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Ambassador Arthur Spyrou meets Sydney Opera House’s longest-serving employee




Australia’s Ambassador to Greece, Arthur Spyrou, met with the Sydney Opera House’s longest-serving employee, Steve Tsoukalas, in Kalymnos this week.

In a tweet, Ambassador Spyrou wrote: “I had the great fortune to meet Mr Skevos (Steve) Tsoukalas in Kalymnos. He helped build the Sydney Opera House and was its longest-serving employee – 50 years! Incredible contribution!”

Mr Tsoukalas’ Story:

In 1968, Mr Tsoukalas was in charge of the scaffolding team as the iconic Sydney monument was in its final stages. Once the building was completed, he remained as a maintenance worker and cleaner.

Mr Tsoukalas spent two-thirds of his life working at the Opera House, retiring in 2018 at 73 years of age.

Speaking with ABC News at the time, he said: “The Opera House gave me the opportunity to be a different person, to marry the same year [he started work], to be in love with the building, to build up a family.”

Using his grandmother’s tips of cleaning the building’s bronze with olive oil and the concrete with bi-carb soda, Mr Tsoukalas helped introduce ‘green’ cleaning, all the while leaving his mark on the building.

At his farewell, ABC News reported that each worker, from the cleaner to the security guards to the Opera House chief executive, gathered to say goodbye.

“He has been here since before the Opera House was opened, for the entire 45 years, and five years before that,” Opera House chief executive Louise Herron said, before going on to describe him as a “living treasure.”

READ MORE: Ambassador Arthur Spyrou meets with officials in Lemnos to discuss Remembrance Trail.


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