National Geographic : 2000 Aug
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY Home today to four million people, Sydney was founded as a far-flung penal colony for the British Empire in 1788, when the first fleet of convict ships landed at what is now Circular Quay. A rough-and tumble port for much of its history, Sydney has been transformed in the past few decades into one of the world's most alluring cities, where a multitude of nationalities have made a home for themselves and become, in the process, Austr'an. I SYDNEYLPIC PARK The flame of the Paralympics ignites in Olympic Park in October for 4,000 world athletes with disabilities. Among the 18 events are four sports, such as wheelchair rugby, unique to these "parallel Olym Spics,~first hel in Rome196io / \ 1 Sandstone crags where the first convicts built their huts anchored a ramshackle port that mellowed in the 1930s into a working-class neighborhood with a pub on every corner. The Rocks is a slice of Syd ney's checkered past, served up daily to tourists. Called ie Coat Hangefor its slope-aouldered designthe Sydney Harbor Bridge openetin 1932. Climbig tours offer viws from its arch which peaks 42 feet above 7e water. s : "Clearly a controversial design," wrote the judges who in 1957 chose the sketches submitted by Danish architect J0rn Utzon in a competition for Sydney's new opera house. Opened in 1973, it endures as Sydney's waterfront Sydney's harbor is renowned for natural deepwater channels. Yet its greatest value may be intangible: "The harbor," writes author Jan Morris, "seems to me less a spectacle than an event... a perpetual pageant, punctuated by astonishments." A spectacular collec tion of native and exotic animals looks out over Sydney Harbour. Conserva tion and research are emphasized, along with dis plays of animals from wombats to Sumatran tigers. This 972-acre reserve is composed of scat tered parcels encom passing islands, headlands, and beaches-"all the things about Sydney that make you want to get up early,"says one resident. :16 Olympic Village \1 This reclaimed industrial wasteland is a study in green environmental design, put to the test for the Sydney Olympic Games. The park's innovations create an Olympics far greener than any in modern history. cargo. Todayiticon- I I nected by footbridge ." to the rest of down town and features wall to-wall attractions, from the city's toniest shopping to theaters, museums, and the Sydney Aquarium. Sit-f the first B ish anchorage in 1788, this historic landing istoday Sydney Harbour's transportation hub, a combination street theater, rail way terminal, and jumping-off place for the thousands of suburbanites who commute via ferry to their jobs downtown. Gardens covering 74 acres were set aside in 1816 by Governor Lachlan Macquarie and thrive as Austra lia's oldest scientific institution. Besides 7,000 species of plants, the grounds contain a prime vantage point for harbor events: Mrs. Macquarie's Chair, a natural stone bench favored by the gov ernor's wife. Though an 1850s gold rush brought many Chinese to Sydney, the shops and restaurants of today's Chinatown reflect the impact ofawaveofemi grants from China and other Asian countries since the 1970s. SWAVELEY Tamarama Bronte Beach "Australia 2000," an exhibit featuring the work of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICphotog raphers as well as historical prints from the GEOGRAPHIC archives, will be displayed at Byron Kennedy Hall, Fox Studios, September 1through 21. Symbol of Sydney's laid-back lifestyle, Bondi isa mile-long stretch of sand within cycling dis tance of downtown. Site of the Olympic beach volleyball competition, Bondi is accustomed to crowds: A good day in summer will draw tens of thou sands of people. Copyright © 2000 National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C .