Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V22, Page 118 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PORT JACKSON, or SYDNEY HARBOUR, a harbour of New South Wales, Australia. It is one of the safest and most beautiful harbours in the world; its area, including all its bays, is about 15 sq. m., with a shore line of r65 m.; it has deep water in every part, arid is landlocked and secure in all weathers. The entrance, between two rocky promontories known as North and South Heads, is 2'-4 M. wide between the outer heads, and narrows down to r m. 256 yds. The port is flanked on both sides by promontories, so that, in addition to a broad and deep central channel, there is a series of sheltered bays with good anchorage. Sydney lies on the southern shore about 4 M. from the Heads. Port Jackson is the chief naval depot of Australasia, the headquarters of the admiral's station, and is strongly fortified. The harbour has a number of islands, most of which are used for naval or government purposes—Shark Island is the quarantine station, Garden Island has naval foundries, hospital and stores, Goat Island is occupied by a powder magazine, Spectacle Island is used to store explosives, and on Cockatoo Island are important government docks. Port Jackson was discovered by Captain Phillip in '788, though in 1770 Captain Cook, when coasting north, noticed what looked like an inlet, and named it after Sir George Jackson, one of the secretaries to the Admiralty. Captain Cook passed the harbour without recognizing its capacity; but the cliffs which guard the entrance are 300 ft. high, and no view of the basin can be seen from the masthead. Middle Head, which is opposite the entrance, closes it in, and it is necessary to enter, turn to the south, and then to the west before the best part of the harbour discloses itself.

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