: A 22-story architectural marvel, over 10,000 pipes in the Grand Organ, and 1000% over budget. Did you know if all 14 of the Opera House’s giant stylized, sail-shaped shells were combined it would create a solid sphere? More incredible SOH facts and little-known pieces of history are here
  • Sustainability and SOH: Fifty years ago, visionary Opera House architect Jørn Utzon embedded sustainability principles such as an innovative seawater cooling system planning for a 250-year lifespan. The SOH achieved a 6 Star Green Star Performance rating from the Green Building Council Australia, and Carbon Neutral certification in 2018 under Climate Active – five years ahead of schedule. 
  • Preparing SOH for the next 50 years – decade of renewal: The SOH has extensive plans and ambitious global goals set for the future across restoration, sustainability, accessibility, environmental, Indigenous heritage, economic, educational sectors and more. 
  • Innovations in the building of the SOH: The road to creating a World Heritage-listed masterpiece and symbol of modern Australia was not without conflict, politics, creative differences and more turmoil.