Monday, 26 March 2018

1981: Sydney Tower opens

An advertisement published in The Daily Telegraph in September 1981 to promote the opening of Sydney Tower. I recall it was published on September 24.

It took thirteen years for the vision of Donald Crone and the AMP to become a reality. Construction of the tower began in 1974 and took 7 years to complete.

Source: Warnock, S. 1981. "Some guys can afford to be smiling...when they're at the top". The Daily Telegraph, September 24: 2-3.

In September 1981, the public was finally allowed inside Sydney's tallest structure. The official opening was on September 23, 1981, by NSW Premier Neville Wran. He received a gold token that gave him free access for life. The public gained access two days later to the observation deck and two revolving restaurants.

The Sydney Morning Herald published a special supplement on September 25, 1981, focusing mainly on the construction of the structure.

This is believed to be one of the first commercials to promote Sydney Tower.

Since 1981, it has been the main observation deck in the Sydney CBD. The observation deck at Australia Square closed immediately after the completion of Sydney Tower. However, the observation deck (and museum) on the southern pylon of the Harbour Bridge continues to be open decades after opening.

Crown Sydney will offer an observation deck at a similar height to Sydney Tower when it is completed in 2021, but I think Sydney Tower will continue to attract the hordes.

The construction of Sydney Tower has profoundly impacted on the evolution of the city skyline. It's central location in the "midtown" precinct has meant that Sydney Tower appears to be in the middle when viewing the skyline from any vantage point in the metropolitan area. Sydney Tower hence appears as the "summit" on the city skyline. The photos below illustrate the arc as seen from various locations around the city.

Until recent times, it has also been a yardstick for city development. While planning guidelines control building heights to preserve streetscapes and protect city parks, streets and public spaces from overshadowing, it has also been used to protect the views from Sydney Tower.

As for the tower itself, visitors have been provided with additional experiences including the Skywalk (introduced in 2006) to provide an outdoor viewing experience, 4D cinema feature at ground level.

Currently, Sydney Tower is managed by Merlin Entertainment and is currently branded as the Sydney Tower Eye. Merlin Entertainment is also responsible for several tourist attractions in Sydney including Sydney Aquarium, Sydney Wildlife Park and  Madame Tussauds. Tourists can buy integrated passes that allow access to those venues on one pass.

Sydney Tower and Centrepoint has been owned by Westfield since 2001 after it was sold by AMP. In 2011, Westfield relocated their headquarters into the office building after a major renovation. This included the redevelopment of the retail complex which also encompassed the former Imperial Arcade and Skygarden shopping centres to create one large city shopping centre - Westfield Sydney.

Westfield Sydney also includes the former Sydney Central Plaza directly opposite in the Pitt Street Mall.

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