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History of Sydney

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Sydney

This is a history of the city of Sydney. The area surrounding Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) was home to Aboriginal tribes since 40,000 years ago or more. Although urbanisation has destroyed most evidence of these settlements, there are still rock carvings in several locations.

Contents

European settlement

European interest arose with the sighting of Botany Bay (now a southern suburb of Sydney) in 1770 by Captain James Cook. Under instruction from the British government, a convict settlement was founded by Arthur Phillip in 1788. (See First Fleet). Phillip originally landed at Botany Bay, but found it unsatisfactory. After a brief sail north, Phillip landed at Sydney Cove on Port Jackson (the proper name for Sydney Harbour).

Phillip originally named the colony "New Albion", but for some uncertain reason the colony acquired the name "Sydney", after the (then) British Home Secretary, Thomas Townshend, Lord Sydney (Viscount Sydney from 1789). This is possibly due to the fact that Lord Sydney issued the charter authorising Phillip to establish a colony.

Early Sydney

Sydney in about 1828, looking north over  towards the .
Enlarge
Sydney in about 1828, looking north over Hyde Park, Sydney towards the harbour.

Early Sydney was molded by the hardship suffered by early settlers. In the early years, droughts and disease caused widespread problems, but the situation soon improved. Being a penal colony, the military government was reliant on the military, the New South Wales Corps (also known as the Rum Corps due to their monopoly on the importation of alcohol).

Conflicts arose between the governors and the officers of the Rum Corps, many of which were land owners such as John Macarthur. In 1808 these conflicts came to open rebellion, with the Rum Rebellion, in which the Rum Corps ousted Governor William Bligh (known from the Mutiny on the Bounty).

Governor Macquarie and expansion

Missing image
Karte_Sydney_MKL1888.png
1888 German map of Sydney

The arrival of Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1809 resulted in a much more industrious and ordered society. By this stage there was already a wealthy class of settlers, mostly agriculturists. Notable amongst these were the MacArthurs who introduced Merino sheep into Australia.

Prisoners were quickly set to work to build the settlement and by 1822 the town had banks, markets, well-established thoroughfares and an organised constabulary; by 1847 convicts accounted for only 3.2 percent of the population. Each week ships would arrive from Europe with Irish, English, and European immigrants looking to start a new life in a new country.

Gold rush

The first of several gold rushes was in 1851, since which time the port of Sydney has seen many waves of people from around the world including an influx of people from Asia.

20th century

With industrialisation Sydney expanded rapidly, and by the early 20th century it had a population well in excess of one million. The Great Depression hit Sydney badly. One of the highlights of the Depression Era however, was the completion of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932.

Throughout the 20th century Sydney continued to expand with various new waves of European and (later) Asian immigration, resulting in its highly cosmopolitan atmosphere of the present day.

References

See also

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