History and Heritage of Darling Harbour

This beautiful and touristic area of Sydney has not always had such a bright history. Though it passed through troubled times, the rich history of Darling Harbour adds to its modern charm. It is now a beautiful place to visit and makes a perfect destination for those travelling by a Sydney cruise.


Photo Credit: visitsydneyaustralia.com.au


Tumbalong to Cockle Bay to Darling Harbour

Tumbalong was the name that was given to this area by the Eora people. These natives of the area gave it such a name because of the large amount of seafood that could be found here.

When the Europeans arrived in the 1700’s, they found a seaside area covered with the remains of shellfish that had been collected here over centuries.Because of this, the European settlers named this place Cockle Bay.


The arrival of the Europeans brought disease to the native population. However, they survived and even continued living a relatively traditional life up into the 1800’s.

Governor Darling left his mark on the history of Sydney when he changed the name of this area to Darling Harbour in 1826.

The Increase and Decline of Industry


By the early 1900’s, the small industries of the harbour had been replaced by dozens of wharves and warehouses. Trade became big business in Darling Harbour. Steamers constantly brought new trade to Australia’s coastline through this port.

However, the Great Depression hit this area hard. Labourers in the wharves would wait for hours for the chance of getting some kind of work. This line by the shore was thus given the name ‘The Hungry Mile’.

After the Second World War, the industries of the area continued slowing down. Soon, the trade wharves had all but fallen back into the ocean itself.

The Rise of Darling Harbour Tourism

In 1984, the announcement was made that Darling Harbour would be stripped of its almost abandoned industrial buildings. It would be redeveloped as a beautiful place for tourists and locals alike.

After being formally opened on May 4th of 1988, many new attractions, hotels, shops, restaurants and more started populating the area. In the year 2000, Darling Harbour hosted the Olympic Games, giving it an even greater boost in tourism.

Since then, Darling Harbour has seen a continued rise in beautiful architecture, modern attractions, and fantastic shopping. It is a lovely place for tourists on Sydney cruises or local pedestrians. Here, you can escape the noisy city and enjoy a quieter side of Sydney.