If you’ve ever thought about taking a holiday in Australia before, it’s likely you may have considered taking a look out at New South Wales! It’s the home county of Sydney and is one of the most economically important states in the country.
In this fact file, we’re going to take a closer look at the history, geography, and popularity of the region – and who knows, you might just learn something new in the bargain! Let’s dive in and take a good look around.
New South Wales is a state of Australia on the east coast, bordering the Pacific Ocean.
New South Wales was given its name because it reminded Captain James Cook of the British Wales when he arrived there in 1770.
Despite Aborigine people living there, James Cook ‘claimed’ the area for the British! It remains home to more people of Aborigine origin than any other state in Australia.
NSW state is the oldest in Australia.
The first colony of ‘settlers’ arrived and established an organised community in what was to become the State Capital, Sydney, in 1788.
Sydney is the largest city in Australia, being home to approximately 5.2 million people!
Sydney became a destination for convicts from the UK, and 700 sailed there in one year.
After serving their sentence, upon release, many of the convicts remained in the area.
The Pacific island known as Lord Howe is also part of New South Wales.
The area of the state covers approximately 10% of the land in Australia, measuring 802 square miles.
New South Wales initially embraced almost half of the nation as its territory, including Tasmania and New Zealand!
The state economy is the largest in Australia and Sydney is home to many of the nation’s financial institutions. It is also the most industrialised state in Australia!
Major employers in the area are engaged in healthcare, education, financial services, construction, and business services.
At the entrance to Sydney Harbour is one of the most recognised buildings in the world – the famous Sydney Opera House!
This predominantly white building has a stunning roof in the shape of a number of sails or shells.
On New Year’s Eve, for other major public events, and local entertainment such as theatrical spectacles, concerts, and ballet, the Opera House, attracts people to the area from all over the world.
Tourism is a major contributor to the economy of New South Wales.
Sydney Harbour Bridge is also a prominent feature for people arriving to the City and as a gateway to the State.
The emblem of the State is the platypus, and the state flower is the exotic looking waratah.
The State bird is the kookaburra, identified by its bluish crest and sharp beak.
The flag of the state is based on the George Cross of England. It features a gold star with eight points on each of the four extremities of the cross and has a lion in the centre.
Approximately 60% of people in the state live in Sydney!
The first governor of New South Wales was Captain Arthur Phillip who arrived there in 1788 and remained governor for 4 years.
In 1841, New Zealand formed a separate territory from New South Wales.
In 1929, the people of New South Wales suffered from the ‘Great Depression’.
The onset of World War Two saw more people return to work and gradually the economy began to improve as supporting the war effort, saw an increase in manufacturing and industry.
The Labour party regained power in 1941 and remained in control until 1965!
In 1965, amidst controversy regarding the construction for the new Sydney Opera House, Labour Leader William Mckell was replaced by Sir Robert Askin, Leader of the Liberal Party.
The latter part of the 20th century saw the politics of the State, veer from one Leader to another in the Liberal Party.
The political focus remained on rebuilding the state after the war and broadening its economic interests in the 1980s through to the turn of the century, culminating in hosting the 2000 Olympic Games!
The state is known for its beautiful beaches, forest areas and beautiful countryside. 8% of the area of the state, is covered by areas designated as National Parkland!
The first National Park there was established in Sydney in 1879 and was the second to be established in the world after Yellowstone Park in the USA.
New South Wales is featured in many films having global success. In recent years, these include Mad Max 2 which was filmed by the town called Broken Hill! Other movies filmed here include Mission Impossible 2, The Great Gatsby and Unbroken.
The film industry controlled by the state’s own Screen NSW contributes approximately $100 million per year to the economy of New South Wales!
The Australian Botanic Gardens are located at Camden near Sydney. Local residents and tourists enjoy visiting the gardens and usually always find wild kangaroos wandering there! Camden is a 45 minute car journey from Sydney.
Wallabies and kangaroos roam freely across several areas in the state and the famous yellow and black road signs, advising caution as ‘Kangaroos Crossing’, are amongst the most frequently stolen mementos of the area!
The New South Wales Rural Fire Service reported the horror of the fires which brought devastation to areas of the state between July 2019 and February 2020. Approximately 13 million acres of bush and grassland caught fire.
The cost to the state as a result of the fires, is so far, on record as being in the region of $103 billion dollars. The landscape has changed forever, though in time will be rebuilt.
Many notable acts of kindness, bravery and ingenuity were filmed and aid centres for people as well as sanctuaries for badly burned animals to be treated were set up.
Do you know any fun facts about New South Wales? Share them in the comments below!