Global Navigation




The making of a City

Sydney has transformed from a penal colony in 1788 to today's global city. Along the way it has been governed by London appointees, landed gentry and, since 1842, by a council that has been either elected or imposed by the state government.

In that time, the City of Sydney has expanded and shrunk as authorities tinkered with its borders. The City has had powers taken from it, and gained new responsibilities as the city's society evolved.

These new responsibilities ranged from policing the city to looking after:

  • markets
  • roads
  • lights
  • waste, sewerage, rubbish and rats
  • health
  • city planning.

You can download a longer version of the History of Sydney City Council as a pdf document below.

Heading illustration shows Hyde Park with the Australian Museum under construction, Darlinghurst Gaol and Sydney Grammar School in 1842 in an illustration by J.Rae.

Last updated: Tuesday, 4 December 2012