is the capital city of Australia.
is the capital city of Australia. Founded following the federation of the colonies of Australia as the seat of government for the new nation, it is Australia's largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. Unusual among Australian cities, it is an entirely planned city. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory at the northern tip of the Australian Alps, the country's highest mountain range. As of June 2020, Canberra's estimated population was 431,380.The area chosen for the capital had been inhabited by Indigenous Australians for up to 21,000 years, with the principal group being the Ngunnawal people. European settlement commenced in the first half of the 19th century, as evidenced by surviving landmarks such as St John's Anglican Church and Blundells Cottage. On 1 January 1901, federation of the colonies of Australia was achieved. Following a long dispute over whether Sydney or Melbourne should be the national capital, a compromise was reached: the new capital would be built in New South Wales, so long as it was at least 100 miles (160 km) from Sydney. The capital city was founded and formally named as Canberra in 1913. A blueprint by American architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin was selected after an international design contest, and construction commenced in 1913. The Griffins' plan featured geometric motifs and was centred on axes aligned with significant topographical landmarks such as Black Mountain, Mount Ainslie, Capital Hill and City Hill. Canberra's mountainous location makes it the only mainland Australian city where snow-capped mountains can be seen in winter; although snow in the city itself is rare.
As the seat of the government of Australia, Canberra is home to many important institutions of the federal government, national monuments and museums. This includes Parliament House, Government House, the High Court and the headquarters of numerous government agencies. It is the location of many social and cultural institutions of national significance such as the Australian War Memorial, the Australian National University, the Royal Australian Mint, the Australian Institute of Sport, the National Gallery, the National Museum and the National Library. The city is home to many important institutions of the Australian Defence Force including the Royal Military College Duntroon and the Australian Defence Force Academy. It hosts all foreign embassies in Australia as well as regional headquarters of many international organisations, not-for-profit groups, lobbying groups and professional associations.
Canberra has been ranked among the world's best cities to live and visit. Although the Commonwealth Government remains the largest single employer in Canberra, it is no longer the majority employer. Other major industries have developed in the city, including in health care, professional services, education and training, retail, accommodation and food, and construction. Compared to the national averages, the unemployment rate is lower and the average income higher; tertiary education levels are higher, while the population is younger. At the 2016 Census, 32% of Canberra's inhabitants were reported as having been born overseas.Canberra's design is influenced by the garden city movement and incorporates significant areas of natural vegetation. Its design can be viewed from its highest point at the Telstra Tower and the summit of Mount Ainslie. Other notable features include the National Arboretum, born out of the 2003 Canberra bushfires, and Lake Burley Griffin, named for the city's architects. Highlights in the annual calendar of cultural events include Floriade, the largest flower festival in the Southern Hemisphere, the Enlighten Festival, Skyfire, the National Multicultural Festival and Summernats. Canberra's main sporting venues are Canberra Stadium and Manuka Oval. The city is served with domestic and international flights at Canberra Airport, while interstate train and coach services depart from Canberra Railway Station and the Jolimont Centre respectively. City Interchange is the main hub of Canberra's bus and light rail transport network.
Before European settlement, the area in which Canberra would eventually be constructed was seasonally inhabited by Indigenous Australians. Anthropologist Norman Tindale suggested the principal group occupying the region were the Ngunnawal people, while the Ngarigo lived immediately to the south of the ACT, the Wandandian to the east, the Walgulu also to the south, Gandangara people to the north and Wiradjuri to the north-west. Archaeological evidence of settlement in the region includes inhabited rock shelters, rock paintings and engravings, burial places, camps and quarry sites as well as stone tools and arrangements. Artefacts suggests early human activity occurred at some point in the area 21,000 years previously.
European exploration and settlement started in the Canberra area as early as the 1820s. There were four expeditions between 1820 and 1824. European settlement of the area probably dates from 1823, when a homestead was built on what is now the Acton Peninsula by stockmen employed by Joshua John Moore. He formally applied to purchase the site on 16 December 1826 and named the property "Canberry". On 30 April 1827, Moore was told by letter that he could retain possession of 1,000 acres (405 ha) at Canberry.The Anglican church of St John the Baptist, in the suburb of Reid, was consecrated in 1845 and is now the oldest surviving public building in the city. St John's churchyard contains the earliest graves in the district. It has been described as a "sanctuary in the city", remaining a small English village-style church even as the capital grew around it. Canberra's first school, St John's School, was situated next to the church and opened in the same year of 1845. It was built to educate local settlers children, including the Blundell children who lived in nearby Blundell's Cottage.The European population in the Canberra area continued to grow slowly throughout the 19th century. Among them was the Campbell family of "Duntroon"; their imposing stone house is now the officers' mess of the Royal Military College, Duntroon. The Campbells sponsored settlement by other farmer families to work their land, such as the Southwells of "Weetangera". Other notable early settlers included the inter-related Murray and Gibbes families, who owned the Yarralumla estate —now the site of the official residence of the Governor-General of Australia — from the 1830s through to 1881. Associated with the Yarralumla Estate and Government House is the adjoining Yarralumla Woolshed.
As the European presence increased, the indigenous population dwindled largely due to introduced diseases such as smallpox and measles.
Creation of the nation's capital
The district's change from a rural area in New South Wales to the national capital started during debates over federation in the late 19th century. Following a long dispute over whether Sydney or Melbourne should be the national capital, a compromise was reached: the new capital would be built in New South Wales, so long as it was at least 100 miles (160 km) from Sydney, with Melbourne to be the temporary seat of government while the new capital was built. A survey was conducted across several sites in New South Wales with Bombala, southern Monaro, Orange, Yass, Albury, Tamworth, Armidale, Tumut and Dalgety all discussed. Dalgety was chosen by the federal parliament and it passed the Seat of Government Act 1904 confirming Dalgety as the site of the nation's capital. However, the New South Wales government refused to cede the required territory as they did not accept the site. In 1906, the New South Wales Government finally agreed to cede sufficient land provided that it was in the Yass-Canberra region as this site was closer to Sydney. Newspaper proprietor John Gale circulated a pamphlet titled 'Dalgety or Canberra: Which?' advocating Canberra to every member of the Commonwealth's seven state and federal parliaments. By many accounts, it was decisive in the selection of Canberra as the site in 1908 as was a result of survey work done by the government surveyor Charles Scrivener. The NSW government ceded the district to the federal government in 1911 and the Federal Capital Territory was established.An international design competition was launched by the Department of Home Affairs on 30 April 1911, closing on 31 January 1912. The competition was boycotted by the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Institution of Civil Engineers and their affiliated bodies throughout the British Empire because the Minister for Home Affairs King O'Malley insisted that the final decision was for him to make rather than an expert in city planning. A total of 137 valid entries were received. O'Malley appointed a three-member board to advise him but they could not reach unanimity. On 24 May 1911, O'Malley came down on the side of the majority of the board with the design by Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin of Chicago, Illinois, United States, being declared the winner. Second was Eliel Saarinen of Finland and third was Alfred Agache of Brazil but resident in Paris, France.O'Malley then appointed a six-member board to advise him on the implementation of the winning design. On 25 November 1912, the board advised that it could not support Griffin's plan in its entirety and suggested an alternative plan of its own devising. This plan incorporated the best features of the three place-getting designs as well as of a fourth design by H. Caswell, R.C.G. Coulter and W. Scott-Griffiths of Sydney, the rights to which it had purchased. It was this composite plan that was endorsed by Parliament and given formal approval by O'Malley on 10 January 1913.In 1913, Griffin was appointed Federal Capital Director of Design and Construction and construction began. On 23 February, King O'Malley drove the first peg in the construction of the future capital city.
In 1912, the government invited suggestions from the public as to the name of the future city. Almost 750 names were suggested. At midday on 12 March 1913, Lady Denman, the wife of Governor-General Lord Denman, announced that the city would be named "Canberra" at a ceremony at Kurrajong Hill, which has since become Capital Hill and the site of the present Parliament House. Canberra Day is a public holiday observed in the ACT on the second Monday in March to celebrate the founding of Canberra. After the ceremony, bureaucratic disputes hindered Griffin's work; a Royal Commission in 1916 ruled his authority had been usurped by certain officials and his original plan was reinstated. Griffin's relationship with the Australian authorities was strained and a lack of funding meant that by the time he was fired in 1920, little work had been done. By this time, Griffin had revised his plan, overseen the earthworks of major avenues and established the Glenloch Cork Plantation.
Development throughout 20th century
The Commonwealth government purchased the pastoral property of Yarralumla in 1913 to provide an official residence for the Governor-General of Australia in the new capital. Renovations began in 1925 to enlarge and modernise the property. In 1927, the property was official dubbed Government House. On 9 May that year, the Commonwealth parliament moved to Canberra with the opening of the Provisional Parliament House. The Prime Minister Stanley Bruce had officially taken up residence in The Lodge a few days earlier. Planned development of the city slowed significantly during the depression of the 1930s and during World War II. Some projects planned for that time, including Roman Catholic and Anglican cathedrals, were never completed.From 1920 to 1957, three bodies — successively the Federal Capital Advisory Committee, the Federal Capital Commission, and the National Capital Planning and Development Committee — continued to plan the further expansion of Canberra in the absence of Griffin. However, they were only advisory and development decisions were made without consulting them, which increased inefficiency.The largest event in Canberra up to World War II was the 24th Meeting of ANZAAS in January 1939. The Canberra Times described it as "a signal event ... in the history of this, the world's youngest capital city". The city's accommodation was not nearly sufficient to house the 1,250 delegates and a tent city had to be set up on the banks of the Molonglo River. One of the prominent speakers was H. G. Wells, who was a guest of the Governor-General Lord Gowrie for a week. This event coincided with a heatwave across south-eastern Australia during which the temperature in Canberra reached 108.5 degrees Fahrenheit (42.5 Celsius) on 11 January. On Friday, 13 January, the Black Friday bushfires caused 71 deaths in Victoria and Wells accompanied the Governor-General on his tour of areas threatened by fires.Immediately after the end of the war, Canberra was criticised for resembling a village and its disorganised collection of buildings was deemed ugly. Canberra was often derisively described as "several suburbs in search of a city". Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies regarded the state of the national capital as an embarrassment. Over time his attitude changed from one of contempt to that of championing its development. He fired two ministers charged with the development of the city for poor performance. Menzies remained in office for over a decade and in that time the development of the capital sped up rapidly. The population grew by more than 50 per cent in every five-year period from 1955 to 1975. Several Government departments, together with public servants, were moved to Canberra from Melbourne following the war. Government housing projects were undertaken to accommodate the city's growing population.The National Capital Development Commission formed in 1957 with executive powers and ended four decades of disputes over the shape and design of Lake Burley Griffin — the centrepiece of Griffin's design — and construction was completed in 1964 after four years of work. The completion of the lake finally laid the platform for the development of Griffin's Parliamentary Triangle. Since the initial construction of the lake, various buildings of national importance have been constructed on its shores.
The newly built Australian National University was expanded and sculptures as well as monuments were built. A new National Library was constructed within the Parliamentary Triangle, followed by the High Court and the National Gallery. Suburbs in Canberra Central were further developed in the 1950s and urban development in the districts of Woden Valley and Belconnen commenced in the mid and late 1960s respectively. Many of the new suburbs were named after Australian politicians such as Barton, Deakin, Reid, Braddon, Curtin, Chifley and Parkes.On 9 May 1988, a larger and permanent Parliament House was opened on Capital Hill as part of Australia's bicentenary celebrations. The Commonwealth Parliament moved there from the Provisional Parliament House, now known as Old Parliament House.
In December 1988, the Australian Capital Territory was granted full self-government by the Commonwealth Parliament, a step proposed as early as 1965. Following the first election on 4 March 1989, a 17-member Legislative Assembly sat at temporary offices at 1 Constitution Avenue, Civic, on 11 May 1989. Permanent premises were opened on London Circuit in 1994. The Australian Labor Party formed the ACT's first government, led by the Chief Minister Rosemary Follett, who made history as Australia's first female head of government.
Parts of Canberra were engulfed by bushfires on 18 January 2003 that killed four people, injured 435 and destroyed more than 500 homes as well as the major research telescopes of Australian National University's Mount Stromlo Observatory.Throughout 2013, several events celebrated the 100th anniversary of the naming of Canberra. On 11 March 2014, the last day of the centennial year, the Canberra Centenary Column was unveiled in City Hill.Other works included The Skywhale, a hot air balloon designed by the sculptor Patricia Piccinini, and StellrScope by visual media artist Eleanor Gates-Stuart. On 7 February 2021, The Skywhale was joined by Skywhalepapa to create a Skywhale family, an event marked by Skywhale-themed pastries and beer produced by local companies as well as an art pop song entitled "We are the Skywhales".In 2014, Canberra was named the best city to live in the world by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and was named the third best city to visit in the world by Lonely Planet in 2017.
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