Sydney has grown from a struggling town, dependent on convict labour, with its people facing starvation, to a world class city with a strong and vibrant economic pulse. Sydney's magnificent natural features, its harbour, Opera House and bushland all combine to make it one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Spreading across the whole Sydney Basin, the people of Greater Sydney have come from around the world, bringing with them the business and work skills needed to turn Sydney into a centre of enterprise in the Pacific and South East Asian region.
Each of Australia's eight capital cities has a unique history. Some, like Sydney, depended on convicts for their early survival. Others, such as Adelaide, refused to accept convicts and developed differently as a result. Having a reliable source of fresh water was a common requirement, which is why all of the cities are located beside a water supply of some sort. Many cities struggled through their early years, until the 19th century Gold Rush provided them with the funds to build magnificent civic buildings, as well as roads, bridges and railways. Today, each of the capitals has its own character and attractions, and their development plans will determine the shape of Australia's future.