Urban areas of Sydney

Topic: Factors that shape places
Student activity
Geography: Year 5 and Year 6

This is the student activity 1 of 8 of the Factors that shape places: urban places learning activity.

Task No. 1

Urban areas of Sydney

View of Sydney Cove, 1794, possibly by Thomas Watling.
Series 01: Australian paintings by J.W. Lewin, G.P. Harris, G.W. Evans and others, 1796-1809 [32 watercolours]
Collection of sketches by J. W. Lewin, P. P. King, P. G. King and others, 1793-1850
[View of] Bungarrabee [sic, ie. Bungarribee] NSW / painted by J[oseph] Fowles Sydney 1858

Using online mapping tools to observe the location of urban areas in Sydney in the past and the present, and create screen shots like those in the downloadable resource.

Online mapping tools: Google Maps (map view and satellite view), Google Street View, SIX Maps

Sydney in colonial times

a. View Sources 7 to 10 to observe early settlement in Sydney. Answer the questions with a partner. Locate each suburb using Google Maps.

b. View Sources 11 and 12 of early settlement maps of Sydney. Answer the questions with a partner.

Sydney in 1943 and the present

Open SIX Maps. Look at the size of Sydney in 1943. Examine the 1943 image of the suburbs in Sources 7 to 10. Compare the 1943 image with the present images by using the slide bar tool. Observe the changes that have occurred in each suburb from a rural place to an urban place. Take screen shots as per Table 1 in the downloadable resource.

(To find 1943 imagery: Using the basemaps menu, go to ‘looking at 1943 imagery’ and slide the bar for current and 1943 images.)

Sydney in the present

a. View Sydney in Google Maps satellite view.

What colours do you see? What type of land use would you find in the grey shaded areas? What type of land use would you find in the light green shaded areas? What type of land use would you find in the dark green shaded areas? What do the yellow lines represent? What do the white lines represent?

What natural boundaries does Sydney have to the north, south, east and west? Using the scale on the map of Sydney, the calculating area feature in SIX Maps, or through research, find out the area of Sydney.

b. Locate each place in Sources 7 to 10 in this Google Map. Explore the suburb’s satellite and Google Street View imagery. Take screen shots of the satellite view as per Table 1 in the downloadable resource.

  • What natural features do you see?
  • What built features do you see?
  • How is the land being used in each of the images?
  • What is the purpose behind this use?
  • Is this an urban or rural place?
  • How do you know?
  • Describe the ways people have changed the natural environment in each of the images. 
Task No. 2

New South Wales Settlements

[New South Wales sketch of the settlements 20th August 1796] [cartographic material] / [by Governor Hunter].
  • What do the small lines at Sydney and Parramatta represent?
  • What is represented by the colour green?
  • What areas are still natural?
Task No. 3

Allotments of New South Wales

Plan of the allotments of ground, granted from the Crown in New South Wales
  • What do the small rectangular boxes represent?
  • What would these allotments be used for?
  • Estimate the location of the suburbs in Sources 7 to 10 and describe if they urban, rural or natural.
  • How does Source 12 differ from Source 11?  
  • How does Source 12 differ to the Google Map of Sydney today?