British colonisers were originally going to call the settlement New Albion.
They later changed the name to honour Lord Sydney, Tommy Townshend—a man who never actually set foot in Australia.
Sydney was the site of the only successful military coup in Australian history… which was fought over rum.
In 1808, 400 New South Wales soldiers—known as the ‘Rum Corps’ for their monopoly over the lucrative alcohol trade—arrested Governor William Bligh when he tried to clean up the corrupt rum racket, then imposed martial law over the colony.
Sydney’s post code is 2000, after the year in which they hosted the Olympic Games.
IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch described the Milennium Games as the “best ever”.
The Granny Smith apple was born in Sydney.
The story goes that new cultivar sprouted in the yard of Eastwood woman Maria Ann Smith in the 19th century thanks to her habit of throwing Tasmanian-grown French crab-apple cores out her kitchen window—a story that’s still celebrated every year at Eastwood’s Granny Smith Festival.
The opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932 was hijacked by a sword-wielding maniac on horseback.
A right-wing paramilitary member by the name of Francis de Groot swept through the crowd and slashed the ceremonial ribbon before the assembled dignitaries had the chance.
Bondi Beach set a Guinness World Record for the largest ever swimsuit photo shoot.
This took place in 2007, when a battalion of 1,010 bikini-clad women congregated on the iconic strip of sand.
The Sydney Opera House, designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, was a nightmare to build.
The architectural marvel opened its doors in 1973—a full decade after it was due to be completed—at a cost of $102 million, some 1357% over the $7m budget.
Nearly 40% of Sydneysiders were born overseas.
Sydney is home to a Japanese war grave.
In 1942, during World War II, a small fleet of submarines raided the harbour—the only occasion since British arrival the city has come under attack. The bombardments were repelled and the Allies recovered the scuttled subs… well, except one, which was discovered by amateur scuba divers in 2006 off the Northern Beaches, and is now protected as a war grave.
If Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is one of the biggest gay pride parades in the world.
More than 300,000 revellers painting the town rainbow each March.
The ‘Coat Hanger’ is the world’s tallest steel arch bridge.
It is also the second widest long-span bridge, and sixth longest spanning-arch bridge, with 485,000 square metres—or 60 football fields—worth of steelwork to paint. Crocodile Dundee himself, Paul Hogan, was famously a member of the bridge painting crew before he hit Hollywood.