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Sydney central business district facts for kids

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Sydney City Centre
SydneyNew South Wales
Sydney CBD on a sunny day.jpg
Sydney City Centre
Sydney City Centre is located in New South Wales
Sydney City Centre
Sydney City Centre
Location in New South Wales
Population 17,252 (2016)
 • Density 6,160/km2 (16,000/sq mi)
Postcode(s) 2000
Elevation 58 m (190 ft)
Area 2.8 km2 (1.1 sq mi)
LGA(s) City of Sydney
State electorate(s) Sydney
Federal Division(s) Sydney
Suburbs around Sydney City Centre:
Barangaroo Millers Point
The Rocks
Port Jackson
Pyrmont Sydney City Centre Woolloomooloo
Ultimo Haymarket
Surry Hills

The Sydney central business district (CBD) is the historical and main commercial centre of Sydney. The Sydney CBD is Sydney's city centre, or Sydney City, and the two terms are used interchangeably. The CBD or city centre is often referred to simply as "Town" or "the City". The Sydney city centre extends southwards for about 3 km (2 mi) from Sydney Cove, the point of first European settlement in which the Sydney region was initially established. Due to its pivotal role in Australia's early history, it is one of the oldest established areas in the country.

Geographically, its north–south axis runs from Circular Quay in the north to Central railway station in the south. Its east–west axis runs from a chain of parkland that includes Hyde Park, The Domain, Royal Botanic Gardens and Farm Cove on Sydney Harbour in the east; to Darling Harbour and the Western Distributor in the west. At the 2016 Australian Census, the City recorded a population of 17,252.

The Sydney City is Australia's main financial and economic centre, as well as a leading hub of economic activity for the Asia-Pacific region. The city centre and areas immediately around it employ approximately 22% of the Sydney region's workforce. The City has the largest gathering of workers in the whole of Sydney. Most of them are white collar office workers in the finance and professional service industries. In 2012, the number of workers operating in the City was 226,972. Based on industry mix and relative occupational wage levels it is estimated that economic activity (GDP) generated in the city in 2015/16 was approximately $118 billion. Culturally, the city centre is Sydney's focal point for nightlife and entertainment. It is also home to some of the city's most significant buildings and structures.


Sydney Town Hall - Panorama
Panoramic view of the Sydney Town Hall

The Sydney CBD is an area of very densely concentrated skyscrapers and other buildings, interspersed by several parks such as Hyde Park, The Domain, Royal Botanic Gardens and Wynyard Park. George Street is the Sydney CBD's main north–south thoroughfare. The streets run on a slightly warped grid pattern in the southern CBD, but in the older northern CBD the streets form several intersecting grids, reflecting their placement in relation to the prevailing breeze and orientation to Circular Quay in early settlement.

The CBD runs along two ridge lines below Macquarie Street and York Streets. Between these ridges is Pitt Street, running close to the course of the original Tank Stream (now tunnelled). Bridge Street, took its name from the bridge running east–west that once crossed this stream. Pitt Street is the retail heart of the city which includes the Pitt Street Mall and the Sydney Tower. Macquarie Street is a historic precinct that houses such buildings as the State Parliament House and the Supreme Court of New South Wales.


Sydney's CBD is serviced by commuter rail, light rail, bus and ferry transport.

St James Station Sydney
St James station; one of six underground stations in the CBD

Sydney's main commuter rail hub is Central railway station ("Central"), which is located to the south of the CBD in Haymarket: it connects services for almost all of the lines in the Sydney Trains network, as well as being the terminus for NSW TrainLink country and inter-urban rail services. From Central, there is a largely-underground CBD rail loop, accessed in both directions via Central, which services five CBD stations (Town Hall, Wynyard, Circular Quay, St James and Museum). This is known as the City Circle. In addition, a separate underground line to Bondi Junction services an additional underground station, Martin Place.

The Inner West Light Rail passes immediately to the south of the CBD, connecting Central to nearby suburbs of Sydney's Inner West. The CBD and South East Light Rail runs north–south through the CBD, connecting Circular Quay with Central and the south eastern suburbs.

Sydney Light Rail 11
Light rail on George Street

Buses service the CBD along several dozen routes to both inner and more remote suburbs. NightRide is an after-hours bus service that operates between midnight and 5:00 am, with most services running from George Street outside the Sydney Town Hall.

Sydney Ferries operate largely from Circular Quay, on the northern edge of the CBD. There are several wharves (directly beneath the elevated Circular Quay commuter rail station), with Wharf 3 operating exclusively to Manly. There are also ferries services from the western edge of the CBD at Barangaroo.

Additionally, the rapid transit line connecting the northwest suburbs with Chatswood is planned to continue to the CBD when the second stage of the Sydney Metro is completed. This rapid transit line is underground in the CBD area and will link the North Shore to Bankstown via a tunnel underneath Sydney Harbour and the CBD. It is currently under construction, with a planned completion date of 2024.


Scots Presbyterian Church Sydney (view no. 2)
Scots Presbyterian Church, York Street

Sydney's culture is compacted within its central business district and inner city ring, due to its nightlife, pedestrian traffic and centrality of notable attractions. There is a large concentration of cultural institutions within the CBD including: the Museum of Sydney, the State Library of New South Wales, the Customs House branch of the City of Sydney Library, the Theatre Royal, the City Recital Hall and the Japan Foundation. There are a total of 19 churches located in the Sydney city centre.

Many other cultural institutions are located at the surrounds of the CBD, such as: the Sydney Opera House and the Museum of Contemporary Art to the north, the Australian Museum and the Art Gallery of New South Wales to the east, the Powerhouse Museum to the west, White Rabbit Gallery and the Haymarket branch of the City of Sydney Library to the south.

Every January during the summer, the city celebrates with the Sydney Festival. There are art, music and dance exhibitions at indoor and outdoor venues. Australian and International theatre during the month is also featured, including Aboriginal, and Contemporary. Many of these events are free.

The Sydney Film Festival is an international event organised every year in June at various venues across the CBD. The festival opened on 11 June 1954 and was held over four days, with screenings at Sydney University. Attendance was at full capacity with 1,200 tickets sold at one guinea each.

Sydney boasts a lively cafe culture, as well as a club and bar scene distributed throughout the CBD and concentrated in a couple of locations such as Darling Harbour. Although Kings Cross is not technically located within the Sydney CBD, it is accessible via William Street, which runs through Hyde Park and is part of the inner-city region.


The Sydney CBD contains many of Australia’s tallest skyscrapers, including Governor Phillip Tower, MLC Centre and World Tower, the latter consisting predominantly of apartments. The tallest structure is Centrepoint Tower at 309 m (1,014 ft). Recently, height limits for buildings were lifted from 235 m (771 ft) to 310 m (1,017 ft).

Sydney's CBD features a juxtaposition of old and new architecture. The old architecture dates back to Sydney's earliest days as a colony, down to the more grandiose Victorian architecture from the Gold rush era. Modern architectures take form as high rises and skyscrapers, which are prolific among all of Sydney's city streets. The earliest skyscraper constructed in Sydney was Culwulla Chambers, which stands at a height of 50 m (164 ft) and was completed in 1912. Designed by Spain, Cosh and Minnett, the building consisted of 14 floors and cost £100,000 to build, equivalent of approximately $1 million in today's money.



George Street Sydney Gowings Building
George Street outside the Gowings Building
  • In the 2016 Census, there were 17,252 people residing in Sydney CBD. The median age was 30 years. Children aged 0 – 14 years made up 4.5% of the population and people aged 65 years and over made up 5.7% of the population.
  • 17.0% of the people were born in Australia. The most common countries of birth were Thailand (13.3%), China (excludes SARs and Taiwan) (11.7%), Indonesia (10.7%), South Korea (5.4%) and India (3.5%). Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people made up 0.2% of the population.
  • 25.3% of people only spoke English at home. Other languages spoken at home included Mandarin (14.6%), Thai (13.0%), Indonesian (9.1%), Korean (5.0%) and Cantonese (4.2%).
  • The most common ancestries in the CBD were Chinese (24.6%), Thai (11.3%), English (9.3%), Indonesian (5.1%) and Korean (4.9%).
  • The most common responses for religion in Sydney CBD were No Religion (31.7%), Buddhism (21.7%), Not stated (15.8%), Catholic (12.6%) and Anglican (3.3%).
  • 18.2% were couple families with children, 65.6% were couple families without children and 8.5% were one parent families. 33.4% were married.
  • 0.2% were separate houses, 0.0% were semi-detached, row or terrace houses, townhouses etc., 98.9% were flat or apartments and 0.6% were other dwellings. 15.7% of the homes were owned outright, 13.4% were owned with a mortgage and 65.7% were rented. 49.3% were family households, 31.8% were single person households and 18.9% were group households.

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