Today marks 20 years since Sydney put on the opening ceremony to the greatest show on earth, the 2000 Olympic Games.

It was two weeks of unabridged Australian sporting glory, that saw Cathy Freeman’s gold medal 400 metre victory and Ian Thorpe smashing world records like guitars.

From the start of the torch relay to the African boxers who stayed here illegally to gain refugee status, it was Australia’s time to shine to the world.

Today, Sydney remembers this iconic chapter in the forging of Australia’s post-colonial identity.

Millions of Harbour City residents are reminiscing on a time when there was a reason to visit Homebush, outside of the occasional Wallabies match in mid-2000s, and any touring musician that is too big for the Hordern Pavilion.

Homebush is a suburb in the Outer-Inner-West of Sydney. Located 15 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district. Since settlement the area has gone from an Agricultural hub, to a spectacular Olympic Site, to a handful of rushed high-rise apartment buildings that occasionally crack.

In 1907, 367 hectares, most of the Wentworth estate, was resumed for the building of the State Abattoirs. Specifications for the general arrangement and layout of the site and drawings of the gatehouse, administration buildings, mutton, pork, beef and veal houses were completed in 1909.

For nearly a century, the site was known for not much else other than being as the mustering terminus for cattle graziers right across Australia, with the occasional police shooting.

The area remained as a rather pungent economic powerhouse in the Sydney suburbs, until the Bob Carr government decided to not build the Olympic site in Barangaroo as initially planned, and instead tear down the abattoirs in an effort to retain two state seats in the 1995 NSW election.

Aside from a magical fortnight at the turn of the millennium, Homebush is now mostly remembered for the 2018 Opal Tower evacuation.

Today, Australia remembers that magical fortnight.


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