Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia and Oceania. It is on Australia’s south-east coast, on the Tasman Sea. In June 2010 the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.76 million people. Inhabitants of Sydney are called Sydneysiders, comprising a cosmopolitan and international population. Sydney has been referred to as the most multicultural city in Australia and one of the most multicultural cities in the world.
The site of the first British colony in Australia, Sydney was established in 1788 at Sydney Cove by Captain Arthur Phillip, of the First Fleet, as a penal colony. The city is built on hills surrounding one of the world’s largest natural harbours, Port Jackson, which is commonly known as Sydney Harbour, where the iconic Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge are prominent structures. The hinterland of the metropolitan area is surrounded by national parks, and the coastal regions feature many bays, rivers, inlets and beaches, including the famous Bondi and Manly beaches. Within the city are many parklands, includingHyde Park and the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Sydney has hosted multiple major international sporting events, including the 1938 British Empire Games (now known as the Commonwealth Games), the 2000 Summer Olympics and the final of the 2003 Rugby World Cup. The main airport serving Sydney is Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport and its main port is Port Botany.
The Natural History Museum in London is a museum exhibiting a vast range of specimens from various segments of natural history. It is one of three large museums on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, the others being the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. The Natural History Museum’s main frontage, however, is on Cromwell Road.
The museum is home to life and earth science specimens comprising some 80 million items within five main collections: botany, entomology, mineralogy, palaeontology and zoology. The museum is a world-renowned centre of research specialising in taxonomy, identification and conservation. Given the age of the institution, many of the collections have great historical as well as scientific value, such as specimens collected by Charles Darwin. The museum is particularly famous for its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons and ornate architecture—sometimes dubbed a cathedral of nature—both exemplified by the large Diplodocus cast which dominates the vaulted central hall. The Natural History Museum Library contains extensive books, journals, manuscripts, and artwork collections linked to the work and research of the scientific departments; access to the library is by appointment only.
Although commonly referred to as the Natural History Museum, it was actually officially known as British Museum (Natural History) until 1992, despite legal separation from the British Museum itself in 1963. Originating from collections within the British Museum, the landmark Alfred Waterhouse building was built and opened by 1881, and later incorporated the Geological Museum. The Darwin Centre is a more recent addition, partly designed as a modern facility for storing the valuable collections.
Like other publicly funded national museums in the United Kingdom, the Natural History Museum does not charge an admission fee. The museum is an exempt charity and a non-departmental public body sponsored by theDepartment for Culture, Media and Sport. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge is a patron of the museum.