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This article is about the Australian metropolis. For the local government area, see City of Sydney. For other uses, see Sydney (disambiguation).
New South Wales
|Population||4,840,600 (2014) (1st)|
|• Density||380/km2 (980/sq mi) (2013)|
|Established||26 January 1788|
|Area||12,367.7 km2 (4,775.2 sq mi)(GCCSA)|
|Time zone||AEST (UTC+10)|
|• Summer (DST)||AEDT (UTC+11)|
|State electorate(s)||various (49)|
|Federal Division(s)||various (24)|
The Sydney area has been inhabited by indigenous Australians for tens of millennia. The first British settlers arrived in 1788 to found Sydney as a penal colony, the first European settlement in Australia. Since convict transportation ended in the mid-19th century, the city has transformed from a colonial outpost into a major global cultural and economic centre. The population of Sydney at the time of the 2011 census was 4.39 million, 1.5 million of which were born overseas, representing many different nationalities and making Sydney one of the most multicultural cities in the world. There are more than 250 different languages spoken in Sydney and about one-third of residents speak a language other than English at home.
Sydney has an advanced market economy with strengths in finance, manufacturing and tourism. Its gross regional product was $337 billion in 2013, the largest in Australia. There is a significant concentration of foreign banks and multinational corporations in Sydney and the city is promoted as Asia Pacific's leading financial hub. In addition to hosting events such as the 2000 Summer Olympics, millions of tourists come to Sydney each year to see the city's landmarks. Its natural features include Sydney Harbour, the Royal National Park, Bondi Beach, and the Royal Botanic Gardens. Man-made attractions such as the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge are also well known to international visitors.
First inhabitantsThe first people to inhabit the area now known as Sydney were indigenous Australians having migrated from northern Australia and before that from south east Asia. Radiocarbon dating suggests human activity occurred in and around Sydney for at least 30,000 years. The earliest British settlers called them Eora people. "Eora" is the term the indigenous population used to explain their origins upon first contact with the British. Its literal meaning is "from this place". Prior to the arrival of the British there were 4,000 to 8,000 native people in Sydney from as many as 29 different clans. Sydney Cove from Port Jackson to Petersham was inhabited by the Cadigal clan. The principal language groups were Darug, Guringai, and Dharawal. The earliest Europeans to visit the area noted that the indigenous people were conducting activities such as camping and fishing, using trees for bark and food, collecting shells, and cooking fish.
Development has destroyed much of the city's history including that of the first inhabitants. There continues to be examples of rock art and engravings located in the protected Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. The first meeting between the native people and the British occurred on 29 April 1770 when Lieutenant James Cook landed at Botany Bay on the Kurnell Peninsula and encountered the Gweagal clan. He noted in his journal that they were confused and somewhat hostile towards the foreign visitors. Cook was on a mission of exploration and was not commissioned to start a settlement. He spent a short time collecting food and conducting scientific observations before continuing further north along the east coast of Australia and claiming the new land he had discovered for Britain.
Establishment of the Colony
Macquarie did make the most of less than ideal circumstances. His first task was to restore order after the Rum Rebellion of 1808 against the previous Governor. Conditions in the colony were not conducive to the development of a thriving new metropolis, but the more regular arrival of ships and the beginnings of maritime trade (such as wool) helped to lessen the burden of isolation. Macquarie undertook an extensive building programme of some 265 separate works. Roads, bridges, wharves, and public buildings were constructed using convict labour and come 1822 the town had banks, markets, and well-established thoroughfares. Part of Macquarie's effort to transform the colony was his authorisation for convicts to re-enter society as free citizens.
Modern developmentThe year 1850 was the final year of convict transportation to Sydney, which by this time had a population of 35,000. The municipal council of Sydney was incorporated in 1842 and became Australia's first city. Gold was discovered in the colony in 1851 and with it came thousands of people seeking a to make money. Sydney's population reached 200,000 by 1871.
Following the depression of the 1890s, the six colonies agreed to form a federated nation of The Commonwealth of Australia. Under the reign of Queen Victoria federation of the six colonies occurred on 1 January 1901. Sydney, with a population of 481,000, then became the state capital of New South Wales. The Great Depression of the 1930s had a severe effect on Sydney's economy, as it did with most cities throughout the industrial world. For much of the 1930s up to one in three breadwinners was unemployed. Construction of the Harbour Bridge served to alleviate some of the effects of the economic downturn by employing 1,400 men between 1924 and 1932. The population continued to boom despite the Depression and reached 1 million in 1925.
Following the end of the war the city continued to expand. There were 1.7 million people living in Sydney at 1950 and almost 3 million by 1975. The people of Sydney warmly welcomed Queen Elizabeth II in 1954 when the a reigning monarch stepped onto Australian soil for the first time to commence her Australian Royal Tour. Having arrived on the Royal Yacht Britannia through Sydney Heads, Her Majesty came ashore at Farm Cove. Sydney's iconic Opera House was opened in 1973 by Her Majesty. The Opera House became a World Heritage Site in 2007. The 2000 Summer Olympics were held in Sydney and became known as the "best Olympic Games ever" by the President of the International Olympic Committee. A strong rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne that began in the 1850s still exists to this day. Sydney exceeded Melbourne's population in the early twentieth century and remains Australia's largest city.
Main article: Geography of Sydney
Sydney spans two geographic regions. The Cumberland Plain lies to the south and west of the Harbour and is relatively flat. The Hornsby Plateau is located to the north and is dissected by steep valleys. The flat areas of the south were the first to be developed as the city grew. It was not until the construction of the Harbour Bridge that the northern reaches of the coast became more heavily populated. 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.
Main article: Sydney BasinSydney is made up of mostly Triassic rock with some recent igneous dykes and volcanic necks. The Sydney Basin was formed when the Earth's crust expanded, subsided, and filled with sediment in the early Triassic period. Almost all of the exposed rocks around Sydney are sandstone that is some 200 metres (656 feet) thick and has shale lenses and fossil riverbeds dotted throughout. The sand that was to become this sandstone was washed from Broken Hill and laid down about 200 million years ago. The Basin's sedimentary rocks have been subject to uplift with gentle folding and minor faulting during the formation of the Great Dividing Range. Erosion by coastal streams has created a landscape of deep gorges and remnant plateaus. The Sydney Basin bioregion includes coastal features of cliffs, beaches, and estuaries.
Further information: Climate of Sydney
In winter, temperatures rarely drop below 5 °C (41 °F) in coastal areas. The coldest month is July, with an average range of 8.7–17.4 °C (47.7–63.3 °F). Rainfall is fairly evenly spread through the year, but is slightly higher during the first half of the year. The average annual rainfall, with moderate to low variability, is 1,213.8 mm (47.79 in), with rain falling on an average of 134.7 days a year. Snowfall was last reported in the Sydney City area in 1836, while a fall of graupel, or soft hail, mistaken by many for snow, in July 2008, has raised the possibility that the 1836 event was not snow, either. Extreme temperatures have ranged from 45.8 °C (114.4 °F) on 18 January 2013 to 2.1 °C (35.8 °F) on 22 June 1932, the lowest recorded minimum at Observatory Hill. At the Sydney Airport station, extremes have ranged from 46.4 to −0.1 °C (115.5 to 31.8 °F).
The city is rarely affected by cyclones, although remnants of ex-cyclones do affect the city. The El Niño–Southern Oscillation plays 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. Many areas of the city bordering bushland have experienced bushfires, these tend to occur during the spring and summer. The city is also prone to severe hail storms and wind storms. One such storm was the 1999 hailstorm, which severely damaged Sydney's eastern and city suburbs. The storm produced massive hailstones of at least 9 cm (3.5 in) in diameter and resulting in insurance losses of around A$1.7 billion in less than five hours.
The Bureau of Meteorology has reported that 2002 through 2005 were the warmest summers in Sydney since records began in 1859. The summer of 2007–2008, however, proved to be one of the coolest summers on record. Warmer and drier conditions came back in 2009 and 2010, when above-average temperatures were recorded. In 2009, the dry conditions brought a severe dust storm towards eastern Australia. In 2011, above-average rainfall was recorded.
On 18 January 2013, Sydney experienced record-breaking temperatures with 45.8 °C (114 °F) recorded at Observatory Hill, and a temperature of 46.4 °C (116 °F) recorded at the airport. The highest minimum temperature recorded at Observatory Hill is 27.6 °C (82 °F), in February 2011 while the lowest maximum temperature is 7.7 °C (46 °F), recorded in July 1868.
The average annual temperature of the sea is above 21 °C (70 °F), and the monthly average ranges from 18 °C (64 °F) in July to 24 °C (75 °F) in January.