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The City of Sydney Itself
Sydney officially became a city in 1842. Sydney was given the nickname Sin City in the second half of the 20th century because organised crime held a grip on the city and corruption was rife, infiltrating the top levels of politics, law and justice. Sydney's inner-city measures 25 square kilometres, the Greater Sydney region covers 12,367 square kilometres, and the city's urban area is 1,687 square kilometres in size. Sydney is 1580 square kilometres across, which is more than double New York's 780 square kilometres. The geographical area covered by urban Sydney is divided into 658 suburbs. The City of Sydney is responsible for 33 of these suburbs, all of which are located close to the central business district. Sydney has over 100 beaches, ranging in size from a few feet to several kilometers long. The smallest beach in Sydney is McKell Beach at Darling Point, accessible only by boat at low tide. Sydney has the deepest natural harbour in the world with 504,000 megalitres of water. George Street is the oldest street in Australia. The Queen Victoria Building, constructed between 1893 and 1898, was named to commemorate the Queen of England's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. Sydney's popular cliff top coastal Bondi to Coogee walk, with views of beaches, bays and ocean rock pools, runs 6 kilometres and takes about 2 hours to complete. Sydney is situated at a similar latitude to Cape Town and Buenos Aires in the Southern Hemisphere and Casablanca, Los Angeles and Beirut in the Northern Hemisphere. Point Piper, a street in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs, is the 9th most expensive street in the world at $20,900 per square metre with the median value of all houses at $7.38 million. 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.
The Harbour City, The Emerald City
Today, the city's population is 5.3 million people. 31.7 percent of the population of Sydney were born overseas compared to 22.2 percent of the overall Australian population. There are an estimated 1,745,827 people employed in the Sydney Metropolitan Region with the largest industries by employment being retail trade (187,647), followed by health care and social assistance (177,087) and manufacturing (176,437). For each decade since 1961, the population of Sydney has increased by more than 250,000. The population of the Sydney Metropolitan Region is projected to add almost 2.1 million people to a size of over 6 million by 2036. Sydney has the 7th largest percentage of foreign-born individuals in the world and immigrants account for 75 percent of Sydney's annual population growth. There are more than 250 different languages spoken in Sydney and about one-third of residents speak a language other than English at home. English, Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Greek and Vietnamese are the main languages spoken in Sydney. As of 2011 there were 54,746 people of indigenous heritage living in Sydney. 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. Sydney is the highest-ranking city in the world for international students. More than 50,000 international students study at the city's universities and a further 50,000 study at its vocational and English language schools. Billy Thorpe, AC/DC, Johnny O'Keefe, The Easybeats, and Richard Clapton are some of the singers and bands who began their careers in Sydney. AC/DC's first performance was at Bondi Lifesaver on New Year's Eve, 1973. Between 1788 and 1792 about 4,300 convicts were living in Sydney but maps from this time show no prison buildings. The punishment for convicts was being transported to Sydney rather than incarceration.
The Sydney Tower was the tallest structure when it opened in 1981, and still is the second-tallest freestanding structure in all of Australia at 1,001 feet over the Sydney CBD. 13 percent of the known species of eucalyptus around the world are found in the Blue Mountains making the Greater Blue Mountains Area a World Heritage Area by UNESCO in November 2000. The Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW) was established in 1880 and is the most important public gallery in Sydney and the fourth largest in Australia. Australia's largest outdoor sculpture exhibit, “Sculpture by the Sea”, began at Bondi Beach in 1996. The Sydney Fish Market is the largest market of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and the world's 3rd largest fish market. Cadman's Cottage in The Rocks is the oldest house in Sydney. It was built in 1816. Operating since 1875, Sydney Ferries carry over 14 million passengers each year in and around Sydney. The Australian Museum, which opened in 1857 in Sydney, is Australia's oldest natural history museum. The Express Moving Walkway at the Sydney's Domain Car Park is 207 meters in length and travels at 0.67 meters per second. It is the longest continuous moving walkway the Southern Hemisphere and the third longest in the world. 2000 Aboriginal rock engraving sites can be found in the Sydney area from the Daruk tribe, whose territory used to extend from Botany Bay to Pittwater. The University of Sydney was established in 1850 and is the oldest university in Australia. Manly was named by Captain Arthur Phillip for the indigenous people living there, stating “their confidence and manly behaviour made me give the name of Manly Cove to this place”. The 2.3 kilometre Sydney Harbour Tunnel, was completed in 1992 at a cost of $738 million. It is estimated that its use cuts the crossing time by ten minutes and saves 13 million litres of fuel a year. The Macquarie Lighthouse in Watsons Bay, St James' Church, Hyde Park Barracks and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music were all designed by architect Francis Greenway who originally arrived in Sydney as a convict in 1814. Greenway was on the first Australian 10 dollar bill.
Sydney Opera House
Architect Jorn Utzon was initially rejected by three judges in a 1956 competition to design the Sydney Opera House, but his entry was picked out by the fourth judge who declared it outstanding. Mr Utzon beat 232 other entrants. Mr Utzon resigned as chief architect of the Opera House in February 1966, after a new Liberal government was elected and the Minister of Works stopped payments to him. There were protests in the streets, demanding that Utzon be reinstated, but he left Australia in April of the same year. The Sydney Opera House was completed in 1973, taking 14 years and 10 thousand construction workers to build, with a final total cost of $102 million, more than 14 times the original estimate of $7 million. Queen Elizabeth II opened the Sydney Opera House on October 20, 1973. The Queen has visited the Opera House four times since then. The Opera House's sails were built using cranes made in France specifically for the job, each costing $100,000. The Sydney Opera House is 185 metres long and 120 metres wide. The highest roof point is 67 metres above sea-level, the same as a 22-storey high building. The Sydney Opera House roof is made of 2,194 precast concrete sections weighing up to 15 tons each and held together by 350 km of tensioned steel cable which if laid end-to-end would reach Canberra. The Sydney Opera House has 6,225 square metres of glass and 645 kilometres of electric cable. The entire site of the Sydney Opera House covers an area of 5.798 hectares. Eight Boeing 747s could sit wing-to-wing on the site. The Sydney Opera House performances have an annual audience of two million. The largest of the Sydney Opera House's seven venues is the Concert Hall with 2,679 seats. The smallest venue is the Utzon room, which seats up to 210 people. Total number of rooms is 1,000. The Sydney Opera House was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007, and the organisation describes it as “great urban sculpture set in a remarkable waterscape, at the tip of a peninsula projecting into Sydney Harbour.” The Sydney Opera House is open to the public 363 days a year, closing only on Christmas Day and Good Friday, but staff work 24/7, 365 days of the year. The Sydney Opera House Concert Hall's Grand Organ is the largest mechanical version of this instrument in the world, with 10,154 pipes. It took ten years to build. Opera Australia is the 3rd busiest opera company in the world. The world-famous Sydney Opera House hosts a minimum of 3000 shows per year. The first person to perform at the Sydney Opera House was Paul Robeson the bass singer, actor and Civil Rights Activist. In 1960, Robeson sang Ol' Man River to the construction workers. The Opera House hosts 3,000 events and 200,000 people take a guided tour of the building every year. Though the “sails” of the Sydney Opera House appear uniformly white from a distance, they actually feature a subtle chevron pattern composed of 1,056,006 tiles in two colours: glossy white and matte cream. 15,500 light bulbs are changed every year at the Sydney Opera House. 6,233 square metres of topaz coloured glass was used in the construction of the Sydney Opera House. The glass was made to order by Boussois-Souchon-Neuvesel in France in a shade used only by the Sydney Opera House. Arnold Schwarzenegger won his final Mr Olympia bodybuilding title in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall in 1980.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the widest long-span bridge and tallest steel arch bridge in the world. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is nicknamed “The Coathanger” because of its arch-based design. The top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge arch rises and falls about 180 mm (about 7 inches) due to changes in the temperature! When the Sydney Harbour Bridge opened in 1932, it cost a horse and rider three pence and a car six pence to cross. The toll is now $4 during peak hours. The Australian celebrity, Paul Hogan was once part of the workforce virtually permanently employed with repainting the Sydney Harbour Bridge, in that they started another coat of paint after finishing the last. In 1973, Philippe Petit walked a wire rigged between the two north pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge bring traffic to a standstill. A year later and Petit would make international headlines walking between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre. The four pylons on either side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge are completely decorative. When the Sydney Harbour Bridge was built, the chosen paint colour was grey because it was the only colour available in a large enough quantity to paint the bridge. The Sydney Harbour Bridge was finished in 1932 and took 272,000 litres of paint to cover. That's just for the first coat! At the official opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge on March 19, 1932, Francis De Groot, a retired cavalry officer, galloped forward on his horse and slashed the opening ribbon with his sword, declaring the bridge open in the name of 'the decent citizens of New South Wales'. De Groot was later declared insane, but still fined for the replacement cost of the ribbon. The strength of the Sydney Harbour Bridge was tested before opening day by placing 96 railway engines on the bridge.
The Sydney Mint
Built between 1811 and 1816, the mint is the oldest public building in the Sydney Central Business District. The Mint Building on Queen Street was originally built to be a hospital in 1814. It was called the Rum Hospital because the contractors were paid with 45,000 gallons of rum.
The Australia Day Regatta in Sydney Harbour is the oldest continuously-conducted annual sailing regatta in the world. The first event was in 1837. The Sydney Royal Easter Show is Australia's largest annual event. About 900,000 people each year, both locally and from around the globe, go to the Easter Show. The Sydney 2017 New Year's Eve fireworks consisted of an estimated seven tonnes of fireworks, including 12,000 shells, 25,000 shooting comets and 100,000 individual pyrotechnic effects. Carols in the Domain has been Australia's largest free Christmas concert since 1982. 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. Sydney hosted over 2.8 million international visitors in 2013, or nearly half of all international visits to Australia. The city also received 8.3 million domestic overnight visitors in 2013. There were 480,000 visitors and 27,500 people staying overnight each day in 2012. Each year, around 3.5 million international people visit Sydney.
Sydney Fun Facts
Sydney's postcode is 2000, the same number as the year it hosted the Olympics. Sydney's local AFL team, or “Aussie Rules” as it is known in Australia, is the Sydney Swans. The Swans are the only team who play in New South Wales. Australian Football was created by Sydney-born men Tom Wills and Henry Harrison. Tom played the Aboriginal game of Marngrook growing up. The game was initially largely rejected by Sydney but became very popular in the state of Victoria. The Sydney Morning Herald is Australia's oldest newspaper. It has been published since 1831. After phasing out the Australian 1 and 2-cent coins in 1991, the coins were melted down and used in the Sydney 2000 Olympics as Bronze Medals. The pacemaker was originally invented in Sydney at the Crown Street Women's Hospital by Dr. Mark Lidwill in 1926. The Sydney Funnel Web Spider is one of the most dangerous spiders on Earth, able to kill a human in 15 minutes. Its fangs are powerful enough to bite through gloves and fingernails. In 2007, 1,010 women wearing bikinis went to Bondi Beach. The event set the Guinness World Record for the largest swimsuit group photo shoot. One of several Guinness World Records set in Sydney. Most of the exterior shots for Home and Away, a famous Australian soap opera, are shot at Palm Beach located in the Northern Beaches region. Frost/Nixon, The Great Gatsby, Independence Day, The Matrix, Planet of the Apes, are some of the famous films shot partially in Sydney. Sydney cafe, Ambrosia On The Spot, set a record by making the world's largest burger. The giant burger contained a 95.5 kilograms beef patty, 120 eggs, 150 slices of cheese, 1.5 kg of beetroot, 2.5 kg of tomatoes and almost 2 kg of lettuce.
People From Sydney Australia
Ly de Angeles, Iggy Azalea, Courtney Barnett, Roxy Barton, Claudia Black, Bryan Brown, Rose Byrne, Charles Coleman, Toni Collette, Jai Courtney, Russell Crowe, Lillian Dean, Joel Edgerton, Indiana Evans, Mel Gibson, Delta Goodrem, Ann Howe, Hugh Jackman, Claudia Karvan, Miranda Kerr, Nicole Kidman, Keiynan Lonsdale, Amy Lyons, Alex Proyas, Cybele Rowe, Ann Shoebridge, Emma Swift, Rod Taylor, Jack Thompson, Bud Tingwell, Terry Underwood, Naomi Watts, Jacki Weaver, Peter Weir, David Wenham, Rebel Wilson