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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

History of Darling Harbour, Sydney

Darling Harbour: Cockle Bay Wharf today - night view

Darling Harbour is one of Sydney's iconic attractions, with the area covering Cockle Bay, King Street Wharf, plus Chinatown and all the way to Pyrmont.

Shells, shipping and celebrations

Image: The earliest view of Cockle Bay drawn by John Eyre c1813. SLNSW
For more than 7,000 years Darling Harbour was a frontier; a boundary between the Wangal and Gadigal clans of the coastal Eora people who used the harbour for food and transport up the Parramatta River. The Eora people called Darling Harbour ‘Tumbalong’, meaning a place where seafood is found. The shores were littered with the remnants of oyster shells and other shellfish remains accumulated over thousands of years; and it is this that led the Europeans to call the area Cockle Bay.

Image: Cockle Bay now Darling Harbour. Hand-coloured aquatint published in London in 1823,
Major James Tayor c1819-20. SLNSW
In 1788, the arrival of the First Fleet and the ailments such as smallpox, measles, colds and flu that came with it, were devastating to the local Aboriginal population. However the Eora people survived the arrival of Europeans and their diseases. Archaeological evidence has shown that they were still continuing a semi-traditional lifestyle on the peninsula at Millers Point until at least the 1840s. Today, the descendants of the first Indigenous clans to live in close contact with the Europeans still live in Sydney. 

Long Cove to Cockle Bay

In the early years of the colony, the only European visitors to the shores of Darling Harbour were the lime-burners and hungry convicts and settlers searching for mussels and other shellfish. 

The first deputy surveyor-general of New South Wales, Charles Grimes, completed a Plan of Sydney in 1800 that accurately depicts the eastern shoreline. Poorly fired bricks and a lack of lime for mortar hampered early building in the colony. The massive middens of shellfish shells in Cockle Bay were the perfect source for lime. Darling Harbour was first named Long Cove but Cockle Bay was preferred until 1826 when Governor Ralph Darling enshrined his own name in Sydney’s history.

Maritime and industrial development

The history of the harbour has been embodied in the ships which used it, the shipyards and wharves along its shores and the myriad of factories and warehouses that grew up in the surrounding streets. The Market Street Wharf (where Sydney Aquarium now stands) was built in the 1820s and is the only remaining wharf from this era.

Image: The Sydney Markets were built in 1829, on the site of the Queen Victoria Building, they
replaced Macquarie’s earlier markets. The first wharf was built in the 1820s to service these markets.
Sydney Markets, Watercolour, John Rae, 1842. SLNSW

In the 19th century the harbour was a centre for change, and particularly for the introduction of Industrial Revolution technology. It was here that the first steam engine in Australia started work in 1815, the first iron-hulled ship was assembled and the colony’s first foundries belched smoke along its shores, as did the first steamship to be launched. Other important firsts were the Australian Gas Light Company’s gasworks, fired up on Queen Victoria’s birthday in 1841, and, in the next decade, Zollner’s galvanising plant, an important innovation in a country that was to find more ways to use galvanised iron than any other.

For much of the nineteenth century, wheat, wool, coal and timber were the principal cargoes to pass across the wharves but from the 1870's wool became the prime commodity. In 1855 the railway line that ran from the old Central Station was built as part of the first line in New South Wales. A major railway goods yard was established on the Ultimo side of the harbour in the 1870s. In 1874, the world's first full iron wharf was built where Tumbalong Park now stands. The Iron Wharf was considered one of the great engineering feats of the time and was the largest steel structure in the world until the construction of the Eiffel Tower.  

Image: The Iron Wharf 1874. Illustrated Sydney News 30 Jan 1874.
In 1861, the world's first freezing works were built by Thomas Mort after the process was developed by ED Nicolle. Thomas Mort's Fresh Food & Ice Company was established on the site of today's Chinese Garden of Friendship and the company shipped its first successful cargo of frozen meat to London in 1877. 

In the 1880s the first Hydraulic Pumping Station in New South Wales opened; remnants of it still stand as part of a hotel. Around the turn of the century the Ultimo Power Station supplied electricity for Sydney’s first electric trams and its neighbour in Pyrmont supplied power to Sydney households through the first reticulated grid. 

Image: Ulitmo Power Stations c1850s. COSA.
By the 1890s there was a shift from small-scale industry to warehousing and woolstores and by 1900, dozens of wharves had been built at Darling Harbour. The rail yards continued to grow and by 1891 they were handling most of Australia’s export produce. In 1900, the NSW Government resumed Darling Harbour. The area continued to thrive as coastal steamers plied their trade along Australia's coast and across the Pacific.

Pyrmont Bridge opened in 1902, replacing a smaller bridge built in 1857, to maintain the link between the CBD, Pyrmont and Glebe. The swingspan bridge is powered by electricity, originally supplied from the nearby Ultimo Powerhouse (now the Powerhouse Museum), and remains the oldest electrically powered swingspan bridge still operating in the world.

Image: Troops departing in 1941 for North Africa. AWM.
The First World War stimulated growth but also led to the General Strike in 1917. The Great Depression of the 1930s affected Darling Harbour in much the same way as it affected ageing industrial centres around the world. It hit the casual labourers on the wharves particularly hard and the streets where they queued for the chance of a few hours of backbreaking work became known as the Hungry Mile. 

The Second World War stimulated trade and industry but by the time it ended the coastal shopping trade had disappeared and many industries around the harbour were decaying. This process continued after the war and, although the rail yards continued their growth for a few years, in 1984 the last goods train steamed out of the yards and the industrial history of Darling Harbour all but ended. 

The rebirth of Darling Harbour, 1980s onwards

In 1984 the premier of NSW, Neville Wran, announced the Government's decision to redevelop Darling Harbour and "return it to the people of Sydney" in time for Australia’s 1988 bicentennial celebrations.

Image: Aerial view- 26 June 1983. COSA.
HRH Queen Elizabeth II formally opened Darling Harbour on 4 May 1988. Sydney Aquarium was the first attraction to open and was soon followed by a host of museums, shops, restaurants, hotels and bars, as the precinct became a different kind of heartbeat for Sydney.

In 1998, as Darling Harbour celebrated its 10th birthday, Cockle Bay Wharf was constructed. The following year massive works were undertaken in preparation for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

In 2000, Darling Harbour hosted five sports during the Olympic Games and construction of King Street Wharf was completed.

In 2009, Darling Harbour celebrated its 21st anniversary with a year of activities including a multicultural birthday festival and the publication of a commemorative book, A History of Sydney's Darling Harbour.


Darling Harbour today - night view

Darling Harbour today - view from Entertainment Centre facing Cockle Bay Wharf

Darling Harbour today - aerial view

Looking for accommodation near Darling Harbour? 

Metro Apartments on Darling Harbour is located in the heart of the area and offers affordable serviced apartments with wonderful views of the harbour.

Visit our website today for the latest accommodation specials:

Monday, August 25, 2014

AFC Asian Cup Coming To Australia 2015

AFC Asian Cup Coming To Australia 2015

AFC Asian Cup Coming To Australia 2015

The AFC Asian Cup, Asia’s biggest football tournament, is coming to Australia in January 2015.

Sydney, Newcastle, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane will host 32 world class football matches over 23 days, culminating with a Final played in Sydney on 31 January 2015.

It will never have been easier for families to go to the football than when the biggest tournament in Asia rolls into town in 2015.

The AFC Asian Cup organising committee has announced “family friendly” ticket packages for the tournament next summer, with kids tickets starting at $5 and families (four) from $40.

The tournament, which kicks off on January 9, will take place in five host cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Newcastle. Supporters even have the option of buying “venue packs” - tickets for all the matches at each stadium.

Tickets go on sale on May 7 for the football family, starting with the venue packs, before going on sale to the general public on  June 3.

Tickets for the tournament will go on sale in two phases, the first on May 7 and the second on June 3.

The most expensive Category One tickets are $149 for the final in Sydney on January 31 and $149 for the opening match between the Socceroos and Kuwait in Melbourne on January 9. Those prices also include the opening and closing ceremonies.

“This will be a festival of football never seen before in Australia, featuring our own Socceroos battling the best 16 teams in Asia, including Asia’s three other World Cup finalists in Japan, South Korea and Iran.

“We have deliberately kept prices affordable for families and those in multicultural communities who will be keen to attend multiple matches.”

AFC Asian Cup Coming To Australia 2015

VENUE PACK TICKETS:  This is the ultimate ticket for the passionate football fan wanting the best seat in the house. The Venue Pack is your chance to secure a place at every AFC Asian Cup fixture in your city, with savings of up to 20%. Witness seven matches live in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Canberra and four games in Newcastle with your very own seat at each game:

INDIVIDUAL MATCH TICKETS:  Group Match tickets start from just $15.29 (Adult) and $5.10 (Children). Or secure a ticket to a Socceroos match from only $49.96 (Adult) and $24.98 (Children):


Need accommodation close to the Asian Cup tournaments? 
Metro Hotels have hotels and serviced apartments in most major cities throughout Australia:

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Welcome to the Bingham Cup Sydney

With thousands of visitors and a host of events, Bingham Cup Sydney will be a tournament to remember.
The wait is over – the world cup of gay rugby is finally here. The 2014 Bingham Cup will be held in Sydney on August 24-31.
Over 1,000 players from 30 gay rugby teams from around the world, plus many more staff, supporters, friends and family, will descend on Sydney for the biennial tournament, which also features a week-long program of social events.
“We’re very excited to be hosting the Bingham Cup in Sydney – it’s the first time it’s been held in the Southern Hemisphere,” said Bingham Cup Week Events Manager Jon Bastin.
“We want to put on the best Bingham Cup ever – one that appealed not only to those taking part in the rugby tournament, but also the locals.
“To achieve this we’ve partnered with some of Sydney’s best known community groups to put on a diverse program of events – Queer Screen,  Harbour City Bears, the Lifesavers with Pride, Sydney Rangers FC and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras have all given us tremendous support – plus the Australian Rugby Union, Woollahra Colleagues RUFC and Eastern Suburbs RUFC have been great partners, ensuring that we put on a great tournament.”
Indeed, Bastin has program a dynamic and diverse line-up of events, ranging from drinks at popular Sydney venues to friendly matches at iconic location.
“Get out there and join in the fun,” Bastin says. “If you’re not into the footy then you can still be part of the atmosphere at one of the other events. With over 20 events and 30 gay rugby teams in town, you’ll be sure to have lot of fun.”
Bingham Cup Week is on August 24-31. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

What's on at Darling Harbour ~ August 2014

what's on darling harbour august - Metro Apartments on Darling Harbour

Daily Event:
True Blue Cruises (Sydney Whale Watching)
Two level decks and a 360-degree lower viewing deck bring you as close to Sydney's migrating humpback whales as possible.
Time: 8:45am to 12:35pm and 1:30pm to 4pm
Price: From $60
Where: Departing from Cockle Bay Marina near IMAX Theatre

Daily Event:
Beautiful Whale
American articst Bryant Austin is the only photographer in the world producing life-size photographs of whales. Come eye to eye with his portraits of nature's underwater giants.
Time: 9:30am to 5pm daily
Price: Adults $15, child/concession $10
Where: Australian National Maritime Museum Darling Harbour

Daily Event:
Undersea Art Exhibition Sydney
A 5-metre tall, 15-metre long floating sea turtle has arrived inn Cockle Bay to celebrate the new Undersea Art Exhibition by BJ Price featuring at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium until 11th of September.
Giant turtle: Showing 24 hours (located southern end of Cockle Bay)
Exhibition time: 9:30am to 7pm daily
Where: Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, Aquarium Wharf

Sat 16, 23 and 30 August:
Harbourside Fireworks
why wait until New Year's Eve to see fireworks in Sydney when you can see them every Saturday night at Darling Harbour? It's a great way to celebrate the weekend!
Time: From 8:30pm
Price: FREE!
Where: Cockle Bay, Darling Harbour

Tues - Sun: 
Constructed from 557 LED lights, powered by 100% renewable energy and boasting unique interactive capabilities, Luminous is a shimmer canvas through which to explore your curiousity.
Time: From 7:30pm
Price: FREE!
Where: Darling quarter

Sat 16:
Stella Fella Black Tie Ball
Enjoy a three course dinner and canapes including drinks and live entertainment. All profits from tickets go towards The Salvation Army's Trafficking and Slavery Safe House.
Time: 6:30pm
Price: $190 per person (for table of 10 - $1750 using the promo code stellafella2014)
Where: Dockside Pavillion, Darling Harbour

For more information on any of these events, visit

Need accommodation near Darling Harbour?

Metro Apartments on Darling Harbour has Darling Harbour views and is located only 10 minutes from Wynyard station. Located perfectly in the heart of the city, Metro Apartments Darling Harbour is within easy access of all major attractions such as, the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, IMAX Theatre, Cockle Bay Restaurants, Maritime Museum, Chinatown - restaurants and taverns, Sydney Entertainment Centre, Powerhouse Museum and the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.

We are offering this online discount: Book an accommodation package at Metro Apartments on Darling Harbour to receive 15% off. Promotion code: DarlingHarbour.
Select specials from here:

Tel: (02) 9290 9200
Address: 132-136 Sussex Street, NSW 2000

Metro Apartments on Darling Harbour
Metro Apartments on Darling Harbour
It's all about the views. Imagine standing on your own private balcony with a relaxing drink and watching the sun set over Darling Harbour. Well that's exactly how you could enjoy the end to another day when you next stay with us in one of our executive apartments located on levels 4-7.

The fully serviced one bedroom loft-style apartments provide you with many of the creature comforts of home. The brand new well equipped kitchen and bathroom with laundry facillities in your room are ideal for longer stays and provide you with plenty of room to relax and enjoy your stay.

Each of the well appointed rooms also has a LCD television with free Foxtel , telephone, free WiFi and small balcony.

More info:

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