2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Geography of Oceania (Australasia)

New South Wales

4,254,900 ( 1st)
Established: 1788
Area: 12,144.6 km²
Time zone:

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The Sydney Opera House on Sydney Harbour
The Sydney Opera House on Sydney Harbour

Sydney ( pronounced /ˈsɪd.niː/) is the most populous city in Australia with a metropolitan area population of over 4.2 million people (2006). Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales and is located on the country's south-east coast.

The first European colony in Australia, Sydney was established in 1788 at Sydney Cove by Arthur Phillip who led the First Fleet from Britain. Built around Port Jackson, which includes Sydney Harbour, the city of Sydney has been called the "Harbour City". It is Australia's largest financial centre and a major international tourist destination, notable for its beaches and twin landmarks: the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Sydney has also played host to numerous sporting events, including the 1938 British Empire Games, 2000 Summer Olympics and the 2003 Rugby World Cup.


A map of Sydney in 1789.
A map of Sydney in 1789.

It has been speculated that the Sydney region has been occupied by indigenous Australians for at least 30 000 years. At the time of the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, 4000 - 8000 Aboriginal people lived in the region. There were three different language groups in the Sydney region; these were further refined into dialects spoken by smaller clans. The principal languages were Darug (the Cadigal, original inhabitants of the City of Sydney, spoke a coastal dialect of Darug), Dharawal and Guringai. Each clan had a territory; the location of that territory determined the resources available. Although urbanisation has destroyed most evidence of these settlements (such as shell middens), rock carvings still exist in several locations.

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

European interest in colonising Australia arose with the landing of British sea captain, Lieutenant James Cook in Botany Bay in 1770. Under instruction from the British government, a convict settlement was founded by Arthur Phillip in 1788. Phillip founded the colony at Sydney Cove on Port Jackson. He named it after the British Home Secretary, Thomas Townshend, Lord Sydney, in recognition of Sydney's role in issuing the charter authorising Phillip to establish a colony. In April 1789 a disease, thought to be smallpox, decimated the indigenous population of Sydney; a conservative estimate says that 500 to 1000 Aboriginal people died in the area between Broken and Botany Bays. There was violent resistance to British settlement, notably by the warrior Pemulwuy in the area around Botany Bay, and conflicts were common in the area surrounding the Hawkesbury River. By 1820 there were only a few hundred Aborigines and Governor Macquarie had begun initiatives to 'civilise, christianise and educate' the Aborigines by removing them from their clans.

Sydney in 1796
Sydney in 1796

Macquarie's tenure as Governor of New South Wales was a period when Sydney was improved from its basic beginnings. Roads, bridges, wharves and public buildings were constructed by British and Irish convicts, and by 1822 the town had banks, markets, well-established thoroughfares and an organised constabulary. The 1830s and 1840s were periods of urban development, including the development of the first suburbs, as the town grew rapidly when ships began arriving from the British Isles with immigrants looking to start a new life in a new country. On July 20 1842 the municipal council of Sydney was incorporated and the town was declared the first city in Australia, Charles H. Chambers was the first mayor. The first of several gold rushes started in 1851, and the port of Sydney has since seen many waves of people arriving from around the world. Rapid suburban development began in the last quarter of the 19th century with the advent of steam powered tramways and railways. 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. The majority of Sydneysiders are of British and Irish background. More recent arrivals have included Italians, Greeks, Jews, Lebanese, South Africans, South Asians (including Indians, Sri Lankans and Pakistanis), Sudanese, Turks, Macedonians, Croatians, Serbs, South Americans (Brazilians, Chileans and Argentinians), Armenians, Eastern Europeans (Czech, Poles, Russians, Ukrainians and Hungarians) and East Asians (including Chinese, Koreans and Vietnamese).


Image of Sydney taken by NASA RS satellite. The city centre is about a third of the way in on the south shore of the upper inlet. Click on the image and then scroll down for an annotated version.
Image of Sydney taken by NASA RS satellite. The city centre is about a third of the way in on the south shore of the upper inlet. Click on the image and then scroll down for an annotated version.

Sydney is in a coastal basin bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the east, the Blue Mountains to the west, the Hawkesbury River to the north and the Woronora Plateau to the south. Sydney lies on a submergent coastline, where the ocean level has risen to flood deep river valleys ( rias) carved in the sandstone. One of these drowned valleys, Port Jackson, better known as Sydney Harbour, is the largest natural harbour in the world. There are more than 70 harbour and ocean beaches, including the famous Bondi Beach, in the urban area. Sydney's urban area covers 1687  square kilometres (651  mi²) as at 2001. The Sydney Statistical Division, used for census data, is the unofficial metropolitan area and covers 12,145 square kilometres (4,689 mi²). This area includes the Central Coast and Blue Mountains as well as broad swathes of national park and other unurbanised land.

Geographically, Sydney sprawls over two major regions: the Cumberland Plain, a relatively flat region lying to the south and west of the harbour, and the Hornsby Plateau, a sandstone plateau lying mainly to the north of the harbour, dissected by steep valleys. The oldest parts of the city are located in the flat areas south of the harbour; the North Shore was slower to develop because of its hilly topography, and was mostly a quiet backwater until the Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened in 1932, linking it to the rest of the city.


Sydney has an oceanic climate with warm summers and mild winters, with rainfall spread throughout the year. The weather is moderated by proximity to the ocean, and more extreme temperatures are recorded in the inland western suburbs. The warmest month is January, with an average air temperature range at Observatory Hill of 18.6 °C–25.8 °C and an average of 14.6 days a year over 30  °C. The maximum recorded temperature was 45.3 °C on 14 January 1939 at the end of a 4 day nationwide heat wave. The winter is mildly cool, with temperatures rarely dropping below 5 °C in coastal areas. The coldest month is July, with an average range of 8.0 °C–16.2 °C. The lowest recorded minimum was 2.1 °C. Rainfall is fairly evenly divided between summer and winter, but is slightly higher during the first half of the year, when easterly winds dominate. The average annual rainfall, with moderate to low variability, is 1217.0  millimetres (47.9  in), falling on an average 138.0 days a year. Snowfall last occurred in the Sydney City area in the 1830's.

Although the city does not suffer from cyclones or significant earthquakes, the El Niño Southern Oscillation plays an important role in determining Sydney's weather patterns: drought and bushfire on the one hand, and storms and flooding on the other, associated with the opposite phases of the oscillation. Many areas of the city bordering bushland have experienced bushfires, notably in 1994 and 2002 — these tend to occur during the spring and summer. The city is also prone to severe hail storms and wind storms. One such storm occurred in Sydney's eastern and city suburbs on the evening of 14 April 1999, producing massive hailstones of at least 9 centimetres (3.5 in) in diameter and resulting in insurance losses of around $1.5 billion in less than one hour. The city is also prone to flash flooding from enormous amounts of rain caused by East Coast Lows (a low pressure depression which deepens off the state usually in winter and early spring which can bring significant damage due to heavy rain, cyclonic winds and huge swells). The most notable event was the great Sydney flood which occurred on 6 August 1986 and dumped a record 327.6 millimetres (12.9 in) on the city in 24 hours. This caused major traffic chaos and damage in many parts of the metropolitan area.

Recent research by a Macquarie University atmospheric scientist suggests that land clearing in western Sydney has contributed to major changes in the city's climate. The Bureau of Meteorology have reported that the last four years in Sydney have been the warmest on record (since 1859). 2004 had an average daily maximum temperature of 23.39 °C, 2005 - 23.35 °C, 2002 - 22.91 °C and 2003 - 22.65 °C. The average daily maximum between 1859 and 2004 was 21.6 °C. For the first nine months of 2006 the mean temperature was 18.41 °C; the warmest year previously was 2004 with 18.51 °C. Since the beginning of 2002, there have been only two months in which the average daily maximum was below average: March 2005 (0.43 °C below average) and June 2006 (0.25 °C below average).

Climate Table
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum temperature ( °C) 25.8 25.7 24.7 22.4 19.3 16.9 16.2 17.7 19.9 22.0 23.6 25.1 21.6
Mean daily minimum temperature (°C) 18.6 18.7 17.5 14.7 11.5 9.2 8.0 8.9 11.0 13.5 15.5 17.5 13.7
Mean total rainfall ( mm) 103.3 117.4 131.2 127.2 123.3 128.1 98.1 81.5 68.7 76.9 83.1 78.1 1217.0
Mean number of rain days 12.1 12.3 13.3 12.0 12.0 11.4 10.3 9.9 10.3 11.5 11.4 11.5 138.0
Source: Bureau of Meteorology

Urban structure

Port Jackson
North Shore
Kingsford Smith
International Airport
North Sydney's high-rise commercial district.
North Sydney's high-rise commercial district.
Sydney from the air.
Sydney from the air.

The extensive area covered by urban Sydney is formally divided into more than 300 suburbs (for addressing and postal purposes), and administered as 38 local government areas. There is no city-wide government, but the Government of New South Wales and its agencies have extensive responsibilities in providing metropolitan services. The City of Sydney itself covers a fairly small area comprising the central business district and its neighbouring inner-city suburbs. In addition, regional descriptions are used informally to conveniently describe larger sections of the urban area. These include Eastern Suburbs, Hills District, Inner West, Lower North Shore, Northern Beaches, North Shore, Southern Sydney, South-eastern Sydney, South-western Sydney, Sutherland Shire and Western Sydney. However, many suburbs are not conveniently covered by any of these categories.

Sydney's central business district (CBD) extends southwards for about 2 kilometres (1.25  mi) from Sydney Cove, the point of the first European settlement. Densely concentrated skyscrapers and other buildings including historic sandstone buildings such as the Sydney Town Hall and Queen Victoria Building are interspersed by several parks such as Wynyard and Hyde Park. The Sydney CBD is bounded on the east side by a chain of parkland that extends from Hyde Park through the Domain and Royal Botanic Gardens to Farm Cove on the harbour. The west side is bounded by Darling Harbour, a popular tourist and nightlife precinct while Central station marks the southern end of the CBD. George Street serves as the Sydney CBD's main north-south thoroughfare.

Although the CBD dominated the city's business and cultural life in the early days, other business/cultural districts have developed in a radial pattern since World War II. As a result, the proportion of white-collar jobs located in the CBD declined from more than 60 per cent at the end of World War II to less than 30 per cent in 2004. Together with the commercial district of North Sydney, joined to the CBD by the Harbour Bridge, the most significant outer business districts are Parramatta in the central-west, Blacktown in the west, Bondi Junction in the east, Liverpool in the southwest, Chatswood to the north, and Hurstville to the south.


Apart from the limited role of the Cumberland County Council from 1945–1964, there has never been an overall governing body for the Sydney metropolitan area; instead, the metropolitan area is divided into local government areas (LGAs). These areas have elected councils which are responsible for functions delegated to them by the New South Wales State Government, such as planning and garbage collection.

The City of Sydney includes the central business area and some adjoining inner suburbs, and has in recent years been expanded through amalgamation with adjoining local government areas, such as South Sydney. It is led by the elected Lord Mayor of Sydney and a council. The Lord Mayor, however, is sometimes treated as a representative of the whole city, for example during the Olympics.

The 38 LGAs in Sydney are:

  • Ashfield
  • Auburn
  • Bankstown
  • Baulkham Hills
  • Blacktown
  • Botany Bay
  • Burwood
  • Camden
  • Campbelltown
  • Canada Bay
  • Canterbury
  • Fairfield
  • Holroyd
  • Hornsby
  • Hunter's Hill
  • Hurstville
  • Kogarah
  • Ku-ring-gai
  • Lane Cove
  • Leichhardt
  • Liverpool
  • Manly
  • Marrickville
  • Mosman
  • North Sydney
  • Parramatta
  • Penrith
  • Pittwater
  • Randwick
  • Rockdale
  • Ryde
  • Strathfield
  • Sutherland
  • Sydney
  • Warringah
  • Waverley
  • Willoughby
  • Woollahra

Most citywide government activities are controlled by the state government. These include public transport, main roads, traffic control, policing, education above preschool level, and planning of major infrastructure projects. Because a large proportion of New South Wales' population lives in Sydney, state governments have traditionally been reluctant to allow the development of citywide governmental bodies, which would tend to rival the state government. For this reason, Sydney has always been a focus for the politics of both State and Federal Parliaments. For example, the boundaries of the City of Sydney LGA have been significantly altered by state governments on at least four occasions since 1945, with expected advantageous effect to the governing party in the New South Wales Parliament at the time.


The City District is home to most of Sydney's financial centers, and the Australian Stock Exchange
The City District is home to most of Sydney's financial centers, and the Australian Stock Exchange

The largest economic sectors in Sydney, measured by numbers of people employed, include property and business services, retail, manufacturing, and health and community services. Since the 1980s, jobs have moved from manufacturing to the services and information sectors. Sydney provides approximately 25% of the country's total GDP.

Sydney is the largest corporate and financial centre in Australia and is also an important financial centre in the Asia Pacific. The Australian Stock Exchange and the Reserve Bank of Australia are located in Sydney, as are the headquarters of 90 banks and more than half of Australia's top companies, and the regional headquarters for around 500 multinational corporations. Fox Studios Australia has large movie studios in the city.

The Sydney Futures Exchange (SFE) is one of the Asia Pacific's largest financial futures and options exchanges, with 64.3 million contracts traded during 2005. In global terms it is the 12th largest futures market in the world and the 19th largest including options. With the increasing commercial role of Sydney's many medical laboratories and research centres, science and research is another strong growth sector.

Tourism plays an important role in Sydney's economy, with 7.8 million domestic visitors and 2.5 million international visitors in 2004.

As of September 2003, the unemployment rate in Sydney was 5.3%. According to The Economist Intelligence Unit's Worldwide cost of living survey, Sydney is the sixteenth most expensive city in the world, while a UBS survey ranks Sydney as 26th in the world in terms of net earnings.

As of December 2005, Sydney has the highest median house price of any Australian capital city at $485 000. A report published by the OECD in November 2005, shows that Australia has the Western World's highest housing prices when measured against rental yields.

Sydney has been classified as a "Beta" global city by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network.


3,455,110 people lived in Sydney's urban area as at 2001. As of 2005 there are an estimated 4,254,894 people living in the Sydney Statistical Division with a population density of 345.7 persons per square kilometre, Inner Sydney being the most densely populated place in Australia with 4023 persons per square kilometre. The statistical division is larger in area than the urban area, as it allows for predicted growth. A resident of Sydney is commonly referred to as a Sydneysider.

Sydney's Chinatown
Sydney's Chinatown

In the 2001 census, the most common self-described ancestries identified for Sydney residents were Australian, English, Irish, and Italian. The Census also recorded that 1% of Sydney's population identified as being of indigenous origin and 31.2% were born overseas. The three major sources of immigrants are the United Kingdom, China and New Zealand. Significant numbers of immigrants also came from Vietnam, Lebanon, Italy, India and the Philippines. Most Sydneysiders are native speakers of English; many have a second language, the most common being Chinese languages, Arabic (including Lebanese) and Greek. Sydney has the seventh largest percentage of a foreign born population, ahead of cities such as the highly multicultural London and Paris.

Some ethnic groups are associated with the suburbs where they first settled: the Italians with Leichhardt, Greeks with Rockdale and Hurstville, Lebanese with Lakemba and Bankstown, Koreans with Campsie, Jews with Bondi St Ives and Rose Bay, Indians with Westmead and Parramatta, Chinese with Haymarket (where Sydney's Chinatown has emerged) and Vietnamese with Cabramatta. Redfern and parts of Western Sydney have a high concentration of indigenous Australians.

The median age of a Sydney resident is 34, with 12% of the population over 65 years. 15.2% of Sydney residents have educational attainment equal to at least a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the national average of 19%. Approximately 67% of Sydney residents describe themselves as Christian, the most common denominations being Catholic and Anglican. About 9% of the population practises a non-Christian religion, the most common being Islam, at 3.4% of Sydney's total population and Buddhism. About 12% of Sydney residents are not religious.


The University of Sydney has been operating since 1850 and is the oldest university in Australia.
The University of Sydney has been operating since 1850 and is the oldest university in Australia.

Sydney is home to some of Australia's most prominent universities, and is the site of Australia's first university, the University of Sydney, established in 1850. There are five other public universities operating primarily in Sydney: the University of New South Wales, Macquarie University, the University of Technology, Sydney, the University of Western Sydney, and the Australian Catholic University (two out of six campuses). Other universities which operate secondary campuses in Sydney include the University of Notre Dame Australia and the University of Wollongong.

There are four multicampus government funded Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes in Sydney which provide vocational training at a tertiary level: the Sydney Institute of Technology, Northern Sydney Institute of TAFE, Western Sydney Institute of TAFE and South Western Sydney Institute of TAFE.

Sydney has public, denominational, and independent schools. Public schools, including pre-schools, primary and secondary schools, and special schools are administered by the New South Wales Department of Education and Training. There are four state administered education areas in Sydney, that together coordinate 919 schools. Out of the thirty selective high schools in the state, twenty-five of those are located in Sydney.


Many of Sydney's cultural attractions are in the CBD.
Many of Sydney's cultural attractions are in the CBD.

Arts and entertainment

Sydney has a wide variety of cultural sites and institutions. Sydney's iconic Opera House has five theatres capable of hosting a range of performance styles; it is the home of Opera Australia—the third busiest opera company in the world, and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Other venues include the Sydney Town Hall, City Recital Hall, the State Theatre and the Wharf Theatre.

The Sydney Dance Company under the leadership of Graeme Murphy during the late 20th century has also gained acclaim. The Sydney Theatre Company has a regular roster of local plays, such as noted playwright David Williamson, classics and international playwrights. Other important theatre companies in Sydney include Company B and Griffin Theatre Company. From the 1940s through to the 1970s the Sydney Push, a group of authors and political activists whose members included Germaine Greer, influenced the city's cultural life.

Luna Park
Luna Park

The National Institute of Dramatic Art, based in Kensington, boasts internationally famous alumni such as Mel Gibson and Baz Luhrmann. Sydney's role in the film industry has increased since the opening of Fox Studios Australia in 1998. Prominent films which have been filmed in the city include Moulin Rouge!, Mission Impossible II, Star Wars episodes II and III, Superman Returns and The Matrix. Films using Sydney as a setting include Finding Nemo, Strictly Ballroom, Mission Impossible II, Muriels Wedding, Dirty Deeds and Dil Chahta Hai. As of 2006, over 229 films have been set, or featured Sydney.

Sydney hosts many different festivals including the Sydney Festival, a celebration involving both indoor and free outdoor performances throughout January; the Big Day Out, a travelling rock music festival which originated in Sydney; the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras along Oxford Street; the Sydney Film Festival and many other smaller festivals such as Tropfest and Archibald Prize, a competition organised by the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Australian rock bands which formed in Sydney include Midnight Oil, INXS, Radio Birdman, Wolfmother, indie rockers The Clouds and The Crystal Set, electronic music pioneers Severed Heads, Single Gun Theory and Itch-E and Scratch-E. Jazz groups such as the Sydney-based The Necks have performed at The Basement and the Harbourside Brasserie.

Sydney has several museums. The biggest are the Australian Museum (natural history and anthropology), the Powerhouse Museum (science, technology and design), the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Australian National Maritime Museum.

The Chinese Garden of Friendship
The Chinese Garden of Friendship

Sydney is well endowed with open spaces, and has many natural areas even within the city centre. Within the Sydney central business district are the Chinese Garden of Friendship and Hyde Park, and the Royal Botanical Gardens. The metropolitan area contains several national parks, including the Royal National Park, the second oldest national park in the world.


Sydney is the headquarters of the Australian Rugby League and is home to 8 of the 16 National Rugby League (NRL) teams ( Sydney Roosters, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Parramatta Eels, Cronulla Sharks, Wests Tigers, Penrith Panthers, Canterbury Bulldogs and Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles), as well as being the northern home of the St George Illawarra Dragons (this team is half-based in Wollongong). Telstra Stadium in Sydney is the venue for the NRL Grand Final.

Track and field events in Stadium Australia (now Telstra Stadium) during the 2000 Summer Olympics.
Track and field events in Stadium Australia (now Telstra Stadium) during the 2000 Summer Olympics.

The first Australia rugby union club established was at Sydney University in 1864, and in 1882 the first inter-colonial games was held against Queensland. Today the state team plays as the New South Wales Waratahs in the Super 14. Sydney will also host two teams in the National Rugby Competition. Traditional club competitions include the Shute Shield. Sydney is also a regular host for Wallabies internationals.

In addition to rugby football Sydney has teams in most national competitions including the Sydney Swans ( AFL), Sydney FC ( A-League), Sydney Kings and the West Sydney Razorbacks ( NBL), Sydney Uni Flames ( WNBL), Sydney Blues ( Australian Major League Baseball) and the Sydney Swifts in Australian netball's Commonwealth Bank Trophy and New South Wales team New South Wales Blues ( First-class cricket).

Sydney hosted the 1938 British Empire Games and the 2000 Summer Olympics. Sydney's most famous sports grounds include Sydney Olympic Park which includes Telstra Stadium, home to such events as the NRL Grand Final, the rugby league State of Origin series and most recently the football World Cup qualifier between Australia and Uruguay. It also hosted a semi-final at the 1987 Rugby World Cup, and the final of the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Sydney Football Stadium (also known as Aussie Stadium) is home to such clubs as Sydney Roosters, Sydney FC and the NSW Waratahs, and the neighbouring Sydney Cricket Ground has been home to numerous sports for over a century, but is the main home for cricket and Australian rules football in the city. The Sydney Swans play most of their home games on the Sydney Cricket Ground. They were the Australian Football League premiers of 2005.

Sydney Harbour is famous for its yacht racing, the Boxing Day start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and 18 foot (5.5 m) skiffs. The harbour is used for recreational boating, racing small yachts, recreational fishing, and occasional Dragon Boat racing. Sydney's beaches are popular recreation and sporting locations with both tourists and locals. Famous Sydney beaches include Bondi Beach, Manly Beach, Palm Beach and Cronulla Beach .



Sydney Monorail above Market Street, Sydney
Sydney Monorail above Market Street, Sydney

The Government of New South Wales operates 13 public hospitals in the Sydney metropolitan region. Management of these hospitals and other specialist health facilities are coordinated by 4 health services, Sydney South West (SSWAHS), Sydney West (SWAHS), Northern Sydney and Central Coast (NSCCAHS) and the South Eastern Sydney and Illawarra (SESIAHS) Area Health Services. There are also a number of private hospitals in the city, many of which are aligned with religious organisations.


Most Sydney residents travel by car through the system of roads, freeways and tollways (known as motorways). The most important trunk routes in the urban area form the Metroad system. Sydney is also served by extensive train, bus and ferry networks.

Sydney trains are run by CityRail, a corporation of the New South Wales State Government. Trains run as suburban commuter rail services in the outer suburbs, then converge in an underground city loop service in the CBD. In the years following the 2000 Olympics, CityRail's performance declined significantly. In 2005, CityRail introduced a revised timetable and employed more drivers. A large infrastructure project, the Clearways project, is scheduled to be completed by 2010.

Sydney has one privately operated light rail line, the Metro Light Rail, running from Central Station to Lilyfield along a former goods train line. There is also a small monorail which runs in a loop around the main shopping district and Darling Harbour. Sydney was formerly served by an extensive tram network, which was progressively closed in the 1950s and 1960s. Most parts of the metropolitan area are served by buses, many of which follow the pre-1961 tram routes. In the city and inner suburbs the state-owned Sydney Buses has a monopoly. In the outer suburbs, service is contracted to many private bus companies. Construction of a network of rapid bus transitways in areas not previous well served by public transport began in 1999, and the first of these, the Liverpool-Parramatta Rapid Bus Transitway opened in February 2003. Sydney Ferries, another State government-owned organisation, runs numerous commuter and tourist ferry services on Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River.

The new Sydney millennium train operates in the Sydney metropolitan area.
The new Sydney millennium train operates in the Sydney metropolitan area.

Kingsford Smith International Airport, located in the suburb of Mascot, is Sydney's main airport, and the oldest continuously operating commercial airport in the world. The smaller Bankstown Airport mainly serves private and general aviation. There are light aviation airfields at Hoxton Park and Camden. RAAF Base Richmond lies to the north-west of the city. The question of whether Sydney needs a second international airport has raised much controversy. A 2003 study found that Kingsford Smith can manage as Sydney's sole international airport for 20 years with a significant increase in airport traffic predicted. The resulting expansion of the airport will have a substantial impact on the community, including additional aircraft noise affecting residents. Land has been acquired at Badgerys Creek for a second airport and alternative sites have been mooted.


Water storage and supply for Sydney is managed by the Sydney Catchment Authority, which is an agency of the NSW Government that sells bulk water to Sydney Water and other agencies. Water in the Sydney catchment is chiefly stored in dams in the Upper Nepean Scheme, the Blue Mountains, Woronora Dam, Warragamba Dam and the Shoalhaven Scheme. Historically low water levels in the catchment have led to water use restrictions and the NSW government is investigating alternative water supply options, including grey water recycling and the construction of a seawater reverse osmosis desalination plant at Kurnell. Sydney Water also collects the wastewater and sewerage produced by the city.

Three companies supply natural gas and electricity to Sydney: Energy Australia, AGL and Integral Energy. Numerous telecommunications companies operate in Sydney providing terrestrial and mobile telecommunications services.

A panorama of Sydney Harbour at night, with the Sydney Opera House on the left, the central business district in the image centre and Sydney Harbour Bridge on the right
A panorama of Sydney Harbour at night, with the Sydney Opera House on the left, the central business district in the image centre and Sydney Harbour Bridge on the right

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