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Sydney Entertainment Centre

culture, fun, music venues, sport, stadium, sports venue

Sydney Entertainment Centre (later known as Qantas Credit Union Arena) 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 is currently owned by the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, which administers 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. Demolition began in January 2016.

Notable events

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

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.

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'.

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 December 14th) 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.

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

On March 12, 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.

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.

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.

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

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). Other sports such as boxing, Professional Wrestling, tennis and indoor motor-cross have also been held.

Jeff Fenech won a number of boxing matches in the 1980s. In July 2011, the IBO Cruiser-weight title match between Antonio Tarver and Danny Green took place.

The SEC hosted the 1991 World Netball Championships, as well as the 1994 FIBA Women's World Championship.

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


As part of a redevelopment of the Darling Harbour precinct, the Sydney Entertainment Centre is to be demolished. The Darling Square residential development will replace 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 is expected in 2016.

It was originally to be demolished in 2013, along with the surrounding buildings, but was granted a reprieve. The final concerts will be played by Cold Chisel and Elton John on the weekend of 18/19 December 2015. Demolition began in January 2016 and will be replaced as an inner city venue by the nearby 9000-seat ICC Sydney Theatre, as part of a $3 billion redevelopment of Darling Harbour.

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