Sydney is the major and most populous city in Australia and the situation capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. Inhabitants of Sydney are called Sydneysiders, comprising a cosmopolitan and international population of people from numerous places around the world.
The place of the first British colony in Australia, Sydney was recognized in 1788 at Sydney Cove by Arthur Phillip, commodore of the First Fleet as a punitive colony. The city is built on hills surrounding Port Jackson which is commonly known as Sydney Harbour, where the iconic Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge are featured prominently. The hinterland of the metropolitan area is surrounded by national parks, and the coastal regions feature many bays, rivers, inlets and beaches including the famous Bondi Beach. Within the city are many notable parks, including Hyde Park and the Royal Botanical Gardens.
In 2010, Sydney was ranked seventh in Asia and 28th internationally for financial innovation in the Innovation Cities Top 100 Index by modernism agency 2thinknow. Sydney also ranks among the top 10 most livable cities in the world according to Mercer Human Resource Consulting and The Economist.
Sydney has a standing as an global centre for commerce, arts, fashion, culture, entertainment, music, education and tourism, making it one of GaWC's Alpha + world cities. Sydney has hosted major international sporting events, including the 1938 British Empire Games, the 2000 Summer Olympics, and the final match of the 2003 Rugby World Cup. The main airport serving Sydney is Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport.
Sydney's town area is in a coastal sink, which is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean to the East, the Blue Mountains to the West, the Hawkesbury stream to the North and the Royal National Park to the South. It lies on a submergent coastline, where the ocean level has risen to flood deep river valleys (ria) carved in the hawkesbury sandstone. Port Jackson, better known as Sydney Harbour, is one such ria and is the largest natural harbour in the world.The Sydney area is not affected by significant earthquakes.
The urban region has around 70 harbour and marine beaches, including the famous Bondi Beach. Sydney's urban area covers 1,687 km2 as of 2001. The Sydney Statistical Division, used for census data, is the unofficial metropolitan area and covers 12,145 km2 (4,689 sq mi).This area includes the Central Coast, the Blue Mountains, and national parks and other unurbanised land.
Sydney's central commerce district (CBD) extends southwards for about 3 kilometre from Sydney Cove to the region approximately Central station. The Sydney CBD is bounded on the east side by a chain of parkland, and the west by Darling Harbour, a tourist and nightlife precinct. Although the CBD dominated the city's business and cultural life in the early days, other business/cultural districts have developed in a radial pattern since World War II. As a result, the proportion of white-collar jobs located in the CBD declined from more than 60 per cent at the end of World War II to less than 30 per cent in 2004.