Free Author Talk: 'The House' by Helen Pitt

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Inner West Council’s library in Dulwich Hill will host award winning author Helen Pitt talking about her book, The House.

The House is the dramatic story of the Sydney Opera House and the people who made it.

“From the very beginning the Opera House was conceived as an ornament for Sydney – like a pendant to adorn the neck of this beautiful city,” said Ms Pitt.

In this Walkley awarded book, Ms Pitt explains the significant role played by working class Marrickville local and NSW Premier Joe Cahill, a man who had never seen an opera in his life. .

In November, 1954, Cahill first began to champion the idea of an opera house in Sydney on the site of the old Fort Macquarie Tram Depot at Bennelong Point.

He responded to criticisms that the opera house was an extravagance and inaccessible to the ordinary public by noting that, "the building when erected will be available for the use of every citizen, that the average working family will be able to afford to go there just as well as people in more favourable economic circumstances, that there will be nothing savouring even remotely of a class conscious barrier and that the Opera House will, in fact, be a monument to democratic nationhood in its fullest sense."

By the time of the commencement of the building, Cahill declared that the Sydney Opera House, "will stand not merely as an outstanding example of modern architecture or even as a world famous opera house, but as a shrine in which the great artists of the world may be seen and heard and our own artists may display the flowering of Australian culture."

For Joe Cahill, the construction of the Sydney Opera House became perhaps his most enduring legacy.

The House won the 2018 Walkley Award for Excellence in Journalism.

What: Helen Pitt talks about her book, The House

Where: Emanuel Tsardoulias Community Library, 362-372 New Canterbury Road, Dulwich Hill

When: Tuesday, 12 February, 6:30pm-7:30pm

Book: Eventbrite

For a print quality image of Helen Pitt, contact the Communication team.

For media enquiries, contact Elizabeth Heath | Media and Communications Coordinator P: +61 2 9392 5334 | E:

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Page last updated: 29 Jan 2019