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Sydney (Dharug: Gadi; Greater Sydney, Dharug: Eora) is the capital city of the state of New South Wales, and the most populous city in Australia and Oceania.


  • Area:2.94 km2
  • Elevation:58 m
  • Population:5,367,206
  • Local Government Area:City of Sydney


Sydney (Dharug: Gadi; Greater Sydney, Dharug: Eora) is the capital city of the state of New South Wales, and the most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Located on Australia's east coast, the metropolis surrounds Port Jackson and extends about 70 km (43.5 mi) on its periphery towards the Blue Mountains to the west, Hawkesbury to the north, the Royal National Park to the south and Macarthur to the south-west. Sydney is made up of 658 suburbs, spread across 33 local government areas. Residents of the city are known as "Sydneysiders". As of June 2020, Sydney's estimated metropolitan population was 5,367,206, meaning the city is home to approximately 66% of the state's population. The city has had several nicknames throughout its history, such as the 'Emerald City' and the 'Harbour City'.Indigenous Australians have inhabited the Sydney area for at least 30,000 years, and thousands of engravings remain throughout the region, making it one of the richest in Australia in terms of Aboriginal archaeological sites. Around 29 clan groups of the Eora Nation inhabited the region at the time of European contact. During his first Pacific voyage in 1770, Lieutenant James Cook and his crew became the first Europeans to chart the eastern coast of Australia, making landfall at Botany Bay and inspiring British interest in the area. In 1788, the First Fleet of convicts, led by Arthur Phillip, founded Sydney as a British penal colony, the first European settlement in Australia. Phillip named the settlement after Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney. Penal transportation to New South Wales ended soon after Sydney was incorporated as a city in 1842. A gold rush occurred in the colony in 1851, and over the next century, Sydney transformed from a colonial outpost into a major global cultural and economic centre. After World War II, it experienced mass migration and became one of the most multicultural cities in the world. At the time of the 2011 census, more than 250 different languages were spoken in Sydney. In the 2016 Census, about 35.8% of residents spoke a language other than English at home. Furthermore, 45.4% of the population reported having been born overseas, and the city has the third-largest foreign-born population of any city in the world after London and New York City. Between 1971 and 2018, Sydney lost a net number of 716,832 people to the rest of Australia but its population has continued to grow, largely due to immigration. Despite being one of the most expensive cities in the world, Sydney frequently ranks in the top ten most liveable cities in the world. It is classified as an Alpha Global City by Globalization and World Cities Research Network, indicating its influence in the region and throughout the world. Ranked eleventh in the world for economic opportunity, Sydney has an advanced market economy with strengths in finance, manufacturing and tourism. There is a significant concentration of foreign banks and multinational corporations in Sydney and the city is promoted as Australia's financial capital and one of Asia Pacific's leading financial hubs. Established in 1850, the University of Sydney was Australia's first university and is regarded as one of the world's leading universities. Sydney is also home to the oldest library in Australia, the State Library of New South Wales, opened in 1826.Sydney has hosted major international sporting events such as the 2000 Summer Olympics. The city is among the top fifteen most-visited cities in the world, with millions of tourists coming each year to see the city's landmarks. Boasting over 1,000,000 ha (2,500,000 acres) of nature reserves and parks, its notable natural features include Sydney Harbour, the Royal National Park, Royal Botanic Garden and Hyde Park, the oldest parkland in the country. Built attractions such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House are also well known to international visitors. The main passenger airport serving the metropolitan area is Kingsford-Smith Airport, one of the world's oldest continually operating airports. Established in 1906, Central station, the largest and busiest railway station in the state, is the main hub of the city's rail network. # History ## First inhabitants in the region The first people to inhabit the area now known as Sydney were indigenous Australians who had migrated from northern Australia and before that from southeast Asia. While radiocarbon dating has shown evidence of human activity in the Sydney area from around 30,000 years ago, Aboriginal stone tools found in Western Sydney's gravel sediments indicate there was human settlement in the region from as far back as 45,000 to 50,000 years BP.The first meeting between the native people and the British occurred on 29 April 1770 when Lieutenant James Cook landed at Botany Bay on the Kurnell Peninsula and encountered the Gweagal clan. He noted in his journal that they were confused and somewhat hostile towards the foreign visitors. Cook was on a mission of exploration and was not commissioned to start a settlement. He spent a short time collecting food and conducting scientific observations before continuing further north along the east coast of Australia and claiming the new land he had discovered for Britain. Prior to the arrival of the British, there were 4,000 to 8,000 native people in Sydney from as many as 29 different clans.The earliest British settlers called the natives Eora people. "Eora" is the term the indigenous population used to explain their origins upon first contact with the British. Its literal meaning is "from this place". Sydney Cove from Port Jackson to Petersham was inhabited by the Cadigal clan. The principal language groups were Darug, Guringai, and Dharawal. The earliest Europeans to visit the area noted that the indigenous people were conducting activities such as camping and fishing, using trees for bark and food, collecting shells, and cooking fish. ## Establishment of the colony Britain—before that, England—and Ireland had for a long time been sending their convicts across the Atlantic to the American colonies. That trade was ended with the Declaration of Independence by the United States in 1776. Britain decided in 1786 to found a new penal outpost in the territory discovered by Cook some 16 years earlier.Captain Phillip led the First Fleet of 11 ships and about 850 convicts into Botany Bay on 18 January 1788, though deemed the location unsuitable due to poor soil and a lack of freshwater. He travelled a short way further north and arrived at Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788. This was to be the location for the new colony. Phillip described Port Jackson as being "without exception the finest harbour in the world". The colony was at first to be titled "New Albion" (after Albion, another name for Great Britain), but Phillip decided on "Sydney". The official proclamation and naming of the colony happened on 7 February 1788. Lieutenant William Dawes produced a town plan in 1790 but it was ignored by the colony's leaders. Sydney's layout today reflects this lack of planning.Between 1788 and 1792, 3,546 male and 766 female convicts were landed at Sydney—many "professional criminals" with few of the skills required for the establishment of a colony. The food situation reached crisis point in 1790. Early efforts at agriculture were fraught and supplies from overseas were scarce. From 1791 on, however, the more regular arrival of ships and the beginnings of trade lessened the feeling of isolation and improved supplies.The colony was not founded on the principles of freedom and prosperity. Maps from this time show no prison buildings; the punishment for convicts was transportation rather than incarceration, but serious offences were penalised by flogging and hanging. Phillip sent exploratory missions in search of better soils and fixed on the Parramatta region as a promising area for expansion and moved many of the convicts from late 1788 to establish a small township, which became the main centre of the colony's economic life, leaving Sydney Cove only as an important port and focus of social life. Poor equipment and unfamiliar soils and climate continued to hamper the expansion of farming from Farm Cove to Parramatta and Toongabbie, but a building programme, assisted by convict labour, advanced steadily. Officers and convicts alike faced starvation as supplies ran low and little could be cultivated from the land. The region's indigenous population was also suffering. It is estimated that half of the native people in Sydney died during the smallpox epidemic of 1789. Enlightened for his age, Phillip's personal intent was to establish harmonious relations with local Aboriginal people and try to reform as well as discipline the convicts of the colony. Phillip and several of his officers – most notably Watkin Tench – left behind journals and accounts which tell of immense hardships during the first years of settlement. Part of Macquarie's effort to transform the colony was his authorisation for convicts to re-enter society as free citizens. Roads, bridges, wharves, and public buildings were constructed using convict labour and by 1822 the town had banks, markets, and well-established thoroughfares. Parramatta Road was opened in 1811, which is one of Sydney's oldest roads and Australia's first highway between two cities – Sydney (present day city centre) and Parramatta.Conditions in the colony were not conducive to the development of a thriving new metropolis, but the more regular arrival of ships and the beginnings of maritime trade (such as wool) helped to lessen the burden of isolation. Between 1788 and 1792, convicts and their jailers made up the majority of the population; in one generation, however, a population of emancipated convicts who could be granted land began to grow. These people pioneered Sydney's private sector economy and were later joined by soldiers whose military service had expired, and later still by free settlers who began arriving from Britain. Governor Phillip departed the colony for England on 11 December 1792, with the new settlement having survived near starvation and immense isolation for four years. ### Conflicts Between 1790 and 1816, Sydney became one of the many sites of the Australian Frontier Wars, a series of conflicts between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the resisting Indigenous clans. In 1790, when the British established farms along the Hawkesbury River, an Aboriginal leader Pemulwuy resisted the Europeans by waging a guerrilla-style warfare on the settlers in a series of wars known as the Hawkesbury and Nepean Wars which took place in western Sydney. He raided farms until Governor Macquarie dispatched troops from the British Army 46th Regiment in 1816 and ended the conflict by killing 14 Indigenous Australians in a raid on their campsite.In 1804, Irish convicts led the Castle Hill Rebellion, a rebellion by convicts against colonial authority in the Castle Hill area of the British colony of New South Wales. The first and only major convict uprising in Australian history suppressed under martial law, the rebellion ended in a battle fought between convicts and the colonial forces of Australia at Rouse Hill. The Rum Rebellion of 1808 was the only successful armed takeover of government in Australian history, where the Governor of New South Wales, William Bligh, was ousted by the New South Wales Corps under the command of Major George Johnston, who led the rebellion. Conflicts arose between the governors and the officers of the Rum Corps, many of which were land owners such as John Macarthur. ## Modern development ### 19th century Early Sydney was moulded by the hardship suffered by early settlers. In the early years, drought and disease caused widespread problems, but the situation soon improved. The military colonial government was reliant on the army, the New South Wales Corps. Macquarie served as the last autocratic Governor of New South Wales, from 1810 to 1821 and had a leading role in the social and economic development of Sydney which saw it transition from a penal colony to a budding free society. He established public works, a bank, churches, and charitable institutions and sought good relations with the Aborigines. Over the course of the 19th-century Sydney established many of its major cultural institutions. Governor Lachlan Macquarie's vision for Sydney included the construction of grand public buildings and institutions fit for a colonial capital. Macquarie Street began to take shape as a ceremonial thoroughfare of grand buildings. The year 1840 was the final year of convict transportation to Sydney, which by this time had a population of 35,000. Gold was discovered in the colony in 1851 and with it came thousands of people seeking their fortune. Sydney's population reached 200,000 by 1871 and during this time the city entered a period of prosperity which was reflected in the construction of grand edifices. Temperance coffee palaces, hotels as well as other civic buildings such as libraries and museums were erected in the city. Demand for infrastructure to support the growing population and subsequent economic activity led to massive improvements to the city's railway and port systems throughout the 1850s and 1860s.After a period of rapid growth, further discoveries of gold in Victoria began drawing new residents away from Sydney towards Melbourne in the 1850s, which created a historically strong rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne. Nevertheless, Sydney exceeded Melbourne's population in the early twentieth century and remains Australia's largest city. Following the depression of the 1890s, the six colonies agreed to form the Commonwealth of Australia. Sydney's beaches had become popular seaside holiday resorts, but daylight sea bathing was considered indecent until the early 20th century. ### 20th century–present Under the reign of Queen Victoria federation of the six colonies occurred on 1 January 1901. Sydney, with a population of 481,000, then became the state capital of New South Wales. The Great Depression of the 1930s had a severe effect on Sydney's economy, as it did with most cities throughout the industrial world. For much of the 1930s up to one in three breadwinners were unemployed. Construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge served to alleviate some of the effects of the economic downturn by employing 1,400 men between 1924 and 1932. The population continued to boom despite the Depression, having reached 1 million in 1925. The city had one of the largest tram networks in the British Empire until it was dismantled in 1961. When Britain declared war on Germany in 1939, Australia also entered. During the war, Sydney experienced a surge in industrial development to meet the needs of a wartime economy. Far from mass unemployment, there were now labour shortages and women becoming active in male roles. Sydney's harbour was attacked by the Japanese in May and June 1942 with a direct attack from Japanese submarines with some loss of life. Households throughout the city had built air raid shelters and performed drills. Consequently, Sydney experienced population growth and increased cultural diversification throughout the post-war period. The people of Sydney warmly welcomed Queen Elizabeth II in 1954 when the reigning monarch stepped onto Australian soil for the first time to commence her Australian Royal Tour. Having arrived on the Royal Yacht Britannia through Sydney Heads, Her Majesty came ashore at Farm Cove. There were 1.7 million people living in Sydney in 1950 and almost 3 million by 1975. The Australian government launched a large scale multicultural immigration program. New industries such as information technology, education, culture, financial services and the arts have risen. Sydney's iconic Opera House was opened in 1973 by Her Majesty. A new skyline of concrete and steel skyscrapers swept away much of the old lowrise and often sandstone skyline of the city in the 1960s and 1970s, with Australia Square being the tallest building in Sydney from its completion in 1967 until 1976 and is also notable for being the first skyscraper in Australia. This prolific growth of contemporary high-rise architecture was put in check by heritage laws in the 1990s onwards, which prevent the demolition of any structure deemed historically significant. Since the 1970s Sydney has undergone a rapid economic and social transformation. As a result of immigration, the city has become a cosmopolitan melting pot. To relieve congestion on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Harbour Tunnel opened in August 1992. The 2000 Summer Olympics were held in Sydney and became known as the "best Olympic Games ever" by the President of the International Olympic Committee. Sydney has maintained extensive political, economic and cultural influence over Australia as well as international renown in recent decades. Following the Olympics, the city hosted the 2003 Rugby World Cup, the APEC Australia 2007 and Catholic World Youth Day 2008, led by Pope Benedict XVI. # Weather # Things to do