20 October 1973

The Sydney Opera House is opened by Elizabeth II after 14 years of construction.

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House
SydneyOperaHouse20182.jpg
Sydney Opera House is located in Sydney
Sydney Opera House
Location in Sydney
Sydney Opera House is located in New South Wales
Sydney Opera House
Location in New South Wales
Sydney Opera House is located in Australia
Sydney Opera House
Location in Australia
General information
StatusComplete
TypePerforming arts centre
Architectural styleExpressionist
LocationBennelong Point, Sydney
CountryAustralia
Coordinates33°51′31″S 151°12′51″E / 33.85861°S 151.21417°E / -33.85861; 151.21417Coordinates: 33°51′31″S 151°12′51″E / 33.85861°S 151.21417°E / -33.85861; 151.21417
Elevation4 m (13 ft)
Current tenants
Groundbreaking1 March 1959
Construction started1 March 1959
Completed1973
Opened20 October 1973
Inaugurated20 October 1973
CostA$102 million, equivalent to ~A$927 million in 2016[1]
ClientNSW government
OwnerNSW Government
Height65 m (213 ft)
Dimensions
Other dimensions
  • length 183 m (600 ft)
  • width 120 m (394 ft)
  • area 1.8 ha (4.4 acres)
Technical details
Structural systemConcrete frame & precast concrete ribbed roof
Design and construction
ArchitectJørn Utzon
Structural engineerOve Arup & Partners
Main contractorCivil & Civic (level 1), M.R. Hornibrook (level 2 and 3 and interiors)
Other information
Seating capacity
  • Concert Hall 2,679
  • Joan Sutherland Theatre 1,507
  • Drama Theatre 544
  • Playhouse 398
  • The Studio 400
  • Utzon Room 210
  • Total 5,738
Website
sydneyoperahouse.com
TypeCultural
Criteriai
Designated2007 (31st session)
Reference no.166rev
State PartyAustralia
RegionAsia-Pacific
TypeHistoric
Criteriaa, b, e, f, g, h
Designated12 July 2005
Reference no.105738
TypeBuilt
Criteriaa, b, c, d, e, f, g
Designated3 December 2003
Reference no.01685
References
Coordinates[2]

The Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts centre at Sydney Harbour in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is one of the 20th century's most famous and distinctive buildings.[3]

Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, but completed by an Australian architectural team headed up by Peter Hall, the building was formally opened on 20 October 1973[4] after a gestation beginning with Utzon's 1957 selection as winner of an international design competition. The Government of New South Wales, led by the premier, Joseph Cahill, authorised work to begin in 1958 with Utzon directing construction. The government's decision to build Utzon's design is often overshadowed by circumstances that followed, including cost and scheduling overruns as well as the architect's ultimate resignation.[5]

The building and its surrounds occupy the whole of Bennelong Point on Sydney Harbour, between Sydney Cove and Farm Cove, adjacent to the Sydney central business district and the Royal Botanic Gardens, and close by the Sydney Harbour Bridge.[citation needed]

The building comprises multiple performance venues, which together host well over 1,500 performances annually, attended by more than 1.2 million people.[6] Performances are presented by numerous performing artists, including three resident companies: Opera Australia, the Sydney Theatre Company and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. As one of the most popular visitor attractions in Australia, the site is visited by more than eight million people annually, and approximately 350,000 visitors take a guided tour of the building each year.[7] The building is managed by the Sydney Opera House Trust, an agency of the New South Wales State Government.

The Sydney Opera House during sunrise

On 28 June 2007, the Sydney Opera House became a UNESCO World Heritage Site,[8] having been listed on the (now defunct) Register of the National Estate since 1980, the National Trust of Australia register since 1983, the City of Sydney Heritage Inventory since 2000, the New South Wales State Heritage Register since 2003, and the Australian National Heritage List since 2005.[9][10] Furthermore, the Opera House was a finalist in the New7Wonders of the World campaign list.[11][12][13]

Description

The facility features a modern expressionist design, with a series of large precast concrete "shells",[14] each composed of sections of a sphere of 75.2 metres (246 ft 8.6 in) radius,[15] forming the roofs of the structure, set on a monumental podium. The building covers 1.8 hectares (4.4 acres) of land and is 183 m (600 ft) long and 120 m (394 ft) wide at its widest point. It is supported on 588 concrete piers sunk as much as 25 m (82 ft) below sea level. The highest roof point is 67 metres above sea-level which is the same height as that of a 22-storey building. The roof is made of 2,194 pre-cast concrete sections, which weigh up to 15 tonnes each.[16]

Although the roof structures are commonly referred to as "shells" (as in this article), they are precast concrete panels supported by precast concrete ribs, not shells in a strictly structural sense.[17] Though the shells appear uniformly white from a distance, they actually feature a subtle chevron pattern composed of 1,056,006 tiles in two colours: glossy white and matte cream. The tiles were manufactured by the Swedish company Höganäs AB which generally produced stoneware tiles for the paper-mill industry.[18]

Apart from the tile of the shells and the glass curtain walls of the foyer spaces, the building's exterior is largely clad with aggregate panels composed of pink granite quarried at Tarana. Significant interior surface treatments also include off-form concrete, Australian white birch plywood supplied from Wauchope in northern New South Wales, and brush box glulam.[19]

Of the two larger spaces, the Concert Hall is in the western group of shells, the Joan Sutherland Theatre in the eastern group. The scale of the shells was chosen to reflect the internal height requirements, with low entrance spaces, rising over the seating areas up to the high stage towers. The smaller venues (the Drama Theatre, the Playhouse and the Studio) are within the podium, beneath the Concert Hall. A smaller group of shells set to the western side of the Monumental Steps houses the Bennelong Restaurant. The podium is surrounded by substantial open public spaces, and the large stone-paved forecourt area with the adjacent monumental steps is regularly used as a performance space.

Performance venues and facilities

The Sydney Opera House includes a number of performance venues:[20]

  • Concert Hall: With 2,679 seats, the home of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and used by a large number of other concert presenters. It contains the Sydney Opera House Grand Organ, the largest mechanical tracker action organ in the world, with over 10,000 pipes.[21]
  • Joan Sutherland Theatre: A proscenium theatre with 1,507 seats,[22] the Sydney home of Opera Australia and The Australian Ballet. Until 17 October 2012 it was known as the Opera Theatre.[23][24]
  • Drama Theatre: A proscenium theatre with 544 seats, used by the Sydney Theatre Company and other dance and theatrical presenters.
  • Playhouse: A non-proscenium end-stage theatre with 398 seats.
  • Studio: A flexible space with 280 permanent seats (some of which can be folded up) and a maximum capacity of 400, depending on configuration.
  • Utzon Room: A small multi-purpose venue for parties, corporate functions and small productions (such as chamber music performances).
  • Recording Studio
  • Outdoor Forecourt: A flexible open-air venue with a wide range of configuration options, including the possibility of utilising the Monumental Steps as audience seating, used for a range of community events and major outdoor performances.

Other areas (for example the northern and western foyers) are also used for performances on an occasional basis. Venues are also used for conferences, ceremonies and social functions.

Other facilities

The building also houses a recording studio, cafes, restaurants, bars and retail outlets. Guided tours are available, including a frequent tour of the front-of-house spaces, and a daily backstage tour that takes visitors backstage to see areas normally reserved for performers and crew members.

Interior of the Concert Hall

Construction history

Origins

Bennelong Point with tram depot in the 1920s (top left-hand side of photograph)
Construction progress in 1966

Planning began in the late 1940s, when Eugene Goossens, the Director of the NSW State Conservatorium of Music, lobbied for a suitable venue for large theatrical productions. The normal venue for such productions, the Sydney Town Hall, was not considered large enough. By 1954, Goossens succeeded in gaining the support of NSW Premier Joseph Cahill, who called for designs for a dedicated opera house. It was also Goossens who insisted that Bennelong Point be the site: Cahill had wanted it to be on or near Wynyard Railway Station in the northwest of the CBD.[25]

An international design competition was launched by Cahill on 13 September 1955 and received 233 entries, representing architects from 32 countries. The criteria specified a large hall seating 3,000 and a small hall for 1,200 people, each to be designed for different uses, including full-scale operas, orchestral and choral concerts, mass meetings, lectures, ballet performances, and other presentations.[26]

The winner, announced in 1957, was Jørn Utzon, a Danish architect. According to legend the Utzon design was rescued by noted Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen from a final cut of 30 "rejects".[27] The runner-up was a Philadelphia-based team assembled by Robert Geddes and George Qualls, both teaching at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. They brought together a band of Penn faculty and friends from Philadelphia architectural offices, including Melvin Brecher, Warren Cunningham, Joseph Marzella, Walter Wiseman, and Leon Loschetter. Geddes, Brecher, Qualls, and Cunningham went on to found the firm GBQC Architects. The grand prize was 5,000 Australian pounds.[28] Utzon visited Sydney in 1957 to help supervise the project.[29] His office moved to Palm Beach, Sydney in February 1963.[30]

Utzon received the Pritzker Architecture Prize, architecture's highest honour, in 2003.[31] The Pritzker Prize citation read:

There is no doubt that the Sydney Opera House is his 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.

Design and construction

The Fort Macquarie Tram Depot, occupying the site at the time of these plans, was demolished in 1958 and construction began in March 1959. It was built in three stages: stage I (1959–1963) consisted of building the upper podium; stage II (1963–1967) the construction of the outer shells; stage III (1967–1973) interior design and construction.

Stage I: Podium

Stage I commenced on 2 March 1959 with the construction firm Civil & Civic, monitored by the engineers Ove Arup and Partners.[32] The government had pushed for work to begin early, fearing that funding, or public opinion, might turn against them. However, Utzon had still not completed the final designs. Major structural issues still remained unresolved. By 23 January 1961, work was running 47 weeks behind,[32] mainly because of unexpected difficulties (inclement weather, unexpected difficulty diverting stormwater, construction beginning before proper construction drawings had been prepared, changes of original contract documents). Work on the podium was finally completed in February 1963. The forced early start led to significant later problems, not least of which was the fact that the podium columns were not strong enough to support the roof structure, and had to be re-built.[33]

Stage II: Roof

Construction progress in 1968

The shells of the competition entry were originally of undefined geometry,[34] but, early in the design process, the "shells" were perceived as a series of parabolas supported by precast concrete ribs. However, engineers Ove Arup and Partners were unable to find an acceptable solution to constructing them. The formwork for using in-situ concrete would have been prohibitively expensive, and, because there was no repetition in any of the roof forms, the construction of precast concrete for each individual section would possibly have been even more expensive.

Sydney Opera House shell ribs
The glazed ceramic tiles of the Sydney Opera House

From 1957 to 1963, the design team went through at least 12 iterations of the form of the shells trying to find an economically acceptable form (including schemes with parabolas, circular ribs and ellipsoids) before a workable solution was completed. The design work on the shells involved one of the earliest uses of computers in structural analysis, to understand the complex forces to which the shells would be subjected.[35][36] The computer system was also used in the assembly of the arches. The pins in the arches were surveyed at the end of each day, and the information was entered into the computer so the next arch could be properly placed the following day. In mid-1961, the design team found a solution to the problem: the shells all being created as sections from a sphere. This solution allows arches of varying length to be cast in a common mould, and a number of arch segments of common length to be placed adjacent to one another, to form a spherical section. With whom exactly this solution originated has been the subject of some controversy. It was originally credited to Utzon. Ove Arup's letter to Ashworth, a member of the Sydney Opera House Executive Committee, states: "Utzon came up with an idea of making all the shells of uniform curvature throughout in both directions."[37] Peter Jones, the author of Ove Arup's biography, states that "the architect and his supporters alike claimed to recall the precise eureka moment ... ; the engineers and some of their associates, with equal conviction, recall discussion in both central London and at Ove's house."

He goes on to claim that "the existing evidence shows that Arup's canvassed several possibilities for the geometry of the shells, from parabolas to ellipsoids and spheres."[35] Yuzo Mikami, a member of the design team, presents an opposite view in his book on the project, Utzon's Sphere.[38][39] It is unlikely that the truth will ever be categorically known, but there is a clear consensus that the design team worked very well indeed for the first part of the project and that Utzon, Arup, and Ronald Jenkins (partner of Ove Arup and Partners responsible for the Opera House project) all played a very significant part in the design development.[40]

As Peter Murray states in The Saga of the Sydney Opera House:[33]

... the two men—and their teams—enjoyed a collaboration that was remarkable in its fruitfulness and, despite many traumas, was seen by most of those involved in the project as a high point of architect/engineer collaboration.

The design of the roof was tested on scale models in wind tunnels at University of Southampton and later NPL in order to establish the wind-pressure distribution around the roof shape in very high winds, which helped in the design of the roof tiles and their fixtures.[41][42]

The shells were constructed by Hornibrook Group Pty Ltd,[43] who were also responsible for construction in Stage III. Hornibrook manufactured the 2400 precast ribs and 4000 roof panels in an on-site factory and also developed the construction processes.[33] The achievement of this solution avoided the need for expensive formwork construction by allowing the use of precast units (it also allowed the roof tiles to be prefabricated in sheets on the ground, instead of being stuck on individually at height). Ove Arup and Partners' site engineer supervised the construction of the shells, which used an innovative adjustable steel-trussed "erection arch" (developed by Hornibrook's engineer Joe Bertony) to support the different roofs before completion.[36] On 6 April 1962, it was estimated that the Opera House would be completed between August 1964 and March 1965.

Stage III: Interiors

The Concert Hall and organ
View from the stage of the Concert Hall.
View from the stage of the Joan Sutherland Theatre.
Interior of the Studio Theatre.

Stage III, the interiors, started with Utzon moving his entire office to Sydney in February 1963. However, there was a change of government in 1965, and the new Robert Askin government declared the project under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Public Works. Due to the Ministry's criticism of the project's costs and time,[44] along with their impression of Utzon's designs being impractical, this ultimately led to his resignation in 1966 (see below).

The cost of the project so far, even in October 1966, was still only A$22.9 million,[45] less than a quarter of the final $102 million cost. However, the projected costs for the design were at this stage much more significant.

The second stage of construction was progressing toward completion when Utzon resigned. His position was principally taken over by Peter Hall, who became largely responsible for the interior design. Other persons appointed that same year to replace Utzon were E. H. Farmer as government architect, D. S. Littlemore and Lionel Todd.

Following Utzon's resignation, the acoustic advisor, Lothar Cremer, confirmed to the Sydney Opera House Executive Committee (SOHEC) that Utzon's original acoustic design allowed for only 2,000 seats in the main hall and further stated that increasing the number of seats to 3,000 as specified in the brief would be disastrous for the acoustics. According to Peter Jones, the stage designer, Martin Carr, criticised the "shape, height and width of the stage, the physical facilities for artists, the location of the dressing rooms, the widths of doors and lifts, and the location of lighting switchboards."[46]

Significant changes to Utzon's design

The foyer of the Joan Sutherland Theatre, showing the internal structure and steel framing of the glass curtain walls; the final constructions were modified from Utzon's original designs
The Opera House at sunset
  • The major hall, which was originally to be a multipurpose opera/concert hall, became solely a concert hall, called the Concert Hall. The minor hall, originally for stage productions only, incorporated opera and ballet functions and was called the Opera Theatre, later renamed the Joan Sutherland Theatre. As a result, the Joan Sutherland Theatre is inadequate to stage large-scale opera and ballet. A theatre, a cinema and a library were also added. These were later changed to two live drama theatres and a smaller theatre "in the round". These now comprise the Drama Theatre, the Playhouse and the Studio respectively. These changes were primarily because of inadequacies in the original competition brief, which did not make it adequately clear how the Opera House was to be used. The layout of the interiors was changed, and the stage machinery, already designed and fitted inside the major hall, was pulled out and largely thrown away, as detailed in the 1968 BBC TV documentary Autopsy on a Dream, which "chronicles the full spectrum of controversy surrounding the construction of the Sydney Opera House".[47]
  • Externally, the cladding to the podium and the paving (the podium was originally not to be clad down to the water, but to be left open).
  • The construction of the glass walls (Utzon was planning to use a system of prefabricated plywood mullions, but a different system was designed to deal with the glass).
  • Utzon's plywood corridor designs, and his acoustic and seating designs for the interior of both major halls, were scrapped completely. His design for the Concert Hall was rejected as it only seated 2000, which was considered insufficient.[35] Utzon employed the acoustic consultant Lothar Cremer, and his designs for the major halls were later modelled and found to be very good. The subsequent Todd, Hall and Littlemore versions of both major halls have some problems with acoustics, particularly for the performing musicians. The orchestra pit in the Joan Sutherland Theatre is cramped and dangerous to musicians' hearing.[48] The Concert Hall has a very high roof, leading to a lack of early reflections onstage—perspex rings (the "acoustic clouds") hanging over the stage were added shortly before opening in an (unsuccessful) attempt to address this problem.

Completion and cost

The Opera House was formally completed in 1973, having cost $102 million.[49] H.R. "Sam" Hoare, the Hornibrook director in charge of the project, provided the following approximations in 1973: Stage I: podium Civil & Civic Pty Ltd approximately $5.5m. Stage II: roof shells M.R. Hornibrook (NSW) Pty Ltd approximately $12.5m. Stage III: completion The Hornibrook Group $56.5m. Separate contracts: stage equipment, stage lighting and organ $9.0m. Fees and other costs: $16.5m.

The original cost and scheduling estimates in 1957 projected a cost of £3,500,000 ($7 million) and completion date of 26 January 1963 (Australia Day).[35] In reality, the project was completed ten years late and 1,357% over budget in real terms.

Strike and Workers' Control

In 1972, a construction worker was fired, leading the BLF affiliated workers to demand his rehiring and a 25% wage increase. In response to this, all the workers were fired, and in revenge the workers broke into the construction site with a crowbar and brought their own toolboxes. Workers' control was applied to the site for 5 weeks as the construction workers worked 35 hours a week with improved morale, more efficient organization and fewer people skipping work. The workers agreed to end their work-in when management agreed to give them a 25% wage increase, the right to elect their foremen, four weeks annual leave and a large payment for their troubles.[50]

Utzon and his resignation

The building illuminated at night

Before the Sydney Opera House competition, Jørn Utzon had won seven of the 18 competitions he had entered but had never seen any of his designs built.[51] Utzon's submitted concept for the Sydney Opera House was almost universally admired and considered groundbreaking. The Assessors Report of January 1957, stated:

The drawings submitted for this scheme are simple to the point of being diagrammatic. Nevertheless, as we have returned again and again to the study of these drawings, we are convinced that they present a concept of an Opera House which is capable of becoming one of the great buildings of the world.

For the first stage, Utzon worked successfully with the rest of the design team and the client, but, as the project progressed, the Cahill government insisted on progressive revisions. They also did not fully appreciate the costs or work involved in design and construction. Tensions between the client and the design team grew further when an early start to construction was demanded despite an incomplete design. This resulted in a continuing series of delays and setbacks while various technical engineering issues were being refined. The building was unique, and the problems with the design issues and cost increases were exacerbated by commencement of work before the completion of the final plans.

After the 1965 election of the Liberal Party, with Robert Askin becoming Premier of New South Wales, the relationship of client, architect, engineers and contractors became increasingly tense. Askin had been a "vocal critic of the project prior to gaining office."[52] His new Minister for Public Works, Davis Hughes, was even less sympathetic. Elizabeth Farrelly, an Australian architecture critic, wrote that:

at an election night dinner party in Mosman, Hughes' daughter Sue Burgoyne boasted that her father would soon sack Utzon. Hughes had no interest in art, architecture or aesthetics. A fraud, as well as a philistine, he had been exposed before Parliament and dumped as Country Party leader for 19 years of falsely claiming a university degree. The Opera House gave Hughes a second chance. For him, as for Utzon, it was all about control; about the triumph of homegrown mediocrity over foreign genius.[52]

The Opera House seen from the north

Differences ensued. One of the first was that Utzon believed the clients should receive information on all aspects of the design and construction through his practice, while the clients wanted a system (notably drawn in sketch form by Davis Hughes) where architect, contractors, and engineers each reported to the client directly and separately. This had great implications for procurement methods and cost control, with Utzon wishing to negotiate contracts with chosen suppliers (such as Ralph Symonds for the plywood interiors) and the New South Wales government insisting contracts be put out to tender.[33]

Utzon was highly reluctant to respond to questions or criticism from the client's Sydney Opera House Executive Committee (SOHEC).[53] However, he was greatly supported throughout by a member of the committee and one of the original competition judges, . Utzon was unwilling to compromise on some aspects of his designs that the clients wanted to change.

Utzon's ability was never in doubt, despite questions raised by Davis Hughes, who attempted to portray Utzon as an impractical dreamer. Ove Arup actually stated that Utzon was "probably the best of any I have come across in my long experience of working with architects"[54] and: "The Opera House could become the world's foremost contemporary masterpiece if Utzon is given his head."

The Opera House, backed by the Sydney Harbour Bridge, from the eastern Botanic Gardens

In October 1965, Utzon gave Hughes a schedule setting out the completion dates of parts of his work for stage III.[citation needed] Utzon was at this time working closely with , a manufacturer of plywood based in Sydney and highly regarded by many, despite an Arup engineer warning that Ralph Symonds's "knowledge of the design stresses of plywood, was extremely sketchy" and that the technical advice was "elementary to say the least and completely useless for our purposes." Australian architecture critic Elizabeth Farrelly has referred to Ove Arup's project engineer Michael Lewis as having "other agendas".[52] In any case, Hughes shortly after withheld permission for the construction of plywood prototypes for the interiors,[citation needed] and the relationship between Utzon and the client never recovered. By February 1966, Utzon was owed more than $100,000 in fees.[55] Hughes then withheld funding so that Utzon could not even pay his own staff. The government minutes record that following several threats of resignation, Utzon finally stated to Davis Hughes: "If you don't do it, I resign." Hughes replied: "I accept your resignation. Thank you very much. Goodbye."[56]

The Opera House seen from The Rocks
The Sydney Opera House during Vivid Sydney (2013).

Utzon left the project on 28 February 1966. He said that Hughes's refusal to pay him any fees and the lack of collaboration caused his resignation and later famously described the situation as "Malice in Blunderland". In March 1966, Hughes offered him a subordinate role as "design architect" under a panel of executive architects, without any supervisory powers over the House's construction, but Utzon rejected this. Utzon left the country never to return.

Following the resignation, there was great controversy about who was in the right and who was in the wrong. The Sydney Morning Herald initially opined: "No architect in the world has enjoyed greater freedom than Mr Utzon. Few clients have been more patient or more generous than the people and the Government of NSW. One would not like history to record that this partnership was brought to an end by a fit of temper on the one side or by a fit of meanness on the other." On 17 March 1966, the Herald offered the view that:[57] "It was not his [Utzon's] fault that a succession of Governments and the Opera House Trust should so signally have failed to impose any control or order on the project ... his concept was so daring that he himself could solve its problems only step by step ... his insistence on perfection led him to alter his design as he went along."

The Sydney Opera House opened the way for the immensely complex geometries of some modern architecture. The design was one of the first examples of the use of computer-aided design to design complex shapes. The design techniques developed by Utzon and Arup for the Sydney Opera House have been further developed and are now used for architecture, such as works of Gehry and blobitecture, as well as most reinforced concrete structures. The design is also one of the first in the world to use araldite to glue the precast structural elements together and proved the concept for future use.

It was also a first in mechanical engineering. Another Danish firm, Steensen Varming, was responsible for designing the new air-conditioning plant, the largest in Australia at the time, supplying over 600,000 cubic feet (17,000 m3) of air per minute,[58] using the innovative idea of harnessing the harbour water to create a water-cooled heat pump system that is still in operation today.[59]

Architectural design role of Peter Hall

After the resignation of Utzon, the Minister for Public Works, Davis Hughes, and the Government Architect, Ted Farmer, organised a team to bring the Sydney Opera House to completion. The architectural work was divided between three appointees who became the Hall, Todd, Littlemore partnership. David Littlemore would manage construction supervision, Lionel Todd contract documentation, while the crucial role of design became the responsibility of Peter Hall.[60]:45

Peter Hall (1931–1995) completed a combined arts and architecture degree at Sydney University. Upon graduation a travel scholarship enabled him to spend twelve months in Europe during which time he visited Utzon in Hellebæk.[61] Returning to Sydney, Hall worked for the Government Architect, a branch of the NSW Public Works Department. While there he established himself as a talented design architect with a number of court and university buildings, including the Goldstein Hall at the University of New South Wales, which won the Sir John Sulman Medal in 1964.

Hall resigned from the Government Architects office in early 1966 to pursue his own practice. When approached to take on the design role, (after at least two prominent Sydney architects had declined), Hall spoke with Utzon by phone before accepting the position. Utzon reportedly told Hall: he (Hall) would not be able to finish the job and the Government would have to invite him back.[60](p46) Hall also sought the advice of others, including architect Don Gazzard who warned him acceptance would be a bad career move as the project would "never be his own".[60]:47 [62]

Hall agreed to accept the role on the condition there was no possibility of Utzon returning. Even so, his appointment did not go down well with many of his fellow architects who considered that no one but Utzon should complete the Sydney Opera House.[61] Upon Utzon's dismissal, a rally of protest had marched to Bennelong Point. A petition was also circulated, including in the Government Architects office. Peter Hall was one of the many who had signed the petition that called for Utzon's reinstatement.,[61]

When Hall agreed to the design role and was appointed in April 1966, he imagined he would find the design and documentation for the Stage III well advanced. What he found was an enormous amount of work ahead of him with many aspects completely unresolved by Utzon in relation to seating capacity, acoustics and structure.[60]:42 In addition Hall found the project had proceeded for nine years without the development of a concise client brief. To bring himself up to speed, Hall investigated concert and opera venues overseas and engaged stage consultant Ben Schlange and acoustic consultant Wilhelm Jordan, while establishing his team. In consultation with all the potential building users the first Review of Program was completed in January 1967. The most significant conclusion reached by Hall was that concert and opera were incompatible in the same hall.[60]:53 Although Utzon had sketched ideas using plywood for the great enclosing glass walls, their structural viability was unresolved when Hall took on the design role.[60]:49 With the ability to delegate tasks and effectively coordinate the work of consultants, Hall guided the project for over five years until the opening day in 1973.

A former Government Architect, Peter Webber, in his book Peter Hall: the Phantom of the Opera House, concludes: when Utzon resigned no one was better qualified (than Hall) to rise to the challenge of completing the design of the Opera House.[60]:126

Opening

Tourists observing the Opera House.

The Sydney Opera House was formally opened by Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia on 20 October 1973. A large crowd attended. Utzon was not invited to the ceremony, nor was his name mentioned. The opening was televised and included fireworks and a performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9.[63]

Performance firsts

During the construction phase, lunchtime performances were often arranged for the workers, with American vocalist Paul Robeson the first artist to perform, in 1960.

Various performances were presented prior to the official opening:

After the opening:

Reconciliation with Utzon; building refurbishment

In the late 1990s, the Sydney Opera House Trust resumed communication with Utzon in an attempt to effect a reconciliation and to secure his involvement in future changes to the building. In 1999, he was appointed by the Trust as a design consultant for future work.[68]

The Utzon Room: rebuilt to a design (and endowed with an original tapestry) by Utzon

In 2004, the first interior space rebuilt to an Utzon design was opened, and renamed "The Utzon Room" in his honour. It contains an original Utzon tapestry (14.00 x 3.70 metres) called Homage to Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach.[69] In April 2007, he proposed a major reconstruction of the Opera Theatre, as it was then known.[70] Utzon died on 29 November 2008.[71]

A state memorial service, attended by Utzon's son Jan and daughter Lin, celebrating his creative genius, was held in the Concert Hall on 25 March 2009 featuring performances, readings and recollections from prominent figures in the Australian performing arts scene.

Refurbished Western Foyer and Accessibility improvements were commissioned on 17 November 2009, the largest building project completed since Utzon was re-engaged in 1999. Designed by Utzon and his son Jan, the project provided improved ticketing, toilet and cloaking facilities. New escalators and a public lift enabled enhanced access for the disabled and families with prams. The prominent paralympian athlete Louise Sauvage was announced as the building's "accessibility ambassador" to advise on further improvements to aid people with disabilities.[72]

On 29 March 2016, an original 1959 tapestry by Le Corbusier (2.18 x 3.55 metres), commissioned by Utzon to be hung in the Sydney Opera House and called Les Dés Sont Jetés (The Dice Are Cast), was finally unveiled in situ after being owned by the Utzon family and held at their home in Denmark for over 50 years. The tapestry was bought at auction by the Sydney Opera House in June 2015. It now hangs in the building's Western Foyer and is accessible to the public.

In the second half of 2017, the Joan Sutherland Theatre was closed to replace the stage machinery and for other works. The Concert Hall is scheduled for work in 2020–2021.

Public and commemorative events

In 1993, Constantine Koukias was commissioned by the Sydney Opera House Trust in association with REM Theatre to compose Icon, a large-scale music theatre piece for the 20th anniversary of the Sydney Opera House.[73]

During the 2000 Summer Olympics, the venue served as the focal point for the triathlon events. The event had a 1.5 km (0.9 mi) swimming loop at Farm Cove, along with competitions in the neighbouring Royal Botanical Gardens for the cycling and running portions of the event.[74]

Since 2013, a group of residents from the nearby Bennelong Apartments (better known as 'The Toaster'), calling themselves the Sydney Opera House Concerned Citizens Group, have been campaigning against Forecourt Concerts on the grounds that they exceed noise levels outlined in the development approval (DA). In February 2017 the NSW Department of Planning and the Environment handed down a $15,000 fine to the Sydney Opera House for breach of allowed noise levels at a concert held in November 2015. However the DA was amended in 2016 to allow an increase in noise levels in the forecourt by 5 decibels. The residents opposing the concerts contend that a new DA should have been filed rather than an amendment.[75][76]

The Sydney Opera House sails formed a graphic projection-screen in a lightshow mounted in connection with the International Fleet Review in Sydney Harbour on 5 October 2013.[77]

On 31 December 2013, the venue's 40th anniversary year, a New Year firework display was mounted for the first time in a decade.[78] The Sydney Opera House hosted an event, 'the biggest blind date' on Friday 21 February 2014 that won an historic Guinness World Record.[79] The longest continuous serving employee was commemorated on 27 June 2018, for 50 years of service.[80]

On 14 June 2019, a state memorial service for former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke was held at the Sydney Opera House.

Advertising controversy

On 5 October 2018 the Opera House chief executive Louise Herron clashed with Sydney radio commentator Alan Jones, who called for her sacking for refusing to allow Racing NSW to use the Opera House sails to advertise The Everest horse race. Within hours, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian overruled Herron. Two days later, Prime Minister Scott Morrison supported the decision, calling the Opera House "the biggest billboard Sydney has".[81] The NSW Labor Party leader, Luke Foley, and senior federal Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese had supported the proposal.[82] The political view was not supported by significant public opinion, with a petition against the advertising collecting over 298,000 names by 9 October 2018.[83] 235,000 printed petition documents were presented to the NSW Parliament in the morning.[84] A survey conducted on 8 October by market research firm Micromex found that 81% of those surveyed were not supportive of the premier's direction.[85]

Notable performances

  • 1960 – The first person to perform at the Sydney Opera House was Paul Robeson – he sang "Ol' Man River" to the construction workers as they ate lunch.
  • 1973 – Sergei Prokofiev's War and Peace, on 28 September 1973.[86]
  • 1973 - Opening gala concert in the concert hall with music by Richard Wagner. Sydney Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras. Soloist: The great Swedish soprano Birgit Nilsson, on 29 September 1973.
  • 1974 – Opera singer Joan Sutherland performed for the first time in the theatre that would be named for her.
  • 1978 – Irish rockers Thin Lizzy (played a free concert on the steps).[87]
  • 1985 – Ray Lawler's classic Doll Trilogy.
  • 1987 – Pope John Paul II gave a speech in the Concert Hall during his visit to Australia.
  • 1990 – Nelson Mandela addressed a crowd of 40,000 and attended a choral performance of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica ("God Bless Africa").
  • 1991 – Joan Sutherland gives her final performance.
  • 1995 – Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan: starring Jacqueline McKenzie in the title role of Joan of Arc.[88]
  • 1996 – Crowded House played their record-breaking Farewell to the World concert on the steps.
  • 2000 – Swimmer Samantha Riley stands on top of one of the Concert Hall's shells with the Olympic Torch, before sending the flame on its final journey to light the cauldron at Stadium Australia.[89]
  • 2003 – Pulitzer Prize winning play Proof by David Auburn, starring Jacqueline McKenzie and Barry Otto.
  • 2004 – Canadian singer Michael Buble performed in the Concert Hall.
  • 2008 – Oprah Winfrey filmed her Ultimate Australian Adventure in the forecourt.[90]
  • 2008 – First VIVID Live Music program curated by Brian Eno.
  • 2020 - First Six performance in Australia was held in the Studio theatre, making it one of the first globally known musical theatre performances in this theatre.

Awards

  • RAIA Merit Award, 1974.
  • Meritorious Lighting Award of the Illuminating Engineering Society of Australia, 1974.
  • RAIA Civic Design Award, 1980.
  • RAIA Commemorative Award, Jørn Utzon – Sydney Opera House, 1992.

In popular culture

Painting art inspired by the Sydney Opera House

As one of the world's most iconic buildings, the opera house, along with the harbour bridge, frequently features in establishing shots in film and television to represent Sydney and the Australian nation.

  • The Sydney Opera House appeared on the cover of the Phoenix Force adventure novel Down Under Thunder in 1986.
  • The Sydney Opera House appeared in the 1990 Disney animated film The Rescuers Down Under.
  • In the 1991 season 5, episode 5 of Inspector Morse, titled , Morse climbs the steps at the end of the episode to attend an opera performance.
  • Near the end of the 1996 film Independence Day, the Sydney Opera House appeared after an alien ship near Sydney was destroyed.
  • The Sydney Opera House appeared in the 2003 Disney/Pixar animated film Finding Nemo.
  • The Sydney Opera House featured in the 2004 Godzilla movie, Godzilla Final Wars, in which the titular character dispatched an enemy, Zilla, destroying the famous landmark in the process.
  • The Sydney Opera House appeared in the final scene of 2007 film Sunshine, directed by Danny Boyle.
  • The Opera House appeared during the closing credits of the 2011 film Cars 2, in which the building's podium was modelled on the front of a Holden FC.
  • In the 2016 superhero film X-Men: Apocalypse, the building and other parts of Sydney are destroyed when Magneto manipulates the Earth's magnetic poles.

See also

References

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  14. ^ Shells of the Sydney Opera House, The Royal Society of New South Wales Archived 27 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
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  49. ^ New South Wales Government, Department of Commerce, [1] Archived 26 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 3 December 2014
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  62. ^ The Poisoned Chalice by Anne Watson
  63. ^ Lewis, Wendy; Balderstone, Simon; Bowan, John (2006). Events That Shaped Australia. New Holland. pp. 239–243. ISBN 978-1-74110-492-9.
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Attribution

CC-BY-icon-80x15.png This Wikipedia article contains material from Sydney Opera House, listed on the "New South Wales State Heritage Register" published by the Government of New South Wales under CC-BY 3.0 AU licence (accessed on 3 September 2017).

Bibliography

  • Drew, Philip, "The Masterpiece: Jørn Utzon: a secret life", Hardie Grant Books, 1999, ISBN 1864980478.
  • Duek-Cohen, Elias, Utzon and the Sydney Opera House, Morgan Publications, Sydney, 1967–1998. (A small publication intended to gather public opinion to bring Utzon back to the project.)
  • Hubble, Ava, The Strange Case of Eugene Goossens and Other Tales from The Opera House, Collins Publishers, Australia, 1988. (Ava Hubble was Press Officer for the Sydney Opera House for 15 years.)
  • Opera House an architectural "tragedy", ABC News Online, 28 April 2005.
  • Murray, Peter "The Saga of Sydney Opera House: The Dramatic Story of the Design and Construction of the Icon of Modern Australia", Publisher Taylor & Francis, 2004, ISBN 0415325226, 9780415325226
  • Pitt, Helen (2018). The House: The Dramatic Story of the Sydney Opera House and the People who Made it. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 978-1-76029-546-2.
  • Stübe, Katarina and Utzon, Jan, Sydney Opera House: A Tribute to Jørn Utzon. Reveal Books, 2009. ISBN 978-0-9806123-0-1
  • Stuber, Fritz, "Sydney's Opera House—Not a World Heritage Item? – Open letter to the Hon. John W. Howard, Prime Minister", in: Australian Planner (Sydney), Vol. 35, No. 3, 1998 (p. 116); Architecture + Design (New Delhi), Vol. XV, No. 5, 1998 (pp. 12–14); Collage (Berne), No. 3, 1998, (pp. 33–34, 1 ill.).
  • Watson, Anne (editor), "Building a Masterpiece: The Sydney Opera House", Lund Humphries, 2006, ISBN 0-85331-941-3, ISBN 978-0-85331-941-2.
  • Watson, Anne, ed. (2013). Building a Masterpiece – The Sydney Opera House – Lessons in Space and Environment (40th Anniversary Edition) (Hardback). Sydney: Powerhouse Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86317-152-6.
  • Webber, Peter, "Peter Hall: The Phantom of the Opera House", The Watermark Press, 2012, ISBN 978-0-949284-95-2.
  • Woolley, Ken, Reviewing the performance : the design of the Sydney Opera House, The Watermark Press, 2010, ISBN 9780949284921.
  • Yeomans, John (1973), Building the Sydney Opera House, Hornibrook Group, ISBN 978-0-9598748-0-8
  • Yeomans, John (1973), The other Taj Mahal : what happened to the Sydney Opera House (New ed.), Longman Australia, ISBN 978-0-582-71209-6
  • Yeomans, John (1973), A guide to the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Opera House Trust, retrieved 10 December 2016

Archival holdings

External links


9 August 1973

Mars 7 is launched from the USSR.

Mars 7

Mars 7
Mars6.gif
Mission typeMars flyby/lander[1]
OperatorLavochkin
COSPAR IDBus: 1973-053A
Lander: 1973-053D[2]
SATCAT no.Bus: 6776
Lander: 7224[2]
Mission duration7 months (launch to nearest approach)
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft3MP No.51P
ManufacturerLavochkin
Launch mass3,260 kg (fueled lander and bus)[2]
Start of mission
Launch date9 August 1973, 17:00:17 (1973-08-09UTC17:00:17Z) UTC[3]
RocketProton-K/D
Launch siteBaikonur 81/24
End of mission
Last contact"contact was maintained until 25 March 1974"[4]
Orbital parameters
Reference systemHeliocentric
Flyby of Mars
Spacecraft componentBus
Closest approach9 March 1974
Mars flyby (failed landing)
Spacecraft componentLander
Closest approach9 March 1974
Distance1,300 km (810 mi)
 

Mars 7 (Russian: Марс-7), also known as 3MP No.51P was a Soviet spacecraft launched to explore Mars. A 3MP bus spacecraft which comprised the final mission of the Mars programme, it consisted of a lander and a coast stage with instruments to study Mars as it flew past. Due to a malfunction, the lander failed to perform a maneuver necessary to enter the Martian atmosphere, missing the planet and remaining in heliocentric orbit along with the coast stage.

Spacecraft

Mars 7 spacecraft carried an array of instruments to study Mars. The lander was equipped with a thermometer and barometer to determine the surface conditions, an accelerometer and radio altimeter for descent, and instruments to analyse the surface material including a mass spectrometer.[5] The coast stage, or bus, carried a magnetometer, plasma traps, cosmic ray and micrometeoroid detectors, stereo antennae, and an instrument to study proton and electron fluxes from the Sun.[5]

Built by Lavochkin, Mars 7 was the second of two 3MP spacecraft launched to Mars in 1973, having been preceded by Mars 6. Two orbiters, Mars 4 and Mars 5, were launched earlier in the 1973 Mars launch window and were expected to relay data for the two landers. However, Mars 4 failed to enter orbit, and Mars 5 failed after a few days in orbit.

Launch

Mars 7 was launched by a Proton-K carrier rocket with a Blok D upper stage, flying from Baikonur Cosmodrome Site 81/24.[3] The launch occurred at 17:00:17 UTC on 9 August 1973, with the first three stages placing the spacecraft and upper stage into a low Earth parking orbit before the Blok D fired to propel Mars 7 into heliocentric orbit bound for Mars. The spacecraft performed a course correction on 16 August 1973.[5]

Mars 7's lander separated from the flyby bus on 9 March 1974. Initially, it failed to separate. However, it was eventually released to begin its descent. Due to a retrorocket failure, the probe missed the atmosphere of Mars, and, instead of landing, flew past along with the coast stage, with a closest approach of 1,300 km (810 mi).[5] Known faults with the spacecraft's transistors were blamed for the failure, along with that of Mars 4.[5]

See also

References

  1. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "Interplanetary Probes". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Mars 7". US National Space Science Data Centre. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  3. ^ a b McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  4. ^ https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/beyond-earth-tagged.pdf
  5. ^ a b c d e Siddiqi, Asif A. (2002). "1973". Deep Space Chronicle: A Chronology of Deep Space and Planetary Probes 1958-2000 (PDF). Monographs in Aerospace History, No. 24. NASA History Office. pp. 101–106.

14 May 1973

The United States space station, Skylab is launched.

Skylab, the American space station and laboratory, was launched into space on May 14, 1973, starting a six-year journey that recorded various in-space firsts and discoveries.

Operated by NASA, Skylab orbited Earth for four years. It included an Apollo telescope mount, a multiple docking adapter with two docking ports, an airlock module with EVA hatches, and the orbital workshop, the main habitable volume of the station.

Although it was launched unmanned by a modified Saturn V rocket, three manned missions to the station were conducted between 1973 and 1974 using the Apollo Command/Service Module atop a smaller Saturn IB. Each mission carried three astronauts.

Power for the station came from solar arrays and fuel cells in the docked Apollo CSM. The rear of the station included a large waste tank, propellant tanks for maneuvering jets, and a heat radiator.

Skylab marked the first ever in-space major repair. After the station was damaged at launch when the micrometeoroid shield separated from the station and tore away, Skylab was deprived of most of its power and lost protection from intense solar heating. The first group of astronauts was able to deploy a replacement heat shade and free the single remaining, jammed main solar array.

Numerous scientific experiments were conducted aboard Skylab during its operational life. Indeed, from the station crews were able to confirm the existence of coronal holes in the sun. The Earth Resources Experiment Package was used to view the Earth with sensors that recorded data in the visible, infrared, and microwave spectral regions. And thousands of photographs of Earth were taken, while records for human time spent in orbit were extended.

The Skylab student project allowed high school students to submit ideas for experiments to be performed on the station. Students were able to participate in 19 experiments and two experiments were used on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975.

Plans were made to refurbish and reuse Skylab using the Space Shuttle, however, when shuttle development was delayed, Skylab made a partially controlled re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere and disintegrated in 1979. Debris was scattered in the Indian Ocean and in a sparsely-populated area of Western Australia.

After Skylab’s disintegration, the focus shifted to the reusable Spacelab module, an orbital workshop that could be deployed from the Space Shuttle and returned to Earth. This eventually led to the US Orbital Segment of the International Space Station.

6 April 1973

The Pioneer 11 spacecraft is launched.

Pioneer 11 also known as Pioneer G is a 259-kilogram robotic space probe launched by NASA on April 6, 1973 to study the asteroid belt, the environment around Jupiter and Saturn, solar wind and cosmic rays. It was the first probe to encounter Saturn and the second to fly through the asteroid belt and by Jupiter. Thereafter, Pioneer 11 became the second of five artificial objects to achieve the escape velocity that will allow them to leave the Solar System. Due to power constraints and the vast distance to the probe, the last routine contact with the spacecraft was on September 30, 1995, and the last good engineering data was received on November 24, 1995.

The Pioneer 11 probe was launched on April 6, 1973 at 02:11:00 UTC, by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration from Space Launch Complex 36A at Cape Canaveral, Florida aboard an Atlas-Centaur launch vehicle. Its twin probe, Pioneer 10, had launched a year earlier on March 3, 1972. Pioneer 11 was launched on a trajectory directly aimed at Jupiter without any prior gravitational assists. In May 1974, Pioneer was retargeted to fly past Jupiter on a north-south trajectory enabling a Saturn flyby in 1979. The maneuver used 17 pounds of propellant, lasted 42 minutes and 36 seconds and increased Pioneer 11’s speed by 230 km/h. It also made two mid-course corrections, on April 11, 1973 and November 7, 1974.

8 January 1973

The Soviet space mission Luna 21 is launched.

Forty-five years after the Soviet Lunokhod-2 robot explored the lifeless surface of the moon, a declassified document sheds new light on the legendary project.

The 125-page technical report published this week was written in the months immediately following the 1973 mission by members of the Lunokhod communications team, who were responsible for controlling cameras and radios aboard the eight-wheeled rover and monitoring its health.

The second, and what turned out to be the last, Soviet rover to operate on the lunar surface blasted off on January 8, 1973, and landed on the moon eight days later. Officially dubbed Luna-21, it came down inside a 34-mile-wide crater called Le Monnier, a little over 100 miles north of where NASA’s Apollo 17 astronauts had explored just a month earlier.

After rolling off its landing platform, Lunokhod-2 traveled for 23 miles, beaming 69,000 TV images back to Earth and producing 86 panoramas of the surrounding landscape. It also probed the strength of the lunar surface in numerous locations and received laser beams fired from Earth.

To the people who worked on Lunokhod-2, the lander was known as Article E8 No. 204. The newly released document details the months of painstaking preparations that led up to launch, including a series of failures in the rover’s programming timer during tests at the launch site in September and October 1972. Engineers had to remove the entire unit from the rover and take apart its components. The problem was eventually traced to a massive short-circuit in an avionics box, due to mechanical damage that resulted from its being forced into position in its holding compartment. After replacing the unit, engineers repeated the entire test routine for the communications system, which seriously shortened its lifespan during the actual mission. This finally explains why Lunokhod-2 survived only around four months on the moon, as compared to 10 months for its predecessor, Lunokhod-1.

The rover’s Earth-based drivers compensated for this shortened lifespan with much faster driving, which produced its own drama. According to the report, the first lunar day of Lunokhod-2’s journey went smoothly, with only a few minor glitches. But when driving resumed on February 11 after a period of hibernation, the operators experienced their first serious problem. Lunokhod-2 refused to immediately stop when the team spotted a crater ahead and issued a stop command. “The motion of the rover was observed based on the shifting of the images on the VKU screen of the MKTV system,” the report says.

Only after repeating the stop command three times did the stubborn vehicle finally come to a halt. The problem was traced to a signal scrambler in the radio system, which led mission controllers to switch to a secondary scrambler.

Harsh temperatures on the moon also forced them to reduce the number of panoramic images taken by the rover. Still, Lunokhod-2 successfully completed its second lunar day on February 22, and hibernated until March 9.

Problems with the secondary radio scrambler got worse during the third lunar day, however, and the engineers switched to another radio channel operating on a different frequency.

By May 10, during the 503rd communications session, engineers discovered that the temperature inside Lunokhod-2 had soared as high as 47 degrees C. Flight controllers immediately turned off onboard systems and ended the communications session, but all subsequent attempts to talk to Lunokhod-2 proved fruitless, according to the report. The document gives the exact time of Lunokhod’s death as May 10, 1973, at 15:25.

Previous accounts of the mission appeared to blame the rover’s demise on a May 9 incident in which its solar panel scraped a particularly steep crater wall and became covered with dust. However, the newly declassified report stresses that by the time Lunokhod-2 stopped talking to mission control, its transmitters were already well past their warranty date—which appears to attribute the rover’s end to the communications system failure.

At the time Lunokhod-2 died, the team was still hoping to apply its engineering lessons to Lunokhod-3 and -4. One drawback they wanted to fix was the inability to rotate the cameras independently of the rover’s body. The authors of the report also recommended installing the cameras at least six feet above the surface to provide a better view for the drivers.

That somebody listened to their recommendations is evident from the flightworthy model of Lunokhod-3 now displayed in a museum at the NPO Lavochkin company near Moscow. Unfortunately, the Soviet lunar program had lost momentum by that time, and Lunokhod-3 never had a chance to fly.

28 December 1973

The Endangered Species Act is passed in the USA.

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is one of the few dozens of US environmental laws passed in the 1970s, and serves as the enacting legislation to carry out the provisions outlined in The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction as a “consequence of economic growth and development untempered by adequate concern and conservation”, the ESA was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 1973. The U.S. Supreme Court found that “the plain intent of Congress in enacting” the ESA “was to halt and reverse the trend toward species extinction, whatever the cost.” The Act is administered by two federal agencies, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The near-extinction of the bison and the disappearance of the passenger pigeon helped drive the call for wildlife conservation starting in the 1900s. Ornithologist George Bird Grinnell wrote articles on the subject in the magazine Forest and Stream, while Joel Asaph Allen, founder of the American Ornithologists’ Union, hammered away in the popular press. The public was introduced to a new concept: extinction.

Market hunting for the millinery trade and for the table was one aspect of the problem. The early naturalists also killed birds and other wildlife for study, personal curio collections and museum pieces. While habitat losses continued as communities and farmland grew, the widespread use of pesticides and the introduction of non-native species also affected wildlife.

One species in particular received widespread attention—the whooping crane. The species’ historical range extended from central Canada south to Mexico, and from Utah to the Atlantic coast. Unregulated hunting and habitat loss contributed to a steady decline in the whooping crane population until, by 1890, it had disappeared from its primary breeding range in the north central United States. It would be another eight years before the first national law regulating wildlife commerce was signed, and another two years before the first version of the endangered species act was passed. The whooping crane population by 1941 was estimated at about only 16 birds still in the wild.

The Lacey Act of 1900 was the first federal law that regulated commercial animal markets. It prohibited interstate commerce of animals killed in violation of state game laws, and covered all fish and wildlife and their parts or products, as well as plants. Other legislation followed, including the Migratory Bird Conservation Act of 1929, a 1937 treaty prohibiting the hunting of right and gray whales, and the Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940. These later laws had a low cost to society–the species were relatively rare–and little opposition was raised.

Whereas the Lacey Act dealt with game animal management and market commerce species, a major shift in focus occurred by 1963 to habitat preservation instead of take regulations. A provision was added by Congress in the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 that provided money for the “acquisition of land, waters…for the preservation of species of fish and wildlife that are threatened with extinction.”

The predecessor of the ESA was the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966. Passed by Congress, this act permitted the listing of native U.S. animal species as endangered and for limited protections upon those animals.

It authorized the Secretary of the Interior to list endangered domestic fish and wildlife and allowed the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to spend up to $15 million per year to buy habitats for listed species. It also directed federal land agencies to preserve habitat on their lands. The Act also consolidated and even expanded authority for the Secretary of the Interior to manage and administer the National Wildlife Refuge System. Other public agencies were encouraged, but not required, to protect species. The act did not address the commerce in endangered species and parts.

In March, 1967 the first list of endangered species was issued under the act. It included 14 mammals, 36 birds, 6 reptiles and amphibians and 22 fish.

This first list is referred to as the “Class of ’67” in The Endangered Species Act at Thirty, Volume 1, which concludes that habitat destruction, the biggest threat to those 78 species, is still the same threat to the currently listed species. It included only vertebrates because the Department of Interior’s definition of “fish and wildlife” was limited to vertebrates. However, with time, researchers noticed that the animals on the endangered species list still were not getting enough protection, thus further threatening their extinction. The endangered species program was expanded by the Endangered Species Act of 1969.

The Endangered Species Conservation Act, passed in December, 1969, amended the original law to provide additional protection to species in danger of “worldwide extinction” by prohibiting their importation and subsequent sale in the United States. It expanded the Lacey Act’s ban on interstate commerce to include mammals, reptiles, amphibians, mollusks and crustaceans. Reptiles were added mainly to reduce the rampant poaching of alligators and crocodiles. This law was the first time that invertebrates were included for protection.

The amendment called for an international meeting to adopt a convention or treaty to conserve endangered species. That meeting was held in Washington, D.C., in February, 1973 and produced the comprehensive multilateral treaty known as CITES or Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

President Richard Nixon declared current species conservation efforts to be inadequate and called on the 93rd United States Congress to pass comprehensive endangered species legislation. Congress responded with a completely rewritten law, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which was signed by Nixon on December 28, 1973. It was written by a team of lawyers and scientists, including Dr. Russell E. Train, the first appointed head of the Council on Environmental Quality, an outgrowth of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. Dr. Train was assisted by a core group of staffers, including Dr. Earl Baysinger at EPA, Dick Gutting, and Dr. Gerard A. “Jerry” Bertrand, a Ph.D marine biologist by training, who had transferred from his post as the scientific adviser to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, office of the Commandant of the Corps, to join the newly formed White House office. The staff, under Dr. Train’s leadership, incorporated dozens of new principles and ideas into the landmark legislation, crafting a document that completely changed the direction of environmental conservation in the United States. Dr. Bertrand is credited with writing the most challenged section of the Act, the “takings” clause – Section 2.

The stated purpose of the Endangered Species Act is to protect species and also “the ecosystems upon which they depend.” California historian Kevin Starr was more emphatic when he said: “The Endangered Species Act of 1982 is the Magna Carta of the environmental movement.”

The ESA is administered by two federal agencies, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service. NMFS handles marine species, and the FWS has responsibility over freshwater fish and all other species. Species that occur in both habitats are jointly managed.

5 August 1973

Mars 6 is launched from the USSR.

The Mars 6 spacecraft carried an array of instruments to study Mars. The lander was equipped with a thermometer and barometer to determine the surface conditions, an accelerometer and radio altimeter for descent, and instruments to analyse the surface material including a mass spectrometer. The coast stage, or bus, carried a magnetometer, plasma traps, cosmic ray and micrometeoroid detectors, and an instrument to study proton and electron fluxes from the Sun.

Built by Lavochkin, Mars 6 was the first of two 3MP spacecraft launched to Mars in 1973 and was followed by Mars 7. Two orbiters, Mars 4 and Mars 5, were launched earlier in the 1973 Mars launch window and were expected to relay data for the two landers. However, Mars 4 failed to enter orbit, and Mars 5 failed after a few days in orbit.

Mars 6 was launched by a Proton-K carrier rocket with a Blok D upper stage, flying from Baikonur Cosmodrome Site 81/23. The launch occurred at 17:45:48 UTC on 5 August 1973, with the first three stages placing the spacecraft and upper stage into a low Earth parking orbit before the Blok D fired to propel Mars 6 into heliocentric orbit bound for Mars. The spacecraft performed a course correction on 13 August 1973.

Mars 6’s lander separated from the flyby bus on 12 March 1974 at an altitude of 48,000 kilometres 30,000 mi from the surface of Mars. The bus made a flyby with a closest approach of 1,600 kilometres 990 mi. The lander encountered the atmosphere of Mars at 09:05:53 UTC, slowing from 5,600 to 600 metres per second 12,500 to 1,300 mph as it passed through the upper atmosphere. A parachute was then deployed to further slow the probe’s descent, and retrorockets were intended to fire during the last seconds before the probe reached the ground.

The spacecraft returned data for 224 seconds during its descent through the Martian atmosphere. However, at 09:11:05 UTC, with the spacecraft about to fire its retrorockets in preparation for landing, all contact was lost. Due to a design flaw, a chip aboard the spacecraft had degraded during the mission, and a large amount of the data which had been returned was unusable.

28 December 1973

The Endangered Species Act is passed in the USA.

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is one of the few dozens of US environmental laws passed in the 1970s, and serves as the enacting legislation to carry out the provisions outlined in The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction as a “consequence of economic growth and development untempered by adequate concern and conservation”, the ESA was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 1973. The U.S. Supreme Court found that “the plain intent of Congress in enacting” the ESA “was to halt and reverse the trend toward species extinction, whatever the cost.” The Act is administered by two federal agencies, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

President Richard Nixon declared current species conservation efforts to be inadequate and called on the 93rd United States Congress to pass comprehensive endangered species legislation. Congress responded with a completely rewritten law, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which was signed by Nixon on December 28, 1973. It was written by a team of lawyers and scientists, including Dr. Russell E. Train, the first appointed head of the Council on Environmental Quality, an outgrowth of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. Dr. Train was assisted by a core group of staffers, including Dr. Earl Baysinger at EPA, Dick Gutting, and Dr. Gerard A. “Jerry” Bertrand, a marine biologist by training, who had transferred from his post as the Scientific Adviser to the U.S Army Corps of Engineers, office of the Commandant of the Corps, to join the newly formed White House office. The staff, under Dr. Train’s leadership, incorporated dozens of new principles and ideas into the landmark legislation, crafting a document that completely changed the direction of environmental conservation in the United States. Dr. Bertrand is credited with writing the most challenged section of the Act, the “takings” clause – Section 2.

The stated purpose of the Endangered Species Act is to protect species and also “the ecosystems upon which they depend.” California historian Kevin Starr was more emphatic when he said: “The Endangered Species Act of 1982 is the Magna Carta of the environmental movement.”

The ESA is administered by two federal agencies, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA handles marine species, and the FWS has responsibility over freshwater fish and all other species. Species that occur in both habitats  are jointly managed.

In March 2008, The Washington Post reported that documents showed that the Bush Administration, beginning in 2001, had erected “pervasive bureaucratic obstacles” that limited the number of species protected under the act:

1 December 1973

Papua New Guinea gains self governance from Australia.

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After the war, some Australian officials wanted a return to the prewar order, while others wanted to empower the local population in gratitude for their assistance in the fighting. At first the Highlanders were utilized as a massive new source of labour for the coastal plantations. From the 1950s the growing of Arabica coffee by local smallholders spread rapidly throughout much of the Highlands, providing another source of income and keeping the people there in their villages. Meanwhile, cacao was rapidly adopted as a plantation and smallholder crop in the islands and around Madang. Despite the general lack of economic development in Papua, the town of Port Moresby grew rapidly and attracted large numbers of migrants, particularly from the poorer areas and especially the Highlands.

In 1945 Australia combined its administration of Papua and that of the former mandate into the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, which it administered from Canberra via Port Moresby. From 1946 Australia managed the New Guinea (eastern) half as a United Nations trust territory. In the 1950s Australia took a gradualist approach to educating the population and improving health services, but from 1960 international pressure led Australia to expedite efforts to create an educated elite and improve social conditions, boost the economy, and develop political structures in preparation for decolonization. General elections for a House of Assembly were held in 1964, 1968, and 1972; self-government was achieved on December 1, 1973, and full independence from Australia on September 16, 1975. At that time Australian development assistance provided nearly half of the national budget.