Canberra is the capital city of Australia. With a population of 358,000, it is Australia's largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), 280 km (170 mi) south-west of Sydney, and 660 km (410 mi) north-east of Melbourne. A resident of Canberra is known as a "Canberran"(Dell N3010 battery). The ACT, like Washington, D. C. in the United States, is independent of any state to prevent any one state from gaining an advantage by hosting the seat of Federal power.
The site of Canberra was selected for the location of the nation's capital in 1908 as a compromise between rivals Sydney and Melbourne, Australia's two largest cities. It is unusual among Australian cities(Dell Inspiron N4010 battery), being an entirely planned city outside of any state, similar to the American Federal District of Columbia. Following an international contest for the city's design, a blueprint by the Chicago architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin was selected and construction commenced in 1913. The Griffins' plan featured geometric motifs such as circles, hexagons and triangles, and was centred around axes aligned with significant topographical landmarks in the Australian Capital Territory(Dell Inspiron 1420 battery).
The city's design was heavily influenced by the garden city movement and incorporates significant areas of natural vegetation that have earned Canberra the title of the "bush capital". The growth and development of Canberra were hindered by the World Wars and the Great Depression(Dell Inspiron 1464 battery), which exacerbated a series of planning disputes and the ineffectiveness of a sequence of bodies that were to oversee the development of the city. The national capital emerged as a thriving city after World War II, as Prime Minister Robert Menzies championed its development and the National Capital Development Commission was formed with executive powers. Although the Australian Capital Territory is now self-governing, the federal government retains some influence through the National Capital Authority(Dell Inspiron 1564 battery).
As the seat of the government of Australia, Canberra is the site of Parliament House, the High Court and numerous government departments and agencies. It is also the location of many social and cultural institutions of national significance, such as the Australian War Memorial, Australian National University, Australian Institute of Sport, National Gallery, National Museum and the National Library(Dell Inspiron 1764 battery). The Australian Army's officer corps are trained at the Royal Military College, Duntroon and the Australian Defence Force Academy is also located in the capital. The ACT was originally designed to be similar to Washington, D.C. as a neutral site for the Federal seat of government, consequently not giving any particular state an advantage by hosting the government. Unlike Washington(Dell Inspiron 1520 battery), D. C. however, the ACT has voting representation in the Federal Parliament similar to the other Territories, and has their own independent Territorial Parliament and government similar to the states.
As the city has a high proportion of public servants, the federal government contributes the largest percentage of Gross State Product and is the largest single employer in Canberra. As the seat of government(Dell Inspiron 1521 battery), the unemployment rate is lower and the average income higher than the national average, while property prices are relatively high, in part due to comparatively restricted development regulations. Tertiary education levels are higher, while the population is younger.
The word "Canberra" is popularly claimed to derive from the word Kambera or Canberry and mean "meeting place" in the old Ngunnawal language of the local Ngabri people. (Dell inspiron 1525 battery)
Alternatively, the name was reported by Queanbeyan newspaper owner John Gale in the 1860s to be an anglicisation of the indigenous name 'nganbra' or 'nganbira', meaning "hollow between a woman's breasts", and referring to the Sullivans Creek floodplain between Mount Ainslie and Black Mountain. (Dell inspiron 1526 battery)
Main article: History of Canberra
See also: History of the Australian Capital Territory
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(Dell Inspiron 1720 battery). Archaeological evidence of settlement in the region includes inhabited rock shelters, rock paintings and engravings, burial places, camps and quarry sites, and stone tools and arrangements. The evidence suggests human habitation in the area for at least 21,000 years. (Dell Inspiron 2000 battery)
Blundells Cottage, built around 1860, is one of the few remaining buildings built by the first European settlers of Canberra.
European exploration and settlement started in the Canberra area as early as the 1820s. There were four expeditions between 1820 and 1824. White settlement of the area probably dates from 1824, when a homestead or station was built on what is now the Acton peninsula by stockmen employed by Joshua John Moore(Dell INSPIRON 2600 battery). He formally purchased the site in 1826, and named the property "Canberry".
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".(Dell INSPIRON 3800 battery) 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.
The oldest surviving public building in the inner-city is the Anglican Church of St John the Baptist, in the suburb of Reid, which was consecrated in 1845. St John's churchyard contains the earliest graves in the district(Dell INSPIRON 4000 battery). As the European presence increased, the indigenous population dwindled, mainly from disease such as smallpox and measles.
The decisions to start and locate a capital
The district's change from a New South Wales (NSW) rural area 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(Dell Inspiron 5000 battery), so long as it was at least 100 miles (160 km) from Sydney, with Melbourne to be the temporary seat of government (but not referred to as the "capital") while the new capital was built. Newspaper proprietor John Gale circulated a pamphlet titled 'Dalgety or Canberra: Which?' advocating Canberra to every member of the Commonwealth's seven States Parliaments. By many accounts, it was decisive in the selection of Canberra as the site in 1908(Dell INSPIRON 500M battery), as was a result of survey work done by the government surveyor Charles Scrivener. The NSW government ceded the Federal Capital Territory (as it was then known) to the federal government. In an international design competition conducted by the Department of Home Affairs, on 24 May 1911, the design by Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin was chosen for the city(Dell INSPIRON 5100 battery), and in 1913 Griffin was appointed Federal Capital Director of Design and Construction and construction began.
The opening of Parliament House in May 1927.
History of Canberra as a capital city
On 12 March 1913, the city was officially given its name by Lady Denman, the wife of Governor-General Lord Denman, at a ceremony at Kurrajong Hill, which has since become Capital Hill and the site of the present Parliament House(Dell INSPIRON 510M battery). 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. 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. (Dell INSPIRON 6000 battery) By this time, Griffin had revised his plan, overseen the earthworks of major avenues, and established the Glenloch Cork Plantation.
The federal legislature moved to Canberra on 9 May 1927, 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. (Dell INSPIRON 600M battery) Some projects planned for that time, including Roman Catholic and Anglican cathedrals, were never completed.
Two of Canberra's best-known landmarks, Parliament House and Old Parliament House (foreground). Commonwealth Place runs alongside the lake and includes the International Flag Display. Questacon is on the right(Dell Inspiron 6400 battery).
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, increasing inefficiency(Dell INSPIRON 7000 battery).
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 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(Dell INSPIRON 700M battery). He fired two ministers charged with the development of the city for poor performance. He ruled for over a decade and in that time the development of the capital sped up rapidly. The population grew by more than 50% 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. (Dell Inspiron 710m battery)Government housing projects were undertaken to accommodate the city's growing population.
Most of rapid expansion was achieved after the National Capital Development Commission (NCDC) was formed in 1957 with executive powers, replacing its ineffective advisory predecessors. The NCDC 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. (Dell INSPIRON 8200 battery)The completion of the lake finally the 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 and monuments were built. A new National Library was constructed within the Parliamentary Triangle, followed by the High Court and the National Gallery(Dell INSPIRON 8600 battery). Suburbs in Canberra Central (often referred to as North Canberra and South Canberra) 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. (Dell INSPIRON 9100 battery)
Canberra Civic viewed from Mount Ainslie with Lake Burley Griffin and Mount Stromlo in the background.
On 27 January 1972 the Aboriginal Tent Embassy was first established on the grounds of Parliament House; it was created to draw attention to indigenous rights and land issues and has been continuously occupied since 1992. On 9 May 1988, a larger and permanent Parliament House was opened on Capital Hill as part of Australia's bicentenary celebrations, (Dell INSPIRON 9200 battery) and the Federal Parliament moved there from the Provisional Parliament House, now known as Old Parliament House.
In December 1988, the ACT was granted full self-government through an Act of the Commonwealth Parliament. 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. (Dell INSPIRON 9300 battery) 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 487 homes and the major research telescopes of Australian National University's Mount Stromlo Observatory. (Dell Inspiron 9400 battery)
Panorama of Canberra and Lake Burley Griffin set against the backdrop of distant New South Wales
Canberra covers an area of 814.2 square kilometres (314.3 sq. mi) and is located near the Brindabella Ranges, approximately 150 kilometres (93 mi) inland from Australia's east coast. It has an elevation of approximately 580 metres (1,900 ft) AHD; the highest point is Mount Majura at 888 metres (2,913 ft). Other large hills include Mount Taylor, Mount Ainslie, Mount Mugga Mugga and Black Mountain. (Dell Inspiron E1505 battery)
The native forest in the Canberra region was almost wholly eucalypt species and provided a resource for fuel and domestic purposes. By the early 1960s, logging had depleted the eucalypt, and concern about water quality led to the forests being closed. Interest in forestry began in 1915 with trials of a number of species including Pinus radiata on the slopes of Mount Stromlo(Dell Inspiron E1705 battery). Since then, plantations have been expanded, with the benefit of reducing erosion in the Cotter catchment, and the forests are also popular recreation areas.
The location of Canberra within the ACT. Canberra's main districts are shown in yellow: Canberra Central (marked as North Canberra and South Canberra), Woden Valley, Belconnen, Weston Creek, Tuggeranong, and Gungahlin(Dell Inspiron Mini 9 battery).
The urban environs of the city of Canberra straddle the Ginninderra plain, Molonglo plain, the Limestone plain, and the Tuggeranong plain (Isabella's Plain). The Molonglo River which flows across the Molonglo plain has been dammed to form the national capital's iconic feature Lake Burley Griffin. The Molonglo then flows into the Murrumbidgee north-west of Canberra(Dell Latitude D400 battery), which in turn flows north-west toward the New South Wales town of Yass. The Queanbeyan River joins the Molonglo River at Oaks Estate just within the ACT.
A number of creeks, including Jerrabomberra and Yarralumla Creeks, flow into the Molonglo and Murrumbidgee. Two of these creeks, the Ginninderra and Tuggeranong, have similarly been dammed to form Lakes Ginninderra and Tuggeranong. Until recently the Molonglo River had a history of sometimes calamitous floods(Dell STUDIO 1450 battery); the area was a flood plain prior to the filling of Lake Burley Griffin.
Canberra has a relatively dry oceanic climate with warm to hot summers and cool to cold winters. Canberra experiences warm, quite dry summers, and chilly winters with heavy fog and frequent frosts. Snow is rare in the CBD but the surrounding areas get annual snowfall through winter and often the snow capped mountains can be seen from the CBD(Dell Vostro 1400 battery). The highest recorded maximum temperature was 42.2 °C (108.0 °F) on 1 February 1968.
The lowest recorded minimum temperature was −10 °C (14.0 °F) on 11 July 1971. Light snow often falls only once or twice per year but is usually not widespread and quickly dissipates. Canberra is protected from the west by the Brindabellas which create a slight rain shadow in Canberra's valleys(Dell Vostro 1500 battery).
Annual rainfall is the third lowest of the capital cities (after Adelaide and Hobart) but is spread fairly evenly over the seasons, with late spring bringing the highest rainfall. Thunderstorms occur mostly between October and April, owing to the effect of summer and the mountains. The area is not very windy and the breeze is at its strongest from August to November. Canberra is less humid than the nearby coastal areas(Dell XPS M1210 battery).
Main article: Suburbs of Canberra
Inner Canberra demonstrates some aspects of the Griffin plan, in particular the Parliamentary Triangle.
View from Tuggeranong Hill, looking down into Tuggeranong Valley
Canberra is a planned city and the inner-city area was originally designed by Walter Burley Griffin, a major 20th century American architect. Within the central area of the city near Lake Burley Griffin, major roads follow a wheel-and-spoke pattern rather than a grid.(Dell XPS M1330 battery)Griffin's proposal had an abundance of geometric patterns, including concentric hexagonal and octagonal streets emanating from several radii. However, the outer areas of the city, built later, are not laid out geometrically.
Lake Burley Griffin was deliberately designed so that the orientation of the components was related to various topographical landmarks in Canberra. The lakes stretch from east to west and divided the city in two(Dell XPS 1340 battery); a land axis perpendicular to the central basin stretches from Capital Hill—the eventual location of the new Parliament House on a mound on the southern side—north northeast across the central basin to the northern banks along Anzac Parade to the Australian War Memorial. This was designed so that looking from Capital Hill, the War Memorial stood directly at the foot of Mount Ainslie. At the southwestern end of the land axis was Bimberi Peak, (Dell XPS M1530 battery)the highest mountain in the ACT, approximately 52 km south west of Canberra.
The straight edge of the circular segment that formed the central basin of Lake Burley Griffin was perpendicular to the land axis and designated the water axis, and it extended northwest towards Black Mountain. A line parallel to the water axis, on the northern side of the city, was designated the municipal axis. The municipal axis became the location of Constitution Avenue(Dell XPS M170 battery), which links City Hill in Civic Centre and both Market Centre and the Defence precinct on Russell Hill. Commonwealth Avenue and Kings Avenue were to run from the southern side from Capital Hill to City Hill and Market Centre on the north respectively, and they formed the western and eastern edges of the central basin. The area enclosed by the three avenues was known as the Parliamentary Triangle, and formed the centrepiece of Griffin's work(Dell XPS M1710 battery).
The Griffins assigned spiritual values to Mount Ainslie, Black Mountain, and Red Hill and originally planned to cover each of these in flowers. That way each hill would be covered with a single, primary color which represented its spiritual value. This part of their plan never came to fruition, as World War I slowed construction and planning disputes led to Walter's dismissal by Prime Minister Billy Hughes after the war ended(Dell XPS M1730 battery).
The urban areas of Canberra are organised into a hierarchy of districts, town centres, group centres, local suburbs as well as other industrial areas and villages. There are seven residential districts, each of which is divided into smaller suburbs, and most of which have a town centre which is the focus of commercial and social activities. The districts were settled in the following chronological order(Dell XPS M2010 battery):
Canberra Central, mostly settled in the 1920s and 1930s, with expansion up to the 1960s, 25 suburbs
The Canberra Central district is substantially based on Walter Burley Griffin's designs. In 1967 the then National Capital Development Commission adopted the "Y Plan" which laid out future urban development in Canberra around a series of central shopping and commercial area known as the 'town centres' linked by freeways(Dell Latitude E5400 battery), the layout of which roughly resembled the shape of the letter Y, with Tuggeranong at the base of the Y and Belconnen and Gungahlin located at the ends of the arms of the Y.
Development in Canberra has been closely regulated by government, both through planning processes and the use of crown lease terms that have tightly limited the use of parcels of land. Land in the ACT is held on 99 year crown leases from the national government(Dell Latitude E5500 battery), although most leases are now administered by the Territory government. There have been persistent calls for constraints on development to be liberalised.
Many of Canberra's suburbs are named after former Prime Ministers, famous Australians, early settlers, or use Aboriginal words for their title. Street names typically follow a particular theme; for example, the streets of Duffy are named after Australian dams and reservoirs(Dell Latitude E6400 battery), the streets of Dunlop are named after Australian inventions, inventors and artists and the streets of Page are named after biologists and naturalists. Most diplomatic missions are located in the suburbs of Yarralumla, Deakin and O'Malley. There are three light industrial areas: the suburbs of Fyshwick, Mitchell and Hume(Dell Latitude E6500 battery).
and the statue Ethos (Tom Bass, 1961)
Outside Canberra, the Australian Capital Territory has no settlements larger than a village. The Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly performs the roles of both a city council and territory government. The assembly consists of 17 members, elected from three districts using proportional representation. The three districts are Molonglo, Ginninderra and Brindabella, which elect seven, five and five members, respectively. (Dell Inspiron Mini 12 battery)
The Chief Minister is elected by the Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) and selects colleagues to serve as ministers alongside him or her in the Executive, known informally as the cabinet. Whereas the ACT has federally been dominated by Labor, the Liberals have been able to gain some footing in the ACT Legislative Assembly, and were in government for just over eight of the Assembly's 21-year history(Dell XPS M140 battery), mostly during a period of six and half years from 1995 and 2001, when Labor won power. At the 2004 election the Australian Labor Party, headed by then Chief Minister Jon Stanhope, won nine of the 17 seats and formed the ACT's first majority government, but after the 2008 election was forced into minority government with the Greens(Dell XPS 13 battery).
As almost all of the ACT's population lives in Canberra, political trends for both areas are closely aligned. The ACT was given its first federal parliamentary representation in 1949, when it gained a seat in the House of Representatives, the Division of Australian Capital Territory. The ACT member could only vote on matters directly affecting the territory. In 1974, the ACT was allocated two Senate seats. In 1974, the House of Representatives seat was divided into two(Dell XPS 16 battery).
A third was created in 1996, but was abolished in 1998 because of changes to the regional demographic distribution. Both House of Representatives seats have mostly been held by Labor, usually by comfortable margins. Labor has polled at least seven percentage points more than the Liberals at every federal election since 1990, and their average lead since then has been 15 percentage points. (Dell XPS 1640 battery) The ALP and the Liberal Party of Australia have always held one Senate seat each.
The Australian federal government retains some influence over the ACT government. In the administrative sphere, most frequently this is through the actions of the National Capital Authority which is responsible for planning and development in areas of Canberra which are considered to be of national importance or which are central to Griffin's plan for the city, (Dell XPS 1645 battery)such as the Parliamentary Triangle, Lake Burley Griffin, major approach and processional roads, areas where the Commonwealth retains ownership of the land or undeveloped hills and ridge-lines (which form part of the Canberra Nature Park). The national government also retains a level of control over the Territory Assembly through the provisions of the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988(Dell XPS 1647 battery). This federal act defines the legislative power of the ACT assembly.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) provides all of the constabulary services in the territory in a manner similar to state police forces, under a contractual agreement with the ACT Government. The AFP does so through its community policing arm, ACT Policing (Australian Capital Territory Police) (Dell Latitude 131L battery).
People who have been charged with offences are tried either in the ACT Magistrates Court or for more severe offences, the ACT Supreme Court. Prisoners were held in remand at the Belconnen Remand Centre in the ACT but usually jailed in New South Wales. The new prison, Alexander Maconochie Centre, was officially opened on 11 September 2008 by Jon Stanhope, the Chief Minister. The total cost for construction was $130 million. (Dell Latitude C400 battery) Courts such as a Small Claims Tribunal and a Family Court exist for civil law actions and other non-criminal legal matters.
Many Canberrans are employed by government departments, such as the Australian Treasury.
In May 2012, the unemployment rate in Canberra was 3.4% which was lower than the national unemployment rate of 5.1%. As a result of low unemployment and substantial levels of public sector and commercial employment(Dell Latitude C500 battery), Canberra has the highest average level of disposable income of any Australian capital city. The gross average weekly wage in Canberra is $1,554.50 compared with the national average of $1,345.20 (February 2012).
The median house price in Canberra as of September 2009 was $511,820, lower than only Sydney among capital cities of more than 100,000 people, having surpassed Melbourne and Perth since 2005(Dell Latitude C510 battery). The median weekly rent paid by Canberra residents is higher than rents in all other states and territories. As at the March quarter of 2009 the median rent in Canberra was $420 per week, the third highest in the country. Factors contributing to this higher weekly rental market include; higher average weekly incomes, restricted land supply, and inflationary clauses in the ACT Residential Tenancies Act(Dell Latitude C540 battery).
The city's main industry is government administration and defence, which accounted for 31% of Gross Territory Product in 2008–09 and employed over 40% of Canberra's workforce. A number of Australian Defence Force establishments are located in or near Canberra, most notably the Australian Defence Force headquarters and HMAS Harman, which is a naval communications centre that is being converted into a tri-service, multi-user depot. (Dell Latitude C600 battery)
The former RAAF Fairbairn, adjacent to the Canberra International Airport was sold to the operators of the Airport, but the base continues to be used for RAAF VIP flights. A growing number of independent software vendors have based themselves in Canberra, to capitalise on the concentration of government customers; these include Tower Software and RuleBurst(Dell Latitude C610 battery). A consortium of private and government investors is currently making plans for a billion-dollar data hub, with the aim of making Canberra a leading centre of such activity in the Asia-Pacific region.
Shopping at the weekly Old Bus Depot Markets, Kingston
As of 2006, the population of Canberra was 323,056 people. The 2006 census showed that 1.2% of Canberra's population were of indigenous origin and 21.7% were born overseas. (Dell Latitude C640 battery)The largest group of people born overseas came from English-speaking countries, led by the United Kingdom and then New Zealand.
Significant numbers of immigrants have also come from China, India and Vietnam. Recent immigrants have arrived from countries in East and South Asia. Most locals are native speakers of English (81.1%); some have a second language, the most common being Mandarin, Italian, Vietnamese, Cantonese and Greek. These five languages are spoken by a total of 4.8% of the population(Dell Latitude C800 battery).
Canberrans are relatively young, highly mobile, and well educated. The median age is 34 years, and only 9.8% of the population is aged over 65 years. Between 1996 and 2001, 61.9% of the population either moved to or from Canberra, which is the second highest mobility rate of any Australian capital city(Dell Latitude C810 battery).
As of May 2004, 30% of people in the ACT aged 15–64 had a level of educational attainment equal to at least a bachelor's degree, significantly higher that the national average of 19%. Approximately 60% of Canberra residents describe themselves as Christian, the most common denominations being Catholic and Anglican; 6% of the population practice a non-Christian religion and 23% are not religious. (Dell Latitude C840 battery)
As of 2002 the most common crimes in Canberra are property related crimes, unlawful entry with intent and motor vehicle theft. They affect 1,961 and 630 of every 100,000 persons respectively. Homicide and related offences—including murder, attempted murder, manslaughter and driving causing death—affect 1.5/100,000 persons, which is below the national average of 4.9/100,000. Rates of assault and sexual assault are also below the national average. (Dell Latitude D410 battery)