The smallest continent on the planet has five millionaire cities. Oddly enough, the capital of Australia, Canberra, is not on that list, with 10 times fewer inhabitants than the country’s largest city, Sydney. About 90% of Australians live in cities, which suggests that Australia is one of the most urbanized countries in the world today. The main part of the population is concentrated in the south-east of the continent, and it is here located the largest megacities of the country, characterized by a developed infrastructure, a decent standard of living, high technology and multinationality. Two of them – Sydney and Melbourne – account for almost 40% of the population of the Commonwealth.
Population: 5,230,330. (2018)
Australia’s largest city in terms of size and territory, the oldest in Australia, and the capital of the state of New South Wales, is located on the southeastern coast of the mainland.
The fortunate location in the sheltered Gulf of Port Jackson, discovered by James Cook in 1770, allowed Sydney to develop and expand steadily almost from the time the British founded the settlement in 1788. On January 26, he planted a flagpole in the ground, proclaimed the east coast part of Britain, and appointed himself governor.
The future city was named after the British colonial secretary, Lord Sydney, and the commemorative date was later chosen to celebrate National Australia Day.
The modern metropolis covers an area of 12144.6 square kilometers. Its urban areas are spread out on both sides of the numerous bays cut by the bay of Port Jackson, conditionally dividing the city on the south and the northern Sydney. On the southern shore are historic neighborhoods of colonial homes and a modern, skyscraper-rich business district. Development of the mountainous northern coast began after the construction of the Harbor Bridge in 1932, which greatly facilitated transport across the bay.
Sydney is made up of 38 prefectural counties and has no citywide authority. Each has its own mayor, and large-scale projects are controlled by the New South Wales state government. In a city headquarters of banks, stock exchanges, head offices of the largest Australian companies and offices of the international firms are located. The share of Sydney in the Australian economy reaches 25%, and the average income of Sydney residents is the highest in the country. Undoubtedly, the latter factor affects the level of prices in the city.
Sydney has many parks and gardens immersed in greenery. There are museums, theaters, casinos, and clubs, beautiful beaches with water fun, shopping centers, whole streets with brand-name boutiques, and other attractions. One of the city’s recognizable calling cards is the Sydney Opera House. Nearby is the no less famous Harbour Bridge, from where, since 1996, fantastic New Year’s Eve fireworks start off, capturing the attention of not only residents and visitors to the city.
More than a billion TV viewers from all over the world watch the pyrotechnic show. And Sydney Harbour is transformed into a unique opera stage in March and April. An open-air stage is built right over the water, and rows of spectators and dining tables are set up on the shore. In 2000. Sydney hosted the Summer Olympics.
Population: 4,963,349. (2018)
Australia’s second most populous city and eternal rival to Sydney, Melbourne is the capital of the southern state of Victoria and one of the most important economic and cultural centers of the country.
The modern metropolis, the world’s southernmost millionaire city, is centered on land adjacent to the northeastern part of Port Phillip Bay. It is well known that the first agricultural-oriented settlement was laid out in 1835 on the lower Yarra River, but whether it was founded by Batman, Pascoe Faulkner, or Lancey is still a matter of debate. The city itself is named after the ancestral title of Lord William Lamb, then Prime Minister of Britain.
Melbourne, which today covers 8,806 square kilometres, had its heyday during the gold rush which began in 1851. By 1865 it had become one of colonial Britain’s largest cities. At the peak of gold mining Treasury of Victoria each week received about 2000 kg of the extracted precious metal (today in a historical building houses the Museum of Gold).
After the formation of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901, Melbourne was the “interim capital” of the country for 26 years. At this time, the federal legislature occupied the Houses of Parliament, which were later transferred to similar structures in the state of Victoria.
A unique combination of colonial-era houses and modern buildings is considered a peculiarity of the city’s architectural appearance. One of the symbols of Melbourne is the old railway station building, and among the most notable buildings of recent decades are the sky-scrapers of the business center.
Victoria’s capital city is packed with recreational attractions and attractions, including the largest Museum of Melbourne in the Southern Hemisphere, the oldest zoo on the continent, one of Australia’s largest bridges, the Bolt Bridge, and the national landmark, Captain J. Cook’s Cottage.
Melbourne has been called the Garden City and the unofficial sports capital of the world. It has been recognized as one of the most livable cities on the planet and leads the list of Australian megacities in terms of economic growth. Melbourne welcomed the Summer Olympics in 1956 and now hosts many world-class sporting events. The city has become a hub for Australian fashion, street art, tourism and music. There are more theaters here than anywhere else in Australia and festivals have become a tradition.
Population: 2,462,637. (2018)
The capital of the state of Queensland, which is the third largest city in Australia, has the fastest rate of population growth in the entire continent. Brisbane was founded in 1825 on the banks of the river of the same name in the eastern part of the continent.
The original idea was to build a penal colony for recidivist criminals, but thanks to its rich natural resources, the area was opened for free settlement in 1838. The name of the village of Edenglassie was changed to the modern toponym in 1859, after the separation of the northeastern territories of New South Wales into a separate state.
It was proclaimed the capital of Queensland and named after a British general, Sir Brisbane. It was not until 1925 that the administrative center acquired city status. It has hosted several important events in recent decades, including the 1982 Commonwealth Games, Expo-88 and the G20 Summit (2014).
Brisbane is divided by the riverbed into the northern City Centre, where the capital’s business structure is concentrated, and the southern South Bank, where entertainment and leisure facilities are located. The city architecture is a mixture of styles – modern skyscrapers of glass, concrete, and metal mingle beautifully with Victorian churches and colonial buildings.
In the suburbs, you’ll find luxurious mansions built more than a century ago by sugar cane planters and gold miners. The eastern borders of the city are on Morton Bay, protected from the Coral Sea by a chain of islands. Brisbane’s tropical climate is relaxed, but flooding occurs during the rainy season. Most were recorded in 1893, 1974 and 2011.
Queensland’s capital city is famous for the parks and gardens within and outside the city, including: South Bank Parkland, Botanic Gardens and Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, where you can see a variety of marsupials and get up close and personal with koalas and surprisingly friendly kangaroos. In the city itself, there are many nightclubs and outdoor restaurants, as well as malls and boutiques.
There are beaches within an hour’s drive, and the famous Australian resorts of Golden and Sunny Beach are 70-90km away. Many tourists head there, arriving at Brisbane Airport and staying in the city for 1-2 days.
Population: 2,059,484. (2018)
The fourth millionaire city on the list, separated from Sydney and Melbourne by a vast desert, is called Australia’s crown jewel. Perth stretches over 5,386 square kilometers along the southwest coast of the continent, on both sides of the Swan River.
It is the capital of Western Australia, which takes up a third of the continent, and the largest city of the most mysterious state of the country. Interestingly, in 1697 this land was declared inhospitable and uninhabitable by the Dutch, a fact subsequently confirmed by other navigators who attempted to establish temporary settlements here. The Swan River Colony was founded by a British officer, James Sterling, in 1829.
Perth, named after an older Scottish city, is famous for its pleasant climate and beautiful beaches, colorful architecture, spectacular panoramic views, spectacular sunsets and black swans.
There are plenty of colonial-era sights, modern skyscrapers, parks and stadiums, museums, galleries, clubs and casinos. The Mint, built in 1899, is the pride of Perth. Its collection coins are world famous for their unrivalled quality and iconic Australian-style images. Nineteen kilometres from Perth is the first colony settlement of Swan River, Fremantle, a satellite town of the state capital.
It’s home to the oldest building in the West, the Roundhouse, built in 1830 and long used as a prison. The historic monument, beautifully preserved to this day, was opened to the public in 1982. On the outskirts of Perth is the Cohunu Koala Park, home to contact koalas and kangaroos.
In 1962, when the U.S. spacecraft Friendship 7 flew over Australia, an astronaut, coming out of the dark zone of the night side of the planet, saw a bright illumination below. As it turned out, the people of Perth turned on as many lights as they could at that moment to welcome John Glenn.
After the flash mob, they called the city the “City of Lights. The action was repeated on the astronaut’s second space flight in 1998.
Population: 1,345,777. (2018)
The capital and largest city of the state of South Australia is located on the eastern shore of St. Vincent Bay. It was founded in 1836, following a ceremony of proclamation of the territory as a British province of free settlement. The event took place on December 28 at the Old Tree near Glenelg-Nord (a suburb of Adelaide). The eucalyptus died around 1907, and its dry trunk was covered with concrete in 1963.
Today the historic monument serves as the site of the annual Proclamation Day celebration, where the original speech of the state’s first governor, John Heindmarsh, is traditionally read out. The city was named for the wife of King William IV of Great Britain.
The urban layout of Adelaide was designed by the British-Malaysian officer William Light. He based it on wide perpendicular streets, spacious squares and clearly defined blocks ringed by green space. Subsequently, such a far-sighted decision allowed to avoid the inherent problems of the old cities – expansion of roads and parks.
Adelaide’s architecture ranges from one-story stone houses to reinforced concrete high-rises to skyscrapers and modern glass and metal buildings. There are nearly three dozen large parks, museums and galleries, the National Wine Center and Casino, cathedrals, churches, memorials, and other attractions. Adelaide hosts festivals of the arts, unusual ideas and polyglots, and traditionally organizes exhibitions and fairs. In the suburbs, the beaches along the gulf coast stretch in a continuous line.
Throughout the 20th century Adelaide was the third most populous Australian city, gradually transforming from an agricultural center into a modern metropolis, which today has reached an area of 1,826.9 square kilometers. Before the General Motors Holden plant in the suburbs of Elizabeth closed in 2017, more than half of Australian cars were assembled here.
The city is considered the “driest” compared to other metropolitan areas in Australia, as it rarely rains. Apparently that is why a variety of grapes are grown in its surroundings, and the local wineries account for more than 50% of all wines produced on the continent.
It is believed that the first vines were planted in Adelaide in 1838 and the first case of wine was sent to the royal table in 1843.
Population: 420,960. (2018)
The founding of the capital of the Commonwealth was the result of an insoluble rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne.
The territory was finally decided in 1908, after which an international competition to develop plans for the future city was announced. It was won by the Chicago architects, Griffin couple, who based the project on a radial-ring structure of streets and the creation of a garden city using natural resources. Construction of Canberra began in 1913, and in 1927 the Australian Parliament moved here from Melbourne.
Today the capital covers an area of 814.2 sq km and is not a millionaire city. Nevertheless, it is considered the largest settlement within the continent, the most important economic and political center of the country. It is home to state and metropolitan institutions, cultural and public institutions of various levels, including the National Gallery and National Museum.
On the south shore of the man-made Lake Burleigh Griffin, formed in 1964 by the construction of the dam, is Capital Hill.
The main town square, with the new Parliament building on it, is connected by main thoroughfares to the northern districts of the city – the business center of City Hill and the office center of Russell. The latter is connected by Constitution Avenue, which opens the way to the Australian War Memorial. These three broad streets fringe the so-called “parliamentary triangle”, where government offices are concentrated.
Nature reserves, parks and gardens, sports and cultural venues are all around it. Australia calls Canberra, drenched in greenery, the ‘Forest Capital’. You can get stunning panoramas from hilltop vantage points such as Red Hill and Mount Ainslie.
The capital city consists of 7 counties, each with its own public and commercial center. The oldest district of the capital, North Canberra, was settled in the 1920s and 30s.
One of its districts, City Hill, is home to the first major commercial centers that have become a landmark of the business center. These are the Sydney and Melbourne buildings, built with their characteristic Mediterranean-style arcaded loggias and tiled roofs. Nearby stands Australia’s first indoor shopping mall, the Monaro Mall, now the Canberra Centre.
The second historic and most important district for the capital, South Canberra, developed in the 1920s and ’60s. It contains the Old Parliament House, the seat of the country’s supreme legislature from 1927-88, and today it plays host to exhibitions and concerts.
The official name of the city translates from one of the ancient languages of the Australian Aborigines as ‘meeting place’.
Population: 148,564 people. (2018)
The largest city in northern Australia is the capital of the sparsely populated administrative unit of the country, the Northern Territory. The settlement of Palmerston in Darwin’s Bay was founded by South Australian Governor George Goyder in 1869 and was destroyed 28 years later by a raging tropical cyclone.
After the secession of the Northern Territory from New South Wales in 1911, the restored settlement was named after Charles Darwin, but was not formally designated a town until 1959. Modern-day Palmerston, which was built in 1980, became a satellite town to Darwin.
The architectural appearance of the capital of the Northern Territory is considered one of the most modern on the continent, but this leadership is due not to the progressive views of the local authorities, but to tragic events.
The city was severely damaged during the Second World War, after the bombing of the Japanese aircraft, and almost completely destroyed by Tropical Cyclone Tracy on Christmas Eve in 1974 The scale of the last destruction allowed to think about moving the city, but it was decided to rebuild it in the same place, using the latest materials and technology.
In the four years since the tragedy, Darwin’s population has recovered, although many survivors have not been able to cross the psychological barrier to return. The monument erected in the city in the form of three cyclone-twisted metal beams and, of course, Darwin itself, rebuilt beyond recognition, reminds us of the devastation. Today it covers an area of 1,121 square kilometers.
The city has a business center, a shopping precinct with the largest shopping complex in northern Australia, Casuarina Square, as well as residential areas and an industrial suburb. Darwin’s attractions include the Northern Territory Museum and Gallery, military and civic museums, art galleries, memorials and the waterfront, which offers spectacular sunsets. Popular destinations for recreation are nature and water parks, the Botanical Gardens, and numerous beaches.
The city has a very interesting Crocodile Aquarium and a unique Aquascene, where at high tide you can practically hand feed the wild fish that come ashore. Darwin hosts an unusual regatta each year, with teams building their boats from beer cans.
Population: 232,606. (2018)
The largest city on the island of Tasmania is the capital, economic and administrative center of the Australian state of the same name. Founded as a penal colony for British prisoners in 1803, Hobart is considered Australia’s second territorial capital, behind Sydney.
Risdon Bay was originally chosen for settlement, but a year later it was moved to the more fertile Sullivan Bay. The modern town, named after the Secretary of State for War and Colonies, Lord Robert Hobart, is located in south-eastern Tasmania at the mouth of the Derwent River. Today it covers an area of 1,357.3 square kilometers.
Hobart is peppered with colonial-era buildings. Many of them are listed as part of the city’s cultural heritage. There’s Australia’s oldest functioning hotel, Hadley’s Orient; the country’s first brewery, Cascade Brewery, producing a lager since 1832; the Houses of Parliament, originally a customs building; the Theatre Royal; churches and other Victorian houses.
It is all reminiscent of the Old World, and the local climate bears a significant resemblance to Southern England. There are few high-rise buildings in Tasmania’s capital city. The most notable of them is the 17-storey Wrest Point Hotel Casino with a revolving restaurant, built in the suburb of Sandy Bay in 1973. This is where Australia’s first licensed casino is located.
Hobart’s most visited tourist attraction is the Salamanca Market, which unfolds on Saturdays near the city’s waterfront. Starting in 1972 from 12 stalls, it has grown to a huge street market, attracting up to 25-40 thousand tourists a week to the island.
Among the cultural sites the most interesting is the largest private Museum of Old and New Art in the southern hemisphere. It is notable not only for the presented collections, but also the internal structure of the building.
Upon entering the one-story structure, visitors enter another world – descending and seemingly endless spiral staircases lead to lower levels with labyrinthine showcases. There are museums, galleries, theaters, and the Royal Botanical Gardens within walking distance of the center.
Hobart is home to scientific institutes and centers focused on Antarctic and Southern Ocean studies. The seaport provides shipping to Antarctica for Australian and French expeditions, and it receives about 50 cruise ships per season. The city successfully develops the tourism industry.
Various music, gastronomic, and art festivals are held here, and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht regatta finishes. Many travelers choose Hobart as a base for exploring the island’s rich natural heritage.