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Sydney from Darling Harbour
Coat of arms of Sydney
Welcome to the
Sydney Portal
Coat of arms of Sydney
Welcome to the
Sydney Portal


Sydney (/ˈsɪdni/ (About this sound listen)) is the state capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Located on Australia's east coast, the metropolis surrounds Port Jackson and sprawls about 70 km (43.5 mi) on its periphery towards the Blue Mountains to the west, Hawkesbury to the north, and Macarthur to the south. Sydney is made up of 658 suburbs, 40 local government areas and 15 contiguous regions. Residents of the city are known as "Sydneysiders". As of June 2017, Sydney's estimated population was 5,131,326.

The Sydney area has been inhabited by indigenous Australians for at least 30,000 years. Lieutenant James Cook first landed at Kurnell in 1770, when navigating his way up the east coast of Australia on his ship, HMS Endeavour. It was not until 1788 when the First Fleet, which contained convicts and was led by Captain Arthur Phillip, arrived in Botany Bay to found Sydney as a penal colony, the first European settlement in Australia. Phillip named the city "Sydney" in recognition of Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney, Home Secretary in 1788. The Sydney region is one of the richest in Australia in terms of Aboriginal archaeological sites, with significant rock art and engravings located in the protected Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

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 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 to make money. Sydney became one of the most multicultural cities in the world after the mass migration following the second World War. According to the 2011 census, more than 250 different languages were spoken in Sydney and about 40 percent of residents spoke a language other than English at home. Furthermore, 36% of the population reported having been born overseas.

Despite being one of the most expensive cities in the world, the 2018 Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranks Sydney tenth in the world in terms of quality of living, making it one of the most livable cities. It is classified as an Alpha World City by Globalization and World Cities Research Network, indicating its influence in the region and throughout the world. Ranked eleventh in the world for economic opportunity, Sydney has an advanced market economy with strengths in finance, manufacturing and tourism. There is a significant concentration of foreign banks and multinational corporations in Sydney and the city is promoted as one of Asia Pacific's leading financial hubs. Established in 1850, the University of Sydney is Australia's first university and is regarded as one of the world's leading universities. Sydney is also home to the oldest library in Australia, State Library of New South Wales, opened in 1826. The city was the birthplace of Australia's first skyscraper, in 1967.

Sydney has hosted international multi-sport events such as the 1938 British Empire Games and 2000 Summer Olympics. The city is amongst the top fifteen most-visited cities in the world, with millions of tourists coming each year to see the city's landmarks. Boasting over 1,000,000 ha (2,500,000 acres) of nature reserves and parks, its notable natural features include Sydney Harbour, the Royal National Park and the Royal Botanic Garden. Built attractions such as Sydney Tower, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House (which became a World Heritage Site in 2007) are also well known to international visitors. The main passenger airport serving the metropolitan area is Kingsford-Smith Airport, one of the world's oldest continually operating airports. Opened in 1906, Central station is the main hub of the city's rail network. Read more...

In the news

21 April 2018 – Terrorism in Australia
Police in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, charge a man with several crimes under the Terrorism High Risk Offenders Act. (The Guardian)
15 April 2018 – 2017–18 Australian bushfire season
A state of emergency is declared in New South Wales, Australia, as a bushfire continues to burn out of control. More than 500 personnel from the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, Fire and Rescue NSW and the Australian Defence Force are tackling the bushfire, which has torn through the Holsworthy Barracks and threatens the suburbs of Sydney. (The Guardian)


Selected article

A boat at Rose Bay in water which is being churned by the hailstones.

The 1947 Sydney hailstorm was a natural disaster which struck Sydney, Australia, on 1 January 1947. The storm cell developed on the morning of New Year's Day, a public holiday in Australia, over the Blue Mountains, hitting the city and dissipating east of Bondi in the mid-afternoon. At the time, it was the most severe storm to strike the city since recorded observations began in 1792.

The high humidity, temperatures and weather patterns of Sydney increased the strength of the storm. The cost of damages from the storm were, at the time, approximately GB£750,000 (US$3 million); this is the equivalent of around A$45 million in modern figures. The supercell dropped hailstones larger than 8 centimetres (3.1 in) in diameter, with the most significant damage occurring in the central business district and eastern suburbs of Sydney.

The event caused around 1000 injuries, with between 200 and 350 people requiring hospitalisation or other medical attention, predominantly caused by broken glass shards. The majority of severe injuries reported were suffered by people on Sydney's beaches, where many were without shelter. The size of the hailstones were the largest seen in Sydney for 52 years, until the 1999 Sydney hailstorm caused A$1.7 billion in insured damage in becoming the costliest natural disaster in Australian history. Read more...

Selected biography

Edmund Thomas Blacket (25 August 1817 – 9 February 1883) was an Australian architect, best known for his designs for the University of Sydney, St. Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney and St. Saviour's Cathedral, Goulburn.

Arriving in Sydney from England in 1842, at a time when the city was rapidly expanding and new suburbs and towns were being established, Blacket was to become a pioneer of the revival styles of architecture, in particular Victorian Gothic. He was the most favoured architect of the Church of England in New South Wales for much of his career, and between late 1849 and 1854 was the official "Colonial Architect to New South Wales".

While Blacket is famous for his churches, and is sometimes referred to as "The Wren of Sydney", (ironically enough, Blacket is Wren's third cousin seven times removed) he also built houses, ranging from small cottages to multi-storey terraces and large mansions; government buildings; bridges; and business premises of all sorts. Blacket's architectural practice was highly influential in the development of Australian architecture. He worked with a number of other architects of both Australian and international importance: James Barnet, William Wardell and John Horbury Hunt. Among his children, Arthur, Owen and Cyril followed him into the profession. The successful architect William Kemp also trained in his practice.

Edmund Blacket is regarded by descendants of the Blackettc family as "a man of the strictest probity with a great love for his profession, who also studied the classics, and was considered the leading authority on Classical Greek in Sydney, loved music, playing the organ at the temporary wooden pro-Cathedral, was a competent wood-carver and an amateur mechanical engineer". Read more...


Sydney Harbour and central business district

Eastern Suburbs

Inner West

Western Sydney

Did you know?

Flying Duck Orchid, a flower that resembles a duck in flight


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