Australian Capital Territory Facts

New Parliament House

Parliament House Canberra

The Australian Capital Territory as the name suggests, is the capital territory of the Commonwealth of Australia.  Most Australians shorten the name to the ACT or simply refer to  the ACT’s capital city Canberra which is also Australia’s National Capital.

Oddly enough, Canberra is Australia’s largest inland city yet the ACT is Australia’s smallest self governing internal territory.  The Australian Capital Territory is located wholly within the state of New South Wales. The area of land that makes up the ACT (2,358 square km) was transferred to the Commonwealth by the state of New South Wales in 1911. Canberra was named the National Capital in 1913 and is located is nearly 300km from Sydney and some 650km from Melbourne.  A planned city, Canberra is laid out around an artificial lake, Lake Burley Griffin. The Territory became self-governing in 1989. National government remains its main industry, but private sector employment has expanded and includes production of sophisticated scientific and communications equipment, and computer software.

With Canberra being a relatively new and carefully planned city in Australia, some people think it’s a bit on the boring and conservative side and being the nation’s seat of government and politics probably doesn’t help that image. But to the contrary, Canberra is a graceful and industrious city surrounded by a mostly untouched natural environment. And its residents have a nearly utopian approach towards conserving the city’s quality of life.

Many of Australia’s treasures can be seen in the ACT and thousands of Australians flock to see them every week throughout the year in the National Art Gallery, National Museum, the National Library, the National Archives and many more.

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