Sydney city, capital of the state of New South Wales, Australia. Located on Australia's southeastern coast, Sydney is a major port in the South Pacific and is noted for its beautiful harbour. The city was established as a penal colony in the late 18th century and had become a major trading centre even before the first pioneers pushed inland. It is now the largest metropolitan area in Australia.
A brief treatment of Sydney follows. For full treatment, see Sydney.
The metropolitan area of Sydney stretches from the Blue Mountains in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east and from the Hawkesbury River in the north to south of Botany Bay. The city itself was built on the low hills surrounding the harbour.
Sydney's climate is temperate, with a mean temperature in February, the warmest month, of 72 F (22 C); the coolest month, July, averages 54 F (12 C). Rainfall averages 45 inches (1,140 mm) annually, and much of it occurs during the summer months.
About one-third of Sydney's workforce is engaged in manufacturing. No single industry predominates, though oil refining has grown in importance. The government sector is also economically important, as is the port. A second port has been developed in Botany Bay.
Sydney is widely known both for its water sports and recreational facilities and for its cultural life. The universities of Sydney and New South Wales are located there, as is Macquarie University. The world-renowned Sydney Opera House, set on a promontory southeast of the Harbour Bridge, is a major centre for the performing arts, with theatres and recording, concert, and exhibition halls. It is the home of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Opera, dance and theatre companies, and a library.
Rapid development of suburban Sydney and the absence of major highways that bypass the city have caused a persistent transport problem that is only partially mitigated by commuter ferry boats, an underground railway, and extensive metropolitan bus service. Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport is on the northern shore of Botany Bay. Area city, 5 square miles (13 square km); metropolitan area, 4,790 square miles (12,407 square km). Pop. (1986) city, 86,311; (1991) city, 3,097,956; (1994 est.) metropolitan area, 3,738,500.