Sydney Harbour - World’s Largest Natural Harbour

Sydney Harbour is contained within Port Jackson in Sydney, Australia.

The world’s largest natural harbour, Sydney Harbour is the home of

most of Sydney’s main attractions.

Sydney Harbour in History:

  • 1770 – Although he and his crew did not land at Port Jackson,
    Lt. James Cook was the first European to discover the natural harbour and named it after the Judge Advocate of the Fleet, Sir George Jackson.

At the time, the following Aboriginal tribes occupied the area are

The Gadigal, The Cammeraygal, The Eora and The Wanegal.


These Aborigines were soon driven away from their ancestral habitat

by the following factors:

Sydney Harbour - World’s Largest Natural Harbour


  • The clearing of land to make homes for the colonial settlers and convicts effectively eradicated traditional hunting grounds and camp sites forcing the natives to go further inland.
  • Colonial diseases such as smallpox proved to be deadly for the natives.
  • Many natives were killed by the colonizers. Some were shot, others were poisoned.

 The mid-19th century saw the almost total wipe-out of the Aborigines in Sydney.

  • 1788 – British colonizers under Capt. Arthur Phillip dropped anchor at Port Jackson and established the first Australian colony at Sydney Cove, which later became Sydney City.

  • 1942 – An anti-submarine boom net was built to protect Sydney Harbour during WWII from foreign invasion. True enough, three Japanese submarines attempted to get through and one of them got entangled in the net. Rather than be captured, the Japanese crew blew up their submarine effectively destroying both their vessel and themselves. The net was removed after the war.

Islands within Sydney Harbour:

  • Shark Island – Originally called “Boambilly” by the natives, it was so named because its shape closely resembles that of a shark.

  • Clark Island – Named after the First Fleet’s Lt. Ralph Clark who kept a vegetable patch on the island.

  • Fort Denison – Named after Sir William Thomas Dennison, then governor of New South Wales.

  • Goat Island – Was used as sandstone quarry.

  • Cockatoo Island – Was used as a prison for convicts.

  • Spectacle Island – Was used to store naval ammunitions.

  • Snapper Island – Increased land mass over the years due to reclamation.

  • Rodd Island – Also known as Rabbit Island, Rhode Island, Snake Island, and Jack Island.

Some of the attractions on Sydney Harbour:

  • Sydney Opera House

  • Sydney Harbour Bridge

  • Circular Quay

  • Customs House

  • Sydney Entertainment Centre

  • Sydney Fish Markets

  • Darling Harbour

  • Sydney Aquarium