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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

12 July 2005

National Heritage Listing for Sydney Opera House


The iconic Sydney Opera House, the building that more than any other signifies Australia to the world, has been officially recognised for its outstanding heritage value and included on the National Heritage List.

Making the announcement today, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said the Opera House was a vital part of Australia’s cultural heritage and most worthy of the protection provided by the listing.

Since its emergence on the Australian stage in 1957 when Danish architect Jørn Utzon’s outstanding design won an international competition, the Opera House has become a symbol of Australia.

After a troubled 16-year construction, the building was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1973. Over the years it has hosted a diverse range of acts and international stars including Ella Fitzgerald, Yehudi Menuhin, Miriam Makeba, KD Lang, Billy Connolly, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, John Williams, Bryn Terfel, Mel Gibson, Dame Joan Sutherland, Philip Glass and Luciano Pavarotti.

“The Opera House is an extraordinary presence in the hub of Sydney Harbour, with its sculptural beauty and architectural mastery,” Senator Campbell said.

“Its construction marked the end of Australia’s cultural cringe and put us on the world stage, revealing a confidence in the international standing of our own heritage and culture. It is timely that more than 30 years on we acknowledge the importance of the Sydney Opera House as part of our national heritage.”

Senator Campbell said the Australian Government would work with the NSW Government towards listing the Opera House on the World Heritage List in recognition of its status as one of the world’s most important buildings.

The World Heritage List nomination will be forwarded to UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre in Paris by February 1, 2006 for assessment by international heritage experts over the following 16 months. It will then be considered by the World Heritage Committee at its annual meeting in mid- 2007.

The Australian Heritage Council, the Australian Government’s expert advisory body on heritage, has assessed the Sydney Opera House as having outstanding heritage value to the nation for six of the nine National Heritage criteria listed in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity (EPBC) Act 1999.

More than 80 places have been nominated to the new National Heritage List, including many natural, Indigenous and historic places. The Sydney Opera House joins 12 places that have been listed so far.

For more information on the National Heritage List visit: www.deh.gov.au/heritage/national/index.html

Media contacts:
Senator Campbell - Marianne McCabe (02) 6277 7640 or 0400 389 580

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