views updated May 18 2018


Getting There
Getting Around
Public Safety
Health Care
Parks and Recreation
Performing Arts
Libraries and Museums
Holidays and Festivals
Famous Citizens
For Further Study

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Founded: 1788; Incorporated: 1842
Location: Southeastern Australia
Flower: Banksia Ericifolia
Time Zone: 10 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) = noon Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
Elevation: 42 m (138 ft) above sea level
Latitude and Longitude: 33°55'S, 151°10'E
Coastline: 60 km (37 mi)
Climate: Temperate with mild winters and warm to hot summers
Annual Mean Temperature: 12°C (54°F); January 9°C (48°F); July 23°C (73°F)
Average Annual Precipitation (total rainfall): 1,140 mm (45 in)
Government: Local councils
Weights and Measures: Metric system
Monetary Units: Australian dollars
Telephone Area Codes: 2 (Sydney area code); 61 (country code for Australia)
Postal Codes: 20002060

1. Introduction

In the space of two centuries, Sydney has transformed itself from a British penal colony to a thriving cosmopolitan metropolis, a financial capital of the Asia-Pacific region, and an international tourist center with a population of close to four million. Located near the southern end of Australia's eastern coast, it is the largest city on the Australian continent, the capital of New South Wales, and one of the world's largest metropolitan areas. The city's dominant feature has always been its stunning physical location on one of the world's most beautiful harbors.

In the second half of the twentieth century, Sydney grew from a primarily Anglo-Saxon enclave to a multiethnic city whose cultural sophistication is symbolized by the unique outlines of its famous harbor-front opera house. The twenty-first century was ushered in dramatically with the 2000 Olympic Games, which spurred the city to reinvent itself yet again for a new millennium.

2. Getting There

Centered around the Port Jackson harbor on Australia's east coast, Sydney is 870 kilometers (540 miles) north of Melbourne and nearly 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) south of Brisbane. The greater metropolitan area encompasses Botany Bay to the south, reaches to the foothills of the Blue Mountains in the west, and extends into an area of national parks to the north.


Four main highways provide access to Sydney: the Pacific Highway/Sydney Newcastle Freeway (Route 1 north of the city) leads northward to Newcastle and Brisbane; the Western Motorway (Route 44) leads westward to Strathfield and the Great Western Highway; Princes Highway (Route 1 south of the city) leads to Wollongong and the south coast; and the Hume Highway leads southwest out of the city to Mittagong and eventually Melbourne.

Bus and Railroad Service

Greyhound Pioneer provides service between Sydney and points throughout Australia. The smaller McCafferty's and Kirkland's lines also service Sydney but do not run nationwide. Both interstate and regional train service is available.

The State Rail Authority of New South Wales provides passenger rail services throughout Greater Sydney and other population centers in the state. Its Countrylink service provides long-distance service throughout New South Wales, and also interstate service to Canberra, Melbourne, and Brisbane on an updated fleet of high-speed XPT and Explorer trains, transporting more than 2.6 million people annually.


The Kingsford Smith Airport, located about ten kilometers (6.2 miles) south of Sydney's central business district, is Australia's busiest airport. It is served by some 45 international passenger and cargo carriers.


Sydney is served by Port Jackson, one of Australia's busiest ports, as well as a newer port in Botany Bay devoted exclusively to petroleum products.

Sydney Population Profile

Population: 3,665,000
Area: 1,735 sq km (670 sq mi)
World population rank 1: 71
Percentage of national population 2: 19.5%
Average yearly growth rate: 0.4%
Nicknames: CBD (central city), Sidneysiders (residents), Oz (Australia)

  1. The Sydney metropolitan area's rank among the world's urban areas.
  2. The percent of Australia's total population living in the Sydney metropolitan area.

3. Getting Around

Sydney is built around a vast harbor with many coves, bays, and inlets. The harbor runs through the city, dividing it into northern and southern sections, which are connected by the Harbour Tunnel and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The central business district and heart of the city is contained within the 13 square kilometers (five square miles) of a narrow peninsula in the southern half.

Bus and Commuter Rail Service

Sydney Buses operates buses throughout the city. Bus service is divided into seven zones, with the main terminals located at Circular Quay, Wynyard, Town Hall, and Central Station. Buses serve some areas, including the suburbs of Watsons, Rose Bay, and Vaucluse, which are not on rail lines.

CityRail, operated by the State Rail Authority, provides suburban and intercity rail service over a 3,218-kilometer (2,000-mile) network throughout New South Wales. With 301 stations and over 2,000 trips per day, CityRail carried 266.5 million passengers in 199798. Sydney also has a light rail line providing tram service from Central Station to stops in the central city and a monorail that loops through the central business district.


Sydney's popular ferry service, operated by the Sydney Transportation Authority, provides a picturesque and inexpensive mode of local transportation. Ferries cross Sydney's harbor between Circular Quay and the north bank, also traveling to points eastward and westward.


A variety of organized tours of Sydney are offered. Popular tour lines include Australian Pacific, AAT King's, Newmans, Murrays, Great Sights, and Clipper Gray Line tours. Tours are offered to a variety of sites outside the city. These include tours focusing on Aboriginal culture and Australian wild-life. In addition, Sydney's ferries afford a unique sightseeing experience. Harbor cruises take visitors to the area's parks, beaches, coves, suburbs, and other sites. Cruises with commentary are offered regularly on the city-operated ferries on both weekdays and weekends. Harbor cruises are also offered by commercial lines.

4. People

With its population of 3,738,500, Sydney is at the center of the largest concentration of population in the sparsely populated country of Australia. It is home to more than two-thirds of the population of New South Wales, and about a quarter of the country's total inhabitants live within 150 kilometers (93 miles) of the city.

Since World War II (193945), the city, formerly inhabited mostly by descendants of white settlers from the British Isles, has become increasingly diverse ethnically and racially. Following the war, there was an influx of immigrants from eastern and southern Europe, especially Italy and Greece, as well as Turkey and Yugoslavia. The period since the 1960s has seen a rise in Asian immigration from countries including Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and the Philippines. Today, about 30 percent of the population is foreignborn. Sydney's inner-city district of Redfern is an Aboriginal enclave, populated by a group known as Koories.

5. Neighborhoods

Thanks to the spread of new suburbs along the estuaries of the Georges and Parramatta rivers during the twentieth century, the greater Sydney area encompasses some 600 suburbs between the Pacific Ocean, the Blue Mountains, and the national parks that border it on the north and south, covering a total area of nearly 1,813 square kilometers (700 square miles). This makes it one of the world's largest urban areas, surpassed only by Los Angeles and a few others. Traditionally, well-to-do Australians moved outward to the suburbs, leaving the inner core to immigrant populations from Europe and Asia. Today, however, many are returning to the historic districts first established by their forebears, sparking a wave of urban renovation and gentrification.

Sydney's major urban center is the Central Business District, located on the south bank of the Parramatta River at Port Jackson. In addition to government buildings, office towers, and shops, it is also the site of the city's major tourist attractions, including its opera house and major museums, and the Royal Botanic Gardens. Urban neighborhoods close to this central core include King's Cross, a district of hotels, restaurants, and hostels that has historically had a reputation as the city's "vice capital"; the historic Woolloomooloo district, restored since the 1970s; trendy Darlinghurst, home to numerous sidewalk cafes and Sydney's "Little Italy"; the multicultural, gentrified Surry Hills area; and the residential suburb of Paddington. Further south is the working-class suburb of Redfern, which has a large and sometimes vocal Aboriginal community.

To the east are a series of upscale suburbs including Darling Point, Edgecliff, Double Bay, and Vaucluse, the most exclusive one. The innermost suburbs to the west include the fashionable Balmain district, formerly a working-class and bohemian neighborhood; the traditionally Italian and now diverse neighborhood of Leichhardt; Glebe, located near the University of Sydney; and the hip university district of Newtown. Across the Parramatta River, the Lower North Shore, north of the Harbour Bridge, encompasses a business district and harbor-front suburbs, including Kirribilli, Milson's Point, and McMahons Point.

6. History

Sydney's first European settlers arrived in 1788, when English navigator Captain Arthur Phillip's First Fleet arrived in Botany Bay to the south. Finding the bay too exposed, Phillips and his men traveled northward to Port Jackson, proclaiming the colony of New South Wales and establishing a settlement on a cove they named for Britain's Home Secretary, Lord Thomas Townshend, First Viscount Sydney (17331800). Of the more than 1,000 people aboard the fleet's ships, most were British convicts transported to the new land to relieve prison overcrowding now that the British colonies in North America had won their independence and could no longer be used for this purpose. The first free settlers arrived in 1793.

Under the leadership of Governor Lachlan Macquarie (17611824; governor, 18101821), the new settlement prospered. Many convicts, pardoned and given parcels of land, became useful members of society. Free settlers continued to pour in, lured by promises of free land and convict labor and by Sydney's growing reputation as a thriving port city. Between 1831 and 1850, some 200,000 immigrants arrived from Britain, fleeing the social ills of the Industrial Revolution. Exploration of the interior led to the discovery of a route over the Blue Mountains, providing access to the rich pastureland beyond. Sydney was incorporated in 1842. The discovery of gold west of Sydney, at Bathurst, in 1851 spurred a decade-long gold rush that helped bring the city's population to 300,000. Rail service from Sydney to Parramatta was launched in 1855.

As Sydney became a bustling commercial center, its original central district acquired some of the same problems that settlers had fled Britain to escapeovercrowding, poverty, crime, and unsanitary conditions. In the second half of the century, overcrowding spurred the growth of densely populated suburbs around the city, creating the greatest population explosion to datefrom 60,000 to 400,000. Shortly after the end of World War I (191418), Sydney, now part of the Commonwealth of Australia, recorded a population of one million.

The Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Project, begun after World War II (193945), brought important changes to Sydney. Most notably, the resulting demand for manpower sparked immigration policy changes that led to growth in immigration from southern Europe, permanently changing the ethnic makeup of the city. Further changes came with the rise in immigration from Southeast Asia in the 1970s and 1980s.

During this period, Sydney, along with the rest of Australia, grew increasingly cosmopolitan, becoming a financial center for the Asia/Pacific region. Sydney's most famous landmark, the harbor-front Sydney Opera House, was completed in 1973.

In 1988 the city staged a spectacular celebration of Australia's bicentennial. Landmark events of the 1990s included the 1993 announcement that the city would be the site of the 2000 Olympic Games and the opening of the Sydney Harbour Tunnel in 1994. Preparations for the Games spurred further municipal development and civic pride throughout the decade as Sydney prepared for the most extensive display of pageantry and celebration in its history.

7. Government

As capital of New South Wales, Sydney is the seat of its government and parliament. More than 40 city councils throughout Sydney handle local matters although the state government retains authority in some areas, including transportation and public safety. In addition, some of Sydney's land is under control of Australia's federal government. The City Council of Sydney has jurisdiction over a 13-square-kilometer (five-square-mile) core area that includes the Central Business District and some inner suburbs.

The Sydney Statistical Division, established in 1976 and covering 12,407 square kilometers (4,790 square miles), corresponds to territory that was expected to undergo urban development over the next two decades. It was created from a combination of developed and rural land.

City Fact Comparison
(United States)(Egypt)(Italy)(China)
Population of urban area13,665,00010,772,0002,688,00012,033,000
Date the city was founded1788AD 969753 BC723 BC
Daily costs to visit the city2
Hotel (single occupancy)$114$193$172$129
Meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)$74$56$59$62
Incidentals (laundry, dry cleaning, etc.)$18$14$15$16
Total daily costs$206$173$246$207
Major Newspapers3
Number of newspapers serving the city11132011
Largest newspaperSunday TelegraphAkhbar El Yom/Al AkhbarLa RepubblicaRenmin Ribao
Circulation of largest newspaper1,800,0001,159,450754,9303,000,000
Date largest newspaper was established1939194419761948
1United Nations population estimates for the year 2000.
2The maximum amount the U.S. Government reimburses its employees for business travel. The lodging portion of the allowance is based on the cost for a single room at a moderately-priced hotel. The meal portion is based on the costs of an average breakfast, lunch, and dinner including taxes, service charges, and customary tips. Incidental travel expenses include such things as laundry and dry cleaning.
3David Maddux, ed. Editor&Publisher International Year Book. New York: The Editor&Publisher Company, 1999.

8. Public Safety

For a major city, Sydney has a low crime rate. Few people own firearms, which are strictly regulated, and it is even illegal to carry a knife in a public place without a special reason. Occasional muggings have occurred in the Central Business District, and drug activity has been reported in the Kings Cross and Cabramatta areas.

Sydney is served by the New South Wales Police Service, Australia's oldest law-enforcement organization. With more than 13,300 sworn police officers and 500 police stations, it is also one of the largest in the English-speaking world. In addition to its regular duties, the New South Wales Police force was assigned the task of coordinating security for the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The City of Sydney has adopted the Safe City Strategy to improve security even further through urban design: improved lighting, closed circuit television cameras, emergency video phones, a city safety task force, and community safety education.

9. Economy

Sydney is Australia's financial, commercial, shipping, and industrial capital. About 75 percent of the manufacturing jobs in New South Wales are in Sydney although manufacturing accounts for between one-third and one-half of the city's total employment. Sydney primarily has a service economy, fueled by government, commerce, retailing, transport, entertainment, finance, and tourism. Oil refining is another major industry in the region. About half of Sydney's work force is employed in manufacturing.

10. Environment

Water pollution from refuse and industrial effluents has been a problem in Sydney's harbor, especially from the overflow caused by heavy rain. The city has installed pollution traps and litter booms to deal with the problem.

Residents who live near the Kings-ford Smith Airport have been affected by aircraft noise, a problem that authorities have attempted to respond to by rearranging aircraft flight paths.

Awareness of air pollution is promoted by the publication of pollution levels daily in the newspaper as part of the weather report. Increased use of public transportation has helped reduce emission levels.

In 1995 the City of Sydney announced its goal of reducing waste 60 percent by 2000 through the Waste Minimization and Management Act. The government encourages citizens to avoid waste wherever possible, reuse items, and recycle. Commercial waste services provided to the city's businesses include seven-day-a-week collection, glass and paper recycling, bulk waste removal, and varied container sizes.

Preparation for the 2000 Olympic Games included several environmental measures, including a cleanup of the city's beaches and waterways. In addition, all power to the Olympic Village was provided by solar energy.

11. Shopping

The major shopping area in the central city is located between Park and King streets, on George, Castlereagh, and Pitt streets. The heart of this district is the Pitt Street Mall between Market and King streets, a pedestrian mall with chain stores and several arcades. The historic and beautiful Queen Victoria Building on George Street offers four levels of shops, including designer outlets, duty-free shops, and craft and souvenir stores, as well as cafes and restaurants. Shopping in an elegant historic venue is also available at the Strand Arcade, a lovingly restored 1892 structure with shops on three levels. Also located in this district are the Royal, Imperial, and Centrepoint arcades. Located on Castlereagh Street are the Skygarden, which features both stores and art galleries on seven levels; the upscale Chifley Plaza; Piccadilly; the exclusive MLC Centre; and Sydney's premier department store, David Jones'.

The two other main shopping areas in central area are the Rocks, a historic harbor-front district to the north, where the largest retail complex is the Argyle Centre, and at the western end of the city, the Darling Harbour Area where the Harbourside complex offers some 200 shops. Also located in this area is Chinatown, whose retailers stock clothing, housewares, and ethnic foods. In North Sydney the largest shopping complex is Greenwood Plaza.

Additional shopping is available at Sydney's colorful markets. Some of the best flea markets are located in the eastern suburbs of Paddington, Woollahra, and Surry Hills. The most famous and eclectic is the Paddington Bazaar, which actually operates at two locations. The Balmain Market also provides great variety, together with the local color of this historic district.

Aboriginal art, although largely produced in other parts of Australia, is available in several of Sydney's shops and galleries.

12. Education

Public education in Sydney, as elsewhere in Australia, is managed and mostly funded at the state level, with the federal government also providing some funding. Primary and secondary education is compulsory, with students required to attend school between the ages of six and 15. Students may attend either public or private (mostly Roman Catholic) schools.

The Sydney metropolitan area is home to three universities: the University of Sydney (founded in 1850), Australia's oldest university and an internationally respected teaching and research institution; the University of New South Wales, which enrolls over 32,000 students in its 75 schools; and Macquarie University.

13. Health Care

Like other parts of Australia, Sydney has excellent medical care and facilities, and universal health care for all its residents. Sydney's public hospitals are New Children's Hospital, Prince Henry Hospital, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Royal North Shore Hospital, St. Vincent's Hospital, Sydney Hospital & Sydney Eye Hospital, and Sydney Children's Hospital. There are also six teaching hospitals connected with the medical program at the University of New South Wales.

14. Media

Sydney's oldest and most respected newspaper is the Sydney Morning Herald, which is regarded as one the top newspapers in the country. Established in 1831, it is published six times a week; in 1998 the Herald had a circulation of 266,000 on weekdays and 400,000 on Saturday. The Herald publishes detailed entertainment guides every Friday and Saturday. Sydney's other daily newspaper is the Daily Telegraph Mirror, a tabloid publication also published six days a week, with 1998 circulation figures of 442,980 weekdays and 331,666 Saturdays. The Australian Financial Review (circulation 78,000) , published daily five days a week, is a national newspaper and Australia's most authoritative source for business news. Also published in Sydney is the national conservative daily, the Australian. Sydney also has another business newspaper, the Daily Commercial News. A number of weekly newspapers serve Sydney's varied ethnic communities, and the free weekly On the Street offers popular music listings. The national news magazine the Bulletin is also published in Sydney.

Sydney has five television channels, two of which are noncommercial and government funded. Among Sydney's more than 20 radio stations are regular and youth-oriented public broadcasting stations, a classical music station, an Aboriginal station, and a multilingual station.

15. Sports

The most popular spectator sport in Sydney is one of the four types of rugby: rugby league. Major matches, including the Optus Cup championship games, are held at the Sydney Football Stadium. Also played in Sydney is the unique football game known as Australian ("Aussie") Rules, for which the city fields the Sydney Swans, the only team in New South Wales. Another favorite is the summertime sport of cricket, played at the Sydney Cricket Ground at Moore Park. Other spectator sports include tennis, for which the major tournament is the New South Wales Open, professional golf, horse racing, greyhound racing, and boat races in the harbor.

In 1999, Sydney prepared to host the biggest sporting and cultural event in its historythe XXVII Olympiad. The Olympic Games placed Sydney in the spotlight before some 3.5 billion television viewers worldwide, plus as many as half a million guests from elsewhere in Australia and around the world. The Olympiad was followed on October 18 by the Paralympic Games for athletes with disabilities.

16. Parks and Recreation

The steel and concrete of Sydney's urban landscape are relieved by a number of city parks. Three contiguous parks are located in the eastern part of the Central Business District: the Royal Botanic Gardens, established in 1816 and covering 30 hectares (74 acres), mark the site of Sydney's first farm. They include a rose garden, a lake, tropical greenhouses with an extensive collection of plants from the South Pacific, a bat colony, and a cactus garden. To the south lies a large park known as the Domain, which serves as a popular setting for picnics, lunch breaks, public speakers of all kinds, and a variety of free events. Further south, and bisected by Park Street, is Hyde Park, which includes formal gardens, fountains, and walkways, and is also a popular lunch-time spot for urban workers. Smaller parks in the central city include Wynyard Park, Lang Park, First Fleet Park, and Observatory Park.

South and east of the Central Business District, Centennial Park in Paddington is Sydney's largest park, at 220 hectares (544 acres). In addition to picnicking and swimming in its lake, visitors can take advantage of both bicycling and bridle paths or rent inline skates. Adjacent Moore Park, bordering Surry Hills, has walking and bicycling trails, a golf course, and playing fields. It is also the location of the Sydney Cricket Ground and Sydney Football Stadium. The most recent addition to Moore Park is Fox Studios' Bent Street entertainment complex, which gives visitors a behind-the-scenes look at movie and television production, including movie props and other memorabilia, special effects, and animation.

Sydney Olympic Park was in the suburb of Homebush Bay, located 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) west of the central city, built for the 2000 Olympic Games. The park encompassed Sydney International Athletic Centre, Sydney International Aquatic Centre, as well as the Leisure Garden featuring a variety of natural habitats. In addition to its own urban and suburban parks, Sydney is ringed by national parks. The Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park is located to the north, and the Royal National Park is situated to the south. To the west is the Blue Mountain National Park, and even more parks ring the region further away.

Sydney's waterfront location makes it a paradise for water sports. Residents and visitors can enjoy canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, sailing, scuba diving, surfing, and swimming at any of more than 30 beaches. Other popular outdoor activities include bicycling, golf, horseback riding, walking and jogging, rock climbing, squash, and tennis. A unique recreational sport launched in 1998 is climbing the 503-meter-long (1,650-foot-long) arch of the Harbour Bridge. Climbers sign a release form and undergo an orientation session before beginning the two-hour trek. The summit of the bridge affords a panoramic view of the harbor.

17. Performing Arts

The Sydney Opera House, an architectural landmark completed in 1973 after 14 years of construction, is the city's performing arts headquarters, encompassing an opera theater, concert hall, and playhouse. The complex consists of three interconnected sections that cover 1.8 hectares (4.4 acres) and can seat more than 5,100 people altogether. It provides a performance venue for the Australian Opera, the Australian Ballet, the Sydney Opera House Drama Theatre, the Sydney Philharmonia Choir, Musica Viva Australia, and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra gives more than 140 concerts a year (many at Town Hall on George Street). In addition to concerts by the Symphony Orchestra, Musica Viva, and the Philharmonia Choir, classical music can also be heard regularly at the Conservatorium of Music and at Sydney's universities.

The Australian Ballet, which has an international reputation, presents four concerts a year at the Sydney Opera House and tours throughout Australia. The Sydney Dance Company (SDC) is Australia's premier modern dance troupe, performing at both Pier Four and the Opera House.

The Sydney Theatre Company performs both plays from the standard repertory and works by Australian authors. Beside the Opera House, Sydney's other major theater venues are Her Majesty's Theatre, the Seymour Theatre Centre, Theatre Royal MLC Centre, and Wharf Theatre Pier 4. Smaller theaters around town offer experimental theater. Aboriginal dance is performed by Bangarra Dance Company, the Aboriginal Dance Theatre, the Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre, Gavala, and other groups.

Sydney also has a thriving jazz scene, based at clubs such as Kinselas, the Basement, and the Harbourside Brasserie.

18. Libraries and Museums

The City of Sydney Library, founded in 1826, has three branches: the newly renovated Town Hall branch, Haymarket, and Ultimo. A total of over 250,000 items are found in the library's catalogue. The three branches are used by an average of 3,000 people a day, and between 50,000 and 60,000 items are borrowed every month. The Jessie Street National Women's Library focuses on promoting awareness of the cultural heritage of Australian women by collecting and preserving documents relating to the lives and experience of women from all ethnic and racial backgrounds, highlighting their contribution to Australian history, and providing information on current resources for women.

The Australian Museum houses the country's largest natural history collection. It includes a gallery devoted to Aboriginal history. The Art Gallery of New South Wales, at the edge of the Domain park in the central city, has permanent European, Japanese, and Australian collections and temporary exhibits. The Museum of Contemporary Art, fronting the Circular Quay, is noted for its collection of modern art, and the Museum of Sydney, near Macquarie Place, focuses on all aspects of the city's early history. Sydney's other museums and galleries include the Justice & Police Museum, Artspace, the Australian Centre for Photography, Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative, The Cartoon Gallery, and Coo-ee Aboriginal Art Gallery.

19. Tourism

As the principal arrival point for visitors to Australia, Sydney has become a major tourist center, with numerous hotels, motels, and restaurants. During the Australian bicentennial in 1988, an estimated one million visitors joined the city's harbor-front festivities.

20. Holidays and Festivals

Sydney Festival & Carnivale
Great Ferry Boat Race
Survival Festival

Chinese New Year

Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras
Hunter Vintage Walkabout

Golden Slipper

Royal Easter Show

Sydney Cup

Sydney Film Festival
Sydney Biennale


City to Surf Run

Royal Botanic Gardens Spring Festival
Festival of the Winds
Taylor Square Art Festival
Rugby League Grand Final

Manly Jazz Festival

Kings Cross Carnival

Christmas Party
Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
New Years Eve Fireworks

21. Famous Citizens

Lachlan Macquarie (17621824), governor.

Convict-turned-designer Francis Green-away (17771837), Sydney's first architect.

Authors Thomas Keneally (b. 1935), Peter Carey (b. 1943), and Patrick White (191290).

Playwright David Williamson (b. 1942).

Artists Sidney Nolan (b. 1917), Arthur Boyd (b. 1920), and Brett Whiteley (193992).

Film director Peter Weir (b. 1944).

Novelist Colleen McCullough (b. 1937).

22. For Further Study


City of Sydney. [Online] Available (accessed December 27, 1999).

Excite Travel. [Online] Available (accessed December 27, 1999).

Official Site of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. [Online] Available http://www.olym/sydney/virtual_sydney/sydney.html (accessed December 27, 1999).

Government Offices

Governor, New South Wales
Level 3, Chief Secretary's Building
121 Macquarie Street
Sydney, NSW 2000

Tourist and Convention Bureaus

Australian Tourist Commission
Level 4, 80 William St.
Woolloomooloo, Sydney
NSW 2011

NSW Travel Centre
19 Castlereagh Street
Sydney, Australia

Sydney Visitors Information Centre
106 George St.
Sydney, Australia


The Australian
Level 19 Darling Park
201 Sussex S, 2001

Daily Telegraph Mirror
2 Holt St.
Surry Hills, 2010

The Sydney Morning Herald
Level 19 Darling Park
201 Sussex S, 2001


Clark, Manning. A Short History of Australia. New York: NAL Penguin, 1987.

Drew, Philip. Sydney Opera House: Jorn Utzon. London: Phaidon Press, 1995.

Hughes, Robert. The Fatal Shore. New York: Knopf, 1986.

Kirkpatrick, Peter. The Sea Coast of Bohemia: Literary Life in Sydney's Roaring Twenties. St. Lucia, Queensland: University of Queensland, 1992.

Lindsay, Jack. The Roaring Twenties: Literary Life in Sydney, New South Wales in the Years 19216. London: Bodley Head, 1960.

Matthews, Anne. Sydney and New South Wales. Passport Books. Lincolnwood, IL: NTC Publishing Group, 1993.

McHugh, Evan. Sydney. The National Geographic Traveler. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society, 1999.

Morris, Jan. Sydney. New York: Random House, 1995.

Polin, Zena L., and Stephen G. Gatward. The Other Side of Sydney: An Independent Traveler's Guide to Wonderful Australia's Largest City. Saint Paul, MN: Marlor Press, 1996.

Spindler, Graham. Uncovering Sydney: Walks into Sydney's Unexpected and Endangered Places. Kenthurst, Australia: Kangaroo Press, 1991.


Sydney [videorecording]. Hosted by Al Roker. Thirteen/WNET production by Engel Brothers Media Inc. MPI Home Video, 1997. Copyright held by Educational Broadcasting Corporation. 1 videocassette (ca. 58 min.): sd., col.; 1/2 in.


views updated May 23 2018


SYDNEY , capital of New South Wales, *Australia. Founded in 1788 as a British penal settlement, it was the cradle of Australian Jewry. Several Jews were sent there from England as convicts in the first transport and others subsequently. After release they played their part, at times under conditions of great hardship, in the colonization of the country. Some of them prospered and became leading citizens. When in 1817 a Jew died in Sydney there was no Jewish cemetery, but a religious service was held and a ḥevra kaddisha formed. P.J. Cohen may be considered the founder of the religious community. He carried the chief rabbi's authority to perform marriages, one of the first being that of Samuel Cohen, founder of a family prominent in both Jewish and general affairs for three generations. When the first congregation was organized in 1832, Joseph Barrow Montefiore – a cousin of Sir Moses *Montefiore – who played a pioneering role also in Melbourne, Adelaide, and New Zealand, was elected president. Services were held in private homes and hotels which were often owned by Jews; in 1837 a house was hired and converted into a synagogue. Soon the congregation was again homeless, until in 1844, when the Jews in New South Wales numbered about 900, the Sydney Synagogue, the first to be specifically built as such, was opened. The Great Synagogue, still in existence, was opened in 1878, when some 3,000 Jews lived in the state.

In the 1850s there was an influx of Jews to New South Wales, still mainly from England but including a number from Germany. Many first settled in the rural areas, often to keep the local store, and in 1861 only 61% of the Jews in New South Wales lived in the metropolis; a century later, however, only 4% lived outside Sydney. The obstacles to religious life were formidable: lack of ministers, difficulty in maintaining observance, and scarcity of women; intermarriage was thus the gravest danger. A.B. Davis served as minister at the Great Synagogue from 1862 to 1905, and Rabbi F.L. Cohen, author of a standard work on synagogal music, from 1905 to 1934. Immigration from 1933 on did much to change the pattern of the community, in which Western European and British immigrants predominated. In 1933 Sydney had four congregations, all Orthodox, and in 1970, 17 Orthodox and two liberal congregations; the bet din was under the chairmanship of Rabbi I. Porush. The Rabbi L.A. Falk Library at the Great Synagogue with its 7,000 volumes is the largest Judaica library in Australia.

[Israel Porush]

From the 1930s until the late 1950s Sydney experienced the same patterns of growth as did *Melbourne and other centers of Jewish life in Australia, but with significant differences. More Holocaust refugees and survivors came to Melbourne than Sydney, and, during the second half of the 20th century, Melbourne was clearly the leading Jewish community in Australia, with Sydney a close but perceptible second. Victoria (Melbourne) overtook New South Wales (Sydney) in population around 1939. By 1961, 23,106 declared Jews by religion lived in Sydney, according to the Australian census, compared with about 28,000 in Melbourne. In recent years this gap has remained. In 1996 there were 31,450 declared Jews in Sydney compared with 35,383 in Melbourne, and, in 2001, 32,941 in Sydney and 37,779 in Melbourne. The sources of immigration to the two centers of Jewish life also differed, with Melbourne taking in many more Polish Holocaust survivors and Sydney more Hungarians (following the 1956 Revolution) and also more British emigrées for normal professional reasons. The Jewish presence is also more marked in Melbourne than in Sydney. Sydney has a larger population than Melbourne, 4.2 million compared with 3.5 million, while Melbourne has a much larger, highly visible strictly Orthodox community. Although there are recognizable Jewish neighborhoods in Sydney, Melbourne's community is clearly centered in the Caulfield–East St. Kilda area, while Sydney's is dispersed in two geographically distinct areas, the Eastern suburbs (Bondi–Vaucluse–Rose Bay) south of Sydney harbor, and areas of the North Shore such as St. Ives and Bellevue Hill north of the harbor. Of the 17 postal districts in Australia with more than 1,000 declared Jews in 2001, seven were in Sydney and nine in Melbourne. Sydney's Eastern suburbs were home to nearly 13,000 declared Jews.

In recent years the cultural and political ambiance of the two communities also differed, with Sydney's Jewish community more moderate and conciliatory in its dealings with the government, Melbourne's more forthright and even militant. Sydney itself has also differed socially from Melbourne, the former a cosmopolitan harbor and metropolis well-known for its hedonism, the latter more conservative and containing a larger ideological left. As well, Judaism in Sydney has also been more moderate and centrist than in Melbourne, with stronger Anglo-Orthodox synagogues and, until recently, a weaker strict Orthodoxy.

Because of these factors, full-time Jewish day schools were founded later in Sydney than in Melbourne, and, until the 1980s, attracted smaller enrollments. Sydney had six full-time Jewish day schools: Moriah College (Orthodox), Yeshivah and Yeshivah Girls' High School (Lubavitcher), Masada (Orthodox) on the North Shore, Mount Sinai (Orthodox, in Sydney's southeast), and Emanuel (Liberal). Enrollments totaled nearly 4,000. In general, the evolution of Sydney in the postwar period may be seen as a process of "catching up" to Melbourne, an evolution reflected in increasing Jewish day school numbers in Sydney. It has also been reflected in the growth of Sydney's synagogues, which increased from around ten in 1960 to 25 in the mid-1990s and 33 by 2005. Of today's 33 synagogues in Sydney, 18 are mainstream Orthodox, nine strict Orthodox/Lubavitcher (including Chabad houses), four Sephardi, and two Liberal. Recent notable rabbis in Sydney include Israel *Porush and Raymond *Apple of the Great Synagogue in central Sydney, Brian Fox of Temple Emanuel, and Selwyn Franklyn of the Central Synagogue.

The representative body of the Jewish community in Sydney is the New South Wales Board of Deputies. Half of its members are selected by member bodies and half by a community-wide poll. Sydney has its own edition of the Australian Jewish newspaper, The Australian Jewish News, and there are Jewish community broadcasting slots on public radio. There is a well-presented Sydney Jewish Museum, opened in 1992, at 148 Darlinghurst Road, with exhibits on the Holocaust and on Australian Jewish history. The historic Great Synagogue, at 166 Castlereagh Street, offers guided tours to visitors.

[William D. Rubinstein (2nd ed.)]

add. bibliography:

S.D. Rutland, Edge of the Diaspora: Two Centuries of Jewish Development in Australia (1998; rev. ed. 2001); H.L. Rubinstein and W.D. Rubinstein, Jews in Australia; S.D. Rutland and S. Caplan, With One Voice: A History of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies (1998); S. Encel and B. Buckley (eds.), The New South Wales Jewish Community: A Survey (1978); S.D. Rutland, Pages of History: A Century of the Australian Jewish Press (1995); idem., If You Will It, It is No dream: The Moriah Story, 19432003 (2003); I. Porush, The House of Israel: A Study of Sydney Jewry… (1977); L. Cohen, Beginning with Esther: Jewish Women in New South Wales from 1788 (1987); A. Andgel, Fifty Years of Caring: A History of the Australian Jewish Welfare Society, 19381986 (1988); G.B. Levey and P. Mendes (eds.), Jews and Australian Politics (2005).


views updated May 17 2018


Sydney is the oldest and most populous city in Australia. Established in 1788, when the Industrial Revolution was in full swing in Great Britain, Sydney became the link between a large and prosperous primary producing region and the ships that sent cargoes of raw materials and food to hungry British markets. Sydney's location—on rocky terrain with deep harbor frontages—was both a drawback and a blessing. Unlike its rival Melbourne, Sydney was founded as a convict settlement and was never intended to become a major commercial town. The town site, adjoining the harbor at Sydney Cove (where a stream supplied fresh water), provided little flat land, and the town's layout and expansion was largely unplanned. In the first half of the nineteenth century the profitable export of wool to English textile mills kept Sydney's wharves and warehouses busy, and in the second half of the century the New South Wales parliament built a network of railways, centered on Sydney, that opened up the rural hinterland further.

By 1901 Sydney had regained the title of Australia's largest city that it had lost to Melbourne during the gold rushes of the 1850s. With close to half a million inhabitants, the city was a substantial source of demand in its own right. Manufacturing of items such as clothing, food and drink, building materials, and farm machinery was the major source of employment, but this was for local consumption, and primary products remained the major source of export income. Sydney was growing fast, but its earlier unplanned growth was beginning to create problems: the public transport system was inefficient, working-class housing areas were rundown and overcrowded, drinking water was in short supply and of poor quality, and raw sewage flooded low-lying areas and drained into Sydney Harbour. An outbreak of bubonic plague that killed 103 people in 1900 drew attention to the unhealthy living conditions in the Rocks, Sydney's major dockside district.

Sydney's continuing growth in the twentieth century was made possible by infrastructure improvements financed largely by the state government, and by federal tariff and immigration policies that stimulated the growth of manufacturing. Before World War I the tramway and suburban railway system was electrified, and from 1926 an underground rail loop took commuters into the heart of the city. The iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, opened in 1932, stimulated suburban development north of the harbor. Corporations sought economies of scale by locating in Sydney, and the availability of cheap land saw new factories open up at the edge of the metropolitan area. Population growth after World War II created a shortage of affordable housing, mounting traffic congestion and demands for the construction of new roads, and battles between developers and those who wished to conserve the urban environment.

At the end of the twentieth century Sydney was a sprawling metropolis with a population of over 4 million. Its economy reflected the increasingly globalized and deregulated nature of the Australian economy. Corporate headquarters and other office buildings jostled for a view of the harbor, and Sydney's trade had become more diversified, with exports of resources (such as coal and iron ore) and services (notably tourism) reducing its traditional reliance on exports of wool. Sydney is now a supplier to the world, with important trade links to Asia and North America.

SEE ALSO Agriculture; Australia and New Zealand; Banking; Cargoes, Freight; Cargoes, Passenger; Chambers of Commerce; Containerization; Empire, British; Free Ports; Harbors;Port Cities.


Fitzgerald, Shirley. Rising Damp: Sydney, 1870–90. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1987.

Fitzgerald, Shirley. Sydney, 1842–1992. Sydney: Hale and Iremonger, 1992.

Karskens, Grace. Inside the Rocks: The Archaeology of a Neighbourhood. Sydney: Hale and Iremonger, 1999.

Spearritt, Peter. Sydney's Century: A History. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 1999.

Lionel Frost


views updated May 29 2018

Sydney State capital of New South Wales, se Australia, on Port Jackson, an inlet on the Pacific Ocean. Sydney is Australia's oldest and largest city, and its most important financial, industrial and cultural centre, and principal port. The city was founded (1788) on a natural harbour as the first British penal colony in Australia. Industries: shipbuilding, textiles, motor vehicles, oil refining, building materials, chemicals, brewing, tourism, clothing, paper, electronics. In 2000, Sydney hosted the Summer Olympic Games. Pop. (1999 est.) 4,041,400.


views updated Jun 27 2018

Sydney Sydney Opera House a striking building at Sydney harbour the roof of which is composed of huge white shapes resembling sails or shells. Designed by the Danish architect Jørn Utzon (1918– ), it was opened in 1973.
Sydney or the bush Australian expression meaning all or nothing; originally, it was used in the context of someone who gambled on the prospect of making a fortune which would bring with it an easy urban life; failure meant that work would have to be sought in the outback.