Geological advances in the Sydney Basin: introduction to the thematic issue
The Sydney Basin is a geological province of great historical, social and economic significance to Australia. It was the site of the first landing by James Cook in 1770 and the first European settlement in 1788, and has since become the geological host for Australia’s most populous urban area. Some of the earliest publications on Australian geology, by authors such as Dana (1849), Clarke (1861, 1867) and David (1890), dealt with aspects of Sydney Basin geology. The geological features of the basin were also critical factors in the infant colony’s development. Outcropping sandstones around the first settlement, for example, provided construction material for many of Sydney’s historic buildings, while the sandstone cliffs of the Blue Mountains formed a topographic barrier that had to be crossed before settlement could expand beyond the coastal fringe.