Media releases

Past and future of Sydney’s history secured

Published 25 April 2016

Colourful and eventful stories and details from Sydney’s rich history will remain accessible for future generations thanks to the support of the City of Sydney.

The City is providing more than $164,000 in cash and in-kind support to ensure the Dictionary of Sydney has a secure future during its transition to its new host organisation, the State Library of NSW.

The Dictionary of Sydney is a free online reserve of Sydney facts and figures as well as urban myths, significant events, places, structures, nature and criminals.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the Dictionary was a fascinating log of our past and evolving history.

“The Dictionary of Sydney is an important and ever-expanding resource that provides locals, visitors and academics around the world with access to detailed information about all aspects of Sydney life and history,” the Lord Mayor said.

“These free, easily accessible multimedia materials and records contain fascinating stories of many notable Sydney characters and their exploits.

“As a founding partner of this valuable community resource, the City is delighted the State Library of NSW will host the Dictionary of Sydney, ensuring it can be enjoyed now and by generations to come.”

NSW State Librarian and Chief Executive, Dr Alex Byrne, welcomed the Dictionary of Sydney to the State Library.

"The Dictionary has a strong commitment to high quality content about our beautiful city. It will find a great home at the State Library which is equally dedicated to accuracy and continuing community access to the history and culture of our city, state and nation."

The new partnership with the State Library of NSW will ensure that the Dictionary of Sydney maintains remains sustainable and accessible.

Chair of the Dictionary of Sydney's Board, Professor Paul Ashton, said the partnership with the State Library is "a natural fit."

"We are delighted to form a new partnership with the State Library of NSW. The State Library is in the business of digital preservation. Their commitment to supporting the quality and development of the Dictionary makes the State Library an obvious home."

The City has provided more than $1.6 million in cash and in-kind support to the Dictionary of Sydney since 2005, including office space, web hosting and office furnishings.

The City’s latest funding will help in transferring the main website to the State Library of NSW. The City will also extend the lease of Benledi House in Glebe, home to the dictionary association, until December to support this transition period. Once settled, the Dictionary will continue to seek commissions for new work to continue the growth of the dictionary into the future.

Conceived in 2004, the Dictionary of Sydney grew out of an Australian Research Council project supported by the University of Sydney in partnership with University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), State Library of New South Wales and State Records, with the City of Sydney as industry partner.

More than 300 volunteer authors (professors, historians, experts and enthusiasts) have contributed to its content which is also used on an app for four walks: Randwick, convict Parramatta, Irish Sydney and Sydney Harbour Islands.

A selection from the thousands of fascinating stories on record are:

For media inquiries or images, contact City of Sydney Senior Publicist Elaine Kelly on 02 9265 9201 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Paul Mackay on 0432 182 647 or email

Dictionary of Sydney contact – Jacqueline Spedding, Executive Officer, Dictionary of Sydney, on 02 9571 1659 or email