This is about Sydney in Australia. See also Sydney, Nova Scotia. There are also several places spelled Sidney, including Sidney, British Columbia.

Sydney ['sidni:] is the capital city of the state of New South Wales in Australia, and Australia's largest and oldest city. With a population of approximately 4 million, it is the financial and trade centre of Australia. It is also a significant tourist destination and is regularly declared to be one of the most beautiful and livable cities in the world. Sydney hosted the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Sydney is located between the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Blue Mountains to the west. Sydney features the largest natural harbour in the world, and also enjoys over 70 beaches, including the famous Bondi Beach. Greater Sydney has the world's largest suburban area. It is almost twice the size of Beijing, and six times the size of Rome or Greater London. A number of national parks are contained within the city's boundaries.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Landmarks
3 Events
4 Further reading


The area surrounding Sydney Harbour was home to Aboriginal tribes since 40,000 years ago or more. Although urbanisation has destroyed most evidence of these settlements, there are still rock carvings in several locations. European interest arose with the sighting of Botany Bay (now a southern suburb of Sydney) in 1770 by Captain James Cook. Under instruction from the British government, a convict settlement was founded by Arthur Phillip in 1788. (See First Fleet). Phillip originally landed at Botany Bay, but found it unsatisfactory. After a brief sail north, Phillip landed at Sydney Cove on Port Jackson (the proper name for Sydney Harbour).

Phillip originally named the colony "New Albion", but for some uncertain reason the colony acquired the name "Sydney", after the (then) British Home Secretary, Thomas Townshend, Lord Sydney (Viscount Sydney from 1789). This is possibly due to the fact that Lord Sydney issued the charter authorising Phillip to establish a colony. Prisoners were quickly set to work to build the settlement and by 1822 the town had banks, markets, well-established thoroughfares and an organised constabulary; by 1847 convicts accounted for only 3.2 percent of the population. Each week ships would arrive from Europe with Irish, English, and European immigrants looking to start a new life in a new country. The first of several gold rushes was in 1851, since which time the port of Sydney has seen many waves of people from around the world. With industrialisation Sydney expanded rapidly, and by the early 20th century it had a population well in excess of one million. Throughout the 20th century Sydney continued to expand with various new waves of European and (later) Asian immigration, resulting in its highly cosmopolitan atmosphere of the present day.

Although Sydney does not suffer from cyclones, and the earthquake risk is considered very low, some areas of Sydney have experienced bushfires (forest fires), including ones in 1994 and 2002. The city is also subject to infrequent severe hail storms and wind storms(maybe every 5 to 10 years). The city has also faced occasional water shortages due to drought conditions in the general region.

Historical population

1800: 2,540 inhabitants
1820: 12,000
1851: 39,000
1871: 206,800
1901: 487,900
1925: 1,039,000 2003: 4 Million 2050: 6 Million (projected)


A view of Sydney Harbour, with the Sydney Opera House on the left, the central business district in the image centre and Sydney Harbour Bridge on the right.

The city's most famous landmarks are the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the Sydney Opera House, both of which are located on Sydney Harbour. Sydney's principal river is the Parramatta River, which enters Sydney Harbour from the west. While the Harbour is famous for its racing yachts, the Boxing Day start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race and 18ft skiffs, the river is used for dinghy sailing and rowing as well as recreational boating, racing small yachts, recreational fishing, and occasional Dragon Boat racing. Another famous landmark is the Centrepoint Tower (also known as Sydney Tower or the AMP Tower) which is the second tallest free standing tower in the Southern Hemisphere. Darling Harbour is also a popular tourist attraction. Sydney also has an interesting subway system (see also CityRail), one of only two in the country (Melbourne has the other). The Sydney Cricket Ground, which retains several beautiful 1920s-era grandstands, hosts several international cricket matches and the Sydney Swans football team. Sydney is also known for the annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Sydney is the home of the Australian Stock Exchange. It also has 6 universities: the University of Sydney, the University of New South Wales, Macquarie University, the University of Technology, Sydney, the University of Western Sydney, and one of the campuses of the Australian Catholic University.

The suburb of Mascot is home to Kingsford Smith International Airport.

Tourist Attractions

Sydney is noted for its tourist attractions, including:

Regions of Sydney

  • Northern Beaches
  • North Shore
  • Inner West
  • Eastern Suburbs

Suburbs of Sydney

Here is a list of the suburbs of Sydney with their own articles. For a complete listing of suburbs in Sydney, see
Suburbs of Sydney.

Sydney Localities


Further reading

See also: List of cities in Australia