Degree Name

Master of Science (Hons.)


School of Geosciences


This thesis explores the perceived impacts of the Sydney 2000 Olympics between the city's residents of highest and lowest socio-economic status. In examining the difference in perceived impacts, two main arguments guide this thesis. The first argument of the 'Bread and Circuses' suggests hallmark events are spectacles which divert attention from daily concerns. Euphoria and enthusiasm for the spectacle offer an escape from the hardships of daily life. The second argument of the 'Elite Games' suggests that the political, economic and social advantages are not evenly distributed across society.

A telephone survey was conducted in suburbs representing Sydney's socio-economic extremes. Within these targeted suburbs, 658 households were randomly sampled. Respondents' mean scores were compared in order to show differences in perceived enthusiasm, access, environmental and economic impacts between the lower socioeconomic status areas of Fairfield/ Auburn/Liverpool and the higher SES areas of Mosman/Ku-ring-gai/Willoughby.

In terms of enthusiasm, results suggest lower SES suburbs are more excited. Moreover, the enthusiasm has quelled the majority of concerns over the perceived environmental impacts. The Olympics is an elite event. Perception of access and participation in the planning process were significantly higher for the most affluent suburbs.