youtube videoWhy is Canberra the Capital City of Australia
What is the Capital of Australia?
If you’re not well-versed in geography, you might be inclined to say that the capital of Australia is Sydney. With its famed opera house, proximity to popular Bondi Beach, and sunny weather, Sydney is the most populous city in the country. It is not, however, the capital.
After Sydney, you might next think of Melbourne, which is considered one of the most livable cities in the world. Melbourne is sometimes referred to as the “cultural capital” of Australia, but alas, it is not home the nation’s government. So what is the capital of Australia then?
Have you heard of Canberra?
Located 170 miles southwest of Sydney, and 410 miles northeast of Melbourne, Canberra is the capital of Australia and the country’s largest inland city.
As the main seat of the government of Australia, Canberra is home to many government departments and agencies, including the Parliament House and the High Court. It is also the location of may other social and cultural institutions, like the Australian War Memorial, the Royal Australian Mint, and the National Library. Furthermore, the Royal Military College and the Australian Defense Force Academy are both located in the capital.
Similar to Washington, D.C. in the United States, or Brasília in Brazil, Canberra started out as an entirely planned city outside of any state. It was selected as the location of the nation’s capital in 1908. If you are like what is the capital of the country australia, however, you may be wondering why Canberra was chosen as Australia’s capital in the first place? Why is Canberra the capital of Australia and not Sydney or Melbourne?
To get to the bottom of that question, we need to look back at the history of Australia.
Brief History of Australia
In 1606, Dutch explorers were the first Europeans to reach Australia. Prior to European arrival, the continent had long been home to Indigenous Australians, who came to the region some 60,000 years ago. These Indigenous peoples lived mainly as hunter gatherers, but their population would decline after European contact, primarily due to disease but also because new settlements disrupted patterns of land use and movement.
In 1770, Australia’s eastern half was claimed by Great Britain. Eventually, New South Wales would be established as a penal colony. In the following decades, the European population of Australia would grow steadily. By 1850, most of Australia had been explored and claimed. By that time, five more self-governing crown colonies had been established.
Around that same time, in 1851, gold was discovered in Australia. This would lead to a wave of many new migrants, hoping to get rich. Cities like Sydney and Melbourne would quickly feel the effects of this growing population and increased economic activity. Sydney would go from a colonial outpost to a major cultural and economic center. The gold rush would transform Melbourne into one of the world’s largest and wealthiest cities.
On January 1st, 1901, the six colonies federated, joining to form the Commonwealth of Australia as a dominion of the British Empire. A Commonwealth Parliament was formed. This new government would need a place to call home, however, so a report was commissioned outlining possible locations for a new capital.
Why is Canberra the Capital of Australia?
We know that Canberra was ultimately chosen as capital of Australia, but this selection was made for reasons you might not necessarily think.
Contrary to popular myth, Canberra’s selection was NOT the result of a compromise between Sydney and Melbourne. In reality, Sydney and Melbourne were never seriously considered. Why? Well, one popular rumor is that many of Australia’s politicians thought both of those cities would be too hot in the summers. Furthermore, the federation of colonies were pretty much in agreement that the capital should be inland and relatively unsettled, where there would be less disease, and less of a chance of attack.
A few places were suggested as a possible site for the capital, but ultimately it was Commonwealth surveyor Charles Scrivener who was tasked with coming to a decision. He was asked to find a “beautiful city, occupying a commanding position.” Scrivener would choose Canberra as the location he best felt met those qualities.
On January 1st, 1911, the Australian Capital Territory was declared. An international competition was held to design the new capital city. More than 130 entries were received, but in the end, it was an American architect named Walter Griffin and his wife Marion who had the winning bid. The Parliament House opened in Canberra in 1927.
Today, Canberra continues to serve as the seat of Australia’s government. It is a major tourist destination, attracting visitors who come to see all the many cultural organizations and landmarks. While it may be surprising to learn that Canberra is the capital of Australia, at least you know a little more about why that is.
With a rich history and lots of charm and cultural appeal, Canberra certainly has a lot to offer. Next time you visit Australia, be sure to add Canberra to your list!
Was Sydney ever Australia’s capital?
When someone asks where the capital of Australia is, most will guess Sydney or Melbourne. But they would be is wrong, as the capital of Australia in Canberra.
But why is this the case? Typically, the most popular and visited city in the country is usually the capital, known as the centre hub for the rest of the area. Canberra doesn’t fall under this category, as it isn’t a very exciting place to visit, which is the reason foreigners don’t know of it. So why isn’t Sydney?
Why Sydney is thought to be the capital
On every traveller’s bucket list is Australia’s spectacular city, Sydney. It is the first on visitors’ minds when imagining Australia, famous for its beautiful harbourfront and sunlit skyscrapers. An essential stop on visitor’s bucket list, home to iconic attractions such as the Sydney Opera House. With no trip to Australia completely without a stop into this incredible site. Despite all this, Sydney is not the capital of the country and never has been. However, it was the oldest and one of the largest settlements in the continent, being the very first European settlement built.
How Australia choose its capital
In 1835, they established the beginning of the renowned Melbourne city, about 47 years after Sydney. During this time the battle for the capital began, with both historic Sydney and the new location of Melbourne in the running. However, there were a number of reasons why both these two locations could not be chosen. As the capital should be a place that wasn’t near the coast, didn’t have a major settlement, and wasn’t hot in the summer. Yes, you heard correct, one of the main reasons why these two cities weren’t chosen was due to their hot weather in summer. As the English stated they could only really thrive and lead the country in colder climates. Although this is a ridiculous reason, all politicians agreed it, with them compromising not to choose either Melbourne or Sydney and finding a beautiful city that occupied a commanding position. Choosing a city between the two major cities and naming it Canberra, merging together the European ‘Cranberry’ what is the capital of the country australia the Indigenous ‘Nganbra’ to create the unique title.
Why travel to Sydney
Make sure to bring your camera to this sparkling city, for the area is bursting with iconic sights. Attractions like the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge are essential sites, with Bondi Beach and Darling harbour a close second. It is celebrated what is the capital of the country australia its sophisticated atmosphere and rich contemporary lifestyle. With outer areas only a short drive away from the city illustrating the landscapes true natural beauty.
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Australia’s capital cities: Growth, change and a future forecast
Over 66% of Australians live in what is the capital of the country australia greater metropolitan area of Australia’s 8 capital cities with Sydney being the largest (around 4.9 million), followed by Melbourne (4.5 million). Darwin is Australia’s smallest capital city, with a current population of around 144,000. The nation’s capital, Canberra, has a population of 394,000, larger than Darwin and Hobart combined.
The title of fastest growing city is held by Perth which has recorded 3.05% per year for the past 5 years whilst Hobart has the lowest rate of growth of only 0.67% per year over the same period. Sydney and Melbourne recorded growth of 1.5% and 1.95% per year over respectively.
In terms of population increase, Melbourne comes up on top with an increase of 95,655 people in the last year while Hobart only had an increase of 1,247 people in the same period. In fact Melbourne is growing by more people every 5 days than Hobart adds in an entire year. Sydney recorded an increase of 84,230 people in the last year and based on this increase will be Australia’s what is the capital of the country australia city to reach 5 million, a milestone it will achieve by the middle of 2016.
However, at a state level there have been significant changes over the last 3 years in the population growth rate across Australia. Western Australia, which was the fastest growing state has seen this annual growth rate more than halve from a peak of 3.68% in 2012 to just 1.58% currently. Over the same period of time, Queensland’s growth has free business checking suntrust declined significantly from 2.0% to 1.37% now, while Victoria’s consistent population growth rate of 1.75% makes it the fastest growing of any Australian state or territory.
Sydney has a population approximately 400,000 larger than Melbourne’s but Melbourne is growing by over 10,000 more people than Sydney year what is the capital of the country australia year. Assuming medium levels of fertility, overseas migration, life expectancy, and interstate migration flows, Melbourne will take Sydney’s title of Australia’s largest city in 2053 with both cities expected to reach a population of 8 million in 2055.
Perth’s rate of growth will see it overtake Brisbane in 2029 when they both have a population of just over 3 million. They currently have a population of 2.1 million and 2.3 million respectively.
Other significant urban areas
The Gold Coast – Tweed Heads area has the largest population outside of the capital cities (almost 630,000) and also registered the largest increase in number of residents in 2009 to 2014. The 2nd largest urban area is the Newcastle – Maitland area but the Sunshine Coast had the 2nd largest increase in population even though they are ranked 4th in terms of population size. The City of Dubbo, with a population of 36,622 is the smallest of Australia’s significant urban areas.
Launceston recorded the lowest smallest rate of population increase between 2009 and 2014, growing by only 0.35% per year but they are ranked 13th in overall population, out of 32 significant urban areas. The Traralgon – Morwell area was the only area to experience a population decline with a decrease in population of 28 between 2013 and 2014.
On the other end of the scale, Ellenbrook is the fastest growing urban area by far, recorded growth of 8.35% per year between 2009 and 2014 followed by Melton which what is the capital of the country australia growth of 5.32% per year over the can you send money on zelle with a credit card period.
Australia’s capitals: Population projections
- Reach 5m in 2016, 6m in 2029, 7m in 2042, 8m in 2055
- Average annual growth from 2016-2056 = 1.23%
- Reach 5m in 2021, 6m in 2032, 7m in 2043, 8m in 2055
- Average annual growth from 2016-2056 = 1.44%
- Reach 3m in 2028, 4m in 2047
- Average annual growth from 2016-2056 = 1.6%
- Reach 1.5m in 2027
- Average annual growth from 2016-2056 = 0.83%
- Reach 3m in 2028, 4m in 2042, 5m in 2055
- Average annual growth from 2016-2056 = 2.14%
- Reach 250,000 in 2034
- Average annual growth from 2016-2056 = 0.47%
- Reach 200,000 in 2048
- Average annual growth from 2016-2056 = 1.08%
Sydney vs Melbourne
- Melbourne will overtake Sydney for the title of largest Australian city in 2053
Brisbane vs Perth
- Perth will overtake Brisbane for the title of 3rd largest Australian city in 2029
*Data assuming medium levels of fertility, overseas migration, life expectancy, and interstate migration flows.
Sources: ABS, McCrindle
Find Out More
For more on understanding data and communicating it effectively head to Analyse Australia, where you can download our full report here.
Australian Capital Territory Tours, Vacation Packages & Travel Experiences
Our Australian Capital Territory Tours
Australian Capital Territory is a territory in the south east of Australia, enclaved within New South Wales. It is the smallest self-governing internal territory in Australia. Its most populous city is Canberra, the country's capital, which makes an easy addition to an Australia vacation bound for Sydney or Melbourne.
Australian Capital Territory Vacation Highlights
Canberra is an attractive planned city, known as ‘a city in a park,’ steeped in national history and culture. It is surrounded by mountain ranges and hills covered in bush land. It is also almost totally surrounded by the beautiful Lake Burley Griffin. The impressive Parliament Building stands out on the summit of Capital Hill. On trips to Australia, Canberra is also a city of festivals for all seasons such as Floriade when the city celebrates springtime by filling Commonwealth Park with thousands of blooms across artistic flower beds. For food and wine lovers, follow Poachers Way Trail to discover the 140 vineyards and 33 wineries located around the nearby countryside.
Museums and Galleries
One imposing what is the capital of the country australia and one of Canberra’s most iconic attractions is the War Memorial which pays homage to Australia’s military history. There is also an excellent selection of art galleries and museums. Some of the major ones of interest are the National Gallery of Australia, the Questacon Science Centre and the Mount Stromlo Observatory.
Parks and Trails
For the more active on Australian tours, try the mountain trails at Mount Stromlo or Brindabella National Park in the heart of the Australian Alps, or follow the Yerrabi Walking Track with views of the Bimberi Peak and its undisturbed ecosystems. You can find kangaroos and wallabies here while exploring wetlands and wildflower-cloaked plains. Namadgi National Park is perfect for rock climbing, hiking, horseback riding as well as the bush land city of Canberra Nature Park.
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Australia Travel Information
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy to navigate travel information section dedicated to Australia vacations.
Learn about the history and culture of Australia, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Australia's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering Australia for yourself. Start exploring.book one of our Australia vacations today!
Extend Your Stay
Consider an additional stopover to your Australia vacation at one of Goway's South Pacific destinations. You can choose from our selection of New Zealand vacation packages, Tahiti vacation packages or stay at one of our Fiji resorts or perhaps take a Cook Island vacation. This can be done stopping over en route to or from Australia.
On PM Sogavare's request, Australia's police begins to take control of Solomon Islands’ capital
After violent protests rocked Solomon Islands, Australia's police on Friday have started to take control of the country’s capital Honiara on the request of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, said witnesses.
Blaming foreign countries for stoking the violent protests, Sogavare asked for help from Australia on Friday.
Australia has sent around 100 police personnel and was "clearly focused on stability in our region", Foreign Minister Marise Payne said.
Also Read: After spread of protest in Solomon Islands, Australia to deploy military
The looting and the burning of buildings continued on Friday morning. Tear gas was used in Chinatown and a new curfew is also expected to be imposed later in the day, a resident told Reuters.
Several protesters belong to Malaita, which is the most populous province of the South Pacific Island nation.
They have been feeling overlooked by the government in Guadalcanal province. Not just this, they also oppose its 2019 decision to end diplomatic ties with Taiwan and establish formal links with China.
Also Read: Solomon islands riots: What’s behind the protests?
"I feel sorry for my people in Malaita because they are fed with false and deliberate lies about the switch,” Sogavare told Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“These very countries that are now influencing Malaita are the countries that don't want ties with the People's Republic of China, and they are discouraging Solomon Islands to enter into diplomatic relations and to comply with international law and the United Nations resolution," Sogavare added.
(With inputs from agencies)