The Sydney Opera House Books

The 'Books' are significant publications and reports on the Sydney Opera House project, including the rules for the design competition, plans, drawings and photographs at various stages of the construction.

Some of the 'Books' have been digitised and are available in this guide.

Digitised Books

Brown book, 1955

Sydney Opera House - the 'Brown Book'

Conditions and Programme for an International Competition for a National Opera House at Bennelong Point, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Red book, 1958

Sydney Opera House - the 'Red Book'

This 1958 report (known also as the 'Red Book') was presented by Jørn Utzon to the Premier and the Sydney Opera House Committee in order to give … a project which realizes in practical form the vision of the competition

Sydney Opera House - the 'Gold Book'

The printed booklet, commonly known as the 'Gold Book', was issued to accompany the “Ceremony to Commemorate the Commencement of the Sydney Opera House” on 2 March 1959

Yellow book, 1962

Sydney Opera House - the 'Yellow Book'

This 1962 report (commonly known as the 'Yellow Book') comprises plans submitted by Jørn Utzon and consultants

More 'Books'

Department of Public Works; NRS-12814, "Sydney Opera House", 1965

A booklet published by the New South Wales Government Printer giving general information. It deals with the history, the architectural conception, stage machinery and lighting and the shell roofs. It contains photographs, sections and floor plans.

Department of Public Works; NRS-12824, First designs by Hall, Todd and Littlemore ("White Book"), 1967-1969

This volume of designs contains detailed drawings are of the Concert Hall and Opera Theatre by Hall, Todd and Littlemore, the Architects for Stage 3 of the Opera House.

Department of Public Works; NRS-12760, "Sydney Opera House - Anatomy of Stage 3, Construction and Completion - A General Index" ("Green Book"), 1972

This General Index was compiled to assist in identification of components, elements, materials and activities and to record the contribution to the construction of the complex by the building industry.

Department of Public Works; NRS-12818, "Sydney Opera House Glass Walls" edited by Harry Sowden, 1972

This printed book is a photographic record of the glass walls’ construction.

Guide to the records

Sydney Opera House

Highlighting Sydney Opera House records in the State Archives Collection

Published on 

Sydney Opera House drawings

An International Competition for the design of a National Opera House at Bennelong Point was held in 1956. We hold the original drawings submitted by Jørn Utzon and other competition records

Government Printing Office 2 - 29953 - Opera House from Unilever Building [Sydney Opera House (N.S.W.); building construction] [GPO original locations or series - unnumbered] [4/03/1966]

Sydney Opera House construction

We hold records relating to the construction of Sydney Opera House including the stages of construction, who was who, correspondence, plans, contracts, accounting records and more

Fireworks above the Opera House on the night of the official opening, before the commencement of the opening concert. October 20th 1973.

Opening of the Sydney Opera House

The Opera House was officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen on 20 October 1973. This was followed by a two-week festival of events

Government Printing Office 2 - 49270 - Sydney Opera House [Public Works] [GPO original locations or series - St89262] [Jun-73]

Photographs and oral histories of Sydney Opera House

There are many images of the Sydney Opera House in all stages of construction and use in the State Archives Collection.