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Curtain finally closes for Opera House employee after 50 years

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Steve Tsoukalas has worked at Sydney’s iconic harbour sails for 50 years, but he’s had his final curtain call as an Opera House employee as he steps into retirement.

The 73-year-old Greek immigrant arrived in Australia in 1964 and as he sailed into the harbour he was mesmerized by the construction of the Opera House.

He thought, “that’s where I want to work”. So he did, and he stayed working there for 50 years.

This week, Steve finally said goodbye to the place where he spent two-thirds of his working life.

“I want to say thank you to Australia for the last 50 years,” he tells Deborah Knight.

“With open arms they grabbed me, I’ve built a family and I’m very proud to live in this country and I’m very proud too because my dream came true.”

He says when he first saw the construction of the Opera House, he thought it was “was a building outer space”.

Steve also shares how he left his mark, introducing his grandmother’s cleaning tip of scrubbing the building’s bronze with olive oil and baking soda for the concrete.

He tells Deborah he plans on spending his retirement with his kids and grandkids.

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview 

Deborah Knight