Welcome to the Dictionary of Sydney
The Dictionary of Sydney is a website about the history of Sydney – its urban myths, characters, political players, writers, dreamers, intellectuals, sports people, criminals – anyone and everything that contributes to Sydney’s story.
The Dictionary publishes historical and cultural information about Sydney for the broadest possible audience, whether residents or visitors, students or researchers, or people just interested in Sydney.
The Dictionary is updated regularly to include new content.
At the heart of the Dictionary is the dedicated scholarship of more than 400 volunteer authors who give their work to the project. They range from eminent professors and professional historians to local experts and enthusiasts of all kinds. A full list of authors published to date can be found here.
Conceived in 2004, the Dictionary of Sydney grew out of an Australian Research Council project supported by the University of Sydney in partnership with University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), State Library of New South Wales and State Records, with the City of Sydney as industry partner.
Launched in November 2009, the Dictionary of Sydney website continues to grow.
In 2014 we launched our free mobile app for smart phones and tablets which makes available several free self-guided walking tours around parts of Sydney.
After providing support since 2006, in December 2016 the City of Sydney ceased to fund the Dictionary on an annual base. In 2017, the Dictionary’s content was moved onto a new platform at the State Library of New South Wales to ensure its preservation.
In September 2018, the Dictionary of Sydney Inc was wound up and management of the Dictionary passed to the State Library of New South Wales. As the Dictionary has no ongoing financial support, publication of new content will cease when funding runs out in early 2022 and the site and content will be archived to ensure future access.
Since 2017 the Dictionary has been part of the State Library of New South Wales.
The Dictionary has community partnerships with many of Sydney’s other leading cultural institutions and universities as well, such as State Archives and Records NSW, History Council of NSW, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, University of Sydney and the University of Technology, Sydney.
Sponsors of Dictionary projects have included the Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities; Transport Heritage NSW; Liverpool Council; Maritime Museums of Australia; NSW Department of Environment and Heritage; Oral History NSW; Royal Australian Historical Society; Randwick City Council and the Sydney Mechanics School of the Arts.
The Dictionary continues to enter into collaborative projects that can enrich our understanding and appreciation of Sydney in areas such as:
- History and heritage
- Community expression and identity
- Academia and education
- Local, state and federal government
- Digital technology and multimedia
- Arts and creative industries
- Civic pride and public interest