The second stop on our tour of The Quintessential Global Cities lands us in Australia’s largest city, Sydney. As a part of the British Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth is the ruling monarch here. It has one of the highest minimum wages in the world, and consistently ranks as one of the most livable cities with an extremely high standard of living.
Sydney is new to the Global City ranks, serving in its early days as a frontier for wayward British men looking to leave society behind and start over. The discovery of minerals changed the country’s future forever.
Sydney sits on the coast of one of the largest islands on earth, whose land is rich with natural resources. Unlike Europe, where most land was already spoken for, much of Australia was uninhabited. This set off a mining boom all over the country which gave rise to an extensive network of railways connecting every corner of the country to transport mined resources back to Sydney’s port. Once at the port, they could be shipped anywhere in the world, making the country, and the port city very wealthy.
Today, mining is still responsible for a large portion of Australia’s economy, and Sydney’s port is still the dominant hub in the region. Australia is in the top 3 global exporters of iron ore, nickel, aluminum, copper, gold, silver, uranium, diamonds, opal, zinc, coal, and natural gas.
Sydney’s economy shows no signs of slowing down. It fared better than most of the world during the recent financial crisis and continues to grow at a steady rate. Thanks to its industrious neighbor, China, demand for its resources will continue to grow.