As Australia’s largest city, a world renowned location and a bubbling hub of art, culture and business, you might think Sydney has an interesting story to tell. And you’d be right.


From Humble Beginnings

Long before European settlement, Port Jackson and surrounding areas were home to several Aboriginal tribes, including the Eora, Dharug, Kuringgai and Dharawhal peoples.

From the natural rock formations in the Blue Mountains through to Sandstone deposits in the centre of the city, markers of Aboriginal occupation have been found scattered throughout Sydney, dating back almost 20, 000 years.

Rock carvings, aboriginal art and tools found throughout greater Sydney give us a glimpse of what a spectacular culture thrived in the area prior to European settlement.

town hall St Andrew's cathedral Sydney early photo 1800

A New Era

After being discovered several times, Australia was finally settled in 1788 and Captain Phillip chose Sydney as the place to set up base camp, commenting it was “‘with out exception the finest harbour in the world”.

What is modern day The Rocks was home to England’s excess convicts, who helped build its narrow lane ways and twisting roads – a quaint feature of the area necessitated by its rough topography.

Far off from the crime and unsanitary conditions faced in young Sydney Town, “rural” Parramatta was home to Old Government House, which served as both a political meeting point and later, a home for the Governor.

By the 1850s, Sydney had become a hot spot for immigration, particularly when news of unbelievable quantities of gold being found all over the country reached the four corners of the globe, throwing many races into Sydney’s rapidly growing population.

tram system Sydney 1800 1900 railway square

Shaping Sydney

As the first small colony gave way to a rising population, Sydney began to grow, finding its cultural, architectural and business feet.

From the foundations of St Mary’s Church laid in 1821 through to the opening of the University of Sydney in 1850 and the Queen Victoria Building in 1898, Sydney’s most iconic landmarks sprung up one after the other throughout the 19th century.

The 20th century gave rise to one of the world’s largest tram systems, with 1,600 cars, 4 new universities, Sydney’s tallest skyscrapers and the Opera House, opened in 1973.

Even in the last 20 years, Sydney has significantly changed, with the opening of the Harbour Tunnel in 1992, the development of Sydney Olympic Park and expansion of the north western corner of the city with the new Barangaroo precinct.

Such a rich history bodes well for the future of this dynamic city.

Published by Taylor

Local dLook correspondent Taylor gives a home grown look at the city that was built on rock and roll (but mostly The Rocks). Check her our in dLook's Local Look updates on Digital Editions

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