Security scare at Australia's Sydney Opera House

Police and security staff in front of the Sydney Opera House after it was evacuated on Jan 14.
Police and security staff in front of the Sydney Opera House after it was evacuated on Jan 14.PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY (AFP) – Sydney’s iconic Opera House was cordoned off on Thursday (Jan 14) in a security scare sparked by “information on social media” with people cleared from the harbour front precinct before police declared it safe.

Metal barriers were erected with onlookers kept about 150m away from the building, with police officers and security personnel guarding the area in a 90-minute lockdown.

Similar precautions were taken across the harbour at the suburb of Manly on Sydney’s northern beaches, which has a ferry linking it to Circular Quay where the Opera House is located.

“Following information on social media, police conducted an operation in the vicinity of the Opera House and Manly as a precautionary measure,” New South Wales police said in a statement. “That police operation has now concluded.” 

No further information was provided although Sydney’s Daily Telegraph said the scare revolved around a threat received about an object inside the Opera House.

An Opera House spokeswoman would not comment.

In January last year, an unattended package left on a Sydney ferry sparked a lockdown of Australia’s harbourfront.

The package was later revealed to be training equipment used by the transport company running the ferries.