Sydney is the most populous city in Australia, with a metropolitan area population of approximately 4.28 million (2006 estimate). It is the state capital of New South Wales, and was the site of the first British colony in Australia. It was established in 1788 at Sydney Cove by Arthur Phillip, leader of the First Fleet from Britain. A resident of the city is referred to as a Sydneysider.
Sydney is situated on Australia's south-east coast. The city is built around Port Jackson, which includes Sydney Harbour, leading to the city's nickname, "the Harbour City". It is noted for the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, and its beaches. The metropolitan area is surrounded by national parks, and contains many bays, rivers and inlets. It is listed as a beta world city by the Loughborough University group's 1999 inventory. The city has hosted international sporting, political and cultural events, including the 1938 British Empire Games, 2000 Summer Olympics and the 2003 Rugby World Cup. In September 2007, the city hosted the leaders of the 21 APEC economies for APEC Australia 2007, and in July 2008 hosted World Youth Day 2008. The main airport serving Sydney is Sydney Airport.
Sydney is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, which reflects its role as a major destination for immigrants to Australia. According to the Mercer cost of living survey, Sydney is Australia’s most expensive city, and the 15th most expensive in the world.
Radiocarbon dating suggests that the Sydney region has been inhabited by indigenous Australians for at least 30,000 years. When the First Fleet arrived in 1788, 4000 to 8000 Aboriginal people lived in the region. The British called them "Eora", because being asked where they came from, these people would answer: "Eora", meaning in their language: "here", or "from this place". There were three language groups in the Sydney region, which were divided into dialects spoken by smaller clans. The principal languages were Darug (the Cadigal, original inhabitants of the City of Sydney, spoke a coastal dialect of Darug), Dharawal and Guringai. Each clan had a territory; the location of that territory determined the resources available. Although urbanization has destroyed most evidence of these settlements (such as shell middens), Sydney and its environs have rock drawings and carvings because of the nature of the rock, Hawkesbury sandstone.
In 1770, British sea captain Lieutenant James Cook landed in Botany Bay on the Kurnell Peninsula. It is here that James Cook made first contact with an Aboriginal tribe known as the Gweagal.. Under instruction from the British government, a convict settlement was founded by Arthur Phillip, who arrived at Botany Bay with a fleet of 11 ships on 20 January 1788. This site was soon found to be unsuitable for habitation, owing to poor soil and a lack of reliable fresh water. Phillip founded the colony, further up the coast, at Sydney Cove on Port Jackson on 26 January 1788. He named it after the British Home Secretary, Thomas Townshend, Lord Sydney, in recognition of Sydney's role in issuing the charter authorising Phillip to establish a colony. In April 1789 a disease, thought to be smallpox, killed an estimated 500 to 1000 Aboriginal people between Broken Bay and Botany Bays. There was violent resistance to British settlement, notably by the warrior Pemulwuy in the area around Botany Bay, and conflicts were common in the area surrounding the Hawkesbury River. By 1820 there were only a few hundred Aborigines and Governor Macquarie had begun initiatives to 'civilize, Christianize and educate' the Aborigines by removing them from their clans.
Macquarie's tenure as Governor of New South Wales was a period when Sydney was improved from its basic beginnings. Roads, bridges, wharves and public buildings were constructed by British and Irish convicts, and by 1822 the town had banks, markets, well-established thoroughfares and an organised constabulary. The 1830s and 1840s were periods of urban development, including the development of the first suburbs, as the town grew rapidly when ships began arriving from Britain and Ireland with immigrants looking to start a new life in a new country. On 20 July 1842 the municipal council of Sydney was incorporated and the town was declared the first city in Australia, with Charles H. Chambers the first mayor. The first of several gold rushes started in 1851, and the port of Sydney has since seen many waves of people arriving from around the world. Rapid suburban development began in the last quarter of the 19th century with the advent of steam powered tramways and railways. With industrialisation Sydney expanded rapidly, and by the early 20th century it had a population well in excess of one million. The Great Depression hit Sydney badly. One of the highlights of the Depression era, however, was the completion of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932.
A rivalry has traditionally existed between Sydney and Melbourne since the gold rushes of the 1850s grew the capital of Victoria into Australia's largest and richest city. Sydney overtook Melbourne in population in the early years of the 20th century, and has remained the largest city in Australia since this time. During the 1970s and 1980s Sydney's CBD with the Reserve Bank and Australian Stock Exchange clearly surpassed Melbourne as the nation's financial capital. Throughout the 20th century, especially in the decades immediately following World War II, Sydney continued to expand as large numbers of European and later Asian immigrants populated the metropolitan area. The culture brought about by immigrants was a major factor in the city's diverse and highly cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Geographically, Sydney lies over two regions: the Cumberland Plain, a relatively flat region lying to the south and west of the harbour, and the Hornsby Plateau, a sandstone plateau lying mainly to the north of the harbour and dissected by steep valleys. The parts of the city with the oldest European development are located in the flat areas south of the harbour. The North Shore was slower to develop because of its hilly topography and lack of access across the harbour. The Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened in 1932 and linked the North Shore to the rest of the city.
The city is not affected by cyclones. 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, notably in 1994 and 2001–02 — 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 in diameter and resulting in insurance losses of around AUD $1.7 billion in less than five hours. The city is also prone to flash flooding from enormous amounts of rain caused by East Coast Lows (a low pressure depression which deepens off the state usually in winter and early spring which can bring significant damage by heavy rain, cyclonic winds and huge swells). The most notable event was the great Sydney flood which occurred on 6 August 1986 and dumped a record on the city in 24 hours. This caused major traffic problems and damage in many parts of the metropolitan area.
The Bureau of Meteorology has reported that 2002 through 2005 were the warmest summers in Sydney since records began in 1859. 2004 had an average daily maximum temperature of 23.39 °C, 2005 - 23.35 °C, 2002 - 22.91 °C and 2003 - 22.65 °C. The average daily maximum between 1859 and 2004 was . For the first nine months of 2006 the mean temperature was ; the warmest year previously was 2004 with . Since November 2003, there have been only two months in which the average daily maximum was below average: March 2005 (about 1 °C below average) and June 2006 (0.7 °C below average).
The summer of 2007-08 proved to be one of the coolest on record. The Bureau of Meteorology reported that it was the coolest summer in 11 years, the wettest summer in six years, and one of only three summers in recorded history to lack a maximum temperature above .
|Mean daily maximum temperature (°C)||25.8||25.7||24.7||22.4||19.3||16.9||16.2||17.7||19.9||22.0||23.6||25.1||21.6|
|Mean daily minimum temperature (°C)||18.6||18.7||17.5||14.7||11.5||9.2||8.0||8.9||11.0||13.5||15.5||17.5||13.7|
|Mean total rainfall (mm)||103.3||117.4||131.2||127.2||123.3||128.1||98.1||81.5||68.7||76.9||83.1||78.1||1217.0|
|Mean number of rain days||12.1||12.3||13.3||12.0||12.0||11.4||10.3||9.9||10.3||11.5||11.4||11.5||138.0|
|Source: Bureau of Meteorology|
Sydney's central business district (CBD) extends southwards for about 3 kilometres (1.25 mi) from Sydney Cove to the area around Central station. The Sydney CBD is bounded on the east side by a chain of parkland, and the west by Darling Harbour, a tourist and nightlife precinct.
Although the CBD dominated the city's business and cultural life in the early days, other business/cultural districts have developed in a radial pattern since World War II. As a result, the proportion of white-collar jobs located in the CBD declined from more than 60 per cent at the end of World War II to less than 30 per cent in 2004. Together with the commercial district of North Sydney, joined to the CBD by the Harbour Bridge, the most significant outer business districts are Parramatta in the central-west, Penrith in the west, Bondi Junction in the east, Liverpool in the southwest, Chatswood to the north, and Hurstville to the south.
The extensive area covered by urban Sydney is formally divided into 642 suburbs (for addressing and postal purposes), and administered as 40 local government areas. There is no city-wide government, but the Government of New South Wales and its agencies have extensive responsibilities in providing metropolitan services. The City of Sydney itself covers a fairly small area comprising the central business district and its neighbouring inner-city suburbs. In addition, regional descriptions are used informally to conveniently describe larger sections of the urban area. These include Eastern Suburbs, Hills District, Inner West, Canterbury-Bankstown, Lower North Shore, Northern Beaches, Northern Suburbs, North Shore, St George, Southern Sydney, South-eastern Sydney, South-western Sydney, Sutherland Shire and Western Sydney. However, many suburbs are not conveniently covered by any of these categories.
The largest economic sectors in Sydney, as measured by the number of people employed, include property and business services, retail, manufacturing, and health and community services. Since the 1980s, jobs have moved from manufacturing to the services and information sectors. Sydney provides approximately 25 percent of the country's total GDP. The Australian Securities Exchange and the Reserve Bank of Australia are located in Sydney, as are the headquarters of 90 banks and more than half of Australia's top companies, and the regional headquarters for around 500 multinational corporations. Of the ten largest corporations in Australia (based on revenue), four have headquarters in Sydney (Caltex Australia, the Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, and Woolworths). Fox Studios Australia has large movie studios in the city. The Sydney Futures Exchange (SFE) is one of the Asia Pacific's largest financial futures and options exchanges, with 64.3 million contracts traded during 2005. It is the 12th largest futures market in the world and the 19th largest including options.
The city has the highest median household income of any major city in Australia (US$42,559 PPP). As of 2004, the unemployment rate in Sydney was 4.9 percent. According to The Economist Intelligence Unit's Worldwide cost of living survey, Sydney is the sixteenth most expensive city in the world, while a UBS survey ranks Sydney as 18th in the world in terms of net earnings. As of 20 September 2007, Sydney has the highest median house price of any Australian capital city at $559,000. Sydney also has the highest median rent prices of any Australian city at $450 a week. A report published by the OECD in November 2005, shows that Australia has the Western World's highest housing prices when measured against rental yields. Sydney has been classified as a "Beta" global city by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network.
Shopping locations in the central business district include the Queen Victoria Building, the pedestrian mall on Pitt Street, and international luxury boutiques in the quieter, northern end of Castlereagh St. Oxford Street in Paddington and Crown Street, Woollahra are home to boutiques selling more niche products, and the main streets of Newtown and Enmore cater more towards students and alternative lifestyles. Many of the large regional centres around the metropolitan area also contain large shopping complexes, such as Parramatta in Western Sydney, Bondi Junction in the Eastern Suburbs and Chatswood on the North Shore, most of which are Westfield brand shopping centres.
Sydney received 7.8 million domestic visitors and 2.5 million international visitors in 2004.
|Significant overseas born populations|
|Country of Birth||Population (2006)|
|People's Republic of China||109,143|
|Republic of Ireland||14,063|
In the 2006 census, the most common self-described ancestries identified for Sydney residents were Australian, English, Irish, Scottish and Chinese. The Census also recorded that two per cent of Sydney's population identified as being of indigenous origin and 31.7 per cent were born overseas. The three major sources of immigrants are the United Kingdom, China and New Zealand. Significant numbers of immigrants also came from Vietnam, Lebanon, Italy, India and the Philippines. Most Sydneysiders are native speakers of English; many have a second language, the most common being Arabic (predominately Lebanese), Chinese languages (mostly Mandarin or Cantonese), and Italian. Sydney has the seventh largest percentage of a foreign born population in the world, ahead of cities such as the highly multicultural London and Paris.
The median age of a Sydney resident is 34, with 12 per cent of the population over 65 years. 15.2 per cent of Sydney residents have educational attainment equal to at least a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the national average of 19 per cent.
In the 2006 census, 64 per cent of the Sydney residents identified as Christians, 14.1 per cent had no religion, 10.4 per cent left the question blank, 3.9 per cent were Muslims, 3.7 per cent were Buddhists, 1.7 per cent were Hindus and 0.9 per cent were Jews.
Sydney has a wide variety of cultural institutions. Sydney's iconic Opera House has five theatres capable of hosting a range of performance styles; it is the home of Opera Australia—the third busiest opera company in the world, and the Sydney Symphony. Other venues include the Sydney Town Hall, City Recital Hall, the State Theatre, the Royal Theatre, and the Wharf Theatre.
The Sydney Dance Company under the leadership of Graeme Murphy during the late 20th century has also gained acclaim. The Sydney Theatre Company has a regular roster of local plays, such as noted playwright David Williamson, classics and international playwrights.
In 2007, New Theatre (Newtown) celebrated 75 years of continuous production in Sydney. Other important theatre companies in Sydney include Company B and Griffin Theatre Company. From the 1940s through to the 1970s the Sydney Push, a group of authors and political activists whose members included Germaine Greer, influenced the city's cultural life.
The National Institute of Dramatic Art, based in Kensington, boasts internationally famous alumni such as Mel Gibson, Judy Davis, Baz Luhrmann and Cate Blanchett. Sydney's role in the film industry has increased since the opening of Fox Studios Australia in 1998. Prominent films which have been filmed in the city include Moulin Rouge!, Mission Impossible II, Star Wars episodes II and III, Superman Returns, Dark City, Son of the Mask, Stealth, Dil Chahta Hai, Happy Feet and The Matrix. Films using Sydney as a setting include Finding Nemo, Strictly Ballroom, Mission Impossible II, Muriel's Wedding, Our Lips Are Sealed, Independence Day and Dirty Deeds. Many Bollywood movies have also been filmed in Sydney including Singh Is Kinng, Bachna Ae Haseeno, Chak De India, Heyy Babyy. As of 2006, over 229 films have been set in, or featured Sydney.
Sydney's most popular nightspots include Kings Cross, Oxford Street, Darling Harbour, Circular Quay and The Rocks which all contain various bars, nightclubs and restaurants. Star City Casino, is Sydney's only casino and is situated around Darling Harbour. There are also many traditional pubs, cafes and restaurants in inner city areas such as Newtown, Balmain and Leichhardt. Sydney's main live music hubs include areas such as Newtown and Annandale, which nurtured acts such as AC/DC, Midnight Oil and INXS. Other popular nightspots tend to be spread throughout the city in areas such as Bondi, Manly, Cronulla and Parramatta.
Sydney has several popular museums. The biggest are the Australian Museum (natural history and anthropology), the Powerhouse Museum (science, technology and design), the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Australian National Maritime Museum.
Sport in Sydney is an important part of the culture. The area is well endowed with open spaces and access to waterways, and has many natural areas even within the city centre. Within the Sydney central business district are the Chinese Garden of Friendship, Hyde Park, The Domain and the Royal Botanic Gardens. The metropolitan area contains several national parks, including the Royal National Park, the second oldest national park in the world and several parks in Sydney's far west which are part of the World Heritage listed Greater Blue Mountains Area.
The most popular sport in Sydney is Rugby League. The sport was brought from England to Sydney before expanding to the rest of Australia. The city is home to nine of the sixteen teams in the National Rugby League domestic competition. These are Canterbury Bulldogs, Cronulla Sharks, Manly Sea Eagles, Penrith Panthers, Parramatta Eels, South Sydney Rabbitohs, St George Illawarra Dragons, Sydney Roosters and Wests Tigers. Despite the final of the 2008 Rugby League World Cup being held in Brisbane, Sydney will host eight World Cup games including one of the Semi-Finals.
Sydney is home to the Australian Football League's Sydney Swans and the A-League's Sydney FC. The city is represented by one team called the Sydney Spirit in the National Basketball League, netball's New South Wales Swifts and is the base for New South Wales teams in the Super 14 (NSW Waratahs) and Sheffield Shield (Blues) competitions. Large sporting events, such as the NRL Grand Final, are regularly held at the ANZ Stadium, the main stadium for the 2000 Summer Olympics. Other events in Sydney include the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, the Golden Slipper horse race, and the City to Surf foot race. Sydney is also home to one of Australia's premier motorsport venues, Eastern Creek International Raceway.
The four commercial television networks (Seven, Nine, Ten) and TVS, as well as the government national broadcast services (ABC and SBS) each have a presence in Sydney. Historically, the networks have been based in the northern suburbs, but the last decade has seen several move to the inner city. Nine has kept its headquarters north of the harbour, in Willoughby. Ten has its studios in a redeveloped section of the inner-city suburb of Pyrmont, and Seven also has headquarters in Pyrmont, production studios at Epping as well as a purpose-built news studio in Martin Place in the CBD. The ABC has a large headquarters and production facility in the inner-city suburb of Ultimo and SBS has its studios at Artarmon. Foxtel and Optus both supply pay-TV over their cable services to most parts of the urban area. The five free-to-air networks have provided digital television transmissions in Sydney since January 2000. Additional services recently introduced include the ABC's second channel ABC2 (Channel 22), SBS's world news service SBS2 (Channel 33), an on-air program guide (Channel 4), a news, sport, and weather items channel (Channel 41), ChannelNSW: Government and Public Information (Channel 45), Australian Christian Channel (Channel 46), MacquarieBank TV (Channel 47), SportsTAB (Channel 48), Expo Home Shopping (Channel 49), and Federal parliamentary broadcasts (Channel 401 to 408).
Many AM and FM government, commercial and community radio services broadcast in the Sydney area. The local ABC radio station is 702 ABC Sydney (formerly 2BL). The talkback radio genre is dominated by the perennial rivals 2GB and 2UE. Popular music stations include Triple M, 2Day FM and Nova 96.9, which generally targets people under 40. In the older end of the music radio market, Vega and MIX 106.5 target the 25 to 54 age group, while WS-FM targets the 40 to 54 age group with their Classic Hits format mostly focusing on the 70s & 80s. Triple J (national), 2SER and FBi Radio provide a more independent, local and alternative sound. There are also a number of community stations broadcasting to a particular language group or local area.
Certain areas in Sydney are also being used for tests of digital radio broadcasting, which the government plans to roll out in the future to replace the existing analogue AM and FM networks in much the same way as they are doing with analogue and digital television at present.
Apart from the limited role of the Cumberland County Council from 1945–1964, there has never been an overall governing body for the Sydney metropolitan area; instead, the metropolitan area is divided into local government areas (LGAs). These areas have elected councils which are responsible for functions delegated to them by the New South Wales State Government, such as planning and garbage collection.
The City of Sydney includes the central business area and some adjoining inner suburbs, and has in recent years been expanded through amalgamation with adjoining local government areas, such as South Sydney. It is led by the elected Lord Mayor of Sydney and a council. The Lord Mayor, however, is sometimes treated as a representative of the whole city, for example during the Olympics.
Most citywide government activities are controlled by the state government. These include public transport, main roads, traffic control, policing, education above preschool level, and planning of major infrastructure projects. Because a large proportion of New South Wales' population lives in Sydney, state governments have traditionally been reluctant to allow the development of citywide governmental bodies, which would tend to rival the state government. For this reason, Sydney has always been a focus for the politics of both State and Federal Parliaments. For example, the boundaries of the City of Sydney LGA have been significantly altered by state governments on at least four occasions since 1945, with expected advantageous effect to the governing party in the New South Wales Parliament at the time.
The 38 LGAs commonly described as making up Sydney are:
Different organisations have varying definitions of which councils make up Sydney. The Local Government Association of New South Wales considers all LGAs lying entirely in Cumberland County as part of its 'Metro' group, which excludes Camden (classed in its 'Country' group). The Australian Bureau of Statistics defines a Sydney Statistical Division (the population figures of which are used in this article) that includes all of the above councils as well as Wollondilly, the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury, Gosford and Wyong.
Sydney is home to some of Australia's most prominent universities, and is the site of Australia's first university, the University of Sydney, established in 1850. There are five other public universities operating primarily in Sydney: the Australian Catholic University (two out of six campuses), Macquarie University, University of New South Wales, the University of Technology, Sydney and the University of Western Sydney. Other universities which operate secondary campuses in Sydney include the University of Notre Dame Australia and the University of Wollongong.
There are four multi-campus government-funded Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes in Sydney, which provide vocational training at a tertiary level: the Sydney Institute of Technology, Northern Sydney Institute of TAFE, Western Sydney Institute of TAFE and South Western Sydney Institute of TAFE.
Sydney has public, denominational and independent schools. Public schools, including pre-schools, primary and secondary schools, and special schools are administered by the New South Wales Department of Education and Training. There are four state-administered education areas in Sydney, that together co-ordinate 919 schools. Of the 30 selective high schools in the state, 25 are in Sydney.
Most Sydney residents travel by car through the system of roads, and motorways. The most important trunk routes in the urban area form the nine Metroad systems, which includes the Sydney Orbital Network. Sydney is also served by extensive train, taxi, bus and ferry networks.
Sydney trains are run by CityRail, a corporation of the New South Wales State Government. Trains run as suburban commuter rail services in the outer suburbs, then converge in an underground city loop service in the central business district. In the years following the 2000 Olympics, CityRail's performance declined significantly. In 2005, CityRail introduced a revised timetable and employed more drivers. A large infrastructure project, the Clearways project, is scheduled to be completed by 2010. In 2007 a report found Cityrail performed poorly compared to many metro services from other world cities.
Sydney has one privately operated light rail line, the Metro Light Rail, running from Central Station to Lilyfield along a former goods train line. There is also a small monorail which runs in a loop around the main shopping district and Darling Harbour. Sydney was once served by an extensive tram network, which was progressively closed in the 1950s and 1960s. Most parts of the metropolitan area are served by buses, many of which follow the pre-1961 tram routes. In the city and inner suburbs the state-owned Sydney Buses has a monopoly. In the outer suburbs, service is contracted to many private bus companies. Construction of a network of rapid bus transitways in areas not previously well served by public transport began in 1999, and the first of these, the Liverpool-Parramatta Rapid Bus Transitway opened in February 2003. Sydney Ferries, another State government-owned organisation, runs numerous commuter and tourist ferry services on Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River.
Sydney Airport, located in the suburb of Mascot, is Sydney's main airport, and is one of the oldest continually operated airports in the world . The smaller Bankstown Airport mainly serves private and general aviation. There are light aviation airfields at Hoxton Park and Camden. RAAF Base Richmond lies to the north-west of the city. The question of the need for a Second Sydney Airport has raised much controversy. A 2003 study found that Sydney Airport can manage as Sydney's sole international airport for 20 years with a significant increase in airport traffic predicted. The resulting expansion of the airport would have a substantial impact on the community, including additional aircraft noise affecting residents. Land has been acquired at Badgerys Creek for a second airport, the site acting as a focal point of political argument.
Three companies supply natural gas and electricity to Sydney: Energy Australia, AGL and Integral Energy. Numerous telecommunications companies operate in Sydney providing terrestrial and mobile telecommunications services.