Canberra: The Capital of Australia’s Capital Territory
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) stretches 90 km from north to south and slightly over 30 km from east to west. The capital city of ACT is Canberra. Having a population of 381,488, Canberra is the largest inland city in Australia. It is located to the north of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). It is also 660 km north-east of Melbourne and 280 km south-west of Sydney. While Canberra is Australia’s federal capital and seat of government, most government ministries including the Prime Minister and Governor- General have their headquarters in Sydney.
A Little History
The decision to make Canberra Australia’s national capital was reached in 1908 as a compromise between the nation’s two largest cities – Melbourne and Sydney. The city’s plan was drawn by two American architects namely Marion M. Griffin and Walter B. Griffin. Its construction commenced in 1913. The Griffin’s masterplan featured multiple geographical motifs such as triangles, hexagons and circles and was inspired by the Capital Territory’s landmarks.
Canberra’s design was inspired by the garden movement with the city having significant portions of open vegetation. This is where the city’s “Bush Capital” nickname originates from. The expansion of Canberra was, however, hindered by the World Wars as well as the Great Depression. The events triggered multiple planning disputes resulting in the city’s slow growth. Fortunately, after World War II, Prime Minister Robert Menzies sucessfully formed the National Capital Development Commission. The mandate of the commission was to spearhead the development of Canberra city.
Economy Of Canberra
With a Gross Regional Product of AUD 9,666, Canberra’s economic record is enviable. The city has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. Additionally, Canberra is home to one of the strongest new housing development and has the highest mean level of disposable income. Public service and safety are two of the city’s main industries.
Most of Australia’s Public Service agencies are located in Canberra. The city also hosts a number of Australia’s Defense Force establishments including HMAS Harman and the Australian Defense Force headquarters. While the Federal and Australian Capital Territory governments are the main employers in Canberra, the private sector employs nearly half of the city’s workforce. These include over 25,000 local and multinational businesses.
Canberra Tourist Attractions
Some of the top tourist attractions in Canberra are the Parliament house, the Australian War Memorial, and the National Museum of Australia. Originally designed as a tourism destination, Parliament House hosts a museum that depicts the history of the Australian government. Lining the walls of the building are portraits of Australian prime ministers, from the first to the current.
The National Museum of Australia, on the other hand is located on the edge of the lake. It displays typical Australian items, from the pre-historic times to date. Any special exhibition that takes place in the city includes history of the Aborigines. The museum also has a theater and a special section for children. The Australian War Memorial center was opened in November 1941. The building hosts a museum, a shrine and an extensive archive that pays tribute to Australia’s war casualties.