Sydney

Coordinates: 33°52′04″S 151°12′36″E / 33.86778°S 151.21000°E / -33.86778; 151.21000
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Sydney
Federal division(s)
Various (24)
Mean max temp[4] Mean min temp[4] Annual rainfall[4]
22.8 °C
73 °F
14.7 °C
58 °F
1,149.7 mm
45.3 in

Sydney is the capital city of the

Sydney Harbour and extends about 80 km (50 mi) from the Pacific Ocean in the east to the Blue Mountains in the west, and about 80 km (50 mi) from the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and the Hawkesbury River in the north and north-west, to the Royal National Park and Macarthur in the south and south-west.[5] Greater Sydney consists of 658 suburbs, spread across 33 local government areas. Residents of the city are colloquially known as "Sydneysiders".[6] The estimated population in June 2023 was 5,450,496,[1] which is about 66% of the state's population.[7] The city's nicknames include the "Emerald City" and the "Harbour City".[8]

Aboriginal Australians have inhabited the Greater Sydney region for at least 30,000 years, and their engravings and cultural sites are common. The traditional custodians of the land on which modern Sydney stands are the clans of the Darug, Dharawal and Eora peoples.[9] During his first Pacific voyage in 1770, James Cook charted the eastern coast of Australia, making landfall at Botany Bay. In 1788, the First Fleet of convicts, led by Arthur Phillip, founded Sydney as a British penal colony, the first European settlement in Australia.[10] After World War II, Sydney experienced mass migration and by 2021 over 40 per cent of the population was born overseas. Foreign countries of birth with the greatest representation are mainland China, India, the United Kingdom, Vietnam and the Philippines.[11]

Despite being one of the most expensive cities in the world,

most liveable cities.[14][15][16] It is classified as an Alpha city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, indicating its influence in the region and throughout the world.[17][18] Ranked eleventh in the world for economic opportunity,[19] Sydney has an advanced market economy with strengths in education, finance, manufacturing and tourism.[20][21] The University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales are ranked equal 19th in the world.[22]

Sydney has hosted major international sporting events such as the

nature reserves and parks,[25] and its notable natural features include Sydney Harbour and Royal National Park. The Sydney Harbour Bridge and the World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House are major tourist attractions. Central Station is the hub of Sydney's suburban rail and light rail networks, with metro platforms under construction. The main passenger airport serving the city is Kingsford Smith Airport, one of the world's oldest continually operating airports.[26]

Toponymy

In 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip, the first governor of New South Wales, named the cove where the first British settlement was established Sydney Cove after Home Secretary Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney.[27] The cove was called Warrane by the Aboriginal inhabitants.[28] Phillip considered naming the settlement Albion, but this name was never officially used.[27] By 1790 Phillip and other officials were regularly calling the township Sydney.[29] Sydney was declared a city in 1842.[30]

The

Gadigal (Cadigal) clan, whose territory stretches along the southern shore of Port Jackson from South Head to Darling Harbour, are the traditional owners of the land on which the British settlement was initially established, and call their territory Gadi (Cadi). Aboriginal clan names within the Sydney region were often formed by adding the suffix "-gal" to a word denoting the name for their territory, a specific place in their territory, a food source, or totem. Greater Sydney covers the traditional lands of 28 known Aboriginal clans.[31]

History

First inhabitants of the region

Charcoal drawing of kangaroos in Heathcote National Park

The first people to inhabit the area now known as Sydney were Aboriginal Australians who had migrated from southeast Asia via northern Australia.[32] Flaked pebbles found in Western Sydney's gravel sediments might indicate human occupation from 45,000 to 50,000 years ago,[33] while radiocarbon dating has shown evidence of human activity in the region from around 30,000 years ago.[34] Prior to the arrival of the British, there were 4,000 to 8,000 Aboriginal people in the greater Sydney region.[35][9]

The inhabitants subsisted on fishing, hunting, and gathering plants and shellfish. The diet of the coastal clans was more reliant on seafood whereas hinterland clans ate more forest animals and plants. The clans had distinctive equipment and weapons mostly made of stone, wood, plant materials, bone and shell. They also differed in their body decorations, hairstyles, songs and dances. Aboriginal clans had a rich ceremonial life, part of a belief system centring on ancestral, totemic and supernatural beings. People from different clans and language groups came together to participate in initiation and other ceremonies. These occasions fostered trade, marriages and clan alliances.[36]

The earliest British settlers recorded the word 'Eora' as an Aboriginal term meaning either 'people' or 'from this place'.[37][9] The clans of the Sydney area occupied land with traditional boundaries. There is debate, however, about which group or nation these clans belonged to, and the extent of differences in language and rites. The major groups were the coastal Eora people, the Dharug (Darug) occupying the inland area from Parramatta to the Blue Mountains, and the Dharawal people south of Botany Bay.[9] Darginung and Gundungurra languages were spoken on the fringes of the Sydney area.[38]

Aboriginal clans of Sydney area, as recorded by early British settlers
Clan Territory name Location
Bediagal Not recorded Probably north-west of Parramatta
Birrabirragal Birrabirra Lower Sydney Harbour around Sow and Pigs reef
Boolbainora Boolbainmatta Parramatta area
Borogegal Booragy Probably Bradleys Head and surrounding area
Boromedegal Not recorded Parramatta
Buruberongal Not recorded North-west of Parramatta
Darramurragal Not recorded Turramarra area
Gadigal Cadi (Gadi) South side of Port Jackson, from South Head to Darling Harbour
Gahbrogal Not recorded Liverpool and Cabramatta area
Gamaragal Cammeray North shore of Port Jackson
Gameygal Kamay Botany Bay
Gannemegal Warmul Parramatta area
Garigal Not recorded Broken Bay area
Gayamaygal Kayeemy Manly Cove
Gweagal Gwea Southern shore of Botany Bay
Wallumedegal Wallumede North shore of Port Jackson, opposite Sydney Cove
Wangal Wann South side of Port Jackson, from Darling Harbour to Rose Hill
Clans of the Sydney region whose territory wasn't reliably recorded are: the Domaragal, Doogagal, Gannalgal,
Gomerigal, Gooneeowlgal, Goorunggurregal, Gorualgal, Murrooredial, Noronggerragal, Oryangsoora and Wandeandegal.
Note: The names and territory boundaries do not always correspond with those used by contemporary Aboriginal groups of the greater Sydney area.[38][39][40]

The first meeting between Aboriginals and British explorers occurred on 29 April 1770 when Lieutenant James Cook landed at Botany Bay (Kamay[41]) and encountered the Gweagal clan.[42] Two Gweagal men opposed the landing party and one was shot and wounded.[43][44] Cook and his crew stayed at Botany Bay for a week, collecting water, timber, fodder and botanical specimens and exploring the surrounding area. Cook sought to establish relations with the Aboriginal population without success.[45]

Convict town (1788–1840)

The Founding of Australia, 26 January 1788, by Captain Arthur Phillip R.N., Sydney Cove. Painting by Algernon Talmage.

Britain had been sending convicts to its American colonies for most of the eighteenth century, and the loss of these colonies in 1783 was the impetus to establish a penal colony at Botany Bay. Proponents of colonisation also pointed to the strategic importance of a new base in the Asia-Pacific region and its potential to provide much-needed timber and flax for the navy.[46]

The First Fleet of 11 ships under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip arrived in Botany Bay in January 1788. It comprised more than a thousand settlers, including 736 convicts.[47] The fleet soon moved to the more suitable Port Jackson where a settlement was established at Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788.[48] The colony of New South Wales was formally proclaimed by Governor Phillip on 7 February 1788. Sydney Cove offered a fresh water supply and a safe harbour, which Philip described as "the finest Harbour in the World ... Here a Thousand Sail of the Line may ride in the most perfect Security".[49]

The settlement was planned to be a self-sufficient penal colony based on subsistence agriculture. Trade and shipbuilding were banned in order to keep the convicts isolated. However, the soil around the settlement proved poor and the first crops failed, leading to several years of hunger and strict rationing. The food crisis was relieved with the arrival of the Second Fleet in mid-1790 and the Third Fleet in 1791.[50] Former convicts received small grants of land, and government and private farms spread to the more fertile lands around Parramatta, Windsor and Camden on the Cumberland Plain. By 1804, the colony was self-sufficient in food.[51]

A smallpox epidemic in April 1789 killed about half the region's Indigenous population.[9][52] In November 1790 Bennelong led a group of survivors of the Sydney clans into the settlement, establishing a continuous presence of Aboriginal Australians in settled Sydney.[53]

Phillip had been given no instructions for urban development, but in July 1788 submitted a plan for the new town at Sydney Cove. It included a wide central avenue, a permanent Government House, law courts, hospital and other public buildings, but no provision for warehouses, shops, or other commercial buildings. Phillip promptly ignored his own plan, and unplanned development became a feature of Sydney's topography.[54][55]

Thomas Watling's View of Sydney Cove, c. 1794–1796

After Phillip's departure in December 1792, the colony's military officers began acquiring land and importing consumer goods from visiting ships. Former convicts engaged in trade and opened small businesses. Soldiers and former convicts built houses on Crown land, with or without official permission, in what was now commonly called Sydney town. Governor William Bligh (1806–08) imposed restrictions on commerce and ordered the demolition of buildings erected on Crown land, including some owned by past and serving military officers. The resulting conflict culminated in the Rum Rebellion of 1808, in which Bligh was deposed by the New South Wales Corps.[56]

Governor Lachlan Macquarie (1810–1821) played a leading role in the development of Sydney and New South Wales, establishing a bank, a currency and a hospital. He employed a planner to design the street layout of Sydney and commissioned the construction of roads, wharves, churches, and public buildings. Parramatta Road, linking Sydney and Parramatta, was opened in 1811,[57] and a road across the Blue Mountains was completed in 1815, opening the way for large-scale farming and grazing west of the Great Dividing Range.[58][59]

Following the departure of Macquarie, official policy encouraged the emigration of free British settlers to New South Wales. Immigration to the colony increased from 900 free settlers in 1826–30 to 29,000 in 1836–40, many of whom settled in Sydney.[60][61] By the 1840s Sydney exhibited a geographic divide between poor and working-class residents living west of the Tank Stream in areas such as The Rocks, and the more affluent residents living to its east.[61] Free settlers, free-born residents and former convicts now represented the vast majority of the population of Sydney, leading to increasing public agitation for responsible government and an end to transportation. Transportation to New South Wales ceased in 1840.[62]

The Castle Hill convict rebellion of 1804

Conflict on the Cumberland Plain

In 1804, Irish convicts led around 300 rebels in the Castle Hill Rebellion, an attempt to march on Sydney, commandeer a ship, and sail to freedom.[63] Poorly armed, and with their leader Philip Cunningham captured, the main body of insurgents were routed by about 100 troops and volunteers at Rouse Hill. At least 39 convicts were killed in the uprising and subsequent executions.[64][65]

As the colony spread to the more fertile lands around the

Darug people intensified, reaching a peak from 1794 to 1810. Bands of Darug people, led by Pemulwuy and later by his son Tedbury, burned crops, killed livestock and raided settler stores in a pattern of resistance that was to be repeated as the colonial frontier expanded. A military garrison was established on the Hawkesbury in 1795. The death toll from 1794 to 1800 was 26 settlers and up to 200 Darug.[66][67]

Conflict again erupted from 1814 to 1816 with the expansion of the colony into Dharawal country in the Nepean region south-west of Sydney. Following the deaths of several settlers, Governor Macquarie dispatched three military detachments into Dharawal lands, culminating in the

Appin massacre (April 1816) in which at least 14 Aboriginal people were killed.[68][69]

Colonial city (1841–1900)

The New South Wales Legislative Council became a semi-elected body in 1842. Sydney was declared a city the same year, and a governing council established, elected on a restrictive property franchise.[62]

Aerial illustration of Sydney, 1888

The discovery of gold in New South Wales and Victoria in 1851 initially caused economic disruption as men moved to the goldfields. Melbourne soon overtook Sydney as Australia's largest city, leading to an enduring rivalry between the two. However, increased immigration from overseas and wealth from gold exports increased demand for housing, consumer goods, services and urban amenities.[70] The New South Wales government also stimulated growth by investing heavily in railways, trams, roads, ports, telegraph, schools and urban services.[71] The population of Sydney and its suburbs grew from 95,600 in 1861 to 386,900 in 1891.[72] The city developed many of its characteristic features. The growing population packed into rows of terrace houses in narrow streets. New public buildings of sandstone abounded, including at the University of Sydney (1854–61),[73] the Australian Museum (1858–66),[74] the Town Hall (1868–88),[75] and the General Post Office (1866–92).[76] Elaborate coffee palaces and hotels were erected.[77] Daylight bathing at Sydney's beaches was banned, but segregated bathing at designated ocean baths was popular.[78]

Drought, the winding down of public works and a financial crisis led to economic depression in Sydney throughout most of the 1890s. Meanwhile, the Sydney-based premier of New South Wales, George Reid, became a key figure in the process of federation.[79]

State capital (1901–present)

tramcar on George Street in 1920. Sydney once had one of the largest tram networks
in the British Empire.

When the six colonies federated on 1 January 1901, Sydney became the capital of the State of New South Wales. The spread of bubonic plague in 1900 prompted the state government to modernise the wharves and demolish inner-city slums. The outbreak of the First World War in 1914 saw more Sydney males volunteer for the armed forces than the Commonwealth authorities could process, and helped reduce unemployment. Those returning from the war in 1918 were promised "homes fit for heroes" in new suburbs such as Daceyville and Matraville. "Garden suburbs" and mixed industrial and residential developments also grew along the rail and tram corridors.[61] The population reached one million in 1926, after Sydney had regained its position as the most populous city in Australia.[80] The government created jobs with massive public projects such as the electrification of the Sydney rail network and building the Sydney Harbour Bridge.[81]

Sydney Harbour Bridge opening day, 19 March 1932

Sydney was more severely affected by the Great Depression of the 1930s than regional New South Wales or Melbourne.[82] New building almost came to a standstill, and by 1933 the unemployment rate for male workers was 28 per cent, but over 40 per cent in working class areas such as Alexandria and Redfern. Many families were evicted from their homes and shanty towns grew along coastal Sydney and Botany Bay, the largest being "Happy Valley" at La Perouse.[83] The Depression also exacerbated political divisions. In March 1932, when populist Labor premier Jack Lang attempted to open the Sydney Harbour Bridge he was upstaged by Francis de Groot of the far-right New Guard, who slashed the ribbon with a sabre.[84]

In January 1938, Sydney celebrated the Empire Games and the sesquicentenary of European settlement in Australia. One journalist wrote, "Golden beaches. Sun tanned men and maidens...Red-roofed villas terraced above the blue waters of the harbour...Even Melbourne seems like some grey and stately city of Northern Europe compared with Sydney's sub-tropical splendours." A congress of the "Aborigines of Australia" declared 26 January "A Day of Mourning" for "the whiteman's seizure of our country."[85]

With the outbreak of

Second World War in 1939, Sydney experienced a surge in industrial development. Unemployment virtually disappeared and women moved into jobs previously typically reserved for males. Sydney was attacked by Japanese submarines in May and June 1942 with 21 killed. Households built air raid shelters and performed drills.[86] Military establishments in response to World War II in Australia included the Garden Island Tunnel System, the only tunnel warfare complex in Sydney, and the heritage-listed military fortification systems Bradleys Head Fortification Complex and Middle Head Fortifications, which were part of a total defence system for Sydney Harbour.[87]

A post-war immigration and baby boom saw a rapid increase in Sydney's population and the spread of low-density housing in suburbs throughout the Cumberland Plain. Immigrants—mostly from Britain and continental Europe—and their children accounted for over three-quarters of Sydney's population growth between 1947 and 1971.[88] The newly created Cumberland County Council oversaw low-density residential developments, the largest at Green Valley and Mount Druitt. Older residential centres such as Parramatta, Bankstown and Liverpool became suburbs of the metropolis.[89] Manufacturing, protected by high tariffs, employed over a third of the workforce from 1945 to the 1960s. However, as the long post-war economic boom progressed, retail and other service industries became the main source of new jobs.[90]

An estimated one million onlookers, most of the city's population, watched

Australian Royal Tour. It was the first time a reigning monarch stepped onto Australian soil.[91]

Increasing high-rise development in Sydney and the expansion of suburbs beyond the "green belt" envisaged by the planners of the 1950s resulted in community protests. In the early 1970s, trade unions and resident action groups imposed green bans on development projects in historic areas such as The Rocks. Federal, State and local governments introduced heritage and environmental legislation.[61] The Sydney Opera House was also controversial for its cost and disputes between architect Jørn Utzon and government officials. However, soon after it opened in 1973 it became a major tourist attraction and symbol of the city.[92] The progressive reduction in tariff protection from 1974 began the transformation of Sydney from a manufacturing centre to a "world city".[93] From the 1980s, overseas immigration grew rapidly, with Asia, the Middle East and Africa becoming major sources. By 2021, the population of Sydney was over 5.2 million, with 40% of the population born overseas. China and India overtook England as the largest source countries for overseas-born residents.[94]

Geography

Topography

Sydney lies on a submergent coastline where the ocean level has risen to flood deep rias.

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.

Sydney spans two geographic regions. The

Seventy surf beaches
can be found along its coastline, with Bondi Beach being the most famous.

The Nepean River wraps around the western edge of the city and becomes the Hawkesbury River before reaching Broken Bay. Most of Sydney's water storages can be found on tributaries of the Nepean River. The Parramatta River is mostly industrial and drains a large area of Sydney's western suburbs into Port Jackson. The southern parts of the city are drained by the Georges River and the Cooks River into Botany Bay.

There is no single definition of the boundaries of Sydney. The Australian Statistical Geography Standard definition of Greater Sydney covers 12,369 km2 (4,776 sq mi) and includes the local government areas of Central Coast in the north, Hawkesbury in the north-west, Blue Mountains in the west, Sutherland Shire in the south, and Wollondilly in the south-west.[95] The local government area of the City of Sydney covers about 26 square kilometres from Garden island in the east to Bicentennial Park in the west, and south to the suburbs of Alexandria and Rosebery.[96]

Geology

Almost all of the exposed rocks around Sydney are Sydney sandstone.

Sydney is made up of mostly

volcanic necks (typically found in the Prospect dolerite intrusion, west of Sydney).[97] The Sydney Basin was formed in the early Triassic period.[98] The sand that was to become the sandstone of today was laid down between 360 and 200 million years ago. The sandstone has shale lenses and fossil riverbeds.[98]

The

Hawkesbury sandstone of the coastal region. The rising sea level between 18,000 and 6,000 years ago flooded the rias to form estuaries and deep harbours.[98] Port Jackson, better known as Sydney Harbour, is one such ria.[99] Sydney features two major soil types: sandy soils (which originate from the Hawkesbury sandstone) and clay (which are from shales and volcanic rocks), though some soils may be a mixture of the two.[100]

Directly overlying the older Hawkesbury sandstone is the

laminites, with less common sandstone units.[101] The Wianamatta Group is made up of Bringelly Shale, Minchinbury Sandstone and Ashfield Shale.[102]

Ecology

Typical grassy woodland in the Sydney metropolitan area

The most prevalent

tree ferns and herbs.[106]

The predominant vegetation community in Sydney is the

Western Sydney (Cumberland Plain),[107] followed by the Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest in the Inner West and Northern Sydney,[108] the Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub in the coastline and the Blue Gum High Forest scantily present in the North Shore – all of which are critically endangered.[109][110] The city also includes the Sydney Sandstone Ridgetop Woodland found in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park on the Hornsby Plateau to the north.[111]

Sydney is home to dozens of

Sydney funnel-web, respectively,[116][117] and has a huge diversity of marine species inhabiting its harbour and beaches.[118]

Climate

A summer storm passing over Sydney Harbour

Under the

Southern Annular Mode[124][125] play 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 in Australia. The weather is moderated by proximity to the ocean, and more extreme temperatures are recorded in the inland western suburbs.[126]

At Sydney's primary weather station at

Western Sydney a few times in winter. Autumn and spring are the transitional seasons, with spring showing a larger temperature variation than autumn.[134]

Sydney experiences an

Southern Annular Mode) shift towards southeastern Australia,[143] where they may damage homes and affect flights, in addition to making the temperature seem colder than it actually is.[144][145]

Rainfall has a moderate to low variability and has historically been fairly uniform throughout the year, although in recent years it has been more summer-dominant and erratic.[146][147][148][149] Precipitation is usually higher in summer through to autumn,[121] and lower in late winter to early spring.[124][150][126][151] In late autumn and winter, east coast lows may bring large amounts of rainfall, especially in the CBD.[152] In the warm season black nor'easters are usually the cause of heavy rain events, though other forms of low-pressure areas, including remnants of ex-cyclones, may also bring heavy deluge and afternoon thunderstorms.[153][154] Snowfall was last reported in 1836, though a fall of graupel, or soft hail, in the Upper North Shore was mistaken by many for snow, in July 2008.[155] In 2009, dry conditions brought a severe dust storm towards the city.[156][157]

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 45.8
(114.4)
42.1
(107.8)
39.8
(103.6)
35.4
(95.7)
30.0
(86.0)
26.9
(80.4)
26.5
(79.7)
31.3
(88.3)
34.6
(94.3)
38.2
(100.8)
41.8
(107.2)
42.2
(108.0)
45.8
(114.4)
Mean maximum °C (°F) 36.8
(98.2)
34.1
(93.4)
32.2
(90.0)
29.7
(85.5)
26.2
(79.2)
22.3
(72.1)
22.9
(73.2)
25.4
(77.7)
29.9
(85.8)
33.6
(92.5)
34.1
(93.4)
34.4
(93.9)
38.8
(101.8)
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 27.0
(80.6)
26.8
(80.2)
25.7
(78.3)
23.6
(74.5)
20.9
(69.6)
18.3
(64.9)
17.9
(64.2)
19.3
(66.7)
21.6
(70.9)
23.2
(73.8)
24.2
(75.6)
25.7
(78.3)
22.8
(73.0)
Daily mean °C (°F) 23.5
(74.3)
23.4
(74.1)
22.1
(71.8)
19.5
(67.1)
16.6
(61.9)
14.2
(57.6)
13.4
(56.1)
14.5
(58.1)
17.0
(62.6)
18.9
(66.0)
20.4
(68.7)
22.1
(71.8)
18.8
(65.8)
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 20.0
(68.0)
19.9
(67.8)
18.4
(65.1)
15.3
(59.5)
12.3
(54.1)
10.0
(50.0)
8.9
(48.0)
9.7
(49.5)
12.3
(54.1)
14.6
(58.3)
16.6
(61.9)
18.4
(65.1)
14.7
(58.5)
Mean minimum °C (°F) 16.1
(61.0)
16.1
(61.0)
14.2
(57.6)
11.0
(51.8)
8.3
(46.9)
6.5
(43.7)
5.7
(42.3)
6.1
(43.0)
8.0
(46.4)
9.8
(49.6)
12.0
(53.6)
13.9
(57.0)
5.3
(41.5)
Record low °C (°F) 10.6
(51.1)
9.6
(49.3)
9.3
(48.7)
7.0
(44.6)
4.4
(39.9)
2.1
(35.8)
2.2
(36.0)
2.7
(36.9)
4.9
(40.8)
5.7
(42.3)
7.7
(45.9)
9.1
(48.4)
2.1
(35.8)
Average rainfall mm (inches) 91.1
(3.59)
131.5
(5.18)
117.5
(4.63)
114.1
(4.49)
100.8
(3.97)
142.0
(5.59)
80.3
(3.16)
75.1
(2.96)
63.4
(2.50)
67.7
(2.67)
90.6
(3.57)
73.0
(2.87)
1,149.7
(45.26)
Average rainy days (≥ 1 mm) 8.2 9.0 10.1 7.9 7.9 9.3 7.2 5.6 5.8 7.6 8.7 7.9 95.2
Average afternoon
relative humidity
(%)
60 62 59 58 58 56 52 47 49 53 57 58 56
Average dew point °C (°F) 16.5
(61.7)
17.2
(63.0)
15.4
(59.7)
12.7
(54.9)
10.3
(50.5)
7.8
(46.0)
6.1
(43.0)
5.4
(41.7)
7.8
(46.0)
10.2
(50.4)
12.6
(54.7)
14.6
(58.3)
11.4
(52.5)
Mean monthly sunshine hours 232.5 205.9 210.8 213.0 204.6 171.0 207.7 248.0 243.0 244.9 222.0 235.6 2,639
Percent possible sunshine 53 54 55 63 63 57 66 72 67 61 55 55 60
Source 1: Bureau of Meteorology[158][159][160][161]
Source 2: Bureau of Meteorology, Sydney Airport (sunshine hours)[162]

Regions

Sydney area at night, facing west. Wollongong is bottom left, and the Central Coast is at the far right.

The Greater Sydney Commission divides Sydney into three "cities" and five "districts" based on the 33 LGAs in the metropolitan area. The "metropolis of three cities" comprises Eastern Harbour City, Central River City and Western Parkland City.[163] The Australian Bureau of Statistics also includes City of Central Coast (the former Gosford City and Wyong Shire) as part of Greater Sydney for population counts,[164] adding 330,000 people.[165]

Inner suburbs

Millers Point
, an inner suburb north of the CBD

The CBD extends about 3 km (1.9 mi) south from

Millers Point and The Rocks to the north. Most of these suburbs measure less than 1 km2 (0.4 sq mi) in area. The Sydney CBD is characterised by narrow streets and thoroughfares, created in its convict beginnings.[166]

Several localities, distinct from suburbs, exist throughout Sydney's inner reaches.

Strand Arcade, located between Pitt Street Mall and George Street, is a historical Victorian-style shopping arcade. Opened on 1 April 1892, its shop fronts are an exact replica of the original internal shopping facades.[167] Westfield Sydney, located beneath the Sydney Tower, is the largest shopping centre by area in Sydney.[168]

Since the late 20th century, there has been a trend of

high density housing, tourist accommodation, and gambling.[169] Originally located well outside of the city, Darlinghurst is the location of the historic Darlinghurst Gaol, manufacturing, and mixed housing. For a period it was known as an area of prostitution. The terrace-style housing has largely been retained and Darlinghurst has undergone significant gentrification since the 1980s.[170][171][172]

Green Square is a former industrial area of Waterloo which is undergoing urban renewal worth $8 billion. On the city harbour edge, the historic suburb and wharves of Millers Point are being built up as the new area of Barangaroo.[173][174] The suburb of Paddington is known for its restored terrace houses, Victoria Barracks, and shopping including the weekly Oxford Street markets.[175]

Inner West

Newtown, one of the inner-most parts of the Inner West, is one of the most complete Victorian and Edwardian era commercial precincts in Australia.

The

University of Technology, Sydney and a campus of the Australian Catholic University. The Anzac Bridge spans Johnstons Bay and connects Rozelle to Pyrmont and the city, forming part of the Western Distributor
.

The Inner West is today well known as the location of village commercial centres with cosmopolitan flavours, such as the "Little Italy" commercial centres of Leichardt, Five Dock and Haberfield,

DFO Homebush and Birkenhead Point Outlet Centre. There is a large cosmopolitan community and nightlife hub on King Street in Newtown
.

The area is serviced by the T1, T2, and T3 railway lines, including the Main Suburban Line, which was the first to be constructed in New South Wales. Strathfield railway station is a secondary railway hub within Sydney, and major station on the Suburban and Northern lines. It was constructed in 1876.[183] The future Sydney Metro West will also connect this area with the City and Parramatta. The area is also serviced by the Parramatta River services of Sydney Ferries,[184] numerous bus routes and cycleways.[185]

Eastern suburbs

Residences in Bellevue Hill. Sydney's eastern suburbs are made up of some of the most expensive real estate in the country[186]

The Eastern Suburbs encompass the

Waverley Municipal Council, and parts of the Bayside Council. They include some of the most affluent and advantaged areas in the country, with some streets being amongst the most expensive in the world. As at 2014, Wolseley Road, Point Piper, had a top price of $20,900 per square metre, making it the ninth-most expensive street in the world.[187] More than 75% of neighbourhoods in the Electoral District of Wentworth fall under the top decile of SEIFA advantage, making it the least disadvantaged area in the country.[188] As of 2021, of the 20 most expensive postcodes in Australia by median house price, nine were in the Eastern Suburbs.[178]

Major landmarks include

Construction of the CBD and South East Light Rail was completed in April 2020.[192] The project aims to provide reliable and high-capacity tram services to residents in the City and South-East.

Major shopping centres in the area include Westfield Bondi Junction and Westfield Eastgardens.

Southern Sydney

Kurnell, La Perouse, and Cronulla, along with various other suburbs, face Botany Bay.

The Southern district of Sydney includes the suburbs in the

St George) and the Sutherland Shire (colloquially known as 'The Shire'), on the southern banks of the Georges River
.

The

Botany Bay National Park
.

The suburb of Cronulla in southern Sydney is close to Royal National Park, Australia's oldest national park. Hurstville, a large suburb with commercial and high-rise residential buildings dominating the skyline, has become a CBD for the southern suburbs.[193]

Northern Sydney

Chatswood is a major commercial district.

'

Upper North Shore, Lower North Shore and the Northern Beaches
.

The Northern Suburbs include several landmarks – Macquarie University, Gladesville Bridge, Ryde Bridge, Macquarie Centre and Curzon Hall in Marsfield. This area includes suburbs in the local government areas of Hornsby Shire, City of Ryde, the Municipality of Hunter's Hill and parts of the City of Parramatta.

The North Shore includes the commercial centres of North Sydney and Chatswood. North Sydney itself consists of a large commercial centre, which contains the second largest concentration of high-rise buildings in Sydney after the CBD. North Sydney is dominated by advertising, marketing and associated trades, with many large corporations holding offices.

The Northern Beaches area includes

mono-ethnic district in Australia, contrasting with its more-diverse neighbours, the North Shore and the Central Coast.[194]

As of the end of 2021, half of the 20 most expensive postcodes in Australia (by median house price) were in Northern Sydney, including four on the Northern Beaches, two on the Lower North Shore, three on the Upper North Shore, and one straddling

Hills district

The

City of Parramatta Council and Hornsby Shire. Actual suburbs and localities that are considered to be in the Hills District can be somewhat amorphous. For example, the Hills District Historical Society restricts its definition to the Hills Shire local government area, yet its study area extends from Parramatta to the Hawkesbury. The region is so named for its characteristically comparatively hilly topography as the Cumberland Plain lifts up, joining the Hornsby Plateau. Windsor and Old Windsor Roads are the second and third roads, respectively, laid in Australia.[195]

Western suburbs

Parramatta, a major commercial centre of Greater Western Sydney, is often coined as Sydney's "second CBD"

The greater western suburbs encompasses the areas of Parramatta, the sixth largest business district in Australia, settled the same year as the harbour-side colony,

vocational trade.[197] Toongabbie is noted for being the third mainland settlement (after Sydney and Parramatta) set up after British colonisation began in 1788, although the site of the settlement is actually in the separate suburb of Old Toongabbie.[198]

The western suburb of

volcanic activity,[202] is also listed on the State Heritage Register.[203]

To the northwest,

World Heritage List in 2010 (as part of the 11 penal sites constituting the Australian Convict Sites), making it the only site in greater western Sydney to be featured in such lists.[206] The house is Australia's oldest surviving public building.[207]

Further to the southwest is the region of Macarthur and the city of Campbelltown, a significant population centre until the 1990s considered a region separate to Sydney proper. Macarthur Square, a shopping complex in Campbelltown, has become one of the largest shopping complexes in Sydney.[208] The southwest also features Bankstown Reservoir, the oldest elevated reservoir constructed in reinforced concrete that is still in use and is listed on the State Heritage Register.[209] The southwest is home to one of Sydney's oldest trees, the Bland Oak, which was planted in the 1840s by William Bland in Carramar.[210]

Urban structure

The Sydney CBD with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Sydney is home to the most high-rise buildings in the nation.[211]

Architecture

The earliest structures in the colony were built to the bare minimum of standards. Governor Macquarie set ambitious targets for the 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.[212][213][214]

York Street is an example of a city street in Sydney with an array of intact Victorian heritage architecture.

In 1814, the Governor called on a convict named Francis Greenway to design Macquarie Lighthouse.[215] The lighthouse's Classical design earned Greenway a pardon from Macquarie in 1818 and introduced a culture of refined architecture that remains to this day.[216] Greenway went on to design the Hyde Park Barracks in 1819 and the Georgian style St James's Church in 1824.[217][218] 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.[219][220] Kirribilli House, completed in 1858, and St Andrew's Cathedral, Australia's oldest cathedral,[221] are rare examples of Victorian Gothic construction.[219][222]

General Post Office

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

French Second Empire style Town Hall was completed in 1889.[226][227] Romanesque designs gained favour from the early 1890s. Sydney Technical College was completed in 1893 using both Romanesque Revival and Queen Anne approaches.[228] The Queen Victoria Building was designed in Romanesque Revival fashion by George McRae; completed in 1898,[229] it accommodates 200 shops across its three storeys.[230]

As the wealth of the settlement increased and Sydney developed into a metropolis after Federation in 1901, its buildings became taller. Sydney's first tower was Culwulla Chambers which topped out at 50 m (160 ft) making 12 floors. The Commercial Traveller's Club, built in 1908, was of similar height at 10 floors. It was built in a brick stone veneer and demolished in 1972.[231] This heralded a change in Sydney's cityscape and with the lifting of height restrictions in the 1960s there came a surge of high-rise construction.[232]

The Great Depression had a tangible influence on Sydney's architecture. New structures became more restrained with far less ornamentation. The most notable architectural feat of this period is the Harbour Bridge. Its steel arch was designed by John Bradfield and completed in 1932. A total of 39,000 tonnes of structural steel span the 503 m (1,650 ft) between Milsons Point and Dawes Point.[233][234]

Frank Gehry's Dr Chau Chak Wing Building

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. Jørn Utzon was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 2003 for his work on the Opera House.[235] Sydney is home to Australia's first building by renowned Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building (2015). An entrance from The Goods Line
–a pedestrian pathway and former railway line–is located on the eastern border of the site.

Contemporary buildings in the CBD include

heritage overlays have been in place since at least 1977 to protect Sydney's heritage after controversial demolitions in the 1970s.[246]

Housing

Terraces in Kirribilli

Sydney surpasses both New York City and Paris real estate prices, having some of the most expensive in the world.[247][248] The city remains Australia's most expensive housing market, with the mean house price at $1,142,212 as of December 2019 (over 25% higher the national mean house price).[249] It is only second to Hong Kong with the average property costing 14 times the annual Sydney salary as of December 2016.[250]

There were 1.76 million dwellings in Sydney in 2016 including 925,000 (57%) detached houses, 227,000 (14%) semi-detached terrace houses and 456,000 (28%) units and apartments.

Mount Druitt
.

A range of heritage housing styles can be found throughout Sydney. Terrace houses are found in the inner suburbs such as Paddington, The Rocks, Potts Point and Balmain–many of which have been the subject of gentrification.[254][255] These terraces, particularly those in suburbs such as The Rocks, were historically home to Sydney's miners and labourers. In the present day, terrace houses now make up some of the most valuable real estate in the city.[256]

Hoxton Park, Harrington Park, and Oran Park to the southwest.[257]

Parks and open spaces