Every city needs some landmarks to put it on the map. Whether it’s ancient ruins, ultra-modern skyscrapers, or a series of Big Things, people love their city to have impressive stuff that you don’t.
At the end of Danny Boyle’s sci-fi thriller “Sunshine”, a film set aboard a spaceship, there is only one scene at the end in which we see earth. The director chose one location to represent our world, Sydney Harbour, as he considered the Opera House to be one of the few monuments that are “universally recognisable“. How many other monuments would qualify for that illustrious title? The Taj Mahal, The Eiffel Tower, The Great Pyramid of Giza, The Statue of Liberty, The Colosseum…but what about Melbourne? Anything there?
Conclusion: Melbourne has nothing that compares to the Opera House. One point to Sydney.
What about the Harbour bridge?
Beautiful. Such an iconic, original design. Except that it isn’t, which is something this tourism website conspicuously fails to mention. If you’ve been to New York, I’m sure you saw the charming Brooklyn Bridge and the impressive Washington Bridge. But did you notice the Hell Gate Bridge? No? Well, here it is:
Completed 10 years before Sydney’s Harbour Bridge was started, this must be the greatest case of fraud in civil engineering history! And yet the Harbour Bridge is described as “an economic feat as well as an engineering triumph”, which also ignores the inconvenient fact that it took 56 years to pay off. Melbourne’s prefered supplier of suicide, The West Gate Bridge, is more than twice as long…and half as pretty.
*Sigh*…more people died in its construction than care it exists. What about Melbourne’s Bolte bridge? Well, that looks like someone said “Hey! Let’s make a bridge with a couple of unconnected, hollow, useless towers, and splash a bit of ‘Golden Gate Red’ on the bottom”.
Another point to Sydney.
What about Sydney’s 309m Centrepoint Tower? Sure, it’s probably just a ripoff of Seattle’s Space Needle, but it’s the only one in Australia, so it’s reasonably unique. Melbourne’s Art Centre Spire, at 162m, is nice but it’s not particularly noticeable and doesn’t have an observation deck or a revolving restaurant. Another point to Sydney.
Does Melbourne have anything else? Well, yeah, the Shrine of Remembrance, Flinders St Station, St Paul’s Cathedral, Parliament House, Luna Park, The Sidney Myer Music Bowl…and that’s probably it. Attractive, sure. Some of them are even quite impressive. But you’re not going to compare them to, say, Big Ben or the Brandenburg Gate. Sydney for the win, and a monumental one at that.