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Sydney History, Australia

The history of Sydney is pretty long. The discoveries of pre-historic rock-carvings, grinding-stones, etc. have indicated that the region has been inhabited by local aboriginals since 50000 B.C. or even earlier. Although not much is known about those times, it is believed that the region was referred to by the aborigines as Warrane.

Sydney History– European Exploration & European Settlement

European explorers are believed to have stopped-by at various sites by the north and west coasts of Australia in the 17th century; however, the east and south coasts remained unexplored till Captain James Cook’s first Pacific exploratory voyage. Setting sail from England in 1768, Captain Cook’s ship touched the east coast of Australia on April 20, 1770 before landing at a site in Botany Bay on April 29, 1770. During this voyage Captain Cook had also charted sites like Port Jackson (now Sydney Harbor), Gold Coast, and a few more.

Although Captain Cook had claimed the entire east coast in the name of King George III, the area was not settled till 1788, when the first fleet of 11 ships led by Captain Arthur Phillip arrived in Botany Bay with the intent of setting up a penal colony. Although Botany Bay was the originally chosen site for the settlement, it had to be abandoned because there were no sources of drinking water in its vicinity. Finally, the fleet landed on the shore close to Port Jackson on the 26th of January, 1788. Since the order of setting up the colony was issued by Lord Sydney, Captain Phillip christened the site, Sydney.

The initial years of the settlement proved tough – there was scarcity of food as well as drinking water. The aborigine-populace dwindled from exposure to endemic diseases like small-pox, chicken-pox, etc. and their numbers were drastically reduced by the early 1800s.

Soon, however, things started taking a better turn and by 1840, Sydney ceased to be a deportation-site for criminals. Sydney progressed in leaps and bounds to be incorporated as a city in 1842.

Sydney History -The Gold Rush Years

Sydney underwent unprecedented growth and development in the Gold Rush years. It all began with the discovery of gold in Bathurst (a site close to Sydney) in 1851. The constant influx of migrants (who came here with the hope of laying their hands on gold) shot up the population of Sydney and it rose from 39000 to 200000 in just 20 years. This rise in population was supported by an equally effective infrastructure and economic development and Sydney became one of the leading cities of Australia. Nevertheless, it also pitted Sydney against Melbourne (where gold was discovered at pretty much the same time in the second-half of the 19th century). Their rivalry even saw the cities engaging in lobbying to be named the capital after the formation of the Commonwealth of Australia. (A separate Australian Capital Territory (ACT) with its capital at Canberra city was created to avoid further clashes)

Sydney History - The 20th Century

The 20th Century saw rapid industrialization. This industrialization has been matched by an equally swift rise in population (mostly through immigration) and today the perfectly cosmopolitan Sydney city is the most populous city of Australia. The city has also been undergoing expansion and now Sydney is the largest city of Australia.

2000 has been the most significant year in the history of Sydney because Sydney was the venue for the 2000 Olympic Games.

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