Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia. It is on Australia's south-east coast, on the Tasman Sea. In June 2010 the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people. Inhabitants of Sydney are called Sydneysiders, comprising a cosmopolitan and international population.
The site of the first British colony in Australia, Sydney was established in 1788 at Sydney Cove by Captain Arthur Phillip, of the First Fleet, as a penal colony. The city is built on hills surrounding Port Jackson, which is commonly known as Sydney Harbour, where the iconic Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge are prominent structures. The hinterland of the metropolitan area is surrounded by national parks, and the coastal regions feature many bays, rivers, inlets and beaches, including the famous Bondi and Manly beaches. Within the city are many parklands, including Hyde Park and the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Sydney is a consistently high-ranking world city for quality of life. It has hosted multiple major international sporting events, including the 1938 British Empire Games (now known as the Commonwealth Games), the 2000 Summer Olympics and the final of the 2003 Rugby World Cup. The main airport serving Sydney is Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport and its main port is Port Botany.
Sydney is mostly Triassic rock, with some recent igneous dykes and volcanic necks. The Hawkesbury sandstone is some 200 metres (660 ft) thick, with shale lenses and fossil riverbeds dotted throughout it. Almost all of the rocks exposed around Sydney are sandstone. The sand that was to become this sandstone was washed from Broken Hill and laid down in the Triassic period, about two hundred million years ago, a time when plants were ferns, reptiles were becoming dinosaurs, and mammals did not yet exist. The Sydney Basin sits on the east coast of Australia, which is made up of a basin filled with near horizontal sandstones and shales of Permian to Triassic age that overlie older basement rocks of the Lachlan Fold Belt. The sedimentary rocks have been subject to uplift with gentle folding and minor faulting during the formation of the Great Dividing Range. Erosion by coastal streams has created a landscape of deep gorges and remnant plateaus. The Sydney Basin bioregion includes coastal landscapes of cliffs, beaches and estuaries.