History of Sydney

This resource is brought to you by AB Electrical & Communications in Sydney

At present, Sydney is one of the most fascinating places in the world. It’s not just the golden beaches and alfresco food scene that draws in large groups of people. The culture is vibrant and exciting, so you’re spoilt for things to do. Most importantly, Sydney’s landmarks are rich in history. The Tribal Warrior Cruise on Sydney Harbour. Before stepping ashore on Be-lang-le-wool, you’ll listen to the tales of the Cadigal, Kurringai, Wangal people, some of the distinct indigenous groups of Australia. 

Sydney is a story of change. A long time ago, the city as we know it didn’t exist. Now, we’re surrounded by gigantesque structures that seem to have been there since the dawn of time. If you want to uncover the fascinating, outlandish, and unexpected side of Sydney and learn more about its history, you’ve come to the right place.

The Early History of Sydney Was Brutally Dominated by Its Existence as A British Penal Colony

The modern history of Sydney began with the arrival of a fleet of 11 British ships in 1788, guided by Captain Arthur Phillip. Convicts were dumped in the colony of New South Wales. Other penal colonies were established in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) in 1803 and Queensland in 1824. Indigenous people were dispossessed of their lands as colonization spread across the continent. As the months unfolded, the grim reality started to set in. Poor soil and an unfamiliar climate, not to mention the lack of farming knowledge, make it difficult for Philip to keep the men alive. 

With the exploration and settlement of New South Wales, Sydney grew fast. The British government made available free land, free hard labour, free capital works, and guaranteed markets for produce. No issues between governors, the free settlers, and the convicts have been missing. Philip wanted to establish harmonious relationships with the local Aboriginal people and strived to discipline the convicts of the colony. He insisted that food should be shared between convicts and free settlers. Not only did the colony survive, but also it paved the way for fairness. 

Why Is Sydney Called Sydney?

In case you didn’t know, Sydney is an English surname. The city was originally to be called the New Albion. For indeterminate reasons, the colony was named after Lord Sydney (Thomas Townshend), a British politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1754 and 1783. At the time, he was Britain’s Home Secretary. Many argue that the Australian town was given the name Sydney in honour of Townshend, who promulgated a charter allowing Governor Philip to establish a colony in the harbour. The city of Sydney in Nova Scotia in Canada was also named after him.

With a wide array of names to choose from, Townshend proposed his tile to be Lord Sydney as a token of appreciation for his hero, Algernon Sidney, one of the world’s most celebrated martyrs for free speech. Algernon Sidney was put to death in 1683 due to his book, Discourses Concerning Government, which inferred that people have a right to rebel against oppressive governments. That aside, Sydney in Old English meant “dweller by the well-watered land. 

Immigration Has Transformed Sydney into One of The Most Ethnically Diverse Cities 

By the 1830s and 1840s, Sydney received an impressive number of free settlers, which altered the dynamics of the colony. More precisely, it transformed from a military post into an urban centre. Many of the city’s historic buildings date back from Macquarie’s time. He was a great builder and visionary. Rivers, lakes, a bank, a university, and even a dictionary were named after him. Lachlan Macquarie arrived in Sydney in 1809, replacing Captain William Bligh as Governor of New South Wales. 

The first migrants were involuntary, as convicts were transported from Britain, Ireland, and other British colonies. With the discovery of gold, the nature of Australian migration changed utterly. People arrived in massive numbers, from more and more varied backgrounds. Beginning with 1956, non-European residents were allowed to apply for citizenship. In 1973, Al Grassby, the Minister for Immigration, declared Australia a multicultural society. Italians and Greeks made up the majority of non-British arrivals. These days, the country is taking refugees from other countries. 

The city of Sydney is now one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse areas in New South Wales. Of the total population, roughly 40% of people were born overseas. Examples of languages spoken in Sydney include Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese, Arabic, Greek, and Vietnamese. In the 230 years since colonization, cultural diversity continues to be a feature of Sydney.

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