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New South Wales
The Sydney Opera House and CBD at dusk from Jeffrey Street, Kirribilli in December 2008
Sydney is located in Australia
Population 4,757,083 (2013)[1] (1st)
 • Density 380/km2 (980/sq mi) (2013)[2]
Established 26 January 1788
Area 12,367.7 km2 (4,775.2 sq mi)(GCCSA)[3]
Time zone AEST (UTC+10)
 • Summer (DST) AEDT (UTC+11)
LGA(s) various (38)
County Cumberland
State electorate(s) various (49)
Federal Division(s) various (24)
Mean max temp[4] Mean min temp[4] Annual rainfall[4]
22.5 °C
73 °F
14.5 °C
58 °F
1,222.7 mm
48.1 in

Sydney [5] is the state capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia and Oceania.[6] It is located on Australia's south-east coast along the Tasman Sea and surrounding one of the world's largest natural harbours.[7] Residents are together known as "Sydneysiders" and constitute the most multicultural city in Australia and one of the most multicultural cities in the world.[8][9][10]

The area around Sydney has been inhabited by indigenous Australians for tens of millennia.[11] The first British settlers arrived in 1788 with Captain Arthur Phillip and founded Sydney as a penal colony.[12][13] Successive colonial Governors assisted to transform the settlement into a thriving and independent metropolis. Since convict transportation ended in the mid 1800s the city has become a global cultural and economic centre.[14][15][16][17] The population of Sydney at the time of the 2011 census was 4.39 million.[18] About 1.5 million of this total were born overseas and represent a multitude of different countries from around the world.[3] There are more than 250 different languages spoken in Sydney and about one-third of residents speak a language other than English at home.[19][20]

Sydney has an advanced market economy with strengths in finance, manufacturing, and tourism. Its gross regional product was $337.45 billion in 2013 making it a larger economy than countries such as Denmark, Singapore, and Hong Kong.[21] There is a significant concentration of foreign banks and multinational corporations in Sydney and the city is promoted as Asia Pacific's leading financial hub.[22][23][24][25] In addition to hosting events such as the 2000 Summer Olympics, millions of tourists come to Sydney each year to see the city's landmarks.[26] Its natural features include Sydney Harbour, the Royal National Park, Bondi Beach, and the Royal Botanic Gardens. Man-made attractions such as the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge are also well known to international visitors.


  • History 1
    • Traditional owners 1.1
    • Colonial era 1.2
    • Modern development 1.3
  • Geography 2
    • Topography 2.1
    • Geology 2.2
    • Climate 2.3
  • Urban structure 3
    • Inner suburbs 3.1
    • Outer suburbs 3.2
    • Architecture 3.3
    • Housing 3.4
    • Parks and open spaces 3.5
  • Economy 4
    • Corporate citizens 4.1
    • Domestic economics 4.2
    • Financial services 4.3
    • Manufacturing 4.4
    • Tourism and international education 4.5
  • Demographics 5
  • Culture 6
    • Science, art, and history 6.1
    • Entertainment 6.2
    • Religion 6.3
    • Sport and outdoor activities 6.4
    • Media 6.5
  • Government 7
    • Historical governance 7.1
    • Government in the present 7.2
  • Infrastructure 8
    • Education 8.1
    • Health 8.2
    • Transport 8.3
    • Utilities 8.4
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


Traditional owners

The original inhabitants of Sydney were indigenous Australians. Radiocarbon dating suggests that they have occupied the area in and around Sydney for at least 30,000 years.[11] 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.[27] Sydney Cove from Port Jackson to Petersham was inhabited by the Cadigal clan.[27] 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.[28]

Urban development has destroyed much of the evidence of ancient indigenous culture, though some rock art and engravings can still be found in places such as Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.[29] 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.[28][30][31] He noted in his journal that they were confused and somewhat hostile towards the foreign visitors.[28] 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.

Colonial era

Britain 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. 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.[32][33] This was to be the location for the new colony. The official proclamation and naming of the colony happened on 7 February 1788. The name was at first to be Albion but Phillip decided on Sydney in recognition of Thomas Townshend, Lord Sydney and his role in authorising the establishment of the settlement.

A Direct North General View of Sydney Cove, by convict artist Thomas Watling in 1794

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.[34][35] Officers and convicts alike faced starvation as supplies ran low and little could be cultivated from the land.[36] 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.[27][37] Some mounted violent resistance to the British settlers. Lachlan Macquarie became Governor in 1810 and started an initiative to "civilise, Christianise, and educate" indigenous children by removing them from their clans and placing them with British households.[38]

Macquarie did make the most of less than ideal circumstances. His first task was to restore order after the Rum Rebellion of 1808 against the previous Governor. 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.[34][39] Macquarie undertook an extensive building programme of some 265 separate works.[40] Roads, bridges, wharves, and public buildings were constructed using convict labour and come 1822 the town had banks, markets, and well-established thoroughfares. Part of Macquarie's effort to transform the colony was his authorisation for convicts to re-enter society as free citizens.[40]

Modern development

Sydney Harbour in 1932

The 1840s marked the end of convict transportation to Sydney, which by this time had a population of 35,000.[32][34] The municipal council of Sydney was incorporated in 1842 and became Australia's first city.[41] Gold was discovered in the regions around the town in 1851 and with it came thousands of people seeking a new life.[32][41] Sydney's population reached 200,000 by 1871.[42] The Commonwealth of Australia was inaugurated on 1 January 1901 and Sydney, with a population of 481,000, became the capital of New South Wales.[35] The Great Depression 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.[43] Construction of the Harbour Bridge served to alleviate some of the effects of the economic downturn by employing 1,400 men between 1924 and 1932.[44] The population continued to boom despite the Depression and reached 1 million in 1925.[42]

Australia entered World War II in 1939 and 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 came under direct attack from Japanese submarines on 1 June 1942.[45] After the war the cultural and economic pillars of Sydney flourished. There were 1.7 million people living in the city by 1950 and almost 3 million by 1975. Sydney's iconic Opera House opened in 1973 and became a World Heritage Site in 2007.[46] 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.[47] 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.[6][48]



Aerial view of Sydney from May 2012 looking east
Satellite image looking west with Botany Bay on the left and Port Jackson on the right

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".[49] 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.[50][51][52] 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.[53] Port Jackson, better known as Sydney Harbour, is one such ria.[54] 70 beaches can be found along its coastline with Bondi Beach being one of the most famous.

Sydney spans two geographic regions. 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.[53] 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.[53] 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.


The Sydney Harbour Bridge in the 2009 Australian dust storm.

Sydney has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfa) with warm, sometimes hot summers and mild winters, with rainfall spread throughout the year.[55] The weather is moderated by proximity to the ocean, and more extreme temperatures are recorded in the inland western suburbs. The warmest months are January and February, with an average air temperature range at Observatory Hill of 18.7–25.9 °C (65.7–78.6 °F) for January and 18.8–25.8 °C (65.8–78.4 °F) for February.[56] An average of 14.9 days a year have temperatures of more than 30 °C (86 °F).[56]

In winter, temperatures rarely drop below 5 °C (41 °F) in coastal areas. The coldest month is July, with an average range of 8.0–16.3 °C (46.4–61.3 °F).[56] 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 1,213.8 mm (47.79 in), with rain falling on an average of 143.5 days a year.[56][57] Snowfall was last reported in the Sydney City area in 1836, while a fall of graupel, or soft hail, mistaken by many for snow, in July 2008, has raised the possibility that the 1836 event was not snow, either.[58][59] Extreme temperatures have ranged from 45.8 °C (114.4 °F) on 18 January 2013 to 2.1 °C (35.8 °F) on 22 June 1932, the lowest recorded minimum at Observatory Hill.[60][61] At the Sydney Airport station, extremes have ranged from 46.4 to −0.1 °C (115.5 to 31.8 °F).[62]

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. One such storm was the 1999 hailstorm, which severely damaged Sydney's eastern and city suburbs. The storm produced massive hailstones of at least 9 cm (3.5 in) in diameter and resulting in insurance losses of around A$1.7 billion in less than five hours.[63]

The Bureau of Meteorology has reported that 2002 through 2005 were the warmest summers in Sydney since records began in 1859.[64] The summer of 2007–2008, however, proved to be one of the coolest summers on record.[65] Warmer and drier conditions came back in 2009 and 2010, when above-average temperatures were recorded. In 2009, the dry conditions brought a severe dust storm towards eastern Australia.[66][67] In 2011, above-average rainfall was recorded.[68]

On 18 January 2013, Sydney experienced record-breaking temperatures with 45.8 °C (114 °F) recorded at Observatory Hill.[69] The highest minimum temperature recorded at Observatory Hill is 27.6 °C (82 °F), in February 2011 while the lowest maximum temperature is 7.7 °C (46 °F), recorded in July 1868.[56]

The average annual temperature of the sea is above 20 °C (68 °F), and the monthly average ranges from 18 °C (64 °F) in July to 23 °C (73 °F) in January.[70][71]

Climate data for Sydney (Observatory Hill)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 45.8
Average high °C (°F) 25.9
Average low °C (°F) 18.7
Record low °C (°F) 10.6
Rainfall mm (inches) 101.1
Avg. rainy days 12.2 12.5 13.6 12.8 13 12.5 11.1 10.4 10.5 11.6 11.7 11.5 143.4
% humidity 62 64 62 59 57 57 51 49 51 56 58 59 57
Mean daily sunshine hours 7.1 6.7 6.4 6.4 5.9 5.5 6.4 7.1 7.2 7.2 7.8 7.6 6.8
Source #1: Bureau of Meteorology[72]
Source #2: [73]

Urban structure

View of Sydney from Sydney Tower
Sydney CBD panorama from Taronga Zoo, North Sydney

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.[74] The geographical area covered by urban Sydney is divided into 658 suburbs for addressing and postal purposes and is administered as 40 local government areas.[75] The City of Sydney is responsible for 33 of these suburbs, all of which are located close to the central business district.[76] The remaining locations are serviced by the Government of New South Wales.

There are 15 contiguous regions around Sydney: the CBD, Sutherland Shire, and Western Sydney. The largest commercial centres outside of the CBD are North Sydney and Chatswood in the north, Parramatta to the west, Liverpool in the south-west, Hurstville in the south, and Bondi Junction to the east.[77] There has been accelerating commercial development in Parramatta since the 1950s as firms serving Western Sydney have set up regional offices and recognised the region's significant residential population mass.[78]

Inner suburbs

The CBD itself extends about 3 kilometres (1.9 miles) south from Sydney Cove. It is bordered by parkland to the east and Darling Harbour to the west. Suburbs surrounding the CBD include Woolloomooloo and Potts Point to the east, Surry Hills and Darlinghurst to the south, Pyrmont and Ultimo to the west, and Millers Point and The Rocks to the north. Most of these suburbs measure less than 1 square kilometre (0.4 square miles) in area. Several localities, distinct from suburbs, exist throughout Sydney's inner reaches. Central and Circular Quay are transport hubs with ferry, rail, and bus interchanges. Chinatown, Darling Harbour, and Kings Cross are important locations for culture, tourism, and recreation.

There is a long trend of gentrification amongst Sydney's inner suburbs. Pyrmont was converted from an industrial centre in decay in the 1990s to a sustainable residential area in the 2000s.[79] Once a slum and red-light district known for criminal activity and illicit drugs, Darlinghurst has undergone significant redevelopment since the 1980s.[80][81][82] Green Square is now experiencing urban renewal worth $8 billion, whilst Barangaroo's old shipping wharves are being transformed into a $6 billion commercial and residential development.[83][84] The suburb of Paddington lies in close proximity to the CBD and is famous for its restored terrace houses, cultural and sporting facilities, and Oxford Street markets.[85] Despite its location, Surry Hills has maintained a light industrial economy in addition to residential and commercial zones. Woolloomooloo's once working class docklands are now a desirable residential area servicing the nearby Royal Australian Navy base.

Outer suburbs

Vaucluse in the Eastern Suburbs is amongst Australia's most affluent addresses. Neighbouring suburb Point Piper contains Wolseley Road, the ninth dearest street in the world.[86] Coogee and Bondi Beach, both known for tourism and recreation, are also found in the Eastern Suburbs. The suburb of Cronulla on Botany Bay in Southern Sydney is close to Lieutenant James Cook's original landing site. Mascot is found on the northern shores of Botany Bay and is the location of Sydney Airport. The suburb of Manly on the Northern Beaches was one of Australia's most popular holiday destinations for much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.[87] The North Shore includes the important commercial districts of North Sydney and Chatswood. Taronga Zoo is situated in the North Shore suburb of Mosman. The adjacent suburbs of Kirribilli and Milsons Point are the locations of Kirribilli House and Luna Park.

Greater Western Sydney encompasses the major population centres of Bankstown, Liverpool, Penrith, and Fairfield. It also contains Parramatta, the sixth largest business district in Australia.[88] Balmain, in the Inner West, was once a working class industrial and mining town but has undergone extensive gentrification.[89] The Inner West also includes Sydney Olympic Park, a suburb created to host the 2000 Summer Olympics. Further to the south and west is the region of Macarthur and the suburb of Campbelltown, a significant population centre in the foothills of the Blue Mountains.


The earliest structures in the colony were built to the bare minimum of standards. Upon gaining power, Governor Lachlan Macquarie decided to set more ambitious targets for the architectural design of new construction projects. The city now has a world heritage listed building, several national heritage listed buildings, and dozens of Commonwealth heritage listed buildings as evidence of the survival of Macquarie's ideals.[90][91][92]

In 1814 the Governor called on a convict named St James's Church in 1824.[95][96] Gothic-inspired architecture became more popular from the 1830s. John Verge's Elizabeth Bay House and St Philip's Church of 1856 were built in Gothic Revival style along with Edward Blore's Government House of 1845.[97][98] Kirribilli House, completed in 1858, and St Andrew's Cathedral are rare examples of Victorian Gothic construction.[97][99]

From the late 1850s there was a shift towards Classical architecture.

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  • Official Sydney, NSW government site
  • Official Sydney tourism site
  • Historical film clips of Sydney on the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia's australianscreen online

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See also

The two distributors which maintain Sydney's electricity infrastructure are Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy.[255][256] Their combined networks include over 815,000 power poles and 83,000 kilometres (52,000 miles) of electricity cables. Companies which generate and retail electricity to the city include EnergyAustralia, Origin Energy, and AGL Energy.[257][258][259] These three companies also supply natural gas to homes and businesses in Sydney.

Obtaining sufficient fresh water was difficult during early colonial times. A catchment called the Tank Stream sourced water from what is now the central business district but was little more than an open sewer by the end of the 1700s.[252] The Botany Swamps Scheme was one of several ventures during the mid 1800s that saw the construction of wells, tunnels, steam pumping stations, and small dams to service Sydney's growing population.[252] The first genuine solution to Sydney's water demands was the Upper Nepean Scheme which came into operation in 1886 and cost over £2 million. It transports water 100 kilometres (62 miles) from the Nepean, Cataract, and Cordeaux rivers and continues to service approximately 15% of Sydney's total water needs.[252] Dams were built on these three rivers between 1907 and 1935.[252] In 1977 the Shoalhaven Scheme brought several more dams into service.[253] The Sydney Catchment Authority now manages eleven major dams: Warragamba, Woronora, Cataract, Cordeaux, Nepean, Avon, Wingecarribee Reservoir, Fitzroy Falls Reservoir, Tallowa, the Blue Mountains Dams, and Prospect Reservoir.[254] Water is collected from five catchment areas covering 16,000 square kilometres (6,178 square miles) and total storage amounts to 2.6 teralitres (0.6 cubic miles).[254] The Sydney Desalination Plant came into operation in 2010.[252]


By the time the Sydney Harbour Bridge opened the city's ferry service was the largest in the world.[249] Patronage declined from 37 million passengers in 1945 to 11 million in 1963 but has recovered somewhat in recent years.[237] From its hub in Circular Quay the ferry network services Balmain, Double Bay, Manly, Parramatta, Taronga Zoo, Darling Harbour, and Cockatoo Island.[249] Sydney Airport is located in the suburb of Mascot and is one of the world's oldest continually operating airports.[250] It services 46 international and 23 domestic destinations.[250] As the busiest airport in Australia it handled 37.9 million passengers in 2013 and 530,000 tonnes of freight in 2011.[250] It has been announced that a new facility named Western Sydney Airport will be constructed at Badgerys Creek from 2016 at a cost of $2.5 billion.[251] Port Botany has surpassed Port Jackson as the city's major shipping port. Cruse ship terminals are located at Sydney Cove and White Bay.

Sydney Airport is located in close proximity to the city

Sydney once had one of the largest tram networks in the world with routes covering 291 kilometres (181 miles). The internal combustion engine made buses more flexible than trams and consequently more popular, leading to the closure of the tram network in 1961.[237] From 1930 there were 612 buses across Sydney carrying 90 million passengers per annum.[240] Bus services today are conducted by the State Transit Authority of New South Wales throughout most of the city and by smaller private contractors in the western suburbs. State Transit operated a fleet of 2,169 buses and serviced over 203 million passengers during 2013.[241] Sydney's rail infrastructure achieved scale during the 1850s and 1860s with new lines to Parramatta, Campbelltown, Liverpool, Blacktown, Penrith, and Richmond.[237] Central Station opened for service in 1906 and is the main hub of the city's rail network.[242] Train services are today operated by Transport for New South Wales. It maintains 176 stations and 937 kilometres (582 miles) of track and provides 281 million journeys each year.[243] A large infrastructure project worth $1 billion and known as Clearways was completed in 2014 with the purpose of easing rail congestion.[244] The efficiency of Sydney's rail network has been criticised in comparison to other world cities.[245] Nonetheless, figures from 2014 show that 94.2% of trains arrived on time and 99.5% of services ran as scheduled.[246][247] A private 12.8-kilometre (8.0-mile) light rail network opened in 1997. It links the Inner West with Darling Harbour and carries 4.3 million passengers per annum.[248]

Central Station's main concourse
The ANZAC Bridge, spanning Johnstons Bay between Pyrmont and Glebe Island with the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background

The motor vehicle, more than any other factor, has determined the pattern of Sydney's urban development since World War II.[237] The growth of low density housing in the city's outer suburbs has made car ownership feasible for hundreds of thousands of households. The percentage of trips taken by car has increased from 13% in 1947 to 50% in 1960 and to 70% in 1971.[237] The most important roads in Sydney are the nine Metroads, including the 110-kilometre (68-mile) Sydney Orbital Network. There can be up to 350,000 cars using Sydney's roads simultaneously during rush hour, leading to significant traffic congestion.[237] 84.9% of Sydney households own a motor vehicle and 46.5% own two or more.[18] Of people in Sydney that travel to work, 58.4% use a car, 9.1% catch a train, 5.2% take a bus, and 4.1% walk.[18] In contrast, only 25.2% of working residents in the City of Sydney use a car, whilst 15.8% take a train, 13.3% use a bus, and 25.3% walk.[238] With a rate of 26.3%, Sydney has the highest utilisation of public transport for travel to work of any Australian capital city.[239]

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is an important piece of transport infrastructure, carrying trains, buses, other motor vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians


[236] in 1978 was the last major facility to open.Westmead Hospital [235] in 1895.Nepean Hospital and the [234] Healthcare gained recognition as a citizen's right in the early 1900s and Sydney's public hospitals came under the oversight of the

The first hospital in the new colony was a collection of tents at The Rocks. Many of the convicts that survived the trip from England continued to suffer from dysentry, smallpox, scurvy, and typhoid. Healthcare facilities remained hopelessly inadequate despite the arrival of a prefabricated hospital with the Second Fleet and the construction of brand new hospitals at Parramatta, Windsor, and Liverpool in the 1790s.[227] Governor Lachlan Macquarie arranged for the construction of Sydney Hospital and saw it completed in 1816.[227] Parts of the facility have been repurposed for use as Parliament House but the hospital itself still operates to this day. The city's first emergency department was established at Sydney Hospital in 1870. Demand for emergency medical care increased from 1895 with the introduction of an ambulance service.[227]


Sydney has public, denominational, and independent schools. 7.8% of Sydney residents are attending primary school and 6.4% are enrolled in secondary school.[222] There are 935 public preschool, primary, and secondary schools in Sydney that are administered by the New South Wales Department of Education.[225] 14 of the 17 selective secondary schools in New South Wales are based in Sydney.[226] Public vocational education and training in Sydney is run by TAFE New South Wales and began with the opening of the Sydney Technical College in 1878. It offered courses in areas such as mechanical drawing, applied mathematics, steam engines, simple surgery, and English grammar.[105] The College became the Sydney Institute in 1992 and now operates alongside its sister TAFE facilities the Northern Sydney Institute, the Western Sydney Institute, and the South Western Sydney Institute. 2.4% of Sydney residents are enrolled in a TAFE course.[222]

There are six public universities based in Sydney: the University of Sydney, the University of Technology, the University of New South Wales, Macquarie University, the University of Western Sydney, and the Australian Catholic University. Four public universities maintain secondary campuses in the city: the University of Notre Dame Australia, the University of Wollongong, Curtin University of Technology, and the University of Newcastle. 5.2% of residents of Sydney are attending a university.[222] The University of Sydney was established in 1850 and remains the oldest university in Australia.[223] It has been ranked third in Australia and as high as 37 in the world, in the top 0.3%.[224] The city's other universities were all founded after World War II. On the same scale the University of New South Wales ranked 48, Macquarie University ranked 254, and the University of Technology ranked 264.[224]

The University of Sydney is the oldest university in Australia

Education became a proper focus for the colony from the 1870s when public schools began to form and schooling became compulsory.[220] The population of Sydney is now highly educated. 90% of working age residents have completed some schooling and 57% have completed the highest level of school.[3] 1,390,703 people were enrolled in an educational institution in 2011 with 45.1% of these attending school and 16.5% studying at a university.[18] Undergraduate or postgraduate qualifications are held by 22.5% of working age Sydney residents and 40.2% of working age residents of the City of Sydney.[3][221] The most common fields of tertiary qualification are commerce (22.8%), engineering (13.4%), society and culture (10.8%), health (7.8%), and education (6.6%).[3]



[219] who has in the past been treated as a representative of the entire city.Lord Mayor The City of Sydney is led by an elected Council and [218] Established in 1842, the [216] It has tended to resist attempts to amalgamate Sydney's more populated local government areas as merged councils could pose a threat to its governmental power.[215] Public activities such as main roads, traffic control, public transport, policing, education, and major infrastructure projects are controlled by the New South Wales Government.

The highest court in the state is the Supreme Court of New South Wales which is located in Queen's Square in Sydney.[213] The city is also the home of numerous branches of the intermediate District Court of New South Wales and the lower Local Court of New South Wales.[214]

Sydney's local government areas

[212].Governors-General was completed in 1845 and has served as the home of 25 Governors and 5 Government House [211] The

are: New South Wales Division of Local Government. The 38 local government areas making up Sydney according to the New South Wales Government's boroughs. These local government areas have elected councils which are responsible for functions delegated to them by the London (also known as councils or shires) which are comparable in nature to local government areasSydney is divided into

Government in the present

The Constitution Act of 1855 gave New South Wales a bicameral government. The existing Legislative Council became the upper house and a new body called the Legislative Assembly was formed to be the lower house.[208] An Executive Council was introduced and constituted five members of the Legislative Assembly and the Governor.[209] It became responsible for advising the ruling Governor on matters related to the administration of the state. The colonial settlements elsewhere on the continent eventually seceded from New South Wales and formed their own governments. Tasmania separated in 1825, Victoria did so in 1850, and Queensland followed in 1859.[208] With the proclamation of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901 the status of local governments across Sydney was formalised and they became separate institutions from the state of New South Wales.[210]

New South Wales Parliament House

During early colonial times the presiding Governor and his military shared absolute control over the population.[33] This lack of democracy eventually became unacceptable for the colony's growing number of free settlers. The first indications of a proper legal system emerged with the passing of a Charter of Justice in 1814. It established three new courts, including the Supreme Court, and dictated that English law was to be followed.[206] In 1823 the British Parliament passed an act to create the Legislative Council in New South Wales and give the Supreme Court the right of review over new legislation.[207] From 1828 all of the common laws in force in England were to be applied in New South Wales wherever it was appropriate.[207] Another act from the British Parliament in 1842 provided for members of the Council to be elected for the first time.[207]

Historical governance


Each of Australia's three commercial television networks and two public broadcasters is headquartered in Sydney. Nine's offices are based in Willoughby,[199] Ten and Seven are based in Pyrmont,[199][200] the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is located in Ultimo,[201] and the Special Broadcasting Service is based in Artarmon.[202] Multiple digital channels have been provided by all five networks since 2000. Foxtel is based in North Ryde and sells subscription cable television to most parts of the urban area.[203] Sydney's first radio stations commenced broadcasting in the 1920s. Radio became a popular tool for politics, news, religion, and sport and has managed to survive despite the introduction of television and the Internet.[204] 2UE was founded in 1925 and under the ownership of Fairfax Media is the oldest station still broadcasting.[204] Competing stations include the more popular 2GB, 702 ABC Sydney, KIIS 106.5, Triple M, Nova 96.9, and 2Day FM.[205]

The Sydney Morning Herald is Australia's oldest newspaper still in print. Now a compact form paper owned by Fairfax Media, it has been published continuously since 1831.[196] Its competitor is the News Corporation tabloid The Daily Telegraph which has been in print since 1879.[197] Both papers have Sunday tabloid editions called The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Telegraph respectively. The Bulletin was founded in Sydney in 1880 and became Australia's longest running magazine. It closed after 128 years of continuous publication.[198]


The Royal Sydney Golf Club is based in Rose Bay and since its opening in 1893 has hosted the Australian Open on 13 occasions.[188] Royal Randwick Racecourse opened in 1833 and holds several major cups throughout the year.[195] Sydney benefitted from the construction of significant sporting infrastructure in preparation for its hosting of the 2000 Summer Olympics. Sydney Olympic Park accommodates athletics, aquatics, tennis, hockey, archery, baseball, cycling, equestrian, and rowing facilities. It also includes the high capacity Stadium Australia used for rugby, soccer, and Australian rules football. Sydney Football Stadium was completed in 1988 and is used for rugby and soccer matches. Sydney Cricket Ground was opened in 1878 and is used for both cricket and Australian rules football fixtures.[188]

Women were first allowed to participate in recreational swimming when separate baths were opened at Woolloomooloo Bay in the 1830s. From being illegal at the beginning of the century, sea bathing gained immense popularity during the early 1900s and the first surf lifesaving club was established at Bondi Beach.[188][189] City2Surf is an annual 14-kilometre (8.7-mile) run from the central business district to Bondi Beach and has been held since 1971. 80,000 participants ran in 2010 which made it the largest run of its kind in the world.[190] Sailing races have been held on Sydney Harbour since 1827.[191] Yachting has been popular amongst wealthier residents since the 1840s and the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron was founded in 1862. The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race is a 1,170-kilometre (727-mile) event that starts from Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day.[192] Since its inception in 1945 it has been recognised as one of the most difficult yacht races in the world.[193] Six sailors died and 71 vessels of the fleet of 115 failed to finish in the 1998 edition.[194]

Sailing on Sydney Harbour

Sydney FC and the Western Sydney Wanderers compete in the A-League soccer tournament and Sydney frequently hosts matches for the Australian national team, the Socceroos. The Sydney Swans and the Greater Western Sydney Giants are local clubs that play in the Australian Football League. The Sydney Kings compete in the National Basketball League. The Sydney Uni Flames play in the Women's National Basketball League. The Sydney Blue Sox contest the Australian Baseball League. The Waratahs are a member of the Australian Hockey League. The Sydney Bears and Sydney Ice Dogs play in the Australian Ice Hockey League. The Swifts are competitors in the national women's netball league.

Rugby was played from 1865 as sport in general gained more popularity and better organisation. One-tenth of the colony attended a Sydney Roosters, and Wests Tigers. New South Wales contests the annual State of Origin series against Queensland.

The 2006 NRL Grand Final in Sydney at Stadium Australia

Sydney's earliest migrants brought with them a passion for sport but were restricted by the lack of facilities and equipment. The first organised sports were boxing, wrestling, and horse racing from 1810 in Hyde Park.[188] Horse racing remains popular to this day and events such as the Golden Slipper Stakes attract widespread attention. The first cricket club was formed in 1826 and matches were played within Hyde Park throughout the 1830s and 1840s.[188] Cricket is a favoured sport in summer and big matches have been held at the Sydney Cricket Ground since 1878. The New South Wales Blues compete in the Sheffield Shield league and the Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder contest the national Big Bash Twenty20 competition.

Sport and outdoor activities

The indigenous people of Sydney held totemic beliefs known as "dreamings". Governor Lachlan Macquarie made an effort to found a culture of formal religion throughout the early settlement and ordered the construction of churches such as St Matthew's, St Luke's, St James's, and St Andrew's.[187] These and other religious institutions have contributed to the education and health of Sydney's residents over time. 28.3% identify themselves as Catholic, whilst 17.6% practice no religion, 16.1% are Anglican, 4.7% are Islamic, 4.2% are Eastern Orthodox, 4.1% are Buddhist, 2.6% are Hindu, and 0.9% are Jewish.[3][18] It has only been in the past two decades that barriers to immigration have fallen and migrants from the Middle East and Asia have established new Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim communities in Sydney. The number of Christians living in the city has been falling during this time, whilst most other religions have seen an increase in their patronage.[187]


. Darling Harbour is the city's only casino and is situated around The Star. The Rocks, and Circular Quay, Oxford Street, Kings Cross Popular nightspots are found at [132] The Spanish Quarter is based in Liverpool Street whilst Little Italy is located in Stanley Street.[186] Sydney is the host of several festivals throughout the year. The city's

Filmmaking in Sydney was quite prolific until the 1920s when spoken films were introduced and American productions gained dominance in Australian cinema.[182] Fox Studios Australia commenced production in Sydney in 1998. Successful films shot in Sydney since then include The Matrix, Mission: Impossible II, Moulin Rouge!, Australia, and The Great Gatsby. The National Institute of Dramatic Art is based in Sydney and has several famous alumni such as Mel Gibson, Judy Davis, Baz Luhrmann, and Cate Blanchett.[183]

The Sydney Opera House is the home of Opera Australia and Sydney Symphony. It has staged over 100,000 performances and received 100 million visitors since opening in 1973.[109] Two other important performance venues in Sydney are Town Hall and the City Recital Hall. The Sydney Conservatorium of Music is located adjacent to the Royal Botanic Gardens and serves the Australian music community through education and its biannual Australian Music Examinations Board exams.[181]

The Sydney Conservatorium of Music is one of the oldest and most prestigious music schools in Australia

Sydney's first commercial theatre opened in 1832 and nine more had commenced performances by the late 1920s. The live medium lost much of its popularity to cinema during the Great Depression before experiencing a revival after World War II.[180] Prominent theatres in the city today include State Theatre, Theatre Royal, Sydney Theatre, The Wharf Theatre, and Capitol Theatre. Sydney Theatre Company maintains a roster of local, classical, and international plays. It occasionally features Australian theatre icons such as David Williamson, Hugo Weaving, and Geoffrey Rush. The city's other prominent theatre companies are New Theatre, Belvoir, and Griffin Theatre Company.


The Museum of Contemporary Art was opened in 1991 and occupies an Art Deco building in Circular Quay. Its collection was founded in the 1940s by artist and art collector John Power and has been maintained by the University of Sydney.[178] Sydney's other significant art institution is the Art Gallery of New South Wales which coordinates the coveted Archibald Prize for portraiture.[179] Contemporary art galleries are found in Waterloo, Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Paddington, Chippendale, Newtown, and Woollahra.

The Australian Museum opened in Sydney in 1857 with the purpose of collecting and displaying the natural wealth of the colony.[172] It remains Australia's oldest natural history museum. In 1995 the Museum of Sydney opened on the site of the first Government House. It recounts the story of the city's development.[173] Other museums based in Sydney include the Powerhouse Museum and the Australian National Maritime Museum.[174][175] In 1866 then Queen Victoria gave her assent to the formation of the Royal Society of New South Wales. The Society exists "for the encouragement of studies and investigations in science, art, literature, and philosophy". It is based in a terrace house in Darlington owned by the University of Sydney.[176] The Sydney Observatory building was constructed in 1859 and used for astronomy and meteorology research until 1982 before being converted into a museum.[177]

The Art Gallery of New South Wales, located in The Domain, is the fourth largest public gallery in Australia

Science, art, and history


There were 54,746 people of indigenous heritage living in Sydney in 2011.[18] Most immigrants to Sydney between 1840 and 1930 were British, Irish, or Chinese. The strict application of the White Australia Policy from 1901 prevented the growth of other cultural minorities. Its relaxation in 1947 and abolishment in 1971 allowed the formation of Greek, Lebanese, Indian, Italian, Czech, Lithuanian, Polish, German, Sri Lankan, Filipino, Korean, and Fijian communities.[164] As of the 2011 census night there were 1,503,620 people living in Sydney that were born overseas, accounting for 42.5% of the population of the City of Sydney and 34.2% of the population of Sydney, the seventh greatest proportion of any city in the world.[3][170][171] Sydney's largest ancestry groups are English, Australian, Irish, Chinese, and Scottish.[18] Foreign countries of birth with the greatest representation are England, China, India, New Zealand, and Vietnam.[18]

The median age of Sydney residents is 36 and 12.9% of people are 65 or older.[18] The married population accounts for 49.7% of Sydney whilst 34.7% of people have never been married.[18] 48.9% of couples have children and 33.5% of couples do not.[18] 32.5% of people in Sydney speak a language other than English at home with Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and Greek the most widely spoken.[18][20]

The population of Sydney in 1788 was less than 1,000.[164] With convict transportation it tripled in ten years to 2,953.[165] For each decade since 1961 the population has increased by more than 250,000.[166] Sydney's population at the time of the 2011 census was 4,391,674.[18] It has been forecasted that the population will grow to between 8 and 8.5 million by 2061.[167] Despite this increase, the Australian Bureau of Statistics predicts that Melbourne will replace Sydney as Australia's most populous city by 2053.[168] The four most densely populated suburbs in Australia are located in Sydney with each having more than 13,000 residents per square kilometre (33,700 residents per square mile).[169]

Largest overseas born populations[163]
Country of birth Population (2011)
United Kingdom 155,065
China 146,853
India 86,767
New Zealand 77,297
Vietnam 69,405
Philippines 61,122
Lebanon 54,215
South Korea 39,694
Italy 39,155
Hong Kong 36,804


Sydney is the highest ranking city in the world for international students. More than 50,000 international students study at the city's universities and a further 50,000 study at its vocational and English language schools.[15][161] International education contributes $1.6 billion to the local economy and creates demand for 4,000 local jobs each year.[162]

Sydney has been ranked amongst the top fifteen cities in the world for tourism every year since 2000.[157][158] 26,700 workers in the City of Sydney were directly employed by tourism in 2011.[159] There were 480,000 visitors and 27,500 people staying overnight each day in 2012.[159] On average, the tourism industry contributes $36 million to the city's economy per day.[159] 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, Taronga Zoo, Bondi Beach, the Blue Mountains, and Sydney Olympic Park.[160]

Sydney hosted over 2.8 million international visitors in 2013 or nearly half of all international visits to Australia.[26] These visitors spent 59 million nights in the city and a total of $5.9 billion.[26] 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.[156] The city also received 8.3 million domestic overnight visitors in 2013 who spent a total of $6 billion.[156]

Tourists visiting the Sydney Opera House

Tourism and international education

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.[154] Its status has declined in more recent decades, making up 12.6% of employment in 2001 and 8.5% in 2011.[3][154] Between 1970 and 1985 there was a loss of 180,000 manufacturing jobs.[154] 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.[155] Observers have noted Sydney's focus on the domestic market and high-tech manufacturing as reasons for its resilience against the high Australian dollar of the early 2010s.[155]


The Financial and Insurance Services industry now constitutes 43% of the economic product of the City of Sydney.[22] Sydney makes up half of Australia's finance sector and has been promoted by consecutive Commonwealth Governments as Asia Pacific's leading financial centre.[24][25] Structured finance was pioneered in Sydney and the city is a leading hub for asset management firms.[151] 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.[22][148][152][153]

Macquarie gave a charter in 1817 to form the first bank in Australia, the Bank of New South Wales.[148] New private banks opened throughout the 1800s but the financial system was unstable. Bank collapses were a frequent occurrence and a crisis point was reached in 1893 when 12 banks failed.[148] The Bank of New South Wales exists to this day as Westpac.[149] The Commonwealth Bank of Australia was formed in Sydney in 1911 and began to issue notes backed by the resources of the nation. It was replaced in this role in 1959 by the Reserve Bank of Australia which is also based in Sydney.[148] The Australian Securities Exchange began operating in 1987 and with a market capitalisation of $1.6 trillion is now one of the ten largest exchanges in the world.[150]

Commonwealth Bank, Martin Place

Financial services

Home ownership in Sydney was less common that renting prior to World War II but this trend has since reversed.[119] Median house prices have increased by an average of 8.6% per annum since 1970.[145][146] The median house price in Sydney in March 2014 was $630,000.[147] The primary cause for rising prices is the increasing cost of land which made up 32% of house prices in 1977 compared to 60% in 2002.[119] 31.6% of dwellings in Sydney are rented, 30.4% are owned outright, and 34.8% are owned with a mortgage.[18] 11.8% of mortgagees in 2011 had monthly loan repayments of less than $1,000 and 82.9% had monthly repayments of $1,000 or more.[3] 44.9% of renters for the same period had weekly rent of less than $350 whilst 51.7% had weekly rent of $350 or more. The median weekly rent in Sydney is $450.[3]

Unemployment in the City of Sydney averaged 4.6% for the decade to 2013, much lower than the current rate of unemployment in Western Sydney of 7.3%.[23][144] Western Sydney continues to struggle to create jobs to meet its population growth despite the development of commercial centres like Parramatta. Each day about 200,000 commuters travel from Western Sydney to the central business district and suburbs in the east and north of the city.[144]

The labour force of Sydney in 2011 was 2,188,854 with a participation rate of 61.7%. It was made up of 62.1% full-time workers, 26.7% part-time workers, and 5.7% unemployed individuals.[18][142] The largest reported occupations are professionals, clerical and administrative workers, managers, technicians, trades workers, and sales workers.[18] The largest industries by employment across Sydney are Health Care and Social Assistance with 10.9%, Retail with 9.8%, Professional Services with 9.6%, Manufacturing with 8.5%, Education and Training with 7.6%, Construction with 7.1%, and Financial and Insurance Services with 6.6%.[3] The Professional Services and Financial and Insurance Services industries account for 26.9% of employment within the City of Sydney.[143] 62.8% of working age residents had a total weekly income of less than $1,000 and 29.1% had a total weekly income of $1,000 or more.[3] The median weekly income for the same period was $619 for individuals, $2,302 for families without children, and $2,537 for families with children.[18]

Sydney has been ranked between the fifteenth and the fifth most expensive city in the world and is the most expensive city in Australia.[138][139] To compensate, workers receive the seventh highest wage levels of any city in the world.[138] 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.[138][140] Working residents of Sydney work an average of 1,846 hours per annum with 15 days of leave.[138] Sydney is the location of 31 of the top 50 best places to work in Australia.[141]

Domestic economics

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.[135] 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.[136] 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.[137]

Corporate citizens

Researchers from Loughborough University have awarded Sydney status amongst the top ten world cities that are highly integrated into the global economy.[14] The Global Economic Power Index ranks Sydney number eleven in the world.[16] The Global Cities Index recognises it as number fourteen in the world based on global engagement.[15] The city has been ranked eleventh in the world for economic opportunity.[17] Sydney's gross regional product was $337.45 billion in 2013 with the City of Sydney responsible for $95.18 billion of this total.[21][23] The Financial and Insurance Services industry accounts for 18.1% of gross product and is ahead of Professional Services with 9% and Manufacturing with 7.2%. In addition to Financial Services and Tourism, the Creative and Technology sectors are focus industries for the City of Sydney and represented 9% and 11% of its economic output in 2012.[133][134]

Sydney's central business district, seen from the Balmain wharf at dusk

Wheat, gold, and other minerals became additional export industries towards the end of the 1800s.[132] Significant capital began to flow into the city from the 1870s to finance roads, railways, bridges, docks, courthouses, schools, and hospitals. Protectionist policies after federation allowed for the creation of a manufacturing industry which became the city's largest employer by the 1920s.[132] These same policies helped to relieve the effects of the Great Depression during which the unemployment rate in New South Wales reached as high as 32%.[132] From the 1960s onwards Parramatta gained recognition as the city's second central business district and finance and tourism became major industries and sources of employment.[132]

The prevailing economic theory in effect during early colonial days was mercantilism, as it was throughout most of Western Europe.[132] The economy struggled at first due to difficulties in cultivating the land and the lack of a stable monetary system. Governor Lachlan Macquarie solved the second problem by creating two coins from every Spanish silver dollar in circulation.[132] The economy was clearly capitalist in nature by the 1840s as the proportion of free settlers increased, the maritime and wool industries flourished, and the powers of the East India Company were curtailed.[132]


The area now known as The Domain was set aside by Governor Arthur Phillip in 1788 as his private reserve.[127] Under the orders of Macquarie the land to the immediate north of The Domain became the Royal Botanic Gardens in 1816. This makes them the oldest botanic garden in Australia.[127] The Gardens are not just a place for exploration and relaxation, but also for scientific research with herbarium collections, a library, and laboratories.[128] The two parks have a total area of 64 hectares (0.2 square miles) with 8,900 individual plant species and receive over 3.5 million annual visits.[129] To the south of The Domain is Hyde Park. It is the oldest public parkland in Australia and measures 16.2 hectares (0.1 square miles) in area.[130] Its location was used for both relaxation and the grazing of animals from the earliest days of the colony.[131] Macquarie dedicated it in 1810 for the "recreation and amusement of the inhabitants of the town" and named it in honour of the original Hyde Park in London.

Hyde Park in 1932

There are 15 separate parks under the administration of the City of Sydney.[123] Parks within the inner suburbs are Hyde Park, the Chinese Garden of Friendship, The Domain, and the Royal Botanic Gardens. The outer suburbs include Centennial Park and Moore Park in the east, Sydney Park and the Royal National Park in the south, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park in the north, and the Western Sydney Parklands in the west. The Royal National Park was proclaimed on 26 April 1879 and with 13,200 hectares (51 square miles) is the second oldest national park in the world (after Yellowstone).[124] The largest park in the Sydney metropolitan region is Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, established in 1894 with an area of 15,400 hectares (59 square miles).[125] It is regarded for its well-preserved records of indigenous habitation and more than 800 rock engravings, cave drawings, and middens have been located in the park.[126]

Parks and open spaces

A range of heritage housing styles can be found throughout Sydney. Terrace houses are found in the inner suburbs such as Paddington, The Rocks, and Balmain. Federation homes, generally a sign of prosperity, are seen in Penshurst, Turramurra, and Millers Point. Workers cottages are found in Surry Hills, Redfern, and Balmain. California bungalows are common in Ashfield, Concord, and Beecroft.[122]

There were 1.5 million dwellings in Sydney in 2006 including 940,000 detached houses and 180,000 semi-detached terrace houses.[119] Units or apartments make up 25.8% of Sydney's dwellings, more than the 12.8% which are semi-detached but less than the 60.9% which are separate houses.[18] Whilst terrace houses are common in the inner city areas it is detached houses that dominate the landscape in the outer suburbs. About 80% of all dwellings in Western Sydney are separate houses.[119] Due to environmental and economic pressures there has been a noted trend towards denser housing. There was a 30% increase in the number of apartments in Sydney between 1996 and 2006.[119] Public housing in Sydney is managed by the Government of New South Wales.[120] Suburbs with large concentrations of public housing include Claymore, Macquarie Fields, Waterloo, and Mount Druitt. The Government has announced plans to sell nearly 300 historic public housing properties in the harbourside neighbourhoods of Millers Point, Gloucester Street, and The Rocks.[121]

The residential areas of inner Sydney mostly contain Victorian-style terraces


Modern and International architecture came to Sydney from the 1940s. Since its completion in 1973 the city's Opera House has become a World Heritage Site and one of the world's most renowned pieces of Modern design. It was conceived by Jørn Utzon with contributions from Peter Hall, Lionel Todd, and David Littlemore. Utzon was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 2003 for his work on the Opera House.[109] Sydney's first tower was Culwulla Chambers on the corner of King Street and Castlereagh Street which topped out at 50 metres (160 feet). With the lifting of height restrictions in the 1960s there came a surge of high-rise construction.[74] Acclaimed architects such as Jean Nouvel, Harry Seidler, Richard Rogers, Renzo Piano, Norman Foster, and Frank Gehry have each made their own contribution to the city's skyline. Important buildings in the CBD include Citigroup Centre,[110] Aurora Place,[111] Chifley Tower,[112][113] the Reserve Bank building,[114] Deutsche Bank Place,[115] MLC Centre,[116] and Capita Centre.[117] The tallest structure is Sydney Tower, designed by Donald Crone and completed in 1981.[118] Regulations limit new buildings to a height of 235 metres (771 feet) due to the proximity of Sydney Airport.

The atrium of 1 Bligh Street, a contemporary example of Sydney's architecture

The Great Depression had a tangible influence on Sydney's architecture. New structures became more restrained with far less ornamentation than was common before the 1930s. The most notable architectural feat of this period is the Harbour Bridge. It steel arch was designed by John Jacob Crew Bradfield and completed in 1932. A total of 39,000 tonnes of structural steel span the 503 metres (1,650 feet) between Milsons Point and Dawes Point.[44][108]

[107] It was built on the site of the Sydney Central Markets and accommodates 200 shops across its three storeys.[106]

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