of the Pacific Rim’
Celebrated as the ‘Queen of the Pacific Rim’,
vibrant Sydney is home to 1 of the world’s most striking harbours,
with the imposing Opera House as the jewel in its crown.
The State capital of New South Wales, Sydney is
a flourishing centre for both business and the arts. The city has
all the cosmopolitan amenities, top shopping, brilliant restaurants
and buzzing nightlife.
Carved between the mountains and the sea, Sydney offers the ultimate
in the great outdoors. The Pacific Ocean surges onto golden beaches,
while a seasonally shifting palette of colours unfolds further inland
over the Blue Mountains.
In addition to the harbour, famously decorated with sailing boats
that mirror the distinctive curves of the Opera House, there are
several inland waterways and national parks.
From Sydney's sordid beginnings as a British penal colony in 1788,
it has rapidly flourished, establishing booming trade links and
witnessing large scale development throughout the 19th and 20th
The Sydney Opera House (an accomplishment of avant
garde architectural vision) epitomises the city’s desire to
lead the New World in the 21st century. Sydney’s architecture
is a beautiful combination, with little Victorian structures nestling
below towering concrete, steel and glass skyscrapers.
All the enthusiasm and plate glass sophistication nonetheless fail
to compensate for a certain competitive edginess in the city’s
psyche. After the Australian Federation was created
in 1901, the traditional arguing between Sydney and its arch rival,
Melbourne, was settled in 1908, by making Canberra the new national
capital. Melbourne remained the seat of national government until
1927, when the city of Canberra was completed.
However, Sydneysiders insist that their city remains the ‘true’
capital of Australia and indeed, with a successful hosting of the
2000 Olympic Games, the world might even agree with this.
But the rivalry with Melbourne persists, a rivalry based more on
style than on stature for, while Sydney is decidedly Anglo in its
ethnic orientation, Melbourne is more continental, with a much more
evidently imported culture. To Melbourne, Sydney will always be
self indulgent and shallow, just as to Sydney, Melbourne will always
be grey and intellectual.
Australia’s white history has eclipsed its original inheritance
and, although the city has the highest Aboriginal population of
any Australian city, a stroll around the Sydney's streets offers
little evidence that it has anything other than a white (and latterly,
an Asian) heritage.
While galleries, museums, theatre and dance troupes pay tribute
to the archaeological and cultural legacy of indigenous culture,
Aborigines in the city remain very much an unseen
With the Olympics, Sydney came of age as 1 of the world’s
great cities. The games’ smooth running has been attributed
to the 1000's of local volunteers, whose helpful, welcoming
attitude revealed (much to Sydney’s own surprise)
that beneath its somewhat vain and self seeking surface there still
exists a bedrock of traditional Australian virtues.
The Games did more than affect the city’s approach, they transformed
its physical appearance. Streets and public areas were remodeled,
long-neglected eyesores were removed and new street furniture erected,
resulting in a city centre that is more enjoyable and easier to
navigate than ever before. Combine that with semi tropical summers
and mild winters and the consequence is an excellent city
to visit at any time of the year.