City of Sydney

The City of Sydney is the local government area covering the Sydney central business district and surrounding inner city suburbs of the greater metropolitan area of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Established by Act of Parliament in 1842, the City of Sydney is the oldest, and the oldest-surviving, local government authority in New South Wales, and the second-oldest in Australia, with only the City of Adelaide being older by two years.

City of Sydney
New South Wales
Location in Metropolitan Sydney since 2004
Coordinates33°52′S 151°12′E
 • Density8,330/km2 (21,600/sq mi)
Established20 July 1842
Area25 km2 (9.7 sq mi)
Time zoneAEST (UTC+10)
 • Summer (DST)AEDT (UTC+11)
Lord MayorClover Moore
Council seatSydney CBD (Town Hall)
RegionMetropolitan Sydney
State electorate(s)
Federal Division(s)
WebsiteCity of Sydney
LGAs around City of Sydney:
Lane Cove North Sydney Mosman
Inner West City of Sydney Woollahra
Inner West Bayside Randwick

Given its prominent position, historically, geographically, economically and socially, the City of Sydney has long been a source of political interest and intrigue. As a result of this, the boundaries, constitution and legal basis of the council has changed many times throughout its history, often to suit the governing party of the State of New South Wales. The City of Sydney is currently governed under the City of Sydney Act, 1988, which defines and limits the powers, election method, constitution and boundaries of the council area. On 6 February 2004, the former local government area of the City of South Sydney, which itself had been created in 1989 from areas formerly part of the City of Sydney (including Alexandria, Darlington, Erskineville, Newtown and Redfern), was formally merged into the City of Sydney and the current city boundaries date from this merger.

The leader of the City of Sydney is known as the Lord Mayor of Sydney, currently held since 27 March 2004 by Clover Moore, who also served concurrently as the state Member of Parliament for Sydney and Bligh from 1988 to 2012.

Suburbs and localities in the local government area

Suburbs within or partially within the City of Sydney are:

Localities in the City of Sydney are:


The name Sydney comes from "Sydney Cove" which is where the English Governor (later Admiral) Arthur Phillip established the first settlement, after arriving with the First Fleet. On 26 January 1788, he named it after Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney, who was the home secretary at the time, and the man responsible for the plan for the convict colony in Australia.

The "City of Sydney" was established on 20 July 1842[3] by the Corporation Act which encompasses present-day Woolloomooloo, Surry Hills, Chippendale and Pyrmont, an area of 11.65 km². There were six wards established by boundary posts. These wards were: Gipps, Brisbane, Macquarie, Bourke, Cook and Phillip. A boundary post still exists in front of Sydney Square.

The boundaries of the City of Sydney have changed fairly regularly since 1900. The bankrupt Municipality of Camperdown was merged with the city in 1909. As a result of the Local Government (Areas) Act 1948, the municipalities of Alexandria, Darlington, Erskineville, Newtown, Redfern, The Glebe, Waterloo, and Paddington were added to the City. In 1968 the boundaries were changed and many of these suburbs moved to be part of a new municipality of South Sydney. South Sydney was brought back into the city in 1982, but became separate again under the City of Sydney Act of 1988 and then became smaller than its original size at 6.19 km². It grew again in February 2004 with the merger of the two council areas, and now has a population of approximately 170,000 people.

These changes in boundaries have often resulted in control of the council by the governing party in the Parliament of New South Wales at the time; the Labor Party often sought to have traditional working-class suburbs like Redfern, Erskineville, Alexandria and Waterloo included in the council area, and the Liberal Party and its predecessors often desired a smaller council area focused on inner-Sydney or a limited/broader voting franchise. A 1987 re-organisation initiated by a Labor state government and completed in 1989 under a Liberal Coalition government saw the City of Sydney split again, with southern suburbs forming the City of South Sydney, a moved that advantaged the government of the day, as the southern suburbs now in South Sydney Council had traditionally voted Labor.[4][5]

In 2004, the Labor state Government undid this change, again merging the councils of the City of Sydney and the South Sydney Council. Critics claimed that this was performed with the intention of creating a "super-council" which would be under the control of Labor, which also controlled the NSW Government. Subsequent to this merger, an election took place on 27 March 2004 which resulted in the independent candidate Clover Moore defeating the high-profile Labor candidate, former federal minister Michael Lee and winning the position of Lord Mayor.[4]

Boundary changes


At the 2016 Census, there were 208,374 people in the Sydney local government area, of these 51.8% were male and 48.2% were female. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 1.2% of the population. The median age of people in the City of Sydney was 32 years. Children aged 0 – 14 years made up 6.7% of the population and people aged 65 years and over made up 8.2% of the population. Of people in the area aged 15 years and over, 25.7% were married and 9.1% were either divorced or separated.[1]

Population growth in the City of Sydney between the 2006 Census and the 2011 Census was 4.57%; with a significant increase of 22.93% between 2011 and 2016. When compared with total population growth of Australia of 8.81% between 2011 and 2016, population growth in the Sydney local government area was almost triple the national average.[1] The median weekly income for residents within the City of Sydney was just under 1.5 times the national average.[1][6]

The proportion of dwellings in the City of Sydney that are apartments or units is 77.1%, which is substantially different from the Australian average of 13.1%. The proportion of residents in the Sydney local government area that claimed Australian ancestry was approximately one-quarter the national average.[1]

Selected historical census data for Sydney local government area
Census year1996[7] a2001[8][9] b2006[10]2011[6]2016[1]
PopulationEstimated residents on census night87,874124,512156,571169,505208,374
LGA rank in terms of size within New South Wales10th8th
% of New South Wales population1.97% 2.39% 2.45% 2.79%
% of Australian population0.49% 0.66% 0.79% 0.79% 0.89%
Estimated ATSI population on census night2,0511,9822,1752,413
% of ATSI population to residents1.6% 1.3% 1.3% 1.2%
Cultural and language diversity
top responses
English19.3% 18.1%
Chinese9.7% 13.4%
Australian13.9% 11.9%
Irish8.5% 8.0%
Scottish5.8% 5.3%
top responses
(other than English)
Mandarin3.7% 5.1% 9.9%
Thain/c 2.1% 3.2%
Cantonese3.3% 3.2% 2.9%
Indonesian 1.7% 1.9% 2.2%
Spanishn/rn/rn/rn/r 1.7%
Religious affiliation
Religious affiliation,
top responses
No religion, so described26.7% 21.9% 23.7% 33.6% 43.2%
Religious affiliation not statedn/rn/rn/rn/r 15.8%
Catholic23.6% 20.9% 18.3% 19.0% 15.4%
Buddhism2.9% 5.0% 5.2% 6.5% 7.0%
Anglican14.7% 12.2% 10.0% 9.0% 5.8%
Median weekly incomes
Personal incomeMedian weekly personal incomeA$717A$888A$953
% of Australian median income153.9% 153.9% 144.0%
Family incomeMedian weekly family incomeA$1,204A$2,273$A2,524
% of Australian median income117.2% 153.5% 145.6%
Household incomeMedian weekly household incomeA$1,819A$1,639A$1,926
% of Australian median income105.9% 132.8% 133.9%
Dwelling structure
Dwelling typeSeparate house2.7% 4.9% 4.2% 2.0%
Semi-detached, terrace or townhouse23.2% 20.2% 21.2% 19.7%
Flat or apartment71.2% 73.7% 73.6% 77.1%
^a  1996 Census figures refer to the City of Sydney prior to its merger with the City of South Sydney.
^b  2001 Census data comprise the sum of the former South Sydney and the former Sydney local government areas.


Lord MayorTermNotes
Lord MayorClover Moore27 March 2004 – dateMP for Sydney and Bligh 1988–2012[11][12]
Deputy Lord MayorJess Scully9 September 2019 – date[13]
Chief Executive OfficerTermNotes
Monica Barone7 August 2006 – present[14]

Current composition and election method

Sydney City Council is composed of ten Councillors, including the Lord Mayor, for a fixed four-year term of office. The Lord Mayor is directly elected while the nine other Councillors are elected proportionally. The Deputy Lord Mayor is elected annually by the councillors. The most recent election was held on 10 September 2016, and the makeup of the Council, including the Lord Mayor, is as follows:[15]

  Clover Moore Independent Team 5
  Liberal Party of Australia 2
  Australian Labor Party 1
  Sydney Matters Independent Team 1
  Independent 1
Total 10

The current Council, elected in 2016, in order of election, is:[15]

Lord MayorPartyNotes
  Clover Moore Clover Moore Independents Lord Mayor, 2004–date
  Kerryn Phelps Independent Elected 2016. Deputy Lord Mayor, 2016–2017; Clover Moore Independent until 27 June 2017
  Christine Forster Liberal Elected 2012.
  Linda Scott Labor Elected 2012. Deputy Lord Mayor, 2018–2019[16]
  Philip Thalis Clover Moore Independents Elected 2016.
  Jess Scully Clover Moore Independents Elected 2016. Deputy Lord Mayor, 2019–date[13]
  Robert Kok Clover Moore Independents Elected 2008. Deputy Lord Mayor, 2011–2012.
  Jess Miller Clover Moore Independents Elected 2016. Deputy Lord Mayor, 2017–2018[17]
  Craig Chung Liberal Elected 2016. City of Ryde Councillor, 2012–2016
  Angela Vithoulkas Sydney Matters Elected 2012.

Policies, services and initiatives


The City of Sydney has adopted various policies to reduce the council's climate impact, including strategies implemented since the 2000s to reduce car pollution by investing in mass and public transit[18] and introducing a fleet of 10 new Nissan LEAF electric cars, the largest order of the vehicle in Australia.[19] The council has also invested in bicycle infrastructure, and cycling trips have increased by 113% across Sydney's inner-city since March 2010, with approximately 2,000 bikes passing through top peak-hour intersections on an average weekday.[20]

The City of Sydney became the first council in Australia to achieve formal certification as carbon-neutral in 2008.[21][22] The city has reduced its 2007 carbon emissions by 6% and since 2006 has reduced carbon emissions from city buildings by up to 20%.[20][23] The council introduced a Sustainable Sydney 2030 programme, with various targets planned and a comprehensive guide on how to reduce energy in homes and offices within Sydney by 30%.[20][24] Reductions in energy consumption have decreased energy bills by $30 million a year.[25] Solar panels have been established on many CBD buildings in an effort to minimise carbon pollution by around 3,000 tonnes a year.[26] Sydney has also become a leader in the development of green office buildings and enforcing the requirement of all building proposals to be energy-efficient.

The One Central Park development, completed in 2013, is an example of this implementation and design.[27][28][29][30] Proposals to make all of Sydney's future buildings sustainable and environmentally friendly by using recycled water, rooftop gardens, efficient and renewable energy.

Sydney Peace Prize

The City of Sydney is a major supporter of the Sydney Peace Prize.


Sister cities

Sydney City Council maintains sister city relations with the following cities:[31]

Friendship cities


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Sydney (C)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  2. "3218.0 – Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2017-18". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 27 March 2019. Retrieved 27 March 2019. Estimated resident population (ERP) at 30 June 2018.
  3. "History of Sydney City Council" (PDF). City of Sydney. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 December 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2007.
  4. Green, Antony (5 September 2014). "NSW Parliament looks to stack Sydney City Council - again!". Antony Green's Election Blog - ABC Elections. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  5. Dias, Avani (7 September 2017). "Cabinet papers reveal 1987 decision to sack Sydney council just as Clover Moore set to run for mayor". ABC News. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  6. Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Sydney (C)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  7. "Sydney (C)". Religious Affiliation by Age - Time Series Statistics (1996, 2001, 2006 Census Years). Australian Bureau of Statistics. 27 June 2007. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  8. Australian Bureau of Statistics (9 March 2006). "Sydney (C)". 2001 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  9. Australian Bureau of Statistics (9 March 2006). "South Sydney (C)". 2001 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  10. Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Sydney (C)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  11. "Ms Clover Moore (1945- )". Members of the Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  12. Visentin, Lisa; Robertson, James (11 September 2016). "Clover Moore wins record fourth term as Sydney lord mayor". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  13. "City of Sydney Council elects new Deputy Lord Mayor" (Press release). City of Sydney. 10 September 2019. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  14. "City of Sydney CEO appointed" (Press release). City of Sydney. 7 August 2006. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  15. "Sydney City Council". Local Government Elections 2016. Electoral Commission of New South Wales. 10 September 2016. Retrieved 22 September 2012.
  16. "Linda Scott beats Christine Forster for deputy mayor of City of Sydney Council". Central. 25 September 2018. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  17. Visentin, Lisa (19 September 2017). "Jess Miller becomes youngest deputy lord mayor of City of Sydney". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  18. "Buses and the Environment". Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  19. "City clears the way on pollution-free car fleet". 13 February 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  20. "Achievements – City of Sydney". Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  21. "Sydney Water to become carbon neutral". The Age. 19 July 2007. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  22. "Sydney Becomes Australia's First Carbon-Neutral Government Body". 5 September 2008. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  23. "It's official: Sydney is first carbon-neutral council". 9 November 2011. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  24. "Building owners applaud city's ambitious master plan". 25 February 2015. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  25. "Sydney businesses cotton on: climate change action is good for the bottom line". The Guardian (UK). 18 March 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  26. "City of Sydney extends solar roll out to historic Rocks". 16 June 2014. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  27. "'Greenest' Sydney building using rainforest timber". Sydney Morning Herald. 27 July 2011. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  28. "One Central Park Gardens". Frasers Property. Archived from the original on 23 September 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  29. "Central Park Sydney – Architecture". Frasers Property. Archived from the original on 5 October 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  30. "Sydney Central Park project shows sustainable living". Financial Review. 28 November 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  31. "Sister cities: City of Sydney". 22 February 2019. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
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