Darling Harbour

Coordinates: 33°52′20″S 151°11′56″E / 33.87230°S 151.19896°E / -33.87230; 151.19896
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An aerial view of Darling Harbour and its surrounds, looking east

Darling Harbour is a harbour adjacent to the city centre of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia that is made up of a large recreational and pedestrian precinct that is situated on western outskirts of the Sydney central business district.

Originally named Long Cove, the locality extends northwards from Chinatown, along both sides of Cockle Bay to King Street Wharf on the east, and to the suburb of Pyrmont on the west. Cockle Bay is just one of the waterways that makes up Darling Harbour, which opens north into the much larger Port Jackson.

The precinct and its immediate surroundings are administered independently of the local government area of the City of Sydney, by Property NSW.


Darling Harbour as an industrial port in 1900

Darling Harbour is named after Lieutenant-General Ralph Darling, who was Governor of New South Wales from 1825 to 1831. The area was originally known as Long Cove, but was generally referred to as Cockle Bay until 1826 when Governor Darling renamed it after himself. The name Cockle Bay has recently been restored in reference to the headwaters of the harbour.[1] It was originally part of the commercial port of Sydney, including the Darling Harbour Railway Goods Yard. During the Great Depression, the eastern part of Darling Harbour (Barangaroo) became known as The Hungry Mile, a reference to the waterside workers searching for jobs along the wharves.[2]

Redevelopment and urban renewal of the area in the early 1980s

Much of the land had been the site of the NSW Railways central marshalling yards and freight consolidation centre. The Enquiry into the NSW industry, including rail/road competition (1978–80), under Commissioner Gavan McDonell,[3] found that this centre was inefficient, should be moved, and the land used for other public purposes. These recommendations were acted upon and by the mid-to-late 1980s, when the area had become largely derelict it was redeveloped as a pedestrian and tourist precinct as an initiative of then New South Wales Minister for Public Works, Laurie Brereton. The Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre at Darling Harbour was a venue of the 2000 Summer Olympic Games and a key meeting venue of APEC Australia 2007.

The heritage listed Pyrmont Bridge spans the width of the harbour
The southern end of Darling Harbour

On 26 January 1994, Charles III then Prince of Wales, was giving a speech during the Australia Day celebrations. David Kang ran at the Prince whilst firing two blanks before falling onto the ground and being promptly held and arrested. The Prince was unhurt and was ushered off the podium. [4]

Heritage listings[edit]

Darling Harbour has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:


The Darling Harbour precinct is home to a number of major public facilities and attractions, including:[6]

Cockle Bay Wharf
The Ribbon


The former Harbourside Shopping Centre
  • Harbourside Shopping Centre, which included Kingpin Bowling Alley (the only bowling alley in Darling Harbour), M9 Laser Skirmish, as well as Australia's first retail Jet flight simulator; closed for redevelopment since Spring 2022.[8]


King Street Wharf, looking north towards Barangaroo in October 2019.

Darling Harbour is accessible via various modes of public transport. The precinct is served by the Inner West Light Rail of Sydney's light rail network, with access via Paddy's Markets, Convention, Exhibition and Pyrmont Bay stations.[9] Ferry wharves including Barangaroo and Pyrmont Bay provide access to the Pyrmont Bay ferry services to Circular Quay and other suburbs while the Barangaroo wharf also provides access to the Parramatta River ferry services. King Street Wharf is accessible by private boat charters.[10] The Goods Line is a park and pedestrian pathway connecting Darling Harbour to Railway Square and Central station. The nearest train station is Town Hall.

Proposed Metro station[edit]

Darling Harbour will be served by Pyrmont as a future rapid transit station that will be built as part of the Sydney Metro West project.[11]


Darling Quarter has been the focus of a major mixed-use redevelopment in recent years
The International Convention Centre and the Sofitel Hotel

East Darling Harbour has been part of a large urban renewal development. Plans for the 18-hectare (44-acre) site include half business and residential developments, while the other half to be reserved for open public space. The state government of NSW declared plans for "Globe Street", a street designed to become Australia's and Asia Pacific's centre for corporate trade (styled on New York's Wall Street district). The urban renewal development was expected to be completed by 2020. East Darling Harbour is now known as a part of the Barangaroo precinct.

Darling Square

The Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre site was replaced by the new International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney), opened in December 2016. The new site includes a 40,000-square-metre (430,000 sq ft) exhibition facility, and was developed by a consortium comprising AEG Ogden, Lend Lease, Capella Capital and Spotless Facilities Services, with AEG Ogden playing the role of venue operator. Other new facilities within the Darling Harbour region include the recently opened ICC Theatre, an 8,000 seat mixed purpose venue for concerts and intimate shows, replacing the Sydney Entertainment Centre, a gallery, and an upcoming new 25 story multi purpose venue called The Ribbon which will be replacing the IMAX Theatre which was closed and demolished in late 2016, which was reopened on 11 October 2023 with a new, updated theatre.[12][13][14]

This area was the site of the Sydney Port Authority and featured an Overseas Passenger Terminal (Wharf 8) which was mainly used by the Pacific Dawn of the P&O Australia fleet and the Sun Princess, operated by Princess Cruises.[citation needed] The passenger terminal is now in White Bay and the container terminal has since closed.[citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]

Darling Harbour from the National Maritime Museum, looking towards King Street Wharf 3. The area is a major tourist attraction

Darling Harbour is the location of the season residence on MTV's reality TV show, The Real World: Sydney, which aired in late 2007. The house has a large "Darling Harbour" sign along its edge, and the World Tower high rise building can be seen behind it.[15][16]

20th Century Fox's 1995 film Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie was shot in Sydney, and featured some scenes filmed in Darling Harbour.[citation needed]

Seven's Saturday morning TV Music Show Eclipse Music TV is filmed weekly at the precinct's shopping centre, Harbourside.[17]

On 27 August 2010, the soap opera Neighbours filmed scenes in the harbour and on board the cruise ship, Pacific Jewel.[18]

Canadian post-hardcore band Silverstein recorded a song entitled "Darling Harbour" on their Transitions EP.


  1. ^ Johnson, Wayne (2008). A history of Sydney's Darling Harbour. Sydney: Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority. p. 7. ISBN 9780980545326.
  2. ^ "Hungry Mile gets minor role". The Sydney Morning Herald. 12 September 2006. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 30 December 2008.
  3. ^ "Commission of Enquiry into the NSW transport industry, 6 vols, Sydney 1980". Opac.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  4. ^ "Shots fired at Prince Charles (1994) | RetroFocus". YouTube.
  5. ^ "Darling Harbour Woodward Water Feature". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Department of Planning & Environment. H01933. Retrieved 18 May 2018. Text is licensed by State of New South Wales (Department of Planning and Environment) under CC-BY 4.0 licence.
  6. ^ "Darling Harbour". Sydney.com. Archived from the original on 1 April 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  7. ^ "Timeline". INSW. Archived from the original on 23 June 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2023.
  8. ^ Gorrey, Megan (9 December 2022). "Iconic Harbourside shopping centre shuts for demolition after three decades". The Sydney Morning Herald. Nine Entertainment Co. Archived from the original on 14 December 2022. Retrieved 23 December 2022.
  9. ^ Transdev Archived 1 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 4 October 2013
  10. ^ Our Boats Sydney Charter Boat
  11. ^ "New Metro Station for Pyrmont". Transport for NSW. 11 December 2020. Archived from the original on 16 December 2020. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  12. ^ "The Ribbon". Grocon.com. Archived from the original on 6 December 2021. Retrieved 7 December 2021.
  13. ^ Cummins, Carolyn (13 June 2018). "The Ribbon or The Snail? The new hotel heading for one of Sydney's iconic sites". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 27 November 2021. Retrieved 7 December 2021.
  14. ^ Maddox, Garry (10 October 2023). "After seven years, Sydney's IMAX is reopening, just in time for Taylor Swift". The Sydney Morning Herald. Nine Entertainment Co. Archived from the original on 10 October 2023. Retrieved 10 October 2023.
  15. ^ Kaplan, Don. "Real World' Off to Sydney" Archived 15 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine, The New York Post, 9 January 2007.
  16. ^ Former OneWorld Sport Building Archived 22 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Realworldhouses.com, 25 May 2010, accessed 14 February 2011
  17. ^ Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1995) - IMDb, archived from the original on 24 April 2023, retrieved 20 April 2023
  18. ^ "Neighbours become good Friends with Pacific Jewel". Travel Blackboard. 29 September 2010. Archived from the original on 10 July 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2011.

External links[edit]

33°52′20″S 151°11′56″E / 33.87230°S 151.19896°E / -33.87230; 151.19896