Sydney Entertainment Centre

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Sydney Entertainment Centre
Sydney Entertainment Center.jpg
Address Harbour Street
Location Haymarket, Sydney
Coordinates 33°52′42″S 151°12′10″E / 33.87833°S 151.20278°E / -33.87833; 151.20278Coordinates: 33°52′42″S 151°12′10″E / 33.87833°S 151.20278°E / -33.87833; 151.20278
Public transit Sydney Light Rail
Owner Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority
Operator AEG Ogden
Capacity Total: 13,250[1]
Basketball: 10,517[2]
Acreage 15,150 m2
Broke ground July 1979
Opened 1 May 1983
Closed December 2015
Demolished 2016
Construction cost $42 million
Main contractors John Holland Group
Sydney Kings (NBL) (1990–1999, 2002–2008, 2010–2015)
Sydney Uni Flames (WNBL)

Sydney Entertainment Centre (later known as Qantas Credit Union Arena)[3] was a multi-purpose arena located in Haymarket, Sydney, Australia. It opened in May 1983, to replace Sydney Stadium, which had been demolished in 1970 to make way for the Eastern Suburbs railway line. The centre was owned by the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, which administered the neighbouring Darling Harbour area, and managed under a lease.

It was one of Sydney's larger concert venues, licensed to accommodate over 13,000 people as a conventional theatre or 8,000 as a theatre-in-the-round. It was the largest permanent concert venue in Sydney until 1999, when the Sydney Super Dome opened at Sydney Olympic Park. The venue averaged attendances of 1 million people each year and hosted concerts, family shows, sporting events and corporate events. It was demolished in 2016.

Notable events[edit]

In December 1983, Cold Chisel played its final Last Stand concert.[4]

Elton John has played numerous concerts there over the years, including eight dates in 1986 with an orchestra at Haymarket Arena. The latter shows were the last he performed prior to throat surgery. He has played 46 shows at the venue and was final artist to perform at the venue before its demolition in December 2015.[5][6]

John Farnham finished his run of a record 76 concerts at the venue over three decades with a farewell gig December 16, 2015. He joked he got to take home the 6-foot entrance sign to the green room, dubbed 'The Farnham Room'.

The Wiggles gave 84 performances at the venue, including the original lineup's final show on 23 December 2012.

In 1986, Dire Straits finished its 1985–86 world tour by playing 21 consecutive shows at the venue.

Also in 1986, Elton John performed the last leg of his Tour De Force with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at the venue, playing 12 shows. Part of the last show, (performed on 14 December) was to be made into his next album, Live in Australia with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Genesis played nine dates at the 1986 leg of the Invisible Touch Tour (25–27 November and 15–20 December). Some of the songs were performed with an Australian string section. Archives 2 – disc 2 holds a version of "Your Own Special Way" recorded at SEC.

Billy Idol performed here in September 1987 as part of The Whiplash Smile Australasian Tour.

David Bowie recorded his performances on 7 and 9 November 1987 from his worldwide Glass Spider Tour for release on video and CD at the Entertainment Centre.

On 16 and 17 November 1990 Eric Clapton two sold-out concerts in front of 26,500 people during his Journeyman World Tour.

On 12 March 1994 Depeche Mode performed their last show from the Australian Exotic Tour/Summer Tour '94, as of 2015, it has been their last concert in the country.

Janet Jackson performed on 10, 11, 12 and 15 February 1995 for her Janet World Tour, and again on 16 December 1998 for her The Velvet Rope Tour.

American rock band Pearl Jam played two nights in 1995 (10–11 March) during the Vitalogy Tour, three nights (9, 11, 12 March 1998) during the Yield Tour and another three nights (11, 13, 14 February 2003) at the venue during the Riot Act Tour.

Two of The Beatles have performed at the venue, Paul McCartney for three sellout shows in March 1993, and George Harrison made a surprise appearance at a Deep Purple concert in 1984.

Gloria Estefan performed on 10, 12 and 13 April 1997 for her Evolution World Tour.

Mariah Carey performed on 2 and 6 February 1998, for her Butterfly World Tour, a one off concert in January 2013, and again on 10 November 2014 for The Elusive Chanteuse Show.

Shania Twain performed there on 12 and 13 February 1999, for her Come On Over Tour.

The cream of Australian music, almost every major music act of the time, including INXS, The Angels, The Divinyls, Dragon, The Saints and Roger Waters performed two shows during his In The Flesh Tour on 5, and 6 April 2002.

Cher performed three shows during her Living Proof: The Farewell Tour on 3, 4 and 7 March 2005.

Kylie Minogue has played 25 concerts there, she finished her On A Night Like This Tour, after playing 11 nights there and kicked off her Showgirl: The Homecoming Tour in November 2006. On 20 March 2015, Minogue performed as part of her Kiss Me Once Tour.

Pop rock superstar P!nk performed (a then record-breaking) seven shows there during her 2007 I'm Not Dead Tour. In 2009, with her Funhouse Tour, in support of the number one album, she played a record 12 shows. She recorded her current live DVD at the SEC.

It also hosted international circuses and shows, such as Disney on Ice and Hugh Jackman's The Boy from Oz.

It was used annually for the Schools Spectacular, which features over 3,000 young performers from across NSW as well as the Rock Eisteddfod Challenge.

Asian pop legend, "God of Songs" Jacky Cheung on 1 October 2011, as part of his Jacky Cheung 1/2 Century World Tour.

In 2011 and 2012, it played host to the Sydney judges' audition stages of the Seven Network singer search programme The X Factor.

Series number Date
3 Thursday 3 June and Friday 3 June 2011[clarification needed]
4 17–19 May 2012

In June 2013, the venue was host to four sold out performances of the Andrew Lloyd Webber Rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar.

In December 2013, the Centre was to host a Bon Jovi concert. It was the band's first show in the Sydney Entertainment Centre after many stadium concerts across Australia.

In January 2014, Canadian indie rock band Arcade Fire performed the second headline show of its Reflektor world tour at the venue to a sell-out audience.

On 8 March 2014, American pop star Bruno Mars performed at the venue in front of a sold out crowd for his Moonshine Jungle Tour.

On 12 and 13 of September 2014, American rapper Kanye West performed at the venue for his The Yeezus Tour.

On 14 February 2015, Laura Pausini made her first visit to Australia with The Greatest Hits World Tour.

Sporting events[edit]

As a sporting venue, the SEC was best known as the home venue of the Sydney Kings who play in the National Basketball League (NBL) over 3 stints. The Kings moved from the smaller (5,006 capacity) State Sports Centre in Homebush in 1990 and remained until moving to the Super Dome in 1999. The Kings then returned to the SEC in 2002 and would enjoy immediate success winning the NBL championship in 2002–03, 2003–04 and 2004–05. The team remained until 2008 when they folded due to financial difficulties, but when the club returned to the NBL in 2010 they again made the SEC their home which lasted until the centre's closing in 2015.

In 1995, the Entertainment Centre hosted Game 4 of a 5-game international basketball series between the Australian Boomers and the Magic Johnson All-Stars in front of a sellout crowd of almost 12,000 fans. Despite the All-Stars being a collection of former NBA players, and with Magic Johnson not playing due to a calf injury, the crowd was actually behind the All-Stars on the night. They were treated to a game that went into overtime with the All-Stars keeping their unbeaten record intact with a 97–94 win. Before the game Magic Johnson apologised to the fans from centre court for not being able to play and called the SEC "A good sized gym that they can be proud of".[7]

Other sports such as boxing, professional wrestling, tennis and indoor motor-cross have also been held. Australian boxer Jeff Fenech won a number of World title matches at the centre during the 1980s,[8] While in July 2011, the IBO Cruiser-weight title match between Antonio Tarver and Danny Green took place at the SEC.

The SEC hosted the 1991 World Netball Championships, as well as games during the 1994 FIBA Women's World Championship including all Finals games and 3rd place playoff game.[9][10]

In the 2000 Summer Olympics, the SEC was the venue for volleyball.[11]


As part of a redevelopment of the Darling Harbour precinct, the Sydney Entertainment Centre was demolished in late 2015.[12] The Darling Square residential development replaced the Centre. Replacement facilities are currently being built closer towards the harbour surrounding the Darling Quarter and will contain a larger theatre with a seating capacity of 8,000, an exhibition centre and convention centre that is expected to be the largest in the world. The opening of the new facilities occurred in late 2016.[13]

It was originally to be demolished in 2013, along with the surrounding buildings, but was granted a reprieve.[14] The final concerts were played by Cold Chisel and Elton John on the weekend of 18/19 December 2015.[5][6] Demolition began in January 2016 and was replaced as an inner city venue by the nearby 9,000-seat International Convention Centre Sydney Theatre, as part of a $3 billion redevelopment of Darling Harbour.[6]


  1. ^ "Floor Plans". Sydney Entertainment Centre. Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "Interactive Floor Plan". Sydney Entertainment Centre. Archived from the original on 2 April 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  3. ^ McCabe, Kathy (18 January 2014). "Sydney Entertainment Centre given two-year lifeline and is now the Qantas Credit Union Arena". The Sunday Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Cold Chisel planning to re-form for another Last Stand in Sydney ABC News 8 September 2014
  5. ^ a b "Elton John to close Entertainment Centre". Sky News Australia. 3 May 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c Gorman, James (11 May 2015). "Elton John and Cold Chisel to rattle the walls of the old Sydney Entertainment Centre before bulldozers move in". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  7. ^ 1995 Australian Boomers vs Magic Johnson's All Stars - Sydney
  8. ^ The Will of the Marrickville Mauler 24 February 2015
  9. ^ Netball Australia. "World Netball Championships placings" (PDF). Retrieved 30 July 2011. 
  10. ^ 1994 FIBA World Championship for Women
  11. ^ 2000 Summer Olympics official report. Volume 1. p. 384.
  12. ^ "Sydney Entertainment Centre to be demolished". Austadiums. 23 April 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  13. ^ "Sydney Entertainment Centre to be knocked down in $1b makeover". The Sydney Morning Herald. 17 April 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  14. ^ History Qantas Credit Union Arena

External links[edit]