Australia is, in terms of Western culture, the youngest continent in the world. The city of Sydney was officially founded in 1788, and even though it is a young city in many ways, it still has some incredible historical sites to offer. Its streets are fascinating treasure troves of surprises to explore. Certain buildings and hotspots are old enough to have breathtaking stories behind them. If you’d like to be impressed by some of these places, here are the most beautiful historical sites of Sydney.
It’s one of the famous landmarks you have to see during your first visit. Going on a stroll around the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House is a rite of passage for all tourists, and for a good reason. The Harbour Bridge is the largest steel arch bridge in the world. It was designed and built in 1932, drawing influence from the Hell Gate Bridge in New York City. If you want to learn more about its rich history, visit the Pylon Lookout, which houses a museum that details the story of the bridge. If you are not particularly afraid of heights, you can take the Bridge Climb to the upper arches of the bridge. It is a memorable experience, to say the least. What’s more, you’ll be offered a headset so you can listen to stories about the bridge’s history as you proceed upward.
Located alongside the Royal Botanic Gardens and overlooking Sydney Harbour, Government House is a true architectural marvel designed by the same man who designed Buckingham Palace – Edward Blore. Construction commenced in 1837 and the first resident, Governor George Gipps, moved in in 1845. It was designed in a romantic Gothic revival style and it serves as a backdrop for various ceremonies, receptions and community events. Otherwise, it is open for tourists to explore its surroundings.
This apparently innocuous old building hides more history than you could possibly imagine. It was built in 1816 and, as of now, it’s the second oldest residential building on the entire Australian continent. Its beautiful white façade is made of sandstone and it was the home of ex-convict and historical figure John Cadman. Since then, the building had several different uses throughout its long lifetime. From 1816 to 1845, it was the home of the four coxswains, then the headquarters of the Sydney Water Police until 1864 and the Sailor’s Home from 1865 to 1970. Right now, it serves as an information center for National Parks and Wildlife.
This is a suburb in the eastern part of Sydney. It’s located 6 km south-east of the Sydney central business district. This amazing little suburb is named after the village of Randwick in Gloucestershire, England. Its streets are brimming with places that are a part of the State Heritage Register, and which are bound to transport you to the Victorian times. These include Randwick Lodge, Tayar, St Jude’s Church on Avoca Street, Randwick Town Hall and others. In order to thoroughly explore it, you can rent one of the luxurious Randwick serviced apartments and spend a few days in the area. The historical details of this suburb can fill up at least ten hefty tomes, so it’s a real playground for history buffs.
Likewise, if you are a history buff and you are spending time in Sydney, you have to visit the Rocks. It is a historic area in the heart of the city, located on the southern shore of Sydney Harbour. It borders on the Bradfield Highway which leads to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This settlement has been established shortly after the formation of the colony in 1788. From early on, it gained the reputation of a slum filled with dangerous convicts and prostitutes, and it maintained its rough reputation for a century. After the bubonic plague broke out in 1900, hundreds of houses were demolished and new buildings were added to the area. Today, it is a partly gentrified area that still managed to preserve a lot of historical buildings you can enjoy. Be sure to visit Susannah Place Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art in the area.
Sydney may be a young city, but in its short lifespan, it managed to amass a rich history. Due to hectic circumstances and colorful historical figures, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a historical location that doesn’t have a fascinating story to offer. If you get a chance to walk its busy streets, don’t miss out on these fascinating locales.