Coordinates: 33°52′04″S 151°12′36″E / 33.86778°S 151.21000°E / -33.86778; 151.21000
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Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Sydney is located in Australia
LGA(s)Various (31)
State electorate(s)Various (49)
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 (

Sydney Harbour and extends about 70 km (43.5 mi) towards the Blue Mountains to the west, Hawkesbury to the north, the Royal National Park and Macarthur to the south and south-west.[6] Greater Sydney is made up of 658 suburbs, spread across 33 local government areas. Residents of the city are known as "Sydneysiders".[7] The estimated population in June 2021 was over 5.2 million,[8] meaning the city is home to approximately 66% of the state's population.[9] Nicknames of the city include the "Emerald City" and the "Harbour City".[10]

Aboriginal Australians have inhabited the Greater Sydney region for at least 30,000 years, and Aboriginal engravings and cultural sites are common throughout Greater Sydney. The traditional custodians of the land on which modern Sydney stands are the clans of the Darug, Dharawal and Eora peoples.[11]

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.[12] 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, United Kingdom, Vietnam and the Philippines.[13]

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

most liveable cities in the world.[15][16][17] It is classified as an Alpha global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, indicating its influence in the region and throughout the world.[18][19] Ranked eleventh in the world for economic opportunity,[20] Sydney has an advanced market economy with strengths in finance, manufacturing and tourism.[21][22] Established in 1850, the University of Sydney was Australia's first university and is regarded as one of the world's leading universities.[23]

Sydney has hosted major international sporting events such as the 2000 Summer Olympics. The city is among the top fifteen most-visited cities in the world,[24] with millions of tourists coming each year to see the city's landmarks.[25] The city has over 1,000,000 ha (2,500,000 acres) of nature reserves and parks,[26] 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 rail network, and the main passenger airport serving the city is Kingsford Smith Airport, one of the world's oldest continually operating airports.[27]


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.[28] The cove was called Warrane by the Aboriginal inhabitants.[29] Phillip considered naming the settlement Albion, but this name was never officially used.[28] By 1790 Phillip and other officials were regularly calling the township Sydney.[30] The town of Sydney was declared a city in 1842.[31]


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. The modern Greater Sydney area covers the traditional lands of 28 known Aboriginal clans.[32]


First inhabitants of the region

The first people to inhabit the area now known as Sydney were Aboriginal Australians who had migrated from northern Australia and before that from southeast Asia.[33] Flaked pebbles found in Western Sydney's gravel sediments might indicate human occupation from 45,000 to 50,000 years BP,[34] while radiocarbon dating has shown evidence of human activity in the Sydney region from around 30,000 years ago.[35] Prior to the arrival of the British, there were 4,000 to 8,000 Aboriginal people in the greater Sydney region.[36][11]

The inhabitants subsisted on fishing, hunting, and gathering plant foods and shellfish. The diet of the coastal clans was more reliant on seafoods whereas the food of hinterland clans was more focused on forest animals and plants. The clans had distinctive sets of 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 which was part of a belief system centering 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.[37]

The earliest British settlers recorded the word 'Eora' as an Aboriginal term meaning either 'people' or 'from this place'.[38][11] 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, dialect and initiation 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.[11] Darginung and Gundungurra languages were spoken on the fringes of the Sydney area.[39]

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.[39][40][41]

The first meeting between Aboriginals and British explorers occurred on 29 April 1770 when Lieutenant James Cook landed at Botany Bay (Kamay[42]) and encountered the Gweagal clan.[43] Two Gweagal men opposed the landing party and in the confrontation one of them was shot and wounded.[44][45] 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.[46]

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 for the decision 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.[47]

The First Fleet of 11 ships under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip arrived in Botany Bay in January 1788. It consisted of more than a thousand settlers, including 736 convicts.[48] The fleet soon moved to the more suitable Port Jackson where a settlement was established at Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788.[49] 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 being, 'with out exception the finest Harbour in the World [...] Here a Thousand Sail of the Line may ride in the most perfect Security'.[50]

The settlement was planned to be a self-sufficient penal colony based on subsistence agriculture. Trade and ship building 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 hunger and strict food rationing. The food crisis was relieved with the arrival of the Second Fleet in mid-1790 and the Third Fleet in 1791.[51] 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.[52]

A smallpox epidemic in April 1789 killed about half the Indigenous population of the Sydney region.[11][53] 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.[54]

Phillip had been given no instructions for urban development, but in July 1788 submitted a plan for the new town at

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

After the departure of Phillip in December 1792, the colony's military officers began acquiring land and importing consumer goods obtained from visiting ships. Former convicts also 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 trade and commerce in the town 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.[57]

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[58] and a road across the Blue Mountains was completed in 1815, opening the way for large-scale farming and grazing in the lightly wooded pastures west of the Great Dividing Range.[59][60]

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.