Canberra is the capital of the Commonwealth of Australia. With a population of more than 345,000 people, Canberra is Australia’s largest city, located inland rather than on the coast. The city is located in the northern part of the Australian Capital Territory, 280 kilometres southwest of Sydney and 650 kilometres northeast of Melbourne. Coordinates: 35°18′10″ S. 149°08′30″ E. Area: 805.6 km². Time zone: UTC+10, in summer UTC+11.
Map of Canberra
History of Canberra
In ancient times, the territory of Canberra was inhabited by Australian Aboriginal tribes. Europeans first set foot on the land in the 1820s. In 1824, workers of Joshua John Moore built a sheep farm on the Ecton Peninsula. The area was named “Canberry.” In the 19th century, the town’s population gradually increased. One of the first settlers was the family of Robert Campbell, a merchant from Sydney. This family built a stone house, which became the Royal Military College. Other notable settlers were the Gibbis and Murray families. Their homes are the residence of the present Governor General of Australia.
Serious changes in the life of the area began to take place in the late nineteenth century. It was during this period that the debate over the capital of the Australian Federation began. In 1908, the Canberra area was chosen. A competition was held for the best design for the future city. On January 1, 1910, Walter Burleigh Griffin’s design was declared the best. On 12 March 1913, the city was officially called Canberra. Capital Day is celebrated on the second Monday in March each year.
In 1927 the federal government moved to Canberra. The city’s development stalled slightly during the Great Depression and World War II. In 1972, Australian Aboriginals deployed a tent city in front of Parliament in order to draw the authorities to the problems of the indigenous population. In 2003, the capital suffered from fires.
Canberra is home to the Supreme Court, the Australian Parliament, ministries and agencies. Government administration and defense are the main areas of the economy. The city’s main employers are the Departments of Defence, Foreign Affairs, Finance and Trade. The Australian Armed Forces are stationed in the city.
The main means of transport are cars. Public transport uses no more than 5% of the population. Canberra Airport provides domestic transportation.
Canberra is a garden city. In the capital of many small parks and green corners.
The main attractions are: the War Memorial of Australia, Australian National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, National Library of Australia, National Archives of Australia and the National Museum of Australia.
Another undoubted attraction of the city is the Anglican Church of John the Baptist (1845). This is the oldest public building, which has survived in the central part of the city.
For tourists a lot of buildings of government agencies are open. You can visit the Parliament of Australia, the Royal Australian Mint and the High Court. Interesting is the James Cook Monument, located at the artificial lake Burleigh-Griffin, and the National Carillon.
Other sights are Telsra Tower, Australian National Botanic Garden on Black Mountain, National Zoo and Aquarium, National Science and Technology Center.
From a historical point of view, the buildings of the first European settlers are of interest. Lanyon and Tuckeranong Farms, Blundell’s House, and Mugga-Mugga are open to visitors.
There are many theaters in the city. The most popular are the Canberra Theatre, where the major productions are staged, and Llewellyn Hall. Street theater can be seen on Childers Street. Albert Hall (1928) is the oldest concert hall in the city.
An annual event is the Stonefest music festival. Canberra also hosts folk festivals, the Canberra Royal Show, the Summernats Car Festival, the Canberra Multicultural Festival and the Celebrate Canberra Festival.