Sydney ; from convicts to a metropolis

        Sydney ; from convicts to a metropolis. A brief history of Sydney


Upon reaching Australia , Lieutenant Ralph Clark, wrote in 1788: 'This is the poorest country in the world…overrun with large trees, not one acre of clear ground to be seen.'


But prior to the arrival of the British there were 4,000 to 8,000 native people in Sydney from as many as 29 different clans. Sydney Cove from Port Jackson to Petersham was inhabited by the Cadigal clan.


The area surrounding Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) was home to several Aboriginal tribes. The "Eora people" are the coastal Aborigines of the Sydney district. The name Eora simply means "here" or "from this place", and was used by Local Aboriginal people to describe to the British where they came from. The Cadigal band are the traditional owners of the Sydney CBD area, and their territory south of Port Jackson stretches from South Head to Petersham.


In 1769 Lieutenant James Cook, in command of the HMS Endeavour, sailed along the east coast of Australia, becoming the first known Europeans to do so. On 19 April 1770, the crew of the Endeavour sighted the east coast of Australia and ten days later landed at a bay in what is now southern Sydney.




The British colony of New South Wales was subsequently established with the arrival of the First Fleet of 11 vessels under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip in January 1788. It consisted of over a thousand settlers, including 778 convicts (192 women and 586 men).

A few days after arrival at Botany Bay the fleet moved to the more suitable Port Jackson where a settlement was established at Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788.

This date later became Australia's national day, Australia Day. The colony was formally proclaimed by Governor Phillip on 7 February 1788 at Sydney.


Captain Arthur Phillip was later to name the cove they landed at, Sydney Cove, in honor of Thomas Townshend, Baron Sydney (1733-1800) the minister responsible for the Colony. Later usage dropped the word ’Cove’, although it is still the name of the cove.


One of Phillip’s first acts on arrival was to send ashore working parties of convicts to clear the land for the tents and bark shelters which would house the settlers.

Much of the settlement was established on the Western shore of Sydney Cove, a hillside with prominent outcrops of sandstone, the Rocks .


Early Sydney was moulded by the hardship suffered by early settlers. In the early years, droughts and disease caused widespread problems, but the situation soon improved.


The oldest surviving building in Sydney is Cadman's Cottage, which was built in 1815-16 as a coxswains barracks. It was named after a John Cadman who once lived there.


Meanwhile the first Australian newspaper was published in 1803. It was called the Sydney Gazette .

Nevertheless the colony in Australia developed rapidly especially after a pass was found through the Blue Mountains in 1813. After that Sydney grew rapidly.


The first theater in Sydney was built in 1794 and in 1804 a stone bridge was built over the Tank Stream. It was the first stone bridge in Australia.


With the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January 1901, Sydney ceased to be a colonial capital and became the capital of the Australian state of New South Wales. With industrialisation, Sydney expanded rapidly, and by the early 20th century it had a population well in excess of one million.


Over the past half century, Sydney's character has been transformed into one of the world's most ethnically diverse cities, with more than 180 nationalities calling Sydney home.