Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia and Oceania.
Located on Australia's east coast, the metropolis surrounds the world's largest natural harbour, and sprawls towards the Blue Mountains to the west. Residents of Sydney are known as "Sydneysiders". Sydney is the second official seat and second official residence of the Governor-General of Australia, the Prime Minister of Australia and the Cabinet of Australia.
Sidney is the largest, oldest and most cosmopolitan city in Australia with an enviable reputation as one of the world's most beautiful and liveable cities. Brimming with history, nature, culture, art, fashion, cuisine, design, it is set next to miles of ocean coastline and sandy surf beaches. The city is also home to the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, two of the most iconic structures on the planet.
Sydney is a major global city and one of the most important cities for finance in the Asia-Pacific. Sydney hosted the 2000 Olympic Games, and continues to attract and host large international events. The city is surrounded by nature and national parks, which extend through the suburbs and right to the shores of the harbour.
The Sydney area has been inhabited by indigenous Australians since the Upper Paleolithic period. The first British settlers arrived in 1788 to found Sydney as a penal colony, the first European settlement in Australia. Since convict transportation ended in the mid-19th century, the city has transformed from a colonial outpost into a major global cultural and economic centre. Sydney has an advanced market economy with strengths in finance, manufacturing and tourism.
The population of Sydney at the time of the 2011 census was 4.39 million, 1.5 million of which were born overseas, representing many different nationalities and making Sydney one of the most multicultural cities in the world.There are more than 250 different languages spoken in Sydney and about one-third of residents speak a language other than English at home.
|POPULATION :||City: 4,840,600|
|FOUNDED :||Established 26 January 1788|
|TIME ZONE :||AEST (UTC+10) Summer: AEDT (UTC+11)|
|AREA :||12,367.7 km2 (4,775.2 sq mi)|
|COORDINATES :||33°51′54″S 151°12′34″E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49.76%
• Female: 50.24%
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Sydney hosted over 2.8 million international visitors in 2013 or nearly half of all international visits to Australia. These visitors spent 59 million nights in the city and a total of $5.9 billion. The countries of origin in descending order were China, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Germany, Hong Kong, and India. The city also received 8.3 million domestic overnight visitors in 2013 who spent a total of $6 billion.
Sydney has been ranked amongst the top fifteen cities in the world for tourism every year since 2000. On average, the tourism industry contributes $36 million to the city's economy per day.
Popular destinations include the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Watsons Bay, The Rocks, Sydney Tower, Darling Harbour, the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Royal National Park, the Australian Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Queen Victoria Building, Taronga Zoo, Bondi Beach, the Blue Mountains, and Sydney Olympic Park.
Port Jackson is the natural harbour of Sydney. It is known for its spectacular natural beauty, and in particular as the location of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. The area around the harbour foreshore contains pockets of bushland which was once common around Sydney, containing a surprising range of native animals.
Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House is one of the most distinctive and famous 20th-century buildings, and one of the most famous performing arts venues in the world. Situated on Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour, with parkland to its south and close to the equally famous Sydney Harbour Bridge, the building and its surroundings form an iconic Australian image.
The building was included in the Olympic Torch route in 2000 to the Olympic stadium. It was the backdrop of some events for the Sydney 2000 Olympics, including the triathlon—which began at the Opera House—and the yachting events on Sydney Harbour. The dramatic exteriors have not been matched with technically superior interiors, and the Opera House's reputation as a music venue has suffered as a result.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the main crossing of Sydney Harbour carrying rail, vehicular, and pedestrian traffic between the Sydney central business district (CBD) and the North Shore. The dramatic water vista of the bridge together with the nearby Sydney Opera House is an iconic image of both Sydney and Australia. The South-east pylon for many years operated as lookout and tourist attraction, containing a number of telescopes and antiquated arcade games which operated on pennies, long after that currency had gone out of operation. The pylon has recently been renovated and returned to its tourist function.
Watsons Bay sits on the end of the South Head peninsula and takes its name from the sheltered bay and anchorage on its western side, in Port Jackson. It provides some of the best views across the harbour to the city of Sydney and the Harbour Bridge. The Gap is an ocean cliff on the eastern side with views to Manly, North Head, and the Pacific Ocean.
Watsons Bay is a mostly residential area with some recreational areas and beaches, including one legal nude beach. Some restaurants, cafes and the Watsons Bay Hotel are located here, with Doyles on the Beach, one of the Sydney's most famous seafood restaurants, located on the foreshore of Watsons Bay. The naval base HMAS Watson is located nearby at South Head.
The shores of Sydney Harbour are home to a number of historic batteries, bunkers and forts, many of which are now heritage listed. Some of these forts date back to 1871 and were part of Sydney Harbours defence system that was designed to withstand a seaborn attack. There are four historical fortifications located between Bradleys Head and Middle Head on the north side of the harbour; the Middle Head Fortifications, the Georges Head Battery, the Lower Georges Heights Commanding Position and a small fort located on Bradleys Head. The forts were constructed from mostly large sandstone blocks and consist of many tunnels, catacombs and underground rooms.
City of Sydney
he Rocks is an inner-city suburb, tourist precinct and historic area of Sydney. It is located on the southern shore of Sydney Harbour adjacent to the city centre, close to where Sydney was first settled in 1788. The close proximity to Circular Quay and the views of the iconic Harbour Bridge, as well as the historic nature of many of the buildings, mean that the Rocks is very popular with tourists. It features a variety of souvenir and craft shops, and many themed and historic pubs. The Rocks Market operates each weekend, with around 100 stalls. There are numerous historic walks through the area, visiting historical buildings such as Cadman's Cottage, Sydney Observatory, and the Dawes Point Battery, which was the first fortified position in New South Wales.
Sydney Tower is Sydney's tallest free-standing structure, and the second tallest in Australia, the Q1 building on the Gold Coast being the tallest.
Sydney Tower Skywalk, or just Skywalk, is an open-air, glass-floored platform circling Sydney Tower at a height of 260m above ground level. The moving viewing platform extends out over the edge of the main structure of Sydney Tower. This attraction is more than twice as high as the popular BridgeClimb walk to the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge. From the platform the seaward horizon is 58 kilometres away, although inland features such as the Blue Mountains can be seen at further distances. See Sydney Attractions Group.
Darling Harbour was redeveloped from an industrial wharf to a major tourist and retail precinct in 1988, and is home to a number of major public facilities and attractions, including:
- Sydney Entertainment Centre
- Sydney's Chinese Gardens
- Tumbalong Park
- Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre
- Australian National Maritime Museum (featuring museum ships including HMAS Vampire)
- The Star casino
- Sydney Aquarium
- the IMAX theatre
- Wildlife World
The Kings Cross area is infamous in Australia as being a red light district, similar to Kings Cross, London with numerous strip clubs and "girlie" bars along Darlinghurst Road, although the demographics have changed in recent years and gentrification of the area has led to clashes between new and established elements. Kings Cross is also known for its Neon signs and advertising posters, the most famous being the iconic Coca-Cola sign. It is often affectionately referred to by Sydneysiders by the colloquialism "the Cross".
The Kings Cross district was the City of Sydney's bohemian heartland from the early decades of the 20th Century, but due its proximity to the naval docking area at Garden Island it also came to serve as the city's main tourist accommodation and entertainment centre, as well as its red-light district. The drugs and crime associated with this trade led to Kings Cross achieving a high level of notoriety.
The first people to inhabit the area now known as Sydney were indigenous Australians having migrated from northern Australia and before that from south east Asia. Radiocarbon dating suggests human activity occurred in and around Sydney for at least 30,000 years.However, numerous Aboriginal stone tools found in Western Sydney's gravel sediments were dated from 45,000 to 50,000 years BP, which would indicate that there was human settlement in Sydney earlier than thought.
The earliest British settlers called them 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". 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.
Development has destroyed much of the city's history including that of the first inhabitants. There continues to be examples of rock art and engravings located in the protected Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. 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.
Establishment of the Colony
The United Kingdom had for a long time been sending its convicts across the Atlantic to the American colonies. That trade was ended with the Declaration of Independence by the United States in 1776. Overrun with prisoners, Britain decided in 1786 to found a new penal outpost in the territory discovered by Cook some 16 years earlier. The colony was at first to be titled "New Albion", but Phillip decided on "Sydney" in recognition of Thomas Townshend, Lord Sydney and his role in authorising the establishment of the settlement.
Captain Arthur Phillip was charged with establishing the new colony. He led a fleet (known as 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 fresh water. He travelled a short way further north and arrived at Port Jackson on 26 January 1788. This was to be the location for the new colony. The official proclamation and naming of the colony happened on 7 February 1788.
Between 1788 and 1792 about 4,300 convicts were landed at Sydney. 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.
The year 1850 was the final year of convict transportation to Sydney, which by this time had a population of 35,000. The municipal council of Sydney was incorporated in 1842 and became Australia's first city. Gold was discovered in the colony in 1851 and with it came thousands of people seeking a to make money. Sydney's population reached 200,000 by 1871.
Following the depression of the 1890s, the six colonies agreed to form a federated nation of The Commonwealth of Australia. 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 was 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 and reached 1 million in 1925.
When Britain declared war in 1939, Australia too 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.
Following the end of the war the city continued to expand. There were 1.7 million people living in Sydney at 1950 and almost 3 million by 1975. The people of Sydney warmly welcomed Queen Elizabeth II in 1954 when the a 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. Sydney's iconic Opera House was opened in 1973 by Her Majesty.
The Opera House became a World Heritage Site in 2007. 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. A strong rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne that began in the 1850s still exists to this day. Sydney exceeded Melbourne's population in the early twentieth century and remains Australia's largest city.
Sydney has a temperate climate with rainfall spread throughout the year. The weather is moderated by proximity to the ocean, and more extreme temperatures are recorded in the inland western suburbs.
Rainfall is fairly evenly spread through the year, but is slightly higher during the first half of the year. The average annual rainfall, with moderate to low variability, is 1,213 mm (47.76 in), with rain falling on an average of 143.8 days a year.
The city is rarely affected by cyclones, although remnants of ex-cyclones do affect the city. The El Niño–Southern Oscillation plays an important role in determining Sydney's weather patterns: drought and bushfire on the one hand, and storms and flooding on the other, associated with the opposite phases of the oscillation. Many areas of the city bordering bushland have experienced bushfires, these tend to occur during the spring and summer. The city is also prone to severe hail storms and wind storms.
The average annual temperature of the sea is above 21 °C (70 °F), and the monthly average ranges from 18 °C (64 °F) in July to 24 °C (75 °F) in January.
- Summer (December to February) is the best time to enjoy Sydney's beachside outdoor lifestyle. Temperatures usually reach around 26°C (about 79°F) but it can be very hot, with temperatures climbing to over 40°C (104°F) for a few days each summer. Summer days can be humid, and sometimes have searing dry winds, but hot days frequently end with a "southerly buster", a cold front sweeping up from the south, bringing a clearly noticeable drop in temperature, as wells as rain and thunder. Within hours, the storm can pass and the evening continues cooler. Hot, windy days can create a risk of bushfire, and on days of severe risk national parks and walking trails may be closed. Occasionally low pressure systems drift down from the tropics, giving periods of more unstable weather. You won't need to pack much more than T-shirts to visit Sydney in summer, but remember your hat and sunglasses.
- Autumn (March to May) is still warm with mild nights. There can be good days for the beach in March, but you can't count on it. It is a good time for visiting attractions, going to the zoo, catching ferries around the harbour without the summer crowds. You may need a warm top for the evenings, especially for May.
- Winter (June to August) is cool, not cold. Average July maximum temperatures are 17°C, and daytime temperatures rarely drop below 14°C, but night-time temperatures can fall to below 10°C. Most rain falls as a result of a few off-shore low pressure systems, which usually result in two or three rainy weeks during winter. The Bondi Icebergs will be in the ocean doing their morning laps, but most of Sydney will be well away from the beach. It does not snow in Sydney, and unless you intend spending long periods outside, you can usually get by with just a warm top. Sydney is a year-round city, and only the outdoor water-parks close for the winter. If the beach isn't your scene, and you don't like the heat, winter may be your time to visit.
- Spring (September to November). Spring days are great for exploring Sydney's attractions, bushwalking, cycling, and the outdoors. Beaches are generally patrolled from the end of October, and Sydneysiders start flocking to the beaches in November.
|Record high °C (°F)||45.8
|Average high °C (°F)||25.9
|Daily mean °C (°F)||22.3
|Average low °C (°F)||18.7
|Record low °C (°F)||10.6
|Source #1: Bureau of Meteorology|
|Source #2: Bureau of Meteorology, Sydney Airport|
Captain Arthur Phillip, in one of his first reports back to Britain, described Sydney Cove as being "without exception the finest harbour in the world". Sydney is a coastal basin with the Tasman Sea to the east, the Blue Mountains to the west, the Hawkesbury River to the north, and the Woronora Plateau to the south. The inner city measures 25 square kilometres (10 square miles), the Greater Sydney region covers 12,367 square kilometres (4,775 square miles), and the city's urban area is 1,687 square kilometres (651 square miles) in size.
Deep river valleys known as rias were carved during the Triassic period in the Hawkesbury sandstone of the coastal region where Sydney now lies. The rising sea level between 18,000 and 6,000 years ago flooded the rias to form estuaries and deep harbours. Port Jackson, better known as Sydney Harbour, is one such ria. 70 beaches can be found along its coastline with Bondi Beach being one of the most famous.
Sydney spans two geographic regions. The Cumberland Plain lies to the south and west of the Harbour and is relatively flat. The Hornsby Plateau is located to the north and is dissected by steep valleys. The flat areas of the south were the first to be developed as the city grew. It was not until the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge that the northern reaches of the coast became more heavily populated.
The Nepean River wraps around the western edge of the city and becomes the Hawkesbury River before reaching Broken Bay. Most of Sydney's water storages can be found on tributaries of the Nepean River. The Parramatta River is mostly industrial and drains a large area of Sydney's western suburbs into Port Jackson. The southern parts of the city are drained by the Georges River and the Cooks River into Botany Bay.
Sydney is made up of mostly Triassic rock with some recent igneous dykes and volcanic necks. The Sydney Basin was formed when the Earth's crust expanded, subsided, and filled with sediment in the early Triassic period. Almost all of the exposed rocks around Sydney are sandstone that is some 200 metres (656 feet) thick and has shale lenses and fossil riverbeds dotted throughout. The sand that was to become this sandstone was washed from Broken Hill and laid down about 200 million years ago. The Basin's sedimentary rocks have been subject to uplift with gentle folding and minor faulting during the formation of the Great Dividing Range. Erosion by coastal streams has created a landscape of deep gorges and remnant plateaus. The Sydney Basin bioregion includes coastal features of cliffs, beaches, and estuaries.
Researchers from Loughborough University have awarded Sydney status amongst the top ten world cities that are highly integrated into the global economy. The Global Economic Power Index ranks Sydney number eleven in the world. The city has been ranked eleventh in the world for economic opportunity.
There were 451,000 businesses based in Sydney in 2011, including 48% of the top 500 companies in Australia and two-thirds of the regional headquarters of multinational corporations. Global companies are attracted to the city in part because its time zone spans the closing of business in North America and the opening of business in Europe. Most foreign companies in Sydney maintain significant sales and service functions but comparably less production, research, and development capabilities.
Australian companies based in Sydney include Woolworths, Westpac, Qantas, Coca-Cola Amatil, the Australian Securities Exchange, AMP, Caltex, Fairfax Media, the Commonwealth Bank, Optus, Macquarie Group, Westfield, Origin Energy, Cochlear, and David Jones. Multinational companies with regional offices in Sydney include Pfizer, Cathay Pacific, Boeing, Merck & Co, Parmalat, Rolls-Royce, Intel, Cisco Systems, American Express, Yahoo!, Computer Associates, IBM, Philips, and Vodafone.
Sydney has been ranked between the fifteenth and the fifth most expensive city in the world and is the most expensive city in Australia. To compensate, workers receive the seventh highest wage levels of any city in the world. Sydney ranks tenth in the world in terms of quality of living and its residents possess the highest purchasing power of any city after Zürich. Working residents of Sydney work an average of 1,846 hours per annum with 15 days of leave. Sydney is the location of 31 of the top 50 best places to work in Australia.
In 1985 the Federal Government granted 16 banking licences to foreign banks and now 40 of the 43 foreign banks operating in Australia are based in Sydney, including the People's Bank of China, Bank of America, Citigroup, UBS, Mizuho Bank, Bank of China, Banco Santander, Credit Suisse, State Street, HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, Royal Bank of Canada, Société Générale, Royal Bank of Scotland, Sumitomo Mitsui, ING Group, BNP Paribas, and Investec.
Sydney has been a manufacturing city since the protectionist policies of the 1920s. By 1961 the industry accounted for 39% of all employment and by 1970 over 30% of all Australian manufacturing jobs were in Sydney. Its status has declined in more recent decades, making up 12.6% of employment in 2001 and 8.5% in 2011. The city is still the largest manufacturing centre in Australia. Its manufacturing output of $21.7 billion in 2013 was greater than that of Melbourne with $18.9 billion.
Sydney hosted over 2.8 million international visitors in 2013 or nearly half of all international visits to Australia. These visitors spent 59 million nights in the city and a total of $5.9 billion. Sydney has been ranked amongst the top fifteen cities in the world for tourism every year since 2000.