Australian Capital Territory|
AREA: 2,538 sq. km., POPULATION: 310,000
CAPITAL: Canberra (300,000)
LOCATION: In the South-eastern area of New South Wales. CLIMATE:
Highest temp. 42.2° C and -110°, both recorded in Canberra. The
ACT has a high rainfall with cold spells in winter due to its proximity to the
The Federation of Australian States came to fruition in 1901 and until then
the representatives of the various states met in Melbourne, Victoria. The site
for Canberra was chosen in 1908, resolving a long running debate about where
the National Capital should be located. The main rivals were Sydney and Melbourne,
and the midway choice of The A,C.T. and Canberra was a diplomatic compromise.
A competition for the design of the new city was held, and architect Walter
Burley Griffin, an American, won the right to plan the city. He designed a city
with spacious areas of parkland and a circular layout around the Parliamentary
Centre.Newcomers to the city frequently get confused at the circular flow of
streets, however the design makes for easy access to all parts of the city and,
once you are used to it, it is easy to navigate. A feature of the city is
a lake, Lake Burley Griffin, which is 11 km. long.
It was not until 1927 the first parliament sat in Canberra in the old Parliament
House, which was replaced in 1988 by the new building behind it.
Besides being the parliamentary capital of Australia, Canberra is also
the repository of much of its history and art. Here you will find the National
Gallery, the National Library, the National Science and Technology centre and
many other national treasures, a full list will be found at the
'The Aussie Traveller' site under States/the ACT.
Canberra is also easily accessible. Only 50 kilometres from the Hume Highway
between Melbourne and Sydney, and only 270 from Sydney, it has a large domestic
airport and daily train and coach services. It is without doubt a place you
must visit on your Australian touring holiday and one all Australians can be