Sydney, city, Australia

Sydney, city (2016 pop. 208,374, Greater Sydney 2016 pop. 4,823,991), capital of New South Wales, SE Australia, surrounding Port Jackson inlet on the Pacific Ocean. Sydney is Australia's largest metropolitan area, chief port, and main cultural and industrial center; roughly one fifth of Australia's population lives in the Greater Sydney area. The city serves as the center for retail and wholesale trade as well as public administration and finance. Its main exports are wool, wheat, flour, sheepskins, and meat; the chief imports are petroleum, coal, timber, and sugar. Sydney has shipyards, oil refineries, textile mills, brass foundries, and electronics and chemical plants. The city was founded in 1788 as the first penal settlement of Australia. Its name was taken from a cave named for Captain Cook's patron, Viscount Sydney. In World War II the city was an Allied military base.

Sydney has experienced tremendous growth since World War II, and there has been extensive urban redevelopment since the 1970s. Two notable bridges cross Port Jackson inlet: the Sydney Harbour Bridge (1932) and the Gladesville Bridge (1964). In the city are the Univ. of Sydney (1850), Macquarie Univ. (1964), and the Univ. of New South Wales (1949). Among its museums are the National Gallery of Art and the Australian Museum (natural history). The dramatic, modernistic Sydney Opera House complex was largely designed by Joern Utzon, the Danish winner of an international competition; it opened in 1974 and is now Sydney's most famous landmark. Centrepoint Tower (1981) is Australia's tallest building. Sydney was the site of the Summer Olympic Games in 2000.

G. Moorhouse, Sydney: The Story of a City (2000).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Australian and New Zealand Political Geography