April 9, 2017 – Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
We docked at a different pier this morning than the one we sailed from last month. This had a real terminal building which made the whole process much easier. Also, since we were continuing passengers, they had given us a card which identified us as In-Transit Passengers. This made it much easier when we returned to the ship since we didn’t have to go through customs or anything. We just showed the card and could get back on just as though we were stopped at any other port.
After breakfast, we decided to go into Sydney to the Royal Botanical Garden. It was a gorgeous day with the temperature around 75 degrees. We took a ferry from the dock to downtown Sydney. From there we had about a 15 minute stroll to the Garden. Along the way we saw the New South Wales State Library as well as some interesting monuments. This city has some very interesting architecture. Many of the buildings seem to have an outside infrastructure which makes for some beautiful as well as some odd looking buildings. Several buildings had what looked like flags attached to the outside of the building from just above street level to the top. We couldn’t decide what these were supposed to be as they were rigid. We finally decided that perhaps they were to deflect the sun and/or wind from the plate glass windows. They were brightly colored so they made the buildings look festive.
As we entered the garden there was a laughing kookaburra sitting on a sign. Very cool! The Garden was more of a formal garden in that they had a rose garden, a Japanese garden, begonia garden, herb garden, etc. They did not specialize in native plants although they did have quite a few of those as well. They had a “choochoo train” which took you around the entire grounds of the garden. The driver told about the various plants and other points of interest as he drove. He took the train to the part of the Garden where all the best pictures are taken of the Sydney Opera House with the Harbour Bridge in the background. He also pointed out the Opera in the Garden site where they are performing Carmen this summer. The audience faces a stage which is back dropped by the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. If you like opera, this would be a magnificent setting to see one in.
We spent a delightful couple of hours in the Garden before we strolled back to the ferry. Thank goodness, the return trip was all downhill as we were getting tired. We got back to the ship about 1:30 and just strolled right on. There hadn’t been any of the chaos which had attended the previous sailing from here. In fact, the terminal building was empty as contrasted with a month ago when by 1:30 almost every passenger was sitting in chairs underneath a tent.
We had our lifeboat drill at 4:15, and we sailed at 5. There was a storm brewing, but we got underway and past the Opera House and Bridge well before it hit. There were a lot of CRAZY people who were doing the bridge climb as we sailed underneath it.
We had dinner in the Tuscan Café. We sat with 2 very nice brothers, Allen and Lewis, who were from Arkansas. Their wives don’t like to travel anymore, so they decided to come anyway. We had a nice and varied conversation. I had the lobster bisque, filet mignon and crème Brule. Patsy had crab cake, spinach salad with pumpkin seed, cranberries and sweet potatoes, filet mignon and blood orange sorbet.
After that we made an early night of it.
Today was the beginning of the 2 week school holiday for the kids in Australia so the Garden became progressively packed as the morning wore on. They even had some kind of play about fairies in the Garden, and many of the children were dressed as fairies.
Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Located on Australia's east coast, the metropolis surrounds the world’s largest natural harbor, and sprawls towards the Blue Mountains to the west. Residents of Sydney are known as "Sydneysiders". Sydney is the second official seat and second official residence of the Governor-General of Australia and the Prime Minister of Australia and many federal ministries maintain substantial presences in Sydney.
The Sydney area has been inhabited by indigenous Australians for at least 30,000 years. The first British settlers, led by Captain Arthur Phillip, arrived in 1788 to found Sydney as a penal colony, the first European settlement in Australia. Since convict transportation ended in the mid-19th century, the city has transformed from a colonial outpost into a major global cultural and economic center. As of June 2016 Sydney's estimated population was 5,005,358. In the 2011 census, 34 percent of the population reported having been born overseas, representing many different nationalities and making Sydney one of the most multicultural cities in the world. There are more than 250 different languages spoken in Sydney and about one-third of residents speak a language other than English at home.
Despite being one of the most expensive cities in the world, the 2014 Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranks Sydney tenth in the world in terms of quality of living which makes it one of the most livable cities. It is classified as an Alpha+ World City by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, indicating its influence in the region and throughout the world. Ranked eleventh in the world for economic opportunity, Sydney has an advanced market economy with strengths in finance, manufacturing and tourism. Its gross regional product was $337 billion in 2013, the largest in Australia. There is a significant concentration of foreign banks and multinational corporations in Sydney and the city is promoted as one of Asia Pacific's leading financial hubs.
In addition to hosting events such as the 2000 Summer Olympics, Sydney is amongst the top fifteen most-visited cities in the world, with millions of tourists coming each year to see the city's landmarks. Its natural features include Sydney Harbor, the Royal National Park and the Royal Botanic Garden. Man-made attractions such as the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Tower and the Sydney Harbour Bridge are also well known to international visitors.
The first people to inhabit the area now known as Sydney were indigenous Australians having migrated from northern Australia and before that from Southeast Asia. Radiocarbon dating suggests human activity first started to occur in the Sydney area from around 30,735 years ago. However, numerous Aboriginal stone tools were found in Western Sydney's gravel sediments that were dated from 45,000 to 50,000 years BP, which would indicate that there was human settlement in Sydney earlier than thought.
The earliest British settlers called them Eora people. "Eora" is the term the indigenous population used to explain their origins upon first contact with the British. Its literal meaning is "from this place". Prior to the arrival of the British there were 4,000 to 8,000 native people in Sydney from as many as 29 different clans.
England and Ireland had for a long time been sending their convicts across the Atlantic to the American colonies. That trade was ended with the Declaration of Independence by the United States in 1776. Overrun with prisoners, Britain decided in 1786 to found a new penal outpost in the territory discovered by Cook some 16 years earlier.
The colony was at first to be titled "New Albion", but Phillip decided on "Sydney" in recognition of the 1st Baron Sydney and his role in authorizing the establishment of the settlement. Captain Philip led the first fleet of 11 ships and about 850 convicts into Botany Bay on 18 January 1788. He deemed the location unsuitable due to poor soil and a lack of fresh water so he travelled a short way further north and arrived at Port Jackson on 26 January 1788. This was to be the location for the new colony. Phillip described Sydney Cove as being "without exception the finest harbor in the world". The official proclamation and naming of the colony happened on 7 February 1788. Between 1788 and 1792 about 4,300 convicts were landed at Sydney. The colony was not founded on the principles of freedom and prosperity. Maps from this time show no prison buildings. The punishment for convicts was transportation rather than incarceration. Serious offences were penalized by flogging and hanging. The year 1840 was the final year of convict transportation to Sydney which by this time had a population of 35,000. The municipal council of Sydney was incorporated in 1842 and became Australia's first city. Gold was discovered in the colony in 1851 and with it came thousands of people seeking to make money. Sydney's population reached 200,000 by 1871.
Following the depression of the 1890s, the six colonies agreed to form a federated nation of The Commonwealth of Australia. Under the reign of Queen Victoria federation of the six colonies occurred on 1 January 1901. Sydney, with a population of 481,000, then became the state capital of New South Wales.
The Great Depression of the 1930s had a severe effect on Sydney's economy as it did with most cities throughout the industrial world. For much of the 1930s up to one in three breadwinners was unemployed. Construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge served to alleviate some of the effects of the economic downturn by employing 1,400 men between 1924 and 1932. The population continued to boom despite the Depression and reached 1 million in 1925.
When Britain declared war on Germany in 1939, Australia also entered. During the war Sydney experienced a surge in industrial development to meet the needs of a wartime economy. Far from mass unemployment, there were now labor shortages and women became active in male roles. Sydney's harbor was attacked by the Japanese in May and June 1942 with a direct attack from Japanese submarines with some loss of life. Households throughout the city had built air raid shelters and performed drills.
Following the end of the war the city continued to expand. There were 1.7 million people living in Sydney at 1950 and almost 3 million by 1975. The people of Sydney warmly welcomed Queen Elizabeth II in 1954 when the reigning monarch stepped onto Australian soil for the first time to commence her Australian Royal Tour.
A strong rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne that began in the 1850s still exists to this day. Sydney exceeded Melbourne’s population in the early twentieth century and remains Australia's largest city.
The 2000 Summer Olympics were held in Sydney and became known as the "best Olympic Games ever" by the President of the International Olympic Committee. The Opera House became a World Heritage Site in 2007.
Sydney is a coastal basin with the Tasman Sea to the east, the Blue Mountains to the west, the Hawkesbury River to the north, and the Woronora Plateau to the south. The inner city measures 10 square miles while the Greater Sydney region covers 4,775 square miles. The city's urban area is 651 square miles in size. Sydney spans two geographic regions. The Cumberland Plain lies to the south and west of the Harbor and is relatively flat. The Hornsby Plateau is located to the north and is dissected by steep valleys. The flat areas of the south were the first to be developed as the city grew. It was not until the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge that the northern reaches of the coast became more heavily populated. Seventy beaches can be found along its coastline with Bondi Beach being one of the most famous.
Sydney has a humid subtropical climate with warm summers, cool winters and uniform rainfall throughout the year. At Sydney's primary weather station extreme temperatures have ranged from 114.4 °F on 18 January 2013 35.8 °F on 22 June. An average of 14.9 days a year have temperatures at or above 86 °F.
The city is rarely affected by cyclones although remnants of ex-cyclones do affect the city. The El Nino-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. These tend to occur during the spring and summer. The city is also prone to severe storms. One such storm was the 1999 hailstorm which produced massive hailstones of at least 3.5” in diameter.
Lieutenant William Dawes produced a town plan in 1790 but it was ignored by the colony's leaders. Sydney's layout today reflects this lack of planning. The geographical area covered by urban Sydney is divided into 658 suburbs for addressing and postal purposes and is administered as 40 local government areas. The City of Sydney is responsible for 33 of these suburbs, all of which are located close to the central business district.
Sydney real estate prices are some of the most expensive in the world, surpassing both New York City and Paris. It is only second to Hong Kong with the average property costing 14 times the annual Sydney Salary as of December 2016. Sydney has been ranked between the fifteenth and the fifth most expensive city in the world and is the most expensive city in Australia. To compensate, workers receive the seventh highest wage levels of any city in the world. Sydney's residents possess the highest purchasing power of any city after Zurich.
Researchers from Loughborough University have ranked Sydney amongst the top ten world cities that are highly integrated into the global economy. The Global Economic Power Index ranks Sydney number eleven in the world. The Global Cities Index recognizes it as number fourteen in the world based on global engagement.
Sydney's nominal gross regional product was 400.9 billion and $80,000 per capita in 2015. The Financial and Insurance Services industry accounts for 18.1% of gross product and is ahead of Professional Services with 9% and Manufacturing with 7.2%. In addition to Financial Services and Tourism, the Creative and Technology sectors are focus industries for the City of Sydney and represented 9% and 11% of its economic output in 2012.
There were 451,000 businesses based in Sydney in 2011 including 48% of the top 500 companies in Australia and two-thirds of the regional headquarters of multinational corporations. Global companies are attracted to the city in part because its time zone spans the closing of business in North America and the opening of business in Europe. Most foreign companies in Sydney maintain significant sales and service functions but comparably less production, research, and development capabilities. There are 283 multinational companies with regional offices in Sydney.
Sydney has been a manufacturing city since the protectionist policies of the 1920s. By 1961 the industry accounted for 39% of all employment and by 1970 over 30% of all Australian manufacturing jobs were in Sydney. Its status has declined in more recent decades, making up 12.6% of employment in 2001 and 8.5% in 2011. Between 1970 and 1985 there was a loss of 180,000 manufacturing jobs. The city is still the largest manufacturing center in Australia. Its manufacturing output of $21.7 billion in 2013 was greater than that of Melbourne with $18.9 billion. Observers have noted Sydney's focus on the domestic market and high-tech manufacturing as reasons for its resilience against the high Australian dollar of the early 2010s.
Sydney is a gateway to Australia for many international visitors. It has hosted over 2.8 million international visitors in 2013, or nearly half of all international visits to Australia. These visitors spent 59 million nights in the city and a total of $5.9 billion. The countries of origin in descending order were China, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Germany, Hong Kong, and India. The city also received 8.3 million domestic overnight visitors in 2013 who spent a total of $6 billion.
The population of Sydney in 1788 was less than 1,000. With convict transportation it tripled in ten years to 2,953. For each decade since 1961 the population has increased by more than 250,000. Sydney's population at the time of the 2011 census was 4,391,674. It has been forecasted that the population will grow to between 8 and 8.5 million by 2061. Despite this increase, the Australian Bureau of Statistics predicts that Melbourne will replace Sydney as Australia's most populous city by 2053. The four most densely populated suburbs in Australia are located in Sydney with each having more than 33,700 residents per square mile.
32.5% of people in Sydney speak a language other than English at home with Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese and Greek the most widely spoken.
There were 54,746 people of indigenous heritage living in Sydney in 2011. Most immigrants to Sydney between 1840 and 1930 were British, Irish or Chinese. The mass migration following WWII has seen further ethnic groups establish. Such ethnic groups include, but are not limited to, Dutch, Sri Lankan, Indian, Assyrian, Turkish, Thai, Russian, Vietnamese, Filipino, Korean, Greek, Lebanese, Italian, Jewish, Czech, Polish, German, Serbian, Macedonia and Maltese communities. As of the 2011 census night there were 1,503,620 people living in Sydney that were born overseas which accounts for 42.5% of the population of the City of Sydney and 34.2% of the population of the Greater Sydney area, the seventh greatest proportion of any city in the world.
The indigenous people of Sydney held totemic beliefs known as “dreamings”. Governor Lachlan Macquarie made an effort to found a culture of formal religion throughout the early settlement and ordered the construction of churches such as St Matthew's, St Luke's, St James's, and St Andrew's. These and other religious institutions have contributed to the education and health of Sydney's residents over time. 28.3% identify themselves as Catholic while 17.6% practice no religion; 16.1% are Anglican; 4.7% are Muslim; 4.2% are Eastern Orthodox; 4.1% are Buddhist; 2.6% are Hindu; and 0.9% are Jewish.
Education became a proper focus for the colony from the 1870s when public schools began to form and schooling became compulsory. The population of Sydney is now highly educated. 90% of working age residents have completed some schooling and 57% have completed the highest level of school. 1,390,703 people were enrolled in an educational institution in 2011 with 45.1% of these attending school and 16.5% studying at a university. Undergraduate or postgraduate qualifications are held by 22.5% of working age Greater Sydney residents and 40.2% of working age residents of the City of Sydney. The most common fields of tertiary qualification are commerce (22.8%), engineering (13.4%), society and culture (10.8%), health (7.8%), and education (6.6%).
There are six public universities based in Sydney. Sydney has public, denominational, and independent schools. Public vocational education and training in Sydney is run by TAFE New South Wales.