Heritage & History
The Rocks, in the heart of Australia's most cosmopolitan city, encompasses the past, present and future. The Indigenous Gadigal people inhabited the rocky headland and surrounding shoreline for thousands of years. Then in 1788, Australia's first European settlers-British convicts and their overseers-claimed the land and built their camp atop the sandstone cliffs.
The Rocks eventually grew from an open-air gaol into a vibrant port community. Its colourful history-filled with tales of ‘shanghaied' sailors, rough gangs, and gritty life-can still be traced in the many surviving buildings from the last two centuries. But today the renovated former warehouses, sailors' homes, and dens of iniquity house a unique mixture of fine restaurants, one-of-a-kind shops, and galleries showcasing both established and emerging talent.
The Rocks is a uniquely historical Australian quarter, one where you can explore Cadman's Cottage, eat in restaurants located in some of the oldest surviving buildings in Sydney, or browse boutique shops and galleries in the place where Australia's European settlement began. It's a village which echoes a long and colourful past and can be enjoyed by everyone in an equally colourful present.
So come and enjoy The Rocks at your own pace and on your own terms. Wander around or relax; buy or browse; eat, drink and enjoy the ambiance. Delve into the history or let it simply surround you. Whether you're a first-time or repeat visitor, this web site will help you easily plan your next trip. We look forward to your visit.
The Rocks is lively, scenic, and varied enough to capture anyone's imagination. But it's the area's many layers of history that make it a unique Sydney destination. Fortunately, that history has been studied, preserved and documented. Visitors can tap into this wealth of information to find out about the lives of The Rocks' previous occupants, as well as learn about the history of individual buildings and sites they see today.
For more information on the history of The Rocks, visit The Rocks Discovery Museum.