sydney history

Coordinates 33°52 S 151°12 E 
Area 12,145 km² 
Time zone 
• Summer (DST) AEST (UTC+10) 
AEDT (UTC+11) 
• 2003 4,270,986 (1st)
• Density 345.7/km² 

Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales and with a population of over four million people is the most populous city in Australia. Sydney is located on the east coast of Australia. It was established in 1788 when Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet landed in Sydney Cove and claimed Australia for the British. Built around Sydney Harbour, Sydney is known in Australia as the "Harbour City", and structures on the Harbour such as the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge are globally recognised icons of the city. Sydney has one of the world’s most recognizable skylines. Its famous harbour is commonly referred to as the most beautiful natural harbour in the world, Its also a global city notable for its climate, culture and world famous landmarks

Sydney is a significant domestic and international tourist destination. Sydney significantly raised its global profile in recent years as the host city of the 2000 Olympics.

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

Sydney in 1796
Sydney in 1796

The Sydney region has been occupied by Indigenous Australians for at least 30 000 years, and at the time of the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, 4000 - 8000 Aboriginal people lived in the region.[1] There were three different language groups in the Sydney region, these were further refined into dialects spoken by smaller clans. The principle languages were Darug; the Cadigal, the 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), there are still rock carvings in several locations.

European interest in Australia arose with the sighting of Botany Bay by Lieutenant James Cook 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 Bay affecting Kuringgai and Darug.[2] 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.[3]

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 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 Britain and Ireland with immigrants looking to start a new life in a new country. 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.

Throughout the 20th century Sydney continued to expand with various new waves of European and (later) Asian immigration, resulting in its highly cosmopolitan atmosphere. Indeed, Sydney has the second highest immigrant population of any major world city, with 45% of the population being either migrants or children of migrants.[citation needed]


Image of Sydney taken by NASA. 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. The city centre is about a third of the way in on the south shore of the upper inlet. 

A view of the Sydney CBD from the Harbour Bridge, the Circular Quay is in the foreground
A view of the Sydney CBD from the Harbour Bridge, the Circular Quay is in the foreground

Sydney is located in a coastal basin between the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Blue Mountains to the west. The city features the largest natural harbour in the world, Port Jackson, and more than 70 harbour and ocean beaches, including the famous Bondi Beach. Sydney's urban area of 1,687 km² (651 mi²) is similar to that of Greater London, although it has less than half of that city's population. The metropolitan area (Sydney Statistical Division) is 12,145 km² (4,689 mi²); a significant portion of this area is national park and other unsettled land.

Sydney occupies two geographical regions: the Cumberland Plain, a relatively flat or rolling region lying to the south and west of the harbour, and the Hornsby Plateau, a plateau north of the harbour, up to 200 metres (656 ft) in elevation, dissected by forested valleys. The oldest parts of the city are located in the flat areas; the Hornsby Plateau, known as 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 a subtropical climate with warm summers and cool 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 temperature range on the coast of 18.6 °C - 25.8 °C and an average of 14.6 days a year over 30 °C. The highest recorded temperature is 45.3 °C on 1939-01-14 at the end of a 4 day nationwide heatwave. The winter is mild, with temperatures rarely dropping below 5 °C in coastal areas. The coldest month is June, with an average range of 8.0 °C - 16.2 °C. The lowest recorded minimum is 2.1 °C. Rainfall is fairly evenly divided between summer and winter, but is slight higher during the first half of the year, when easterly winds dominate. The average annual rainfall, with moderate to low variability, is 1217.0 mm, falling on an average 138.0 days a year.[4][5]

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 subject to infrequent severe hail storms and wind storms.

Urban structure

The Sydney Opera House and Sydney skyline
The Sydney Opera House and Sydney skyline

The extensive area covered by urban Sydney is formally divided into more than 300 suburbs (for addressing and postal purposes), and formally administered by about 38 separate local government areas (in addition to the extensive responsibilities of the Government of New South Wales and its agencies). The City of Sydney itself covers a fairly small area comprising the central business district and neighbouring inner-city suburbs. In addition, there are a number of regional descriptions which are used informally to conveniently describe large sections of the urban area. However it should be noted that there are many suburbs which are not conveniently covered by any of the following informal regional categories. The regions are 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

Darling Harbour at night, a precinct on the western edge of Sydney.
Darling Harbour at night, a precinct on the western edge of Sydney.

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 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 precinct. Central Station marks the southern end of the CBD. George Street is the Sydney CBDs 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% at the end of World War II to less than 30% in 2004.[citation needed] The five most significant outer business districts are Parramatta in the central-west, Blacktown in the west, Liverpool in the southwest, Chatswood to the north, and Hurstville in the south.

Historically, Sydney was governed by Cumberland County (c.1940-1960). Today there is no overall governing body for the Sydney metropolitan area. 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 (LGAs), 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. Local affairs for the rest of the metropolitan area are run by bodies known as local government areas. These areas all have elected councils and are responsible for a range of functions delegated to them by the New South Wales State Government. The other LGAs in Sydney are:

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.


Port Jackson from a helicopter
Port Jackson from a helicopter

As of September 2003, the unemployment rate in Sydney was 5.3%.[6] As of December 2005, Sydney has the highest median house price of any Australian capital city at $485 000.[7] According to The Economist Intelligence Unit's Worldwide cost of living survey, Sydney is the sixteenth most expensive city in the world. It is worth noting that, Australia as a country has by far the most overvalued houses in the Western world, with prices 52 per cent higher than justified by rental values, says OECD in a report published in November 2005. [8]

The economy of Sydney is large and diverse, the sectors with the largest percentage of employed persons include property and business services, retail, manufacturing and health and community services.[9] Since the 1980s there has been a de-industrialisation of the Sydney economy, with jobs moving from manufacturing to the services and information sectors, Sydney is now established as the corporate and financial capital of Australia and is also an important financial centre in the Asia-Pacific.[10] Sydney is home to the Australian Stock Exchange and the Reserve Bank of Australia, a number of major Australian banks, and many major Australian corporations, it also serves as the regional headquarters for numerous multinational corporations. 20th Century Fox has large Sydney studios.


The Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House are two of Sydney's most famous landmarks
The Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House are two of Sydney's most famous landmarks

As of 2003 there were 4,270,986 people living in Sydney, and a population density of 345.7 persons per square kilometre for the metropolitan area.[11] Inner Sydney is the most densely populated place in Australia with 4023 persons per square kilometre.[12] In the 2001 census, the most common self-described ancestries identified for Sydney residents were Australian, English and Irish.[6] 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 and the Philippines. Most Sydneysiders are native speakers of English; many have a second language, the most common being Chinese languages, Arabic (including Lebanese), Greek.[6]

The median age of a Sydney resident is 34, 12% of the population is over 65 years.[4] 12.3% 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 practice a non-Christian religion, the most common being Buddhism and Islam and about 12% are not religious.[6]


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 the site of Australia's first university: the University of Sydney was established in Sydney in 1850 and remains one of Australia's most prestigious universities. 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 of whose five campuses are in Sydney). Other universities which operate secondary campuses in Sydney include the University of Notre Dame Australia and the University of Wollongong.

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

Sydney has numerous 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, which coordinate 919 schools. Selective schools are high schools which admit students on the basis of certain criteria, usually academic testing.


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

Arts and entertainment

Sydney's Town Hall
Sydney's Town Hall

Sydney boasts a full roster of musical, theatrical and artistic activity through the year, from the formal - including the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Sydney Theatre Company, the Sydney Dance Company, and the Archibald Prize - to festivals, including the Sydney Festival, a celebration of free performances throughout January. Performances are often held in the iconic Sydney Opera House, which contains 5 theatres capable of hosting a wide range of performance styles. Other major arts venues include the Sydney Town Hall, City Recital Hall, the State Theatre and the Wharf Theatre.

Many internationally known Australian rock bands have had their conception in Sydney, which include most notably The Easybeats, AC/DC, Midnight Oil and INXS. Sydney has also been the inspiration for a large number of Australian indie rock and mainstream pop songs, from The Executives' classic 1968 "Summer Hill Road" to Paul Kelly's many songs about Sydney including "From St. Kilda to Kings Cross" and "Sydney From A 727", to John Kennedy's Love Gone Wrong and songs like "King Street" and "Miracle in Marrickville" to The Mexican Spitfires "Sydney Town" and "Town Hall Steps" among many others.

Luna Park
Luna Park

Sydney also has been home to many visual artists, from the lush pastoralism of Lloyd Rees's depictions of Sydney Harbour to Jeffrey Smart's portraits of bleak urban alienation. Other visual artists with a strong association with the city include Brett Whiteley, one of Australia's most revered 20th century artists, whose depiction of Australian Poet Kenneth Slessor's famous poem set on Sydney Harbour Five Bells is exhibited at the Sydney Opera House; and Australia's foremost pop artist Martin Sharp, whose work includes a seventies version of the famous face for Sydney's Harbourside Amusement park - Luna Park.

Sydney has five large and many smaller 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.

Sydney is home to several large ethnic communities throughout the greater metropolitan area, with Chinatown as a good example. There is a significant gay community which hosts the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras along Oxford Street.

Sydney leads the world in one of the first major New Year's Eve celebrations each year
Other attractions include the historic Rocks district and Hyde Park Barracks. Oceanworld, Sydney Aquarium, and Taronga Zoo are popular, as are the Harbour Bridge, Luna Park, the Sydney Mint and Sydney Tower.

Sydney has two main daily newspapers. The Sydney Morning Herald is a centrist broadsheet, and is Sydney's newspaper of record with extensive coverage of domestic and international news, culture and business. It is also the oldest extant newspaper in Australia, having been published regularly since 1831. The Herald's competitor, The Daily Telegraph, is a populist News Corporation-owned tabloid. Both papers have tabloid counterparts published on Sunday, The Sun-Herald and the Sunday Telegraph respectively.

The three commercial television networks (Seven, Nine and Ten), as well as the government national broadcast services (ABC and SBS) each have a presence in Sydney. Historically, the networks have been based on the north shore, but the last decade has seen several move to the inner city. Nine have kept their headquarters north of the harbour located in Willoughby. Ten have their studios in a redeveloped section of the inner-city suburb of Pyrmont, and Seven also have headquarters in Pyrmont as well as a new purpose built news studio in the CBD. The ABC has a large headquarters and production facility in the neighbouring suburb of Ultimo and SBS have their studios at Artarmon. Foxtel and Optus both supply pay-TV over their cable services to most parts of the urban area. The five free-to-air networks have provided Digital Free-to-air TV transmissions in Sydney since January 2001. Additional services recently introduced include ABC's Second Channel ABC2 (Channel 21), SBS's world news service SBS2, an on-air program guide (Channel 4), ABC news, sport, and weather items (Channel 41), ChannelNSW: Government and Public Information (Channel 45), Australian Christian Channel (Channel 46), MacquarieBank TV (Channel 47), SportsTAB (Channel 48), Expo Home Shopping (Channel 49), and Federal parliamentary broadcasts.

Many AM and FM government, commercial and community radio services broadcast in the Sydney area. The local ABC radio station is 702 ABC Sydney (formerly 2BL). The talkback radio genre is dominated by the perennial rivals 2GB and 2UE. Vega is a new talk radio station on the FM band. Popular music stations include Triple M, 2Day FM and Nova 96.9. Triple J, 2SER and FBi Radio provide a more independent, local and alternative sound. There are also a number of community stations broadcasting to a particular language group or local area. For a full list see here.


Track and field events in Telstra Stadium during the 2000 Summer Olympics.
Track and field events in Telstra Stadium during the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Sydney is arguably the rugby league centre of the world. It is the headquarters of Australian Rugby League and home to 8 of the 15 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), and the northern home of the St George Illawarra Dragons is here (this team is half-based in Wollongong.

In addition to the NRL Sydney has teams in most national competitions including the Sydney Swans - AFL, Sydney FC - A-League, Sydney Kings and the West Sydney Razorbacks - National Basketball League, Sydney Blues - Australian Major League Baseball and the Sydney Swifts in Australian Netball's Commonwealth Bank Trophy. The New South Wales teams New South Wales Blues - First-class cricket and the New South Wales Waratahs - Super 14 Rugby union team are also based in Sydney.

Bondi beach
Bondi beach

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 (soccer) World Cup qualifier between Australia and Uruguay. 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. The Sydney Swans play most of their home games on the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Sydney Harbour is famous for its racing yachts, the Boxing Day start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and 18 foot (5.5 m) skiffs. The river is used for dinghy sailing and rowing as well as 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 and Palm Beach.


The Government of New South Wales operates numerous public hospitals, management of these hospitals is coordinated by 4 health services. Sydney South West Health, Sydney West Area, Northern Sydney and Central Coast and the South Eastern Sydney and Illawarra Area each manage a number of hospitals and specialist health facilities. There are also a number of private hospitals in the city.


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

Sydneys focal point, Circular Quay wharf and railway station as seen from an approaching Rivercat ferry.
Sydneys focal point, Circular Quay wharf and railway station as seen from an approaching Rivercat ferry.

Most transport in Sydney is by automobiles, and there is an extensive network of freeways and tollways (known as motorways) and roads across Sydney. 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. Public anger resulted in the introduction of a new timetable, the employment of more drivers and a large infrastructure project which is scheduled to be completed by 2010.[13][14][15]

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 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-1963 tram routes. In the city and inner suburbs the state-owned Sydney Buses has a monopoly. In the outer suburbs, service is divided between many private bus companies. Sydney Ferries, another State government-owned organisation, runs numerous commuter and tourist ferry services on Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River.

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.

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. [16] 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.[17] Sydney Water also collects the wastewater and sewerage produced by the city.

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

^ Kohen, J. L. 2000. First and last people: Aboriginal Sydney. In J. Connell (Ed.). Sydney the emergence of a global city. pp 76-95. Oxford University Press ISBN 0195507487, pp 76-78 
^ Ibid, pp 81-82 
^ Ibid, pp 83 
^ Australian Bureau of Meterology. 2005. Climate averages. 
^ Ellyard, D. 1994. Droughts and Flooding Rains. Angus & Robertson ISBN 0207185573 
^ a Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2005. Sydney Statistical Division. 
^ Real Estate Institute of Australia. December 14 2005. Still strong confidence in the housing market, Press Release 
^ Boilling, M. February 2 2006. City among most costly, Herald Sun 
^ a b c Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2002. Sydney - Basic Community Profile and Snapshot - 2001 Census 
^ Daly, M. T. and Pritchard, B. 2000. Sydney:Australia's financial and commercial capital. In J. Connell (Ed.). Sydney the emergence of a global city. pp 76-95. Oxford University Press ISBN 0195507487, pp 167-188 
^ Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2005. National Regional Profile: Sydney 
^ Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2005. National Regional Profile: Inner Sydney 
^ CityRail (2002). Rail Clearways Plan 
^ Kerr, J. and A. Smith. July 22 2004. Panic stations over CityRail driver exodus. Sydney Morning Herald 
^ Kerr, J. December 4 2004. Terminal dilemma. Sydney Morning Herald 
^ Sydney Catchment Authority. History of Sydney's water supply 
^ Sydney Water. Sydney's desalination project
First Inhabitants 
An extract from "Leichhardt: on the margins of the city" by Max Solling and Peter Reynolds, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1997

The Cadigal clan occupied a territory that embraced Sydney Cove and stretched along the southern side of Port Jackson from South Head to about Petersham. The tract of land from Petersham westwards to Rosehill, embracing the present Leichhardt municipality, belonged to the Wangal clan; the boundary that separated them from the Cadigal seems to have been the Balmain peninsula.

Within eighteen months of the arrival of the First Fleet, smallpox, introduced by the Europeans, swept through the Sydney bands, killing over half the local indigenous population. Many were found dead in the rock shelters and bays of the harbour. The disease, named "gal-gal" by the Aborigines, spread so rapidly that many were dead before they had a chance to see the "gubbas" (white ghosts) who invaded the land. Captain Hunter, returning from the Cape of Good Hope in May 1789, was surprised to see no Aborigines or their canoes as his ship sailed up the harbour. In his journal Lieutenant Bradley wrote of the terror and panic that smallpox caused as it decimated the Aboriginal population.

Deprived of their lands, their traditional food supply seriously disrupted, and many of the Sydney bands destroyed by smallpox, small remnants of bands combined to form new groups. It brought a drastic change to Aboriginal social relations and occupation patterns, with remnants of the Sydney bands withdrawing from the settlement, suspicious of whites and executing "vengeance on unfortunate stragglers". In 1790 the 50-strong Cadigal clan had been reduced to three members and it seems likely that the adjoining Wangal clan, so close to Sydney Cove, was also decimated.

The tribal life of the Aboriginal people of the Sydney region had also been effectively destroyed by 1820. Bishop Broughton later told a House of Commons Select Committee that by taking over the land and driving away the kangaroos and other game European settlement had made Aboriginal life in the traditional manner impossible. Survivors of the various clans around Port Jackson combined into a kind of "Sydney tribe" with their main camp on the north shore of the harbour; remnants of the clans on the southern side gathered on a campsite near the heads at Botany.

The Parramatta "feast" which attracted seven or eight tribes from as far away as Broken Bay, Jervis Bay, the Monaro and possibly Port Macquarie, could muster only 400 Aborigines in 1824. By 1838, of the 500 Aborigines estimated to be living in the Nineteen Counties most had come from outside the district.

Those Aborigines who survived in the Sydney region had to develop methods of existing within the totally dominant white culture. They lived as beggars and prostitutes, doing oddjobs and occasionally fishing. They lived in camps at the Government Boat Shed at Circular Quay, at Manly Beach, Lavender Bay, Botany Bay and La Perouse. Inland tribes were encountering whites as settlement spread and everywhere the frontier was the scene of bitter conflict between European settlers and Aboriginal occupants.

Thousands of engraving sites exist within 100 kiometrcs of Port Jackson; the most lasting examples of Sydney Aboriginal art are to be found on the soft Hawkesbury sandstone rock which surrounds the Cumberland Plain. In the rock shelters and overhangs there are representations of wallabies, fish and eels; there are also images or stencils of hands, boomerangs, hatchets and spears..

The only known Aboriginal sites within Leichhardt, eight altogether, are located in two areas: at Callan Point within the grounds of Rozelle Hospital, and at Yurulbin Point's parts of the municipality's natural shoreline that have remained largely undisturbed. Evidence of whatever other sites existed has been destroyed by extensive reclamation of the shoreline and development. The five sites identified at Callan Point are shell middens in sheltered areas close to the water's edge where groups camped or stopped for a meal. These middens which, like other sites in Port Jackson, contain rock oysters, cockles, mussels and Terrebralia shells, have been dated at about 4,500 years old. The three other sites have been identified on private land at Yurulbin Point. Two are midden sites located under rock overhangs, and the other is an art site with hand stencils and a charcoal outline of a shark.