Random Facts about Sydney:Fact 1: For a bird's-eye view of Sydney, whiz to the top of AMP Centrepoint Tower, recognized as having the southern hemisphere's most lofty observation deck and being Sydney's tallest building. Set 1000 feet above the city, the tower's viewing deck and restaurants offer panoramic views and an incredible vista of the city's environs.
Fact 2: Widely hailed as the country's premiere newspaper, the esteemed Sydney Morning Herald is also the oldest daily publication south of the equator. It's been informing and educating the Aussie populace since 1831.
Fact 3: To combat wear and counterfeiting, Australia's government introduced plastic money in the late '80s. And not credit cards, either. The actual cash is created from a polymer, making it hard to duplicate. In addition, the money lasts four times as long as paper and can be recycled when it's exhausted its usefulness.
Fact 4: The impressive Sydney Harbour Bridge has been a prominent city landmark since its completion in 1932. The edifice accommodates traffic from pedestrians, bicycles, cars, and trains, all thanks to millions of rivets, thousands of tons of steel, and three ships-ful of granite. However, upkeep can be a bit of a chore; its paintable surface equals that of 60 playing fields.
Fact 5: A melting pot of races and ethnicities, Australia has embraced everyone from native aborigines to immigrants from Europe and Asia. However, it also holds mysteries in its past. During excavations on the site of a hotel in the late '80s, artifacts from the civilizations of the ancient Mediterranean world were discovered. Their presence has never been suitably explained.
Fact 6: If all the confusion with drains emptying counterclockwise in the southern hemisphere and Christmas occurring during the summer has you stymied, you'll be relieved to know that Sydney's climate is comparable to that of southern California. Anticipate heat and some extra humidity, and you'll be right in line with the weather.
Fact 7: If you're never quite sure what the natives in a city are called, Sydney may give you pause. Nope, its residents are not Sydneyites, or even Sydnonians. Denizens refer to themselves as Sydneysiders - and now, you will too.
Fact 8: In ancient times, the area where Sydney now exists was the domain of the native Daruk, Eora, and Guringai tribes. When the British took control of the region, the aborigines were pressed outward and crippled by disease and brutality. These days, the primary signs of their presence are the names of several city suburbs and a variety of rock engravings, paintings, and shell middens (refuse piles from seafood consumption).
Fact 9: If you've ever agonized over finding a restroom in New York city, you'll love Sydney's "comfort" initiative. The government has documented the location of approximately 13,000 restrooms all over the country and consolidated the data for the convenience of travelers. In preparation for a vacation or even a shopping jaunt, you'll want to log on to www.toiletmap.gov.au and determine where best to accommodate nature's call.
Fact 10: Many folks know that Sydney began life as a British penal colony, populated by convicts who often committed crimes as innocuous as petty theft. What most folks don't realize is that the criminals were only sent to Australia once the American colonies ousted the British from their territory. Prior to that, English convicts were shipped across the Atlantic.
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