Theme | Sydney Harbour map

Sydney is bound and defined by water. To the east, the ** , touching land at 40 beaches and many bays and cliffs. To the south, Port Hacking, Botany Bay and the Georges River, and to the north and west, the Hawkesbury and Nepean Rivers surround the Sydney basin. As I map and understand my environment as part of my final project, I’ll be looking at these in more detail in future. Today I want to look at Port Jackson or Sydney Harbour, the body of water that cuts through the middle of Sydney and helps to define it.


I’m lucky to live a few kilometres away from Sydney Harbour, and I love pretty much everything about it.

I spend time beside it….



…. on it….




… even in it.



The Harbour cuts through the middle of Sydney running west to east, creating a social divide of sorts but also a means of connection.


The land around Port Jackson was occupied at the time of European discovery and colonisation/invasion by various groups including the Gadigal (along the south side of Port Jackson from what is now South Head, in an arc west through to my suburb Petersham), Wanegal (west of Petersham on the south side of the Parramatta River) and Cammeraygal (on the north side of the Harbour).

The Harbour’s size made it the site for the start of European settlement in Australia.

Port Jackson is officially defined (by the Geographical Names Board) as a harbour which comprises all the waters within an imaginary line joining North Head and South Head. Within this harbour lies North Harbour, Middle Harbour and Sydney Harbour. It is a 19 kilometer long drowned river valley, or ria. One of the defining characteristics is the many bays that give it a perimeter of over 300 kilometres. The bays on the south side tend to be wide and rounded, whereas those on the north side are generally narrow inlets.

There are eight islands in the Harbour: Shark Island, Clark island, Fort Denison, Goat Island, Cockatoo island, Spectacle Island, Snapper island and Rodd Island. I’m sure I’ll write more about these in future posts, and I use my theme to explore and record my environment.

The tributaries and waterways include Middle Harbour, the Parramatta River, which opens up into the Harbour at around Birchgrove, the Lane Cove River which runs for about 15 km from Thornleigh to Woolwich, and Tarban Creek which enters Port Jackson at Hunters Hill. There are some very small creeks such as Johnstons Creek and Orphan School Creek, and the remnant of the Tank Stream.



Depicted *** love this 1966 photograph by David Moore




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