|River sources||Parramatta, Lane Cove, Middle Harbour|
|Ocean/sea sources||Tasman Sea of the South Pacific Ocean|
|Islands||Clark, Shark, Goat, Fort Denison|
Port Jackson, consisting of the waters of Sydney Harbour, Middle Harbour, North Harbour and the Lane Cove and Parramatta Rivers, is the ria or natural harbour of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The harbour is an inlet of the Tasman Sea (part of the South Pacific Ocean). It is the location of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. The location of the first European settlement and colony on the Australian mainland, Port Jackson has continued to play a key role in the history and development of Sydney.
Port Jackson, in the early days of the colony, was also used as a shorthand for Sydney and its environs. Thus, many botanists, see, e.g, Robert Brown's Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae et Insulae Van Diemen ,described their specimens as having been collected at Port Jackson.
Many recreational events are based on or around the harbour itself particularly the Sydney New Year's Eve celebrations and the starting point of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
The waterways of Port Jackson are managed by Transport for NSW. Sydney Harbour National Park protects a number of islands and foreshore areas, swimming spots, bushwalking tracks and picnic areas.
The land around Port Jackson was inhabited at the time of the European arrival and colonisation by the Eora clans, including the Gadigal, Cammeraygal, and Wangal. The Gadigal inhabited the land stretching along the south side of Port Jackson from what is now South Head, in an arc west to the present Darling Harbour. The Cammeraygal lived on the northern side of the harbour. The area along the southern banks of the Parramatta River to Rose Hill belonged to the Wangal. The Eora inhabited Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour), south to the Georges River and west to Parramatta.
The first recorded European discovery of Sydney Harbour was by Lieutenant James Cook in 1770. Cook named the inlet after Sir George Jackson, one of the Lord Commissioners of the British Admiralty, and Judge Advocate of the Fleet.As the Endeavour sailed past the entrance at Sydney Heads, Cook wrote in his journal "at noon we were...about 2 or 3 miles from the land and abrest of a bay or harbour within there appeared to be a safe anchorage which I called Port Jackson."
Eighteen years later, Port Jackson saw the arrival of the First Fleet. On 21 January 1788, after arriving at Botany Bay, Governor Arthur Phillip took a longboat and two cutters up the coast to sound the entrance and examine Cook's Port Jackson. Phillip first stayed over night at Camp Cove, then moved down the harbour, landing at Sydney Cove and then Manly Cove before returning to Botany Bay on the afternoon of 24 January. Phillip returned to Sydney Cove in HM Armed Tender Supply on 26 January 1788, where he established the first colony in Australia, later to become the city of Sydney. In his first dispatch from the colony back to England, Governor Phillip noted that:
...we had the satisfaction of finding the finest harbour in the world, in which a thousand sail of the line may ride in the most perfect security...— Governor Arthur Phillip, 15 May 1788.
The Great White Fleet, the United States Navy battle fleet, arrived in Port Jackson in August 1908 by order of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. From 1938, seaplanes landed in Sydney Harbour on Rose Bay, making this Sydney's first international airport.
In 1942, to protect Sydney Harbour from a submarine attack, the Sydney Harbour anti-submarine boom net was constructed. It spanned the harbour from Green (Laings) Point, Watsons Bay to the battery at Georges Head, on the other side of the harbour. On the night of 31 May 1942, three Japanese midget submarines entered the harbour, one of which became entangled in the western end of the boom net's central section. Unable to free their submarine, the crew detonated charges, killing themselves in the process. A second midget submarine came to grief in Taylor's Bay, the two crew committing suicide. The third submarine fired two torpedoes at USS Chicago (both missed) before leaving the harbour. In November 2006, this submarine was found off Sydney's Northern Beaches.
The anti-submarine boom net was demolished soon after World War II, and all that remains are the foundations of the old boom net winch house, which can be viewed on Green (Laings) Point, Watsons Bay. Today, the Australian War Memorial has on display a composite of the two midget submarines salvaged from Sydney Harbour.The conning tower of one of the midget submarines is on display at the RAN Heritage Centre, Garden Island, Sydney.
Fort Denison is a former penal site and defensive facility occupying a small island located north-east of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney Harbour.
There are fortifications at Sydney Heads and elsewhere, some of which are now heritage listed. The earliest date from the 1830s, and were designed to defend Sydney from seaborn attack or convict uprisings. There are four historical fortifications located between Taronga Zoo and Middle Head, Mosman, they are: the Middle Head Fortifications, the Georges Head Battery, the Lower Georges Heights Commanding Position and a small fort located on Bradleys Head, known as the Bradleys Head Fortification Complex. The forts were built from sandstone quarried on site and consist of various tunnels, underground rooms, open batteries and casemated batteries, shell rooms, gunpowder magazines, barracks and trenches.
Geologically, Port Jackson is a drowned river valley, or ria. It is 19 km long with an area of 55 km2. The estuary's volume at high tide is 562 million cubic metres. The perimeter of the estuary is 317 kilometres.
According to the Geographical Names Board of New South Wales, Port Jackson is "a harbour which comprises all the waters within an imaginary line joining North Head and South Head. Within this harbour lies North Harbour, Middle Harbour and Sydney Harbour."
Port Jackson extends westward from the single entrance known as Sydney Heads (North and South Heads) and encompasses all tidal waters within North Harbour, Middle Harbour, Sydney Harbour, Darling Harbour, Parramatta River and Lane Cove River.
The harbour is heavily embayed. The bays on the south side tend to be wide and rounded, whereas those on the north side are generally narrow inlets. Many of these bays include beaches. The Sydney central business district extends from Circular Quay.
East to west, north side:
East to west, south side
There are several islands within the harbour, including Shark Island, Clark Island, Fort Denison, Goat Island, Cockatoo Island, Spectacle Island, Snapper Island and Rodd Island. Some other former islands, including Garden Island, Glebe Island and Berry Island, have been linked to the shore by land reclamation, though their names often still contain the word "Island". Two other former islands, Bennelong Island and Darling Island, are similarly now linked to the mainland, but rarely mentioned as Islands. The former Dawes Island was joined to another small island to create Spectacle Island.Exposed at low tide is Sow and Pigs Reef, a well-known navigation obstacle near the main shipping lane.
Port Jackson has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen: Cfa) with warm, somewhat humid summers and mild to cool winters, with moderate rainfall spread throughout the year. Due to its proximity to the open Tasman Sea, it is slightly cooler, wetter and breezier than Observatory Hill to the east. Port Jackson is also least affected by extreme heat due to the constant sea breezes, in addition to featuring the lowest maximum summer temperatures in the Sydney region, that average at just 24.4 °C (75.9 °F). Conversely, winter nights are among the warmest in Sydney, which rarely dip below 8.0 °C (46.4 °F), although fog can usually occur and may be disruptive.
Port Jackson's weather station is located within a lighthouse just south of Georges Head at Georges Heights in Mosman and is adjacent to the suburbs of Vauclause, Point Piper and Watsons Bay, which are on Port Jackson's east side towards the Pacific Ocean. Sydney Cove, a bay in Port Jackson's west side that includes Circular Quay, is more proximate to the Observatory Hill weather station, and therefore the climate data below does not apply to that vicinity.
|Climate data for Sydney Harbour (Western Channel Pile Light)|
|Record high °C (°F)||42.2|
|Average high °C (°F)||24.8|
|Average low °C (°F)||20.4|
|Record low °C (°F)||14.8|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||97.6|
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm)||8.3||8.4||9.3||10.1||9.1||9.4||7.5||8.1||7.9||8.5||8.4||8.2||103.2|
|Source 1: Bureau of Meteorology (temperatures, 1996–present)|
|Source 2: Bureau of Meteorology, Rose Bay (rainfall, 1928–present) Manly Town Hall (rain days, 1914–1963)|
Port Jackson is bridged from north to south by the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Gladesville Bridge, the Ryde Bridge, and the Silverwater Bridge.
Other bridges spanning Port Jackson waterways are Pyrmont Bridge spanning Darling Harbour; the Anzac Bridge (formerly known as the Glebe Island Bridge), spanning Blackwattle Bay; the Iron Cove Bridge spanning Iron Cove; the Spit Bridge spanning Middle Harbour; the Roseville Bridge spanning Middle Harbour; the Tarban Creek Bridge spanning Tarban Creek.
The original Meadowbank Bridge carried two railway tracks, now reduced to pedestrian traffic only. The new Meadowbank Bridge carries two railway tracks with piers suitable for four tracks.
The is single track rail bridge on the Clyde to Carlingford railway line crosses the Parramatta River near Camellia.
A new bridge over Homebush Bay connects Wentworth Point and Rhodes
A weir at Queens Avenue, Parramatta separates the saltwater and tidal waters to the east from the freshwater and non-tidal waters to the west.
A road tunnel, the Sydney Harbour Tunnel passing underneath the Harbour to the east of the bridge was opened in August 1992.
In 2005, 2010 and in 2014 the NSW Government proposed a rail tunnel be constructed to the west of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Construction of an extra pair of road tunnels to the west of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, as part of the Sydney Metro project, was approved in January 2017 while the Harbour tunnelling was completed in March 2020.
The Western Harbour Tunnel & Beaches Link is planned to offer another motor vehicle tunnel in 2026.
Permanent cruise ship terminals are located at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay, Sydney Cove and at the White Bay Cruise Terminal at White Bay. White Bay's evolution to a cruise terminal came with the closure of Darling Harbour terminal to make way for the Barangaroo development.
White Bay and adjacent Glebe Island have been working ports since the mid-1800s, handling just about everything from timber and paper, coal, sugar and cement to cars and containers. The NSW Government identified both as vital to the City's economy and in March 2013 announced its commitment to maintaining both as working ports as it frees up neighbouring bays for public access. Glebe Island is Sydney's last remaining deepwater port able to supply the City's ongoing demand for dry bulk goods such as sugar, gypsum and cement.
Most of Sydney's port infrastructure has moved south to Botany Bay since the construction of the first container terminals there in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Sydney Ferries operate services from Circular Quay to Manly, Mosman, Taronga Zoo, Watsons Bay, Rose Bay, Barangaroo, Balmain, Parramatta, Milsons Point and other destinations.
Water taxi and water limousine operators offer transport not restricted by timetables or specific routes, and can also provide a service to or from private wharfs and houses on the waterfront. Sightseeing harbour cruises are operated daily from Circular Quay. Whale watching excursions are also operated from Port Jackson.
The Mortlake Ferry, also known as the Putney Punt, crosses the Parramatta River, connecting Mortlake and Putney.
Australian National Maritime Museum, at Darling Harbour, has themed exhibitions ranging from Indigenous lore and European seafaring to aquatic sport and maritime defence.
Sydney Heritage Fleet is a largely volunteer organisation dedicated to the restoration and operation of heritage vessels. The barque James Craig of the SHF sails regularly from Port Jackson.
RAN Heritage Centre at Garden Island has many exhibits, artefacts and documents relating to the history of the Royal Australian Navy.
Port Jackson is associated with the voyages of Richard Siddins.
Port Jackson has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
A Sydharb is a unit of volume used in Australia for water, especially in dams and harbours. One sydharb (or sydarb), also called a Sydney Harbour, is the amount of water in the Sydney Harbour (Port Jackson): approximately 500 gigalitres (410,000 acre⋅ft).
The History of Sydney begins in prehistoric times with the occupation of the district by Australian Aboriginals, whose ancestors came to Sydney in the Upper Paleolithic period. The modern history of the city began with the arrival of a First Fleet of British ships in 1788 and the foundation of a penal colony by Great Britain.
Gladesville Bridge is a heritage-listed concrete arch road bridge that carries Victoria Road over the Parramatta River, linking the Sydney suburbs of Huntleys Point and Drummoyne, in the local government areas of Canada Bay and Hunter's Hill, in New South Wales, Australia. Despite its name, the bridge is not located in Gladesville.
The Parramatta River is an intermediate tide-dominated, drowned valley estuary located in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. With an average depth of 5.1 metres (17 ft), the Parramatta River is the main tributary of Sydney Harbour, a branch of Port Jackson. Secondary tributaries include the smaller Lane Cove and Duck rivers.
The Lane Cove River, a northern tributary of the Parramatta River, is a tide-dominated, drowned valley estuary west of Sydney Harbour, located in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The river is a tributary of the Parramatta River, winding through a bushland valley. It joins Parramatta River at Greenwich and Woolwich, where together they form an arm of Sydney Harbour, and serves as a border along with Middle Harbour separating Sydney's North Shore.
Broken Bay, a semi–mature tide-dominated drowned valley estuary, is a large inlet of the Tasman Sea located about 50 kilometres (31 mi) north of Sydney central business district on the coast of New South Wales, Australia; being one of the bodies of water that separate greater Metropolitan Sydney from the Central Coast. Broken Bay is the first major bay north of Sydney Harbour.
The Inner West of Sydney is an area directly west of the Sydney central business district, New South Wales, Australia. The suburbs that make up the Inner West are predominantly located along the southern shore of Port Jackson, stretching south to the shores of the Cooks River. The western boundary of the Inner West is approximately the A3 arterial road, which divides the Inner West from the Greater Western Sydney region. The Inner West is much larger than the Inner West Council local government area. The Inner West roughly corresponds with the Parish of Petersham and Parish of Concord, two cadastral divisions used for land titles.
Middle Harbour, a semi–mature tide dominated drowned valley estuary, is the northern arm of Port Jackson, an inlet of the Tasman Sea located north of Sydney central business district on the coast of New South Wales, Australia.
Rozelle is a suburb in the inner west of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. It is located 4 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the Inner West Council.
Watsons Bay is a harbourside, eastern suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Watsons Bay is located 11 km north-east of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the Municipality of Woollahra.
The Glebe Island Bridge is a heritage-listed disused swing Allan truss road bridge that carried Victoria Road across Rozelle Bay, located in the inner city Sydney suburb of Pyrmont in the City of Sydney local government area of New South Wales, Australia. The bridge, that connected Rozelle to Pyrmont by road, is one of the last remaining swing bridges of its type in Australia and in the world. It was designed by Percy Allan and built from 1899 to 1903 by Bridges Branch of NSW Public Works Department. It is also known as RMS Bridge No. 61. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 29 November 2013 and was listed on the Register of the National Estate on 19 April 1989.
Iron Cove is a bay on the Parramatta River, in the inner-west of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. It is approximately 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) due west of Sydney's central business district. It is surrounded by the suburbs of Birchgrove, Balmain, Rozelle, Lilyfield, Haberfield, Five Dock, Rodd Point, Russell Lea and Drummoyne. The bay extends from Longnose Point to the south-west and is fed by the Hawthorne Canal and the Iron Cove Creek.
The Sydney Freight Network is a network of dedicated railway lines for freight in Sydney, Australia linking the state's rural and interstate rail network with the city's main yard at Enfield and Port Botany. Its primary components are the Southern Sydney Freight Line (SSFL) and a line from Sefton to Enfield and Port Botany. The Network has been managed by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) since 2012. Prior to the completion of the SSFL, it was managed by RailCorp as the Metropolitan Freight Network.
The geography of Sydney is characterised by its coastal location on a basin bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the east, the Blue Mountains to the west, the Hawkesbury River to the north and the Woronora Plateau to the south. Sydney lies on a submergent coastline on the east coast of New South Wales, where the ocean level has risen to flood deep river valleys (rias) carved in the Sydney sandstone. Port Jackson, better known as Sydney Harbour, is one such ria.
Sydney Harbour was protected by coastal batteries and other fixed defences from the early 19th century until the 1960s. These defences were constructed to protect the Australian city of Sydney from attack by enemy warships and submarines.
Iron Cove Creek, a southern tributary of the Parramatta River, is an urban stream west of Sydney Harbour, located in the inner-western Sydney suburbs of Croydon, Ashfield, Haberfield and Five Dock in New South Wales, Australia.
The Georges Head Battery, also called the Georges Head Military Fortifications, is a heritage-listed former military fortification located on the Georges Head on Chowder Bay Road, Georges Heights, in the suburb of Mosman, in the Mosman Council local government area of New South Wales, Australia.
Mosman is a suburb on the Lower North Shore of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Mosman is located 8 kilometres north-east of the Sydney central business district and is the administrative centre for the local government area of the Municipality of Mosman.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Sydney:
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