THAT SYDNEY IS one of the great cities of the world is surely now undisputed. In the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House it has two of the world's most instantly recognisable man-made icons; in the harbour itself it has one of the most beautiful natural attractions. The Olympics demonstrated its ability to put on the greatest show on earth. The restaurants are world-beaters, the best daily newspaper is arguably better than anything Fleet Street produces, and Sydney puts on a terrific gay and lesbian Mardi Gras.
It comes as a shock, therefore, to realise that it was only in 1770 that James Cook's Endeavour first sailed into Botany Bay, that the First Fleet arrived some twenty years later and that as late as 1820 Russian visitors encountered native aboriginals walking stark naked down the main streets.