Canberra is the capital city of Australia. With a population of 381,488, 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".
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, being an entirely planned city outside of any state, similar to Washington, D.C., in the United States or Brasília in Brazil. 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 on axes aligned with significant topographical landmarks in the Australian Capital Territory.
The city's design was 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, which exacerbated a series of planning disputes and the ineffectiveness of a procession of bodies that were created in turn to oversee the development of the city. The national capital emerged as a thriving city after World War II, as Prime Minister Sir 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 Commonwealth Government retains some influence through the National Capital Authority.
As the seat of the government of Australia, Canberra is the site of Parliament House, the official residence of the Monarch's representative the Governor-General, 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, Royal Australian Mint, Australian Institute of Sport, National Gallery, National Museum and the National Library. The Australian Army's officer corps is trained at the Royal Military College, Duntroon and the Australian Defence Force Academy is also located in the capital.
The ACT is independent of any state to prevent any one state from gaining an advantage by hosting the seat of Commonwealth power. The ACT has voting representation in the Commonwealth Parliament, and has its own independent Legislative Assembly and government, similar to the states.
As the city has a high proportion of public servants, the Commonwealth Government contributes the largest percentage of Gross State Product and is the largest single employer in Canberra, although no longer the majority employer. 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. Property prices are relatively high, in part due to comparatively restrictive development regulations.
|FOUNDED :||12 March 1913|
|TIME ZONE :||• Time zone AEST (UTC+10)|
• Summer (DST) AEDT (UTC+11)
|AREA :||814.2 km2 (314.4 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||577 m (1,893 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||35°18′27″S 149°07′27.9″E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49.7%|
• Female: 50.3%
|AREA CODE :||2|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+61 2|
Canberra is the purpose built capital city of Australia, located in the Australian Capital Territory in the south-east of New South Wales. It is a planned city, with national monuments, museums, and galleries all built around large man-made lakes. A bush capital - Canberra is also a great place to enjoy the outdoors, with excellent cycling, gardens, parks, bushwalking and nature reserves.
Canberra is home to many national monuments and institutions such as the Australian War Memorial, the National Gallery of Australia, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Library, the National Archives, the Australian Academy of Science, the National Film and Sound Archive and the National Museum. Many Commonwealth government buildings in Canberra are open to the public, including Parliament House, the High Court and the Royal Australian Mint.
Lake Burley Griffin is the site of the Captain James Cook Memorial and the National Carillon. Other sites of interest include the Black Mountain Tower, the Australian National Botanic Gardens, the National Zoo and Aquarium, the National Dinosaur Museum and Questacon – the National Science and Technology Centre.
Canberra and Region Visitors Centre, 330 Northbourne Ave, , e-mail: [email protected]. 9am-5pm M-F; 9am-4pm Sa-Su. The ACT Government operates a comprehensive visitors centre on Northbourne Avenue, the main road from Sydney into Canberra. Located in the suburb of Dickson, you will go past it if you are driving into Canberra from the north. It provides information on attractions in Canberra, and staff can book accommodation as well as tickets to local events. During the summer months (Dec-Feb) they also open a booth at Canberra Centre, located on the Ground floor to offer similar services to tourists within Civic.
Canberra was established in 1913 as the capital for the newly federated Australian nation - this brought the rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne for national capital status to an end, after Melbourne had been the capital for the previous 12 years. The Australian Capital Territory was excised from New South Wales, and put under the control of the federal government. The artificial creation of the city was not without critics - cynics have said that it was a "waste of a good sheep pasture".
Canberra is a highly planned city, its primary design conceived by the American architect Walter Burley Griffin, built on the shores of an artificial lake (Lake Burley Griffin). Populated at first largely by politicians and public servants, it took time to develop its own identity and culture. Extensive building of national facilities and a concerted effort to develop public institutions in the city have made it an interesting destination.
Canberra can get just as hot as anywhere else in Australia during the summer months, with temperatures above 30°C a frequent occurrence from December through to March. It can get bitterly cold during the winter months (June–August) owing to its altitude and proximity to the Snowy Mountains. Overnight temperatures in winter frequently drop below zero and tend to hover slightly above 10°C during the day. However, it is usually a clear, brisk cold, and rarely a dull, damp cold. It almost never snows in Canberra, because the below freezing temperatures (at night) coincide with clear skies. Most Canberrans believe that late Autumn (mid-April to May) has the city's best weather.
Canberra is less humid than Australian coastal cities. The hottest days are often mitigated by welcome, cooling, mountain breezes, particularly towards the end of the day, and the temperature drops overnight. It's generally a good idea to bring a light pullover or coat when visiting in Summer as the nights can be surprisingly cool.
|Daily highs (°C)||29||28||25||20||16||12||12||14||16||20||24||27|
|Nightly lows (°C)||14||14||12||7||4||1||0||1||4||7||10||12|
Lake Burley Griffin divides central Canberra. The central shopping and commercial area, known as "Civic", on the north side and the parliamentary triangle and embassy area is on the south side. National institutions are likewise divided, examples being the National Museum of Australia and the Australian War Memorial on the north side and the National Library and National Gallery of Australia on the south side.
There are suburbs surrounding central Canberra, and also suburbs surrounding several outlying town centres. These town centres are Belconnen and Gungahlin to the north, and Molonglo Valley, Tuggeranong and Woden to the south. The ACT also has surrounding towns, such as Murrumbateman, which boasts a strong cool climate wine selection. The historic villages of Hall and Tharwa are also on the outskirts of Canberra.
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, Canberra has the highest average level of disposable income of any Australian capital city. The gross average weekly wage in Canberra is $1702 compared with the national average of $1485.80 (May 2013).
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. The median weekly rent paid by Canberra residents is higher than rents in all other states and territories. As at January 2014 the median unit rent in Canberra was $410 per week and median housing rent was $460, making the city the third most expensive 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.
The city's main industry is public administration and safety, which accounted for 29.8% of Gross Territory Product in 2011–12 and employed 33.9% of Canberra's workforce. The headquarters of many Australian Public Service agencies are located in Canberra, and Canberra is also host to several Australian Defence Force establishments, 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.
The former RAAF Fairbairn, adjacent to the Canberra Airport was sold to the operators of the airport, but the base continues to be used for RAAF VIP flights. A growing number of software vendors have based themselves in Canberra, to capitalise on the concentration of government customers; these include Tower Software and RuleBurst. 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.
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:
- Canberra Central, mostly settled in the 1920s and 1930s, with expansion up to the 1960s, 25 suburbs
- Woden Valley, first settled in 1964, 12 suburbs
- Belconnen, first settled in 1966, 25 suburbs (1 not yet developed)
- Weston Creek, settled in 1969, 8 suburbs
- Tuggeranong, settled in 1974, 18 suburbs
- Gungahlin, settled in the early 1990s, 18 suburbs (5 not yet developed)
- Molonglo Valley, development began in 2010, 13 suburbs planned.
Free wifi is available in Civic and some other areas of Canberra through the CBRfree service provided by the ACT Government.
The National Library of Australia provides free Wi-Fi and free internet access on 40 computer terminals (webmail is blocked on some computers, so ask the staff to show you which ones you can access webmail from).
All the ACT public library branches have free Wi-Fi and computers. Membership or proof that you are not a resident of the ACT is required to use the computers, and you may have to book a few hours in advance due to high demand.
McDonald's restaurants in Australia offer free Wi-Fi, no purchase required. The restaurants in Civic are at: corner East Row & Alinga St, and corner Cooyong Street & Northbourne Avenue.
The Pancake Parlour at Civic (in the Sydney Building, near bus bay 4) offers free Wi-Fi to customers, along with power points at several tables.