Five memorable Sydney Opera House moments on its 50th anniversary

Over 50 years the Sydney Opera House has hosted some of the world’s most famous musical acts, has been a stage for countless moments in history and become a canvas for political expression.

From playing host to Oprah Winfrey, Bob Dylan and One Direction, to being the backdrop of visits from royalty, Pope John Paul II, Nelson Mandela and a few US presidents.

The opera house has been part of Sydney’s story from its design in 1957 right through to today.    

Here are five of its most memorable moments.

A royal opening

Conditions were blustery in Sydney during the Opera House opening ceremony in 1973.(ABC News)

After construction began in 1959, involving more than 10,000 workers at a final cost of $7 million, the Opera House was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on October 20, 1973.

In gale force winds, the Queen stood on a makeshift stage on the forecourt facing the building, alongside Prince Phillip, then NSW premier Sir Robert Askin, and other dignitaries.

It was reported that stones were placed in the hem of her dress to prevent it from being lifted by the blustery conditions.

The Queen reportedly had rocks sewed into her hem to keep her dress from flying up during the windy day. (Supplied: Leo Davis Collection)

And that she had worn a wattle brooch made from hundreds of diamonds from around the world — a gift during her trip in 1954 from Sir Robert Menzies, who was the-then prime minister.

The celebrations were kicked off by a helicopter fly past and fireworks and were watched by an estimated million-strong crowd along the foreshore.

Lardil dancers opened the ceremony, wearing their distinctive headdresses.(Supplied: Alex Ozolins)

Festivities included the Lardil dancers, an Indigenous dance troupe from Mornington Island in Queensland, along with a marching band and a barrage of boat horns from thousands watching on flotillas and ferries.

After her speech, the Queen walked up the Opera House steps stopping to shake hands and greet well-wishers.

She has visited the iconic site four times since that day.

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