I am feeling rather sad following news that the Sydney Opera House will be used to advertise a horse race. In my opinion, this act will push Australia below the depths of dignity.
We have long been known as a sporting nation — and why not? The long summer days and open spaces are ideal for sports and outdoor events, and the Aussie shenanigans that go along with it.
In 1973, Australia took a step up in the world when our beautiful Sydney Opera House was founded. It said to the world “Look, we are not just a backblocks country that can play sport — we are also cultured, we enjoy art and music and are capable of great architecture”.
The big sails overlooking Sydney Harbour are renowned throughout the world. The building is huge, stately and dignified, and in 2007 it became a UNESCO world heritage site. It is one of the 20th century’s most famous and distinctive buildings!
It is the home of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, The Australian Ballet, Opera Australia and the Sydney Theatre Company. No matter which way you look at it — by sight, by name, by occupation — the Sydney Opera House is our national salute to arts and culture.
I am therefore disappointed that we sink so low as to allow advertising on our National Heritage. Worse still, we are using the Sydney Operate to advertise a sporting event.
Of course there is nothing saying sports and culture cannot mix. The Olympic Games opening and closing ceremonies do a wonderful job highlighting the harmony that can exist between the two. When the sails light up, it adds to the richness of the performances. That is art and that is what this building was built for.
Sporting events, no matter who runs them or who attends, are not cultural events. Gambling pursuits are definitely not cultural events and way, way down the ladder in my opinion — advertising is definitely not cultural.
It is heart breaking to me to see Australia lower itself in such a way that it can abuse the beauty of one its national treasures for advertising — and this will set a precedent for much more to come.
This just proves that no matter what this country tries to achieve, Australia will always remain that backwater country that puts sport, money and gambling on the highest pedestal — or in this case — the highest sails.