Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people. Inhabitants of Sydney are called Sydneysiders, comprising a cosmopolitan and international population.
The site of the first British colony in Australia, Sydney was established in 1788 at Sydney Cove by Arthur Phillip, commodore of the First Fleet as a penal colony. The city is built on hills surrounding Port Jackson which is commonly known as Sydney Harbour, where the iconic Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge feature prominently. The hinterland of the metropolitan area is surrounded by national parks, and the coastal regions feature many bays, rivers, inlets and beaches including the famous Bondi Beach. Within the city are many notable parks, including Hyde Park and the Royal Botanic Gardens.
In 2010, Sydney was ranked 7th in Asia and 28th globally for economic innovation in the Innovation Cities Top 100 Index by innovation agency 2thinknow. Sydney also ranks among the top 10 most liveable cities in the world according to Mercer Human Resource Consulting and The Economist.
Sydney is one of GaWC's Alpha + world cities. It has hosted major international sporting events, including the 1938 British Empire Games, the 2000 Summer Olympics, and the final match of the 2003 Rugby World Cup. The main airport serving Sydney is Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport.
History of Sydney
Radio carbon dating suggests that the Sydney region has been inhabited by indigenous Australians for at least 30,000 years.
The traditional Indigenous inhabitants of Sydney Cove are the Cadigal people, whose land once stretched from south of Port Jackson to Petersham. While estimates of the population numbers prior to the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 remains contentious, approximately 4,000–8,000 Aboriginal people lived in the Sydney region prior to contact with British settlers. The British called the Indigenous people the "Eora", because being asked where they came from, these people would answer: "Eora", meaning "here", or "from this place" in their language. 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 said territory determined the resources available. Although urbanisation has destroyed much evidence of these settlements (such as shell middens), a number of Sydney rock engravings, carvings and rock art remain visible in the Hawkesbury sandstone of the Sydney basin.
In 1770, British sea Captain Lieutenant James Cook landed in Botany Bay on the Kurnell Peninsula. It is here that Cook made first contact with an Aboriginal community 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 18 January 1788. This site was soon determined to be unsuitable for habitation, owing to poor soil and a lack of reliable fresh water. Phillip subsequently founded the colony one inlet further up the coast, at Sydney Cove on Port Jackson on 26 January 1788. However the official proclamation of the founding and naming of Sydney took place only on 7 February 1788 when 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. The original name was intended to be Albion until Phillip decided upon Sydney.
However in 1789, shortly after the arrival in Botany Bay of the French expedition led by La Perouse, a catastrophic epidemic disease—smallpox or possibly chicken pox—spread through the Eora people and surrounding groups, with the result that local Aborigines died in their thousands, and bodies could often be seen bobbing in the water in Sydney Harbour. Colonial historian and First Fleet officer Watkin Tench, whose accounts are primary sources about the early years of the colony, suggested that the epidemic may have been caused by Aborigines disturbing the grave of a French sailor who died shortly after arrival in Australia (supposedly of smallpox) and had been buried at Botany Bay.
In April 1789 a disease, thought to be smallpox, killed an estimated 500 to 1000 Aboriginal people between Broken Bay and Botany Bay. 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 'civilise, Christianise 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 John Hosking the first elected mayor. The first of several Australian 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 of more than a million. In 1929, the novelist Arthur Henry Adams called it the "Siren City of the South" and the "Athens of Australia". 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. There has traditionally been a rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne since the gold rushes of the 1850s made the capital of Victoria, 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 a great number of financial institutions including the headquarters of the Reserve Bank 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.
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