Saturday 22nd January 2022

Remembering Sydney 2000. 37/51. #LifeThisWeek. 74/2020.

Remembering Sydney 2000. 37/51. #LifeThisWeek. 74/2020.

  • I admit right up….I was a Sydney Olympics tragic.
  • I was ecstatic when we found out that “Sydernee” was announced as the host city for 2000 Olympics. This was in 1993 as I saw on the weekend news, after hearing of the (then) NSW Premier John Fahey ‘s death.
  • Did we think Sydney could do this?
  • I guess I was part of the group “yes we can”.

The selection of the grounds where the stadia would be built and surrounding ground, waterways, wetlands…of a former brickworks and other industries at Homebush was somewhat controversial. And had plenty of challenges to get completed. But it was and I can say without any qualms I was one very proud supporter! The Olympic torch relay around Australia was amazing. The day it came closer to home for us, I drove to watch it being passed on at Rooty Hill. Quite an emotional time.

At school we were lucky to have a torch bearer visit and “I” got to hold it.


By the time 2000 arrived, I had already become a school principal and schools got to get involved in many ways, including attendance at practice events and to have special days of celebrations. Free tickets to practice events meant I went to the gymnastics with my daughter and her eldest. She figures in photos below!


The end of term 3 school holidays were extended by a week so all the busses could come to Sydney and help transport people along with added trains and train lines. No private travel to the area was to happen. All tickets sold had a transport payment factored in.


I got the badge collection fever early, even linking up for new releases for ages. Over time, the badges were added to a framed memory board. And, I then donated it to a school library. I also had a fantastic framed photo of the Opening Night and donated that to a school down the track too. Many bits and pieces of memorabilia and my writing went into 2 huge scrapbooks…and do i have them now? No, again, donated I think along with above to the school where my daughter was teacher-librarian. I admit, to have these now would have been nice but they were cumbersome and I would hope be of greater value as a historical resource.


Memories here: with photos I could actually find!

Dear granddaughter, who came with me to this ‘practice’ of looking at the grounds once they were built and developed and we could drive there. August 2000.

Outside the main stadium. 2000.

Noting the street names after Olympians.

Number Plates: still going strong. For our respective 50th Birthdays in 1999.

I still love these and they were special gifts to us from our family for our 50th birthdays!

And, always a very patriotic Grandma ensuring Miss 4 got the whole Olympic experience! 

Miss J, always happy to share her Grandma’s enthusiasm was delighted to be dressed up. Her younger sister and parents joined us at our place to watch the Opening Ceremony on our TV. What an experience, just from the telly. I will never forget the horses’ entry to the Man from Snowy River theme.

The three mascots are a duck-billed platypus (Syd), a kookaburra (Olly) and an echidna or spiny anteater (Millie). They symbolise the water, air and earth respectively. Their colours correspond to those of the Games emblem, and all three are typical examples of Australian fauna. source: wikipedia

We WENT to the Olympics!

After a lot of discussion and then knowing we had to get in quickly as tickets were balloted we secured ones to a morning of track and field. It was amazing to be up close..even though we had to wear our ponchos for a while. Some events were slowed down because of rain on the track, you can see it here in 2nd shot.

My husband & I went to the Athletics on a wet day. No worries


Our seats were amazing. Almost on the track!


The wonder of how Sydney was then! Amazing co-operation and fun all round. 

Lots of smiling and chatting people on the busses to and from the Olympics. We parked our car on a field (now covered in buildings) at Bella Vista, just over the road from Glenwood and busses took us straight to the gate.

We got to see international athletes in OUR time zone. However, I do believe some events were staged at particular times to allow for northern hemisphere news.

I got to attend practice events: free. We attended one big day and tickets were reasonable cost and we had to apply by ballot. I also got tickets to the Paralympics and my then son-in-law came with me along with granddaughter as above.

One big standout memory for me, was standing up with my family to sing Advance Australia Fair as an Aussie won her event at the Paralympics.

My mother was a hockey representative in her youth and a very keen follower of most sports. My brother got tickets for him and Mum to see, I think a women’s hockey semi or final. Mum was blown away!

Great signage and organisation. A lot of walking but it was all OK.

So much detail here: blurry. However, some areas like these had TV people telecasting. Solar panels on top of the pylons.

AND, “where were you when Cathy Freeman won gold?”.

I saw the event on a TV at the local doctors’ surgery! I don’t remember why I was there but I do remember the elation and event.

This post goes live AFTER the first airing of this below. However, I will watch on iView and hope you may as well. It’s a special event AND memory of the Sydney Olympics.

Source: pinterest 66c6cb3bd663ac5e77c9388d0b6b990b.jpg

What memories do you have of the Sydney Olympics?

Did you attend?

How old were you at the time of the Sydney Olympics? I was 50.

If you viewed from another state or country, what are your memories?

Were you part of any of the ceremonies?

Tell us more!


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  1. Denyse, Hard to believe that was 20 years ago. I enjoyed reading your recollection of the Olympics in Sydney and your photos. It’s a very different situation now for the Olympics in Tokyo with COVID-19 part of our reality.

    • Yes, it sure is. Then I think back to how different our life was then, and it seems a long time ago.

      Thanks for enjoying my memories of a very exciting time to live in Sydney!

      Covid sure has spoiled much of what we took for granted, Natalie.

      Take care,

  2. One thing I forgot to mention in mine was we drove down to the end of Annadale to watch the Women’s Marathon go past (Men’s must have been on a work day?). The Blue line has gone from all over Sydney except a tiny bit in the under pass to get onto the Glebe Island Bridge where it was protected from the elements all these years. It still makes me smile if I notice it. Love your plates!!!

    • I loved reading that about the blue line. I seem to recall it being a news item too. Gosh, so much is coming back to me even as I write.

      Just watched the Cathy Freeman story. Wow.

      Thanks Lydia, we think our plates are pretty special too!!

      Take care,


  3. Also in Beijing last year, the beer maker has made a special beer for the Beijing Olympics and there are kiosks set up all over town. It was fun seeing the excitement building for their event still (then) three years away…

  4. What memories and what a privilege to have been in Sydney for that historic time.

    I’m a newcomer so your perspective on how things were is fascinating for me and gives me context for quite a few parts of the city.

    SSG xxx

    • It was a crazy time but also a great time, SSG!

      I have never experienced the unity as I did then.

      We were a happy, co-operative and lovely community. We caught public transport (included in games tickets) we were caught up in all that can be good. The spirit started in 1993 with the announcement and it did waiver a bit because of political and environmental issues. Fair enough. But they happened and it was amazing to be a small part of it!

      Take care,

  5. Oh Denyse you Olympic tragic you! Why am I not surprised? I loved reading your memories and seeing your photos, almost as much as I enjoyed writing my own post! I was turning 40 later that year and as you’ll see in my post we left the country (for good reasons) and enjoyed watching it from afar. Not quite the same feeling I’m sure but we now have great memories and I’ve enjoyed going back to the photo album and reminiscing. Thanks for another fabulous prompt! I thoroughly enjoyed watching Freeman on ABC last night and felt the tension all over again!!

    • Thanks so much Deb. Seeing your take on the topic I will read with great interest. I know loads of people left Australia to take advantage of a time off.

      However, for me, it was all about the experience and the memorabilia. I have just emailed my daughter to ask which school library my donated items may be in…I kind of miss them this week!!

      Loved seeing Cathy Freeman and her story. B and I just finished watching.

      Take care,

  6. Great shots Denyse. I have never been to the Games. I have always wanted too, but find the whole ticketing thing difficult to navigate. I think there have been ballots? Anyway perhaps one day I will get organised.

    • Jody, I had soooo many but they all went into big scrapbooks I made of the Olympics and donated them to my daughter’s school library. Some of these photos were in old albums I managed to find.

      It was a very special time and I recall having to enter a ballot for tickets and the ordering was a bit complicated. We lived in Sydney which made it easier to access.

      I think we decided that with an Olympics literally only 45 mins away we had no excuse!!

      Take care,

  7. Wow! 20 years has flown and I remember watching the Games especially Cathy Freeman’s run on the TV. It certainly showcased my beautiful home town and what Sydney and Australia has to offer. Your photos bring back great memories and what an experience for you. I recall there was an Abattoir at Homebush. Sydney did it in style! #lifethisweek

    • Yes, thanks Sue. I remember now, it was the Homebush Abbatoirs and there were Brickworks there too. Lots of environmental considerations taken into account when all the development started.

      We were about a 45 minute drive from Homebush and with the free bus part/ride system, it was made simple although we had a long, long walk in. In the rain. But, we had the ponchos on and the sun eventually shone. There was an atmosphere that was unique and our seats close to the track were fabulous.

      B and I just watched the Cathy Freeman special. What a girl she was then and woman she is now.

      Take care,

  8. I love this post so much Denyse. Your experiences and memories bring back so many memories. I’m quite envious that the Olympics were in your city and you were able to attend. I watched the Jathy Freeman documentary. It was amazing to be able to get into her head at the time of the biggest day of her life.

    • I am glad you enjoyed the post, Jennifer.

      I admit I had to search my memory bank. I had these great scrapbooks but over time they were hard to carry about so donated them to my daughter’s school library. Lucky I had a few photos left in an old album.

      So good to see Cathy Freeman’s special. Just watched it with my husband.

      Take care,

    • Thanks so much Jennifer, it helped jog a lot of my memory to write about it too.

      I loved all that was about the Olympics coming to ‘our city’ and being 45 minutes from home. We are so glad we decided to attend.

      I wish now I had kept more of my memorabilia but it got to the point that it seemed better to donate it to my daughter’s school library.

      We just watched the Cathy Freeman special. It was the best!

      Take care,


  9. Hi Denyse, I was a Sydney Olympic tragic too! I was 34 and my sons were 5 and 8. I watched every day on TV, our family favourite being Roy and HG doing their very funny daily recaps. My sons even did an adorable parody video which was hilarious – we should have known then that they would be performers all their lives. We were lucky to get tickets to 2 football games in Brisbane which were great fun. The Brazilian supporters were so loud with their noise horns but that was part of the entertainment. We watched the torch parade in Broadbeach, Gold Coast. I still have heaps of memorabilia which I treasure. It was a fantastic event for Australia

    • Glad to meet a fellow tragic Christina!

      My husband and I are trying to recall more as the day goes on here!!

      We have just watched the Cathy Freeman special.

      I too love Roy and HG and their Wombat was a mascot idea I think?? B and I also went to a special Olympics event on ABC TV hosted by Tony Squires.

      I sure wish I had done more diary keeping then. Lots of blanks in details from 20 years ago.

      Your memories sound fun too. The Torch was so good to follow wasn’t it?

      Take care,


  10. I can’t believe it was 20 years ago. I still remember reading the environmental reports about what was under those “hills” and what was leaching into the river. I recall the announcement & we were lucky enough to get to a couple of gold medal events – the football & a night at the velodrome. Best of all was the practice run for the opening ceremony. My nan volunteered and, at 82 was the oldest volunteer. She used to catch the train in from Minto, change at Strathfield and walk to the venues. She also used to party late afterwards.

    • Oh wow. Grand finals hey! Good going.

      As for the practice opening, how exciting!

      Your Nan sounds amazing. I recall looking into volunteering but decided my feet and times available would not work for me. Go Nan!!

      What memories this time evokes, Jo!

      Take care,

  11. Lovely to read about your memories – I can’t believe it was 20 years ago! I was still in the UK when the Olympics were in Sydney and by the time they went to London I was living in Sydney!

    • Thanks Sammie!

      Well, that was not good planning at all!! Twenty years ago is amazing. I wish my memory was as good for details as it used to be, but just in writing this post, a lot came back.

      Take care,


  12. It’s hard to believe it was 20 years ago that all this happened Denyse – seems like less than 5 years to me! I’m not a huge watcher of sport, but I do enjoy watching the Olympics – so much excellence and variety. I enjoy the Winter Olympics too because it’s so different to what we normally see here. Glad you got to be so close to all the action in Sydney and that you have all those memories to look back on.

    • Time passes fast in many ways but when I look back on how different things were for me back then, it has been a LONG time!!

      I like your philosophy for watching the Olympics and the winter ones, Leanne.

      My daughter and I went to swimming trials for the Olympics in the year before I think at Homebush and it was exciting to see (and meet) some of the swimmer. And the get a feel of the area where it would all unfold in 2000.

      We met Samantha Riley who was not doing so well at the time, and I think we got a photo with her (way before iphones) and then a few years down the track, where a new suburb was developed near our place, it named the main thoroughfare Samantha Riley Drive.

      Take care,

  13. Oh, it was so lovely to read your experiences of the Olympics. I have not really been big on the Olympics except maybe the hockey and soccer but it’s always been on in the background. I must confess, not being here in 2000 meant it didn’t have the same impact. I can’t even remember if I watched it on TV in India back then. I’m sure my parents would have.

    • T’is a long time ago, for sure, Sanch. You were a teen!!

      I understand not being too interested but it was as I said in my post, because it was a unique experience coming to Sydney that it got me (and many) very enthused about it.

      At least one friend had a kid in the opening ceremony somewhere. Schools and sporting groups supplied a LOT of the young people as part of that.

      I am glad you enjoyed reading what I could recollect!

      Take care,