1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Sydney (N.S.W.)

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SYDNEY, the capital of New South Wales, Australia, in Cumberland county, on the east coast of the continent, situated on the south shore of Port Jackson, in 33° 15' 44" S., 151° 12' 23" E. Few capitals in the world can rival Sydney in natural advantages and beauty of site. It stands on undulating and easily drained ground, upon a bed of sandstone rock, on a peninsula jutting into one of the deepest, safest and most beautiful harbours in the world; and in addition it lies in the centre of a great carboniferous area. The metropolitan area of Sydney consists of a peninsula, about 13 m. in length, lying between the Parramatta and George's rivers. The sea frontage of this area stretches for 12 m. from the South Head of Port Jackson to the North Head of Botany Bay; it consists of bold cliffs alternating with beautiful beaches, of which some are connected with the city by tramway, and form favourite places of resort. The city proper occupies two indented tongues of land, having a water frontage on Port Jackson, and extending from Rushcutter's Bay on the east to Blackwattle Bay on the west, a distance of 8 m., nearly two miles of which is occupied by the Domain and the botanical gardens. The business quarter is a limited area lying between Darling Harbour and the Domain. The streets are irregular in width, some of them narrow and close together, while those leading down to Darling Harbour have a steep incline. Sydney has in consequence more than usually the appearance of an old-world town.

The main street of the city, George Street, is 2 m. long, running from north to south; it contains the town-hall, the post office and the Anglican cathedral. The post office is a handsome sandstone building in Renaissance style; it is colonnaded on two sides with polished granite columns and surmounted by a clock tower, containing a peal of bells. The town-hall, a large
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florid building of Classic order, stands on an eminence, and its clock tower forms a landmark; it contains the spacious Centennial Hall (commemorating the first Australian colonization here in 1787), and has one of the finest organs in the world. Opposite are the Queen Victoria Markets, a striking Byzantine erection, capped by numerous turrets and domes. Adjoining the town hall is the Anglican cathedral of St Andrew, in the Perpendicular style; it has two towers at the west end and a low central tower above the intersection of the nave and transepts, with a very handsome chapter house. Second in importance to George Street is Pitt Street, which runs parallel to it from the Circular Quay to the railway station; Macquarie Street runs alongside the Domain and contains a number of public buildings, including the treasury, the office of public works, the houses of parliament and the mint. In Bridge Street, behind the office of public works, are the exchange and the crown lands office. All these government offices are in classical style. The Roman Catholic Cathedral of St Mary lies on the north-east side of Hyde Park; it is a splendid Gothic structure, the finest in Australia. This cathedral has been twice destroyed by fire, and the existing building, from the designs of Mr W. W. Wardell, was consecrated in 1905. Government House, the residence of the governor-general, an excellent Tudor building erected in 1837, and several times enlarged, is delightfully situated in the Domain, overlooking Farm Cove. The residence of the state governor is at Rose Bay, east of the city. At the top of King Street there is a statue of Queen Victoria and close by a statue of Prince Albert, at the entrance to Hyde Park, in which the most elevated spot is occupied by a statue of Captain Cook. The university stands in its own grounds on the site of Grose Farm, the scene of one of the earliest attempts at government farming. Like most of the buildings at Sydney, the university is built of the excellent sandstone from the quarries of Pyrmont; it is 15th-century Gothic in style and stands at the top of a gentle slope, surrounded by gardens. Around it lie three Gothic colleges in the 14th-century style, affiliated to the university and known as St Paul's, St John's and St Andrew's. They are residential colleges belonging respectively to the Anglicans, Roman Catholics and Presbyterians. The university provides instruction and grants degrees in arts, law, medicine, science and engineering; instruction in theology, however, is given, not by the university, but by the different affiliated colleges.

To compensate for the narrowness of its streets and its lack of fine promenades Sydney possesses a number of grand parks, surpassed in few other capitals. Hyde Park is a plateau almost in the centre of the city, which in the early days of Sydney was used as a race-course. Adjoining are two smaller parks, Cook Park and Philip Park, while north of these stretches the Domain and the botanical gardens. The Domain embraces 138 acres, extending along one side of Woolloomooloo Bay and surrounding Farm Cove, in which the warships belonging to the Australian station are usually anchored; in this charming expanse of park land are the governor's residence and the National Art Gallery, which houses a splendid collection of pictures by modern artists, statuary, pottery and other objects of art. The botanical gardens on the southern shores of Farm Cove are the finest in the Commonwealth and are distinguished for their immense collection of exotics. On the south-east of the city lie Moore Park, 600 acres in extent, containing two fine cricket grounds and the show grounds of the agricultural society, and Centennial Park, formerly a water reserve of 768 acres. Adjoining Moore Park is the metropolitan race-course of Randwick. There are numerous other and smaller parks, of which the chief are Wentworth Park laid out on the site of Blackwattle Swamp, Prince Alfred Park, Belmore Park and Victoria Park adjoining the university grounds.

Sydney harbour is divided into a number of inlets by projecting headlands. The head of Woolloomooloo Bay, Sydney Cove, the shallow bay between Dawes and Millers Point, and Darling Harbour, are lined with wharves. The Circular Quay at the head of Sydney Cove is 1300 ft. long, and here all the great ocean liners from Europe, China and Japan are berthed, while to the great wharf in Woolloomooloo Bay, 3000 ft. in length, the American liners and the majority of the small coasting vessels come to discharge their cargoes. The whole of the eastern side of Darling Harbour is occupied by a succession of wharves and piers, there being in all 4000 ft. of wharfage. Connected with the main railway system of the colony is the Darling Harbour Wharf 1260 ft. long and equipped with electric light, stationary and travelling hydraulic cranes, machinery for meat freezing, and large sheds for storing corn and wool. In addition to these there are wharves at Pyrmont and Blackwattle Bay, respectively 3500 ft. and 1400 ft. long. These harbours on the eastern side of Sydney are mainly frequented by cargo boats trading in coal, corn, frozen meat, wool, hides and various ores. The total length of quays and wharves belonging to the port amounts to some 23 m. The dock accommodation is extensive. On Cockatoo Island, a few miles west of the city, the government have two large dry docks, the Fitzroy dock, 450 ft. long, and the Sutherland dock, 630 ft. Mort's dock, another large dry dock, is at Mort's Bay, Balmain, while there are five floating docks with a combined lifting power of 3895 tons, and the three patent slips in Mort's Bay can raise between them 3040 tons. Prior to 1899 the jurisdiction of the port was in the hands of a marine board, three members of which were elected by the shipping interest, and the remaining four nominated by the government, but in that year the board was replaced by a single official, known as the superintendent of the department of navigation and responsible to the colonial secretary.

Sydney has a great number of learned, educational and charitable institutions; it possesses a Royal Society, a Linnean Society and a Geographical Society, a women's college affiliated to the university, an astronomical observatory, a technical college, a school of art with library attached, a bacteriological institute at Rose Bay, a museum and a free public library. Standing in the centre of a great coal-bearing basin, Sydney is naturally the seat of numerous manufactures, to the prosperity of which the abundance and cheapness of coal has been highly conducive. In addition to the industries connected with the shipping, large numbers of hands are employed in the government railway works, where the locomotives and rolling stock used by the state railways are manufactured. There are several large tobacco factories, flour mills, boot factories, sugar refineries, tanneries, tallow works, meat-preserving, glue and kerosene-oil factories and soap works. Clothing, carriages, pottery, glass, paper and furniture are made, and there are numerous minor industries.

Sydney is governed municipally by a city council. The gas and electric lighting is in the hands of private firms. The administration of the park, the city improvements and the water and sewerage departments have been handed over to boards and trusts. The control of the traffic is in the hands of the police, who, with the wharves and the tramways, are directed by the state government. The whole district between Sydney and Parramatta on each side of the railway is practically one continuous town, the more fashionable suburbs lying on the east of the city while the business extension is to the westward and the southern quarters are largely devoted to manufacturing. The suburbs comprise the following distinct municipalities, Alexandria, with a population in 1901 of 9341; Annandale, 8349; Ashfield, 14,329; Balmain, 30,076; Bexley, 3079; Botany, 3383; North Botany, 3772; Burwood, 7521; Camperdown, 7931; Canterbury, 4226; Concord, 2818; Darlington, 3784; Drummoyne, 4244; Enfield, 2497; Erskineville, 6059; Glebe, 19,220;, Hunter's Hill, 4232; Hurstville, 4019; Kogarah, 3892; Lane Cove, 1918; Leichhardt, 17,454; Manly, 5035; Marrickville, 18,775; Eastwood, 713; Mosman, 5691; Newtown, 22,598; North Sydney, 22,040; Paddington, 21,984; Petersham, 15,307; Randwick, 9753; Redfern, 2429; Rockdale, 7857; Ryde, 3222; St Peter's, 5906; Vaucluse, 1152; Waterloo, 9609; Waverley, 12,342; Willoughby, 6004; Woollahra, 12,351. These suburbs are connected with the city, some by railway, some by steam, cable and electric tramways, and others by ferry across Port Jackson. The tramway system is owned by the government.

There are numerous places of resort for the citizens. Many of the bays in the harbour are largely visited on Sundays and holidays. The most popular resorts are Manly Beach, Chowder Bay and Watson's Bay, in the harbour; Cabarita, on the Parramatta river; Middle Harbour; and Coogee Bay and Bondi, on the ocean beach; Botany, Lady Robinson's Beach, Sandringham and Sans Souci on Botany Bay. Besides these there are two splendid national reserves, an hour's journey by rail from Sydney, viz. National Park, comprising an area of 36,810 acres, surrounding the picturesque bay of Port Hacking; and Kurringai Chase, with an area of 35,300 acres.

The two principal cemeteries are at Waverley and Rookwood. The former is most picturesquely situated on the cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

The climate of Sydney is mild and equable; in summer sea breezes blow from the north-east, which, while they temper the heat, make the air exceedingly humid; in winter the winds blow from the west and the climate is dry and bracing. The mean average temperature is 63° Fahr., and the rainfall 49.66 in.

The population has increased with marvellous rapidity. In 1861 it was (city and suburbs inclusive) 95,000; in 1881, 237,300; in 1891, 399,270; and in 1901, 487,900. The proportion of city dwellers to suburban is as follows: in 1901 - city, 112,137; suburbs, 369,693; total, 487,900. The incorporated area of the metropolitan district is about 142 sq. m., or 91,220 acres, so that the average density of population was 5.35 persons per acre, some of the more immediate suburbs being more densely populated than the city itself.