Sydney facts for kids
New South Wales
Map of the Sydney metropolitan area
|Population||4,921,000 (2015) (1st)|
|• Density||400/km2 (1,000/sq mi) (2015)|
|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)|
Sydney // 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 the world's largest natural harbour, and sprawls towards the Blue Mountains to the west. Residents of Sydney are known as "Sydneysiders". Sydney is the second official seat and second official residence of the Governor-General of Australia and the Prime Minister of Australia and many federal ministries maintain substantial presences in Sydney.
The Sydney area has been inhabited by indigenous Australians for at least 30,000 years. The first British settlers, led by Captain Arthur Phillip, 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. As at June 2015 Sydney's estimated population was 4.92 million. In the 2011 census, 34 percent of the population reported having been 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.
Despite being one of the most expensive cities in the world, the 2014 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 the 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. 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 one of Asia Pacific's leading financial hubs.
In addition to hosting events such as the 2000 Summer Olympics, Sydney is amongst the top fifteen most-visited cities in the world, with millions of tourists coming each year to see the city's landmarks. Its natural features include Sydney Harbour, the Royal National Park, and the Royal Botanic Garden. Man-made attractions such as the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Tower and the Sydney Harbour Bridge are also well known to international visitors.
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The first people to inhabit the area now known as Sydney were indigenous Australians having migrated from northern Australia and before that from southeast Asia. Radiocarbon dating suggests human activity first started to occur in the Sydney area from around 30,735 years ago. However, numerous Aboriginal stone tools were found in Western Sydney's gravel sediments that were dated from 45,000 to 50,000 years BP, which would indicate that there was human settlement in Sydney earlier than thought.
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
Britain—before that, England—and Ireland had for a long time been sending their convicts across the Atlantic to the American colonies. That trade was ended with the Declaration of Independence by the United States in 1776. Overrun with prisoners, Britain decided in 1786 to found a new penal outpost in the territory discovered by Cook some 16 years earlier.
The colony was at first to be titled "New Albion", but Phillip decided on "Sydney" in recognition of The 1st Baron Sydney—later created The 1st Viscount Sydney in 1789—and his role in authorising the establishment of the settlement. Captain Philip led the First Fleet of 11 ships and about 850 convicts into Botany Bay on 18 January 1788, though deemed the location unsuitable due to poor soil and a lack of fresh water. He travelled a short way further north and arrived at Port Jackson on 26 January 1788. This was to be the location for the new colony. Phillip described Sydney Cove as being "without exception the finest harbour in the world". The official proclamation and naming of the colony happened on 7 February 1788.
Between 1788 and 1792 about 4,300 convicts were landed at Sydney. The colony was not founded on the principles of freedom and prosperity. Maps from this time show no prison buildings; the punishment for convicts was transportation rather than incarceration, but serious offences were penalised by flogging and hanging.
Officers and convicts alike faced starvation as supplies ran low and little could be cultivated from the land. The region's indigenous population was also suffering. It is estimated that half of the native people in Sydney died during the smallpox epidemic of 1789. Some mounted violent resistance to the British settlers. Lachlan Macquarie became Governor in 1810.
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.
The year 1840 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 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 Sydney 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.
When Britain declared war on Germany in 1939, Australia too entered. During the war Sydney experienced a surge in industrial development to meet the needs of a wartime economy. Far from mass unemployment, there were now labour shortages and women becoming active in male roles. Sydney's harbour was attacked by the Japanese in May and June 1942 with a direct attack from Japanese submarines with some loss of life. Households throughout the city had built air raid shelters and performed drills.
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.
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. 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. The Opera House became a World Heritage Site in 2007.
Sydney is a coastal basin with the Tasman Sea to the east, the Blue Mountains to the west, the Hawkesbury River to the north, and the Woronora Plateau to the south. The inner city measures 25 square kilometres (10 square miles), the Greater Sydney region covers 12,367 square kilometres (4,775 square miles), and the city's urban area is 1,687 square kilometres (651 square miles) in size.
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 Sydney Harbour Bridge that the northern reaches of the coast became more heavily populated. Seventy beaches can be found along its coastline with Bondi Beach being one of the most famous.
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.
Sydney 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. The sand that was to become the sandstone of today was washed from Broken Hill and laid down about 200 million years ago. The sandstone has shale lenses and fossil riverbeds.
The Sydney Basin bioregion includes coastal features of cliffs, beaches, and estuaries. Deep river valleys known as rias were carved during the Triassic period in the Hawkesbury sandstone of the coastal region where Sydney now lies. The rising sea level between 18,000 and 6,000 years ago flooded the rias to form estuaries and deep harbours. Port Jackson, better known as Sydney Harbour, is one such ria.
The most prevalent plant communities in the Sydney region are Dry Sclerophyll Forests, which consist of eucalyptus trees mainly in an open woodland setting, sclerophyll shrubs (typically wattles and banksias) and a semi-continuous grass in the understory. These plants tend to have rough and spiky leaves, as they're grown in areas with low soil fertility. Wet sclerophyll forests are found in the damp, elevated areas of Sydney, such as in the northeast. They are defined by straight, tall tree canopies with an elaborate, moist understorey of soft-leaved shrubs, tree ferns and herbs.
Under the Köppen–Geiger classification, Sydney has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa) with warm summers, winters and uniform rainfall throughout the year. At Sydney's primary weather station at Observatory Hill, 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; whereas at the Sydney Airport station, extremes have ranged from 46.4 to −0.1 °C (115.5 to 31.8 °F). An average of 14.9 days a year have temperatures at or above 30 °C (86 °F) in the CBD. In contrast, the metropolitan area averages between 35 and 65 days, depending on the suburb. 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 weather is moderated by proximity to the ocean, and more extreme temperatures are recorded in the inland western suburbs. Sydney experiences an urban heat island effect. This makes certain parts of the city more vulnerable to extreme heat. In late spring and summer, temperatures over 35 °C (95 °F) are not uncommon, though hot, dry conditions are usually ended by a southerly buster. This powerful storm brings gale winds and rapid fall in temperature, followed by brief heavy rain and thunder. Due to the inland location, frost is recorded in Western Sydney a few times in winter. Autumn and spring are the transitional seasons, with spring showing a larger temperature variation than autumn.
The rainfall has a moderate to low variability and it is evenly spread through the months, though is slightly higher during the first half of the year. From 1990–1999, Sydney received around 20 thunderstorms per year. In late autumn and winter, east coast lows may bring large amounts of rainfall, especially in the CBD. Depending on the wind direction, summer weather may be humid or dry, with the late summer/autumn period having a higher average humidity and dewpoints than late spring/early summer. In summer, most rain falls from thunderstorms and in winter from cold fronts. 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.
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 storms. One such storm was the 1999 hailstorm, which produced massive hailstones of at least 9 cm (3.5 in) in diameter.
The Bureau of Meteorology has reported that 2002 through 2005 were the warmest summers in Sydney since records began in 1859. The summer of 2007–08, however, proved to be the coolest since 1996–97 and is the only summer this century to be at or below average in temperatures. In 2009, dry conditions brought a severe dust storm towards eastern Australia. 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.
|Climate data for Sydney|
|Record high °C (°F)||45.3
|Average high °C (°F)||25.9
|Average low °C (°F)||18.7
|Record low °C (°F)||10.6
|Rainfall mm (inches)||101.5
|Avg. rainy days (≥ of ANY volume)||12.2||12.4||13.5||12.8||13.2||12.5||11.1||10.5||10.6||11.6||11.6||11.5||143.5|
|Source: Bureau of Meteorology|
|Climate data for Sydney Airport (Eastern Sydney)|
|Record high °C (°F)||46.4
|Average high °C (°F)||26.6
|Average low °C (°F)||18.9
|Record low °C (°F)||9.7
|Rainfall mm (inches)||79.4
|Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2mm)||10.9||12.1||12.1||10.5||11.8||10.3||9.8||8.1||8.3||10.5||11.7||10.7||126.8|
|Source: Bureau of Meteorology (1981–2010 averages, records 1939–)|
Lieutenant William Dawes produced a town plan in 1790 but it was ignored by the colony's leaders. Sydney's layout today reflects this lack of planning. The geographical area covered by urban Sydney is divided into 658 suburbs for addressing and postal purposes and is administered as 40 local government areas. The City of Sydney is responsible for 33 of these suburbs, all of which are located close to the central business district.
There are 15 contiguous regions around Sydney: the CBD, Canterbury-Bankstown, the Eastern Suburbs, the Forest District, Greater Western Sydney, the Hills District, the Inner West, Macarthur, the Northern Beaches, the Northern Suburbs, the North Shore, Southern Sydney, St George, Sutherland Shire, and Western Sydney. The largest commercial centres outside of the CBD are North Sydney and Chatswood in the north, Parramatta to the west, Liverpool and Bankstown in the south-west, Hurstville in the south, and Bondi Junction to the east. There has been accelerating commercial development in Parramatta since the 1950s as firms serving Western Sydney have set up regional offices and recognised the region's significant residential population mass and cheaper rents.
The CBD itself extends about 3 kilometres (1.9 miles) south from Sydney Cove. It is bordered by Farm Cove within the Royal Botanic Garden to the east and Darling Harbour to the west. Suburbs surrounding the CBD include Woolloomooloo and Potts Point to the east, Surry Hills and Darlinghurst to the south, Pyrmont and Ultimo to the west, and Millers Point and The Rocks to the north. Most of these suburbs measure less than 1 square kilometre (0.4 square miles) in area.
Several localities, distinct from suburbs, exist throughout Sydney's inner reaches. Central and Circular Quay are transport hubs with ferry, rail, and bus interchanges. Chinatown, Darling Harbour, and Kings Cross are important locations for culture, tourism, and recreation. The Strand Arcade, which is located between between Pitt Street Mall and George Street, is a historical Victorian-style shopping arcade. Opened on 1 April 1892, its shop fronts are an exact replica of the original internal shopping facades.
There is a long trend of gentrification amongst Sydney's inner suburbs. Pyrmont located on the harbour was redeveloped from a centre of shipping and international trade to an area of high density housing, tourist accommodation, and gambling. Originally located well outside of the city, Darlinghurst is the location of a former gaol, manufacturing, and mixed housing. The terrace style housing has largely been retained and Darlinghurst has undergone significant gentrification since the 1980s.
Green Square is a former industrial area of Waterloo which is undergoing urban renewal worth $8 billion. On the city harbour edge the historic suburb and wharves of Millers Point are being built up as the new area of Barangaroo. The Millers Point/Barangaroo development has significant controversy regardless of the $6 billion worth of economic activity it is generating. The suburb of Paddington is a well known suburb for its streets of restored terrace houses, Victoria Barracks, and shopping including the weekly Oxford Street markets.
The inner western suburbs include Balmain, which was once a working class industrial and mining town but has undergone extensive gentrification, and Ashfield, which has urban density relatively high for Australia. The main shopping strip of the inner-west suburb Newtown, which is centred in King Street, is the longest and most complete commercial precinct of the late Victorian and Federation period in Australia.
Vaucluse in the eastern suburbs is amongst Australia's most affluent addresses. Neighbouring suburb Point Piper contains Wolseley Road, the ninth most expensive street in the world. Coogee and Bondi, both known for tourism and recreation, are also found in the Eastern Suburbs. Bondi Junction, Sydney's fifth largest business district behind the CBD itself, North Sydney, Parramatta and Chatswood, is a largely commercial area which has undergone many changes since the late 20th century.
The Kurnell peninsula, near Botany Bay, is the site of the first landfall on the eastern coastline made by Lt. (later Captain) James Cook in 1770. La Perouse, a historic suburb named after the French navigator Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse (1741–88), is notable for its old military outpost at Bare Island and the Botany Bay National Park. The suburb of Cronulla in southeastern Sydney is close to Royal National Park, Australia's oldest national park. Hurstville, a large suburb with a multitude of commercial buildings and high-rise residential buildings dominating the skyline, has become a central business district for the southern suburbs.
Because 'Northern Suburbs' is not a clearly defined region (although having a clearly differently defined lifestyle and social groups over the north shore region), 'Northern Suburbs' may also include the suburbs in the Upper North Shore, Lower North Shore and even the Northern Beaches.
The Northern Suburbs have many landmarks, including Macquarie University, Gladesville Bridge, Ryde Bridge, Macquarie Centre and Westfield Hornsby. This area includes suburbs in the local government areas of Hornsby Shire, City of Ryde and the City of Parramatta. The Northern Suburbs have a well-planned public transport system and substantial bungalow style homes.
The North Shore, an informal geographic term referring to the northern metropolitan area of Sydney, consists of Artarmon, Chatswood, Roseville, Lindfield, Killara, Gordon, Pymble, Hornsby and many others. The North Shore, an upper middle class area, has one of the highest property prices in Sydney with the recent property price inflation sending the average property prices in suburbs such as Roseville, Lindfield, Killara and Gordon over 2 million dollars.
The North Shore includes the commercial centres of North Sydney and Chatswood. North Sydney itself consists of a large commercial centre, with its own business centre, which contains the second largest concentration of high-rise buildings in Sydney, after the CBD. North Sydney is dominated by advertising, marketing businesses and associated trades, with many large corporations holding office in the region.
The Lower North Shore usually refers to the suburbs adjacent to the harbour such as Neutral Bay, Waverton, Mosman, Cremorne, Cremorne Point, Lavender Bay, Milsons Point, Cammeray, Northbridge, and North Sydney. The Lower North Shore's eastern boundary is Middle Harbour, or at the Roseville Bridge at Castle Cove and Roseville Chase. The Upper North Shore usually refers to the suburbs between Chatswood and Hornsby. It is made up of suburbs located within Ku-ring-gai and Hornsby Shire councils.
The Northern Beaches area includes Manly one of Sydney's most popular holiday destinations for much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Northern Beaches area extends south to the entrance of Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour), west to Middle Harbour and north to the entrance of Broken Bay. The 2011 Australian census found the Northern Beaches to be the most white and mono-ethnic district in Australia, contrasting with its more-diverse neighbours, the North Shore and the Central Coast.
The greater western suburbs encompasses the areas of Parramatta, the sixth largest business district in Australia, Bankstown, Liverpool, Penrith, and Fairfield. Covering 5,800 square kilometres (2,200 sq mi) and having an estimated resident population as at 30 June 2008 of 1,665,673, western Sydney has the most multicultural suburbs in the country. The population is predominantly of a working class background, with major employment in the heavy industries and vocational trade.
The western suburb of Prospect, in the City of Blacktown, is home to Wet'n'Wild, a water park operated by Village Roadshow Theme Parks. Auburn Botanic Gardens, a botanical garden situated in Auburn, attracts thousands of visitors each year, including a significant number from outside Australia. The greater west also includes Sydney Olympic Park, a suburb created to host the 2000 Summer Olympics, and Sydney Motorsport Park, a motorsport circuit located in Eastern Creek.
To the northwest, Featherdale Wildlife Park, an Australian zoo in Doonside, near Blacktown, is a major tourist attraction, not just for Western Sydney, but for NSW and Australia. Westfield Parramatta in Parramatta is Australia's busiest Westfield shopping centre, having 28.7 million customer visits per annum.
Further to the south west is the region of Macarthur and the city of Campbelltown, a significant population centre until the 1990s considered a region separate to Sydney proper. Macarthur Square, a shopping complex in Campbelltown, become one of the largest shopping complexes in Sydney.
|Largest overseas born populations|
|Country of birth||Population (2011)|
The population of Sydney in 1788 was less than 1,000. With convict transportation it tripled in ten years to 2,953. For each decade since 1961 the population has increased by more than 250,000. Sydney's population at the time of the 2011 census was 4,391,674. It has been forecasted that the population will grow to between 8 and 8.5 million by 2061. Despite this increase, the Australian Bureau of Statistics predicts that Melbourne will replace Sydney as Australia's most populous city by 2053. The four most densely populated suburbs in Australia are located in Sydney with each having more than 13,000 residents per square kilometre (33,700 residents per square mile).
The median age of Sydney residents is 36 and 12.9% of people are 65 or older. The married population accounts for 49.7% of Sydney whilst 34.7% of people have never been married. 48.9% of couples have children and 33.5% of couples do not. 32.5% of people in Sydney speak a language other than English at home with Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and Greek the most widely spoken.
There were 54,746 people of indigenous heritage living in Sydney in 2011. Most immigrants to Sydney between 1840 and 1930 were British, Irish, or Chinese. There were significant clusters of people based on nationality or religion throughout the history of Sydney development. In the early 20th century Irish people were centred in Surry Hills, the Scottish in Paddington.
The mass migration following World War II has seen further ethnic groups establish. Such ethnic groups include, but are not limited to, Dutch, Sri Lankan, Indian, Assyrian, Turkish, Thai, Russian, Vietnamese, Filipino, Korean, Greek, Lebanese, Italian, Jewish, Czech, Polish, German, Serbian, Macedonian, and Maltese communities. As of the 2011 census night there were 1,503,620 people living in Sydney that were born overseas, accounting for 42.5% of the population of the City of Sydney and 34.2% of the population of Sydney, the seventh greatest proportion of any city in the world.
Sydney's largest ancestry groups are English, Australian, Irish, Chinese, and Scottish. Foreign countries of birth with the greatest representation are England, China, India, New Zealand, and Vietnam. The concentration of immigrants in Sydney, relative to the rest of Australia (excluding Melbourne), make it the exception rather than the norm on having such a high foreign born population.
Science, art, and history
The Australian Museum opened in Sydney in 1857 with the purpose of collecting and displaying the natural wealth of the colony. It remains Australia's oldest natural history museum. In 1995 the Museum of Sydney opened on the site of the first Government House. It recounts the story of the city's development. Other museums based in Sydney include the Powerhouse Museum and the Australian National Maritime Museum.
In 1866 then Queen Victoria gave her assent to the formation of the Royal Society of New South Wales. The Society exists "for the encouragement of studies and investigations in science, art, literature, and philosophy". It is based in a terrace house in Darlington owned by the University of Sydney. The Sydney Observatory building was constructed in 1859 and used for astronomy and meteorology research until 1982 before being converted into a museum.
The Museum of Contemporary Art was opened in 1991 and occupies an Art Deco building in Circular Quay. Its collection was founded in the 1940s by artist and art collector John Power and has been maintained by the University of Sydney. Sydney's other significant art institution is the Art Gallery of New South Wales which coordinates the coveted Archibald Prize for portraiture. Contemporary art galleries are found in Waterloo, Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Paddington, Chippendale, Newtown, and Woollahra.
Sydney's first commercial theatre opened in 1832 and nine more had commenced performances by the late 1920s. The live medium lost much of its popularity to cinema during the Great Depression before experiencing a revival after World War II. Prominent theatres in the city today include State Theatre, Theatre Royal, Sydney Theatre, The Wharf Theatre, and Capitol Theatre. Sydney Theatre Company maintains a roster of local, classical, and international plays. It occasionally features Australian theatre icons such as David Williamson, Hugo Weaving, and Geoffrey Rush. The city's other prominent theatre companies are New Theatre, Belvoir, and Griffin Theatre Company.
The Sydney Opera House is the home of Opera Australia and Sydney Symphony. It has staged over 100,000 performances and received 100 million visitors since opening in 1973. Two other important performance venues in Sydney are Town Hall and the City Recital Hall. The Sydney Conservatorium of Music is located adjacent to the Royal Botanic Garden and serves the Australian music community through education and its biannual Australian Music Examinations Board exams.
Filmmaking in Sydney was quite prolific until the 1920s when spoken films were introduced and American productions gained dominance in Australian cinema. Fox Studios Australia commenced production in Sydney in 1998. Successful films shot in Sydney since then include The Matrix, Mission: Impossible II, Moulin Rouge!, Australia, and The Great Gatsby. The National Institute of Dramatic Art is based in Sydney and has several famous alumni such as Mel Gibson, Judy Davis, Baz Luhrmann, and Cate Blanchett.
Sydney is the host of several festivals throughout the year. The city's New Year's Eve celebrations are the largest in Australia. The Royal Easter Show is held every year at Sydney Olympic Park. Sydney Festival is Australia's largest arts festival. Big Day Out is a travelling rock music festival that originated in Sydney. The city's two largest film festivals are Sydney Film Festival and Tropfest. Vivid Sydney is an annual outdoor exhibition of art installations, light projections, and music.
In 2015, Sydney was ranked 15th for being the top fashion capitals in the world. It hosts the Australian Fashion Week in autumn. The Sydney Mardi Gras has commenced each February since 1979. Sydney's Chinatown has had numerous locations since the 1850s. It moved from George Street to Campbell Street to its current setting in Dixon Street in 1980. The Spanish Quarter is based in Liverpool Street whilst Little Italy is located in Stanley Street. Popular nightspots are found at Kings Cross, Oxford Street, Circular Quay, and The Rocks. The Star is the city's only casino and is situated around Darling Harbour.
The indigenous people of Sydney held totemic beliefs known as "dreamings". Governor Lachlan Macquarie made an effort to found a culture of formal religion throughout the early settlement and ordered the construction of churches such as St Matthew's, St Luke's, St James's, and St Andrew's. These and other religious institutions have contributed to the education and health of Sydney's residents over time. 28.3% identify themselves as Catholic, whilst 17.6% practice no religion, 16.1% are Anglican, 4.7% are Muslim, 4.2% are Eastern Orthodox, 4.1% are Buddhist, 2.6% are Hindu, and 0.9% are Jewish.
Sport and outdoor activities
Sydney's earliest migrants brought with them a passion for sport but were restricted by the lack of facilities and equipment. The first organised sports were boxing, wrestling, and horse racing from 1810 in Hyde Park. Horse racing remains popular to this day and events such as the Golden Slipper Stakes attract widespread attention. The first cricket club was formed in 1826 and matches were played within Hyde Park throughout the 1830s and 1840s. Cricket is a favoured sport in summer and big matches have been held at the Sydney Cricket Ground since 1878. The New South Wales Blues compete in the Sheffield Shield league and the Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder contest the national Big Bash Twenty20 competition.
Rugby was played from 1865 as sport in general gained more popularity and better organisation. One-tenth of the colony attended a New South Wales versus New Zealand rugby match in 1907. Rugby league separated from rugby union in 1908. The New South Wales Waratahs contest the Super Rugby competition. The national Wallabies rugby union team competes in Sydney in international matches such as the Bledisloe Cup, Rugby Championship, and World Cup. Sydney is home to nine of the sixteen teams in the National Rugby League competition: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, Manly Sea Eagles, Penrith Panthers, Parramatta Eels, South Sydney Rabbitohs, St George Illawarra Dragons, Sydney Roosters, and Wests Tigers. New South Wales contests the annual State of Origin series against Queensland.
Sydney FC and the Western Sydney Wanderers compete in the A-League soccer tournament and Sydney frequently hosts matches for the Australian national team, the Socceroos. The Sydney Swans and the Greater Western Sydney Giants are local Australian rules football clubs that play in the Australian Football League. The Sydney Kings compete in the National Basketball League. The Sydney Uni Flames play in the Women's National Basketball League. The Sydney Blue Sox contest the Australian Baseball League. The Waratahs are a member of the Australian Hockey League. The Sydney Bears and Sydney Ice Dogs play in the Australian Ice Hockey League. The Swifts are competitors in the national women's netball league.
Women were first allowed to participate in recreational swimming when separate baths were opened at Woolloomooloo Bay in the 1830s. From being illegal at the beginning of the century, sea bathing gained immense popularity during the early 1900s and the first surf lifesaving club was established at Bondi Beach. Disputes about appropriate clothing for surf bathing surfaced from time to time and concerned men as well as women. The City2Surf is an annual 14-kilometre (8.7-mile) running race from the central business district to Bondi Beach and has been held since 1971. In 2010, 80,000 runners participated which made it the largest run of its kind in the world.
Sailing races have been held on Sydney Harbour since 1827. Yachting has been popular amongst wealthier residents since the 1840s and the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron was founded in 1862. The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race is a 1,170-kilometre (727-mile) event that starts from Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day. Since its inception in 1945 it has been recognised as one of the most difficult yacht races in the world. Six sailors died and 71 vessels of the fleet of 115 failed to finish in the 1998 edition.
The Royal Sydney Golf Club is based in Rose Bay and since its opening in 1893 has hosted the Australian Open on 13 occasions. Royal Randwick Racecourse opened in 1833 and holds several major cups throughout the year. Sydney benefitted from the construction of significant sporting infrastructure in preparation for its hosting of the 2000 Summer Olympics. Sydney Olympic Park accommodates athletics, aquatics, tennis, hockey, archery, baseball, cycling, equestrian, and rowing facilities. It also includes the high capacity Stadium Australia used for rugby, soccer, and Australian rules football. Sydney Football Stadium was completed in 1988 and is used for rugby and soccer matches. Sydney Cricket Ground was opened in 1878 and is used for both cricket and Australian rules football fixtures.
The Sydney Morning Herald is Australia's oldest newspaper still in print. Now a compact form paper owned by Fairfax Media, it has been published continuously since 1831. Its competitor is the News Corporation tabloid The Daily Telegraph which has been in print since 1879. Both papers have Sunday tabloid editions called The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Telegraph respectively. The Bulletin was founded in Sydney in 1880 and became Australia's longest running magazine. It closed after 128 years of continuous publication.
Each of Australia's three commercial television networks and two public broadcasters is headquartered in Sydney. Nine's offices are based in Willoughby, Ten and Seven are based in Pyrmont, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is located in Ultimo, and the Special Broadcasting Service is based in Artarmon. Multiple digital channels have been provided by all five networks since 2000. Foxtel is based in North Ryde and sells subscription cable television to most parts of the urban area. Sydney's first radio stations commenced broadcasting in the 1920s. Radio became a popular tool for politics, news, religion, and sport and has managed to survive despite the introduction of television and the Internet. 2UE was founded in 1925 and under the ownership of Fairfax Media is the oldest station still broadcasting. Competing stations include the more popular 2GB, 702 ABC Sydney, KIIS 106.5, Triple M, Nova 96.9, and 2Day FM.
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