Fort Macquarie on the banks of Sydney Harbour was built in May 1798, just ten years after the First Fleet arrived. An important part of our heritage it was demolished just after it’s 100th birthday to make way for a tram depot.
The Fort Macquarie Tram Depot was built in 1901. In spite of being an important part of the heritage of Sydney it was torn down in 1958 to make way for a theatrical venue.
In 1959 construction of the Sydney Opera House began on the site of an old tram depot. It opened in 1973. In 2003 it was listed in the State Heritage Register of New South Wales. It made the National Heritage List in 2005.
I think the Sydney Opera House is fantastic. I would never suggest that we demolish it. However I do find it ironic that if todays standards of heritage protection had existed in the past then this iconic building that is recognised around the world as a symbol of Australia and of Sydney would never have been built. Todays heritage required the destruction of the pasts heritage.
I wonder what other world class constructions we are missing out on because we have become fascinated with preserving the past. If it were possible to wind back time would we give up the Sydney Opera House to preserve Fort Macquarie?