Canberra, the capital of Australia, was an entirely planned city. It was built as a compromise between the rival cities of Melbourne and Sydney. Its construction in the Australian Capital Territory of New South Wales begun just under a century ago in 1913, based on a blueprint design by Chicago-based architects. The design was influenced by the garden city movement, resulting in many natural vegetation set-aside areas that still exist. Canberra hosts many of Australia’s government agencies, its High Court, Parliament House, the National University, Gallery, Museum and Library, as well as several other major cultural institutions.
The location were Canberra was built had been inhabited for at least 21,000 years. Indigenous Australians such as the Ngunnawal, Wandandian, Ngarigo and Gandangara people left significant evidence of burial places, rock engravings and paintings as well as stone tools. European settlement by stockmen begun in the 1820s. The Royal Military College and the 1845 Anglican Church of St John the Baptist are the earliest examples of 19th century. European colonial architecture, with the Yarralumla estate presently serving as the official residence of Australia’s Governor General.
Canberra was named officially (and became capital) in March 1913 and the Provisional Parliament House was established and the Prime Minister moved there in 1927. But it was Prime Minister Robert Menzies, following WW2, who was responsible for making Canberra much more than just a large village.
The main form of city transport is by private car, with buses serving most areas, an interstaterail service connecting to Sydney and the CountryLink bus service connecting to the train for Melbourne. Canberra International Airport and the state highways also provide access to Brisbane, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth.
The Royal Australian Mint, the High Court and the Parliament House are open to the public. Other major visitor attractions include the Australian War Memorial and the National Film and Sound Archive. The Australian National Botanic Gardens and the the Black Mountain Tower are also worth visiting.
The Canberra Kingston and Dickson areas are where the bar and nightlife are concentrated. You shouldn’t miss the huge 2-day music festival Stonefest, held at the University of Canberra.
Posted : Friday, August 24th, 2012 at 10:00
As well as writing about travel, Karen Bryan offers tips on saving money, frugal living and how to live well on less, on her site Help Me To Save