Sydney is a vibrant modern city with an ancient heartbeat. The History Program captures and presents the stories, images and sounds of Sydney’s past. Our program is led by a specialist History Unit and guided by the City’s History Policy.

As the oldest municipal council in New South Wales, we have governed, designed and created the city urban environment. Our civic history charts our contributions to public life.  Trawl through our City archives – we have records dating back to the birth of the city in 1842!

Barani means yesterday in the original Gadigal language. Through the Barani website you can explore the places, people and history of Aboriginal Sydney.  This history provides a strong foundation for the Eora Journey.

Street names and historic photographs can all shine a light on our city. And our oral history collection provides an intimate view of living and working in Sydney in times gone by.  There are lots of people, places and organisations to explore.

Step back in time on one of our historical walking tours, or embark on your own expedition armed with one of our historic 19th-century maps. The City’s History Unit has produced a number of books on Sydney’s history, from the contribution of Chinese immigrants, to the story of Sydney Town Hall. And we support new historical scholarship through our History Publication Sponsorship Program.

We are a major sponsor of the Dictionary of Sydney, a digital community history initiative that tells the multiple histories of Greater Sydney. Hundreds of volunteer authors and cultural institutions are contributing to create this dynamic cultural resource.

There are a number of history festivals held throughout the year and the City is a proud participant in many of them, including History Week and Heritage Festival. A diverse program of history talks, workshops and displays are presented through the City’s library network.

Discover the rich, vivid history of Sydney from early Aboriginal life through to the modern global city we live in today. Head here for all the information you will need to start your journey.