Aborigines, and the Ngunnawal tribe in particular, have inhabited the Canberra region for approximately twenty thousand years and the city itself has been home to European settlers since the early 1820s. Yet, despite this fact, Canberra didn’t gain its position as the Australian capital until the beginning of the twentieth century. The country had been made independent by Queen Victoria in 1901 and both Sydney and Melbourne had wanted to become the national capital. In 1908 Canberra was selected.
A competition was then held to find the best plan for the new city and the winner, American architect, Walter Burley Griffin was given the honours. Construction on the new city did not begin until 1913. The lake which forms the centre piece of the city today was actually named after him.
Furthermore, even after the decision was taken, the first Parliament didn’t meet there until 1927 and the transfer of government functions was not officially completed until after the end of the second world war.
Located about two hundred kilometres from Sydney it is now home to approximately three hundred and ten thousand residents who are employed by either the federal Government or the number of printing and service industries in the city. Furthermore, it is the location of a vast quantity of national buildings including the Australian War and Captain Cook Memorials as well as the National Library, the National Gallery, the Academy of Science, the High Court, the National Science and Technology Centre and the National University.
But, as well as housing all of these fascinating buildings, it is also a beautiful city. Over twelve million trees have been planted adding wonderful character to the city and that’s just the beginning. The surrounding mountains and hills, the breathtaking Botanic Gardens and the nearby bushland which is home to a large variety of native flora and fauna all make for a memorable visit to a city that many disregard as one worth paying a visit.