The amazing city of Sydney in the heart of beautiful Australia — is home to 20% of the entire population of this continent nation. That amounts to 4.6 million people. As such, Sydney offers you everything and anything you can imagine to make your vacation really unique. The fireworks display that occurs on New Year’s eve, in Sydney Harbour, is one of the most magnificent in the world, and attracts tourists from all points of the world.
Europeans in the 1500’s, during the golden age of exploration, believed that there had to be a “southern continent” because there were so many continents in the Northern Hemisphere. Ironically, it was the famous explorer, Captain Cook, who was the first to map the east coast of Australia, and bring that discovery back to England. But this discovery was not acknowledged as the suspected southern continent for many years — until well after Captain Cook’s death in Hawaii (on his last pacific voyage).
Captain Cook was greeted by the Aborigines, the native peoples that lived on the continent for an estimated 50,000 years. Initially, the relationships between the native people were very good — and the Aborigines taught colonists how to survive in a wild and rugged land. But as more colonists came for free land, the Aborigines were gradually pushed west, and the very last full blooded native died in 1933. A number of residents of Australia today, can claim a family tree that includes Aborigine ancestors, including the young man pictured here — playing the didgeridoo. Since the 1980’s, Australia has newly welcomed Aborigine people and their art, music, language and culture into its own.
Many know that Sydney was the site of the very first colony in Australia, which started in 1788, because of the magnificent and Sydney Harbor. And many also know that the first residents of Sydney were convicts. Sydney was named after Thomas Townsend, also known as Lord Sydney, who suggested (and later approved) that convicts be relocated to Australia. So Sydney started as a penal colony — as a fast means to claim and secure the land for England and begin to build a new country. This institution included non-convicts who were willing to sail to Australia as contracted servants for specified period of years. This institution, which lasted well into the 1900’s, was responsible for bringing more than 170,000 new residents to young Australia that helped build a new country. Many of those early settlers, ended up living very good and prosperous lives after their sentences were complete. Some secured free land for themselves and their ancestors, many of whom still reside in Australia today.