Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:
|Name = Australian Capital Territory|
|Fullname = Australian Capital Territory|
|Flag = Flag of the Australian Capital Territory.svg|
|the = the|
|CoatOfArms = Canberra COA.gif|
|Map = Australian Capital Territory locator-MJC.png|
|Motto = For the Queen, the Law and the People|
|Nickname = "The Nation's Heart" or "The Capital"|
|Emblems = The floral emblem of the ACT is the Royal Bluebell and the faunal emblem is the Gang-gang cockatoo|
|Emblem_title1 = Floral|
|Emblem1 = Royal Bluebell|
|Emblem_title2 = Faunal|
|Emblem2 = Gang-gang Cockatoo|
|Emblem_title3 = Colours|
|Emblem3 = Blue and Gold|
|Capital = Canberra|
|Demonym = Canberran|
|ChiefType = Chief Minister|
|Chief = Jon Stanhope|
|ChiefParty = ALP|
|Viceroy = Governor-General of Australia|
|ViceroyType = Administrator|
|PostalAbbreviation = ACT|
|EntityAdjective = Territorial|
|GSP = $22,287|
|GSPYear = 2007-08|
|GSPRank = 6th|
|GSPPerCapita = $65,034|
|GSPPerCapitaRank = 3rd|
|AreaRank = 8th|
|TotalArea = 2358|
|LandArea = 2280|
|WaterArea = 77.6|
|HighestPoint = Bimberi Peak|
|HighestElev = 1,912 m|
|HighestElev_ft = 6,273|
|LowestPoint = Murrumbidgee River|
|LowestElev = 429 m|
|LowestElev_ft = 1,407|
|PercentWater = 3.29|
|PopulationRank = 7th|
|Population = 339,900|
|PopulationYear = End of June 2007|
|DensityRank = 1st|
|Density = 144.15|
|TimeZone = UTC+10 (+11 DST)|
|HouseSeats = 2|
|SenateSeats = 2|
|ISOCode = AU-ACT|
|Website = www.act.gov.au}}
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is the capital territory of the Commonwealth of Australia and its smallest self-governing internal territory. It is an inland enclave in New South Wales, and regularly referred to as Australia's 'Bush Capital'.
The need for a National Territory was flagged by colonial delegates during the Federation conventions of the late 19th century. Section 125 of the Australian Constitution provided that following Federation in 1901, land would be ceded freely to the new Federal Government. The territory was transferred to the Commonwealth by the state of New South Wales in 1911, two years prior to the naming of Canberra as the National Capital in 1913.
The floral emblem of the ACT is the Royal Bluebell and the faunal emblem is the Gang-gang Cockatoo.
HistoryWhen the constitution for the Commonwealth of Australia was being negotiated between the Australian colonies, the siting of the national capital was a point of contention, with Melbourne and Sydney claiming the right. A compromise was reached whereby a separate capital city would be created in New South Wales, provided it was no closer than to Sydney. Until such time as the new city was established, Melbourne was to be the temporary capital of Australia.
The present site for the National Capital was selected in 1908, with additional territory at Jervis Bay (now a naval base on the New South Wales coast) allocated so the national capital could have a seaport. In 1909 New South Wales transferred the land for the territory to federal control and in 1910 an act of parliament created the legal framework for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
In 1911 there were 1,714 persons living in the Canberra locality including residents of Oaks Estate. The settlement was situated on the outskirts of Queanbeyan and immediately opposite the Queanbayan Railway Station on the Sydney railroad. On January 1 that year the folk of Oaks Estate ceased to be NSW voters becoming territory residents instead.
In that year also, the Secretary of the Department of Home Affairs, Colonel David Miller, announced an International competition "to obtain the very best design of the most modern lines for this city". The winner was American architect Walter Burley Griffin. Colonel Miller became Administrator of the FCT on 8 August 1912. Canberra was officially named on 12 March 1913, by Lady Denman, the wife of the governor-general Lord Denman; construction of the city began immediately.
During the 1920s the first Federal public servants relocated to Canberra from Melbourne, housed initially in Government hostels while the first of Canberra's suburbs Westlake, Eastlake (now Kingston) and Forrest were constructed. With the official opening of the Provisional Parliament House on 9 May 1927, the seat of the Federal Government was transferred from Melbourne to Canberra. The following year of Federal Parliament repealed the prohibition laws, a law shepherded through parliament and into law 17 years earlier by King O'Malley, the then Minister of Home Affairs.
In 1938, the Federal Capital Territory was formally renamed the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).
In a 1978 referendum, Canberrans rejected self-government by 63% of the vote. Despite this, in December 1988, the ACT was granted full self-government through an Act of the Commonwealth Parliament that made the ACT a body politic under the crown. Following the first elections in February 1989, a 17-member Legislative Assembly sat at its offices in London Circuit, Civic, on 11 May 1989. The Australian Labor Party formed the ACT's first government, led by the Chief Minister Rosemary Follett, who made history as Australia's first female head of government.
GeographyThe ACT is bounded by the Goulburn-Cooma railway line in the east, the watershed of Naas Creek in the south, the watershed of the Cotter River in the west, and the watershed of the Molonglo River in the north-east. The ACT also has a small strip of territory around the southern end of the Beecroft Peninsula, which is the northern headland of Jervis Bay.
Apart from the city of Canberra, the Australian Capital Territory also contains agricultural land (sheep, dairy cattle, vineyards and small amounts of crops) and a large area of national park (Namadgi National Park), much of it mountainous and forested. Small townships and communities located within the ACT include Williamsdale, Naas, Uriarra, Tharwa and Hall.
Tidbinbilla is a locality to the south-west of Canberra that features the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, operated by the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as part of its Deep Space Network.
There are a large range of mountains, rivers and creeks in the Namadgi National Park. These include the Naas and Murrumbidgee Rivers.
ClimateBecause of its elevation (650 m) and distance from the coast, the Australian Capital Territory experiences four distinct seasons, unlike many other Australian cities whose climates are moderated by the sea. Canberra is notorious for hot, dry summers, and cold winters with occasional fog and frequent frosts. Many of the higher mountains in the territory’s south-west are snow-covered for at least part of the winter. Thunderstorms can occur between October and March, and annual rainfall is 623 millimetres (24.5 in), with rainfall highest in spring and summer and lowest in winter.
The highest maximum temperature recorded in the ACT was 42.8 °C (109.0 °F) at Acton on 11 January 1939. The lowest minimum temperature was −14.6 °C (5.7 °F) at Gudgenby on 11 July 1971
GeologyNotable geological formations in the Australian Capital Territory include the Canberra Formation, the Pittman Formation, Black Mountain Sandstone and State Circle Shale.
In the 1840s fossils of brachiopods and trilobites from the Silurian period were discovered at Woolshed Creek near Duntroon. At the time, these were the oldest fossils discovered in Australia, though this record has now been far surpassed. Other specific geological places of interest include the State Circle cutting and the Deakin anticline.
The oldest rocks in the ACT date from the Ordovician around 480 million years ago. During this period the region along with most of Eastern Australia was part of the ocean floor; formations from this period include the Black Mountain Sandstone formation and the Pittman Formation consisting largely of quartz-rich sandstone, siltstone and shale. These formations became exposed when the ocean floor was raised by a major volcanic activity in the Devonian forming much of the east coast of Australia.
GovernanceThe ACT has internal self-government, but Australia's Constitution does not afford the territory government the full legislative independence provided to Australian states. Laws are made in a 17-member Legislative Assembly that has all state and local government functions. However, its decisions can be overruled by the Australian Governor-General (effectively by the national government) under section 35 of the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988. (See also Electoral systems of the Australian states and territories). Members of the Legislative Assembly are elected via the Hare Clarke system. The ACT Chief Minister (currently Jon Stanhope, Australian Labor Party) is elected by members of the ACT Assembly. The ACT Government is a member of the Council of Australian Governments.
Unlike other self-governing Australian territories (e.g. Norfolk Island, Northern Territory), the ACT does not have an Administrator. The Crown is represented by the Governor-General in the government of the ACT. The Chief Minister performs many of the roles that a state governor normally holds in the context of a state, however the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly gazettes the laws and summons meetings of the Assembly.
In Australia's Federal Parliament, the ACT is represented by four federal members: two members of the House of Representatives; the Division of Fraser and the Division of Canberra and is one of only two territories to be represented in the Senate, with two Senators (the other being the Northern Territory). The Member for Fraser and the ACT Senators also represent the constituents of the Jervis Bay Territory.
In 1915 the Jervis Bay Territory Acceptance Act 1915 created the Jervis Bay Territory as an annexe to the Australian Capital Territory. In 1988, when the ACT gained self-government, Jervis Bay became a separate territory administered by the Australian Government Minister responsible for Territories, presently the Minister for Home Affairs.
The ACT retains a small area of territory on the coast at the Beecroft Peninsula, consisting of a strip of coastline around the northern headland of Jervis Bay (not to be confused with the Jervis Bay Territory, which is on the southern headland of the Bay). The ACT's land on the Beecroft Peninsula is an "exclave", that is, an area of territory not physically connected to the main part of the ACT. Interestingly, this ACT exclave surrounds a small exclave of NSW territory, namely the Point Perpendicular lighthouse which is at the southern tip of the Beecroft Peninsula. The lighthouse and its grounds are New South Wales territory, but cut off from the rest of the state by the strip of ACT land. This is a geographic curiosity: an exclave of NSW land enclosed by an exclave of ACT land.
AdministrationACT Ministers implement their executive powers through the following government departments and agencies:
DemographicsIn the 2006 census the population of the ACT was 333,667, of which only 869 were outside Canberra. The ACT median weekly income for people aged over 15 was in the range $600–$699 while the population living outside Canberra was at the national average of $400–$499. The average level of degree qualification in the ACT is higher than the national average. Within the ACT 4.5% of the population have a postgraduate degree compared to 1.8% across the whole of Australia.
Canberra is a planned city that was originally designed by Walter Burley Griffin, a major 20th century American architect. Major roads follow a wheel-and-spoke pattern rather than a grid. The city centre is laid out on two perpendicular axes: a water axis stretching along Lake Burley Griffin, and a ceremonial land axis stretching from Parliament House on Capital Hill north-eastward along ANZAC Parade to the Australian War Memorial at the foot of Mt Ainslie. The area known as the Parliamentary Triangle is formed by three of Burley Griffin's axes, stretching from Capital Hill along Commonwealth Avenue to the Civic Centre around City Hill, along Constitution Avenue to the Defence precinct on Russell Hill, and along Kings Avenue back to Capital Hill.
The larger scheme of Canberra's layout is based on the three peaks surrounding the city, Mt. Ainslie, Black Mountain, and Red Hill. The main symmetrical axis of the city is along ANZAC Parade and roughly on the line between Mt.Ainslie and Bimberi Peak. Bimberi Peak being the highest mountain in the ACT approximately south west of Canberra . The precise alignment of ANZAC parade is between Mt. Ainslie and Capital Hill (formally Kurrajong Hill). The Griffins assigned spiritual values to Mt. Ainslie, Black Mountain, and Red Hill and originally planned to cover each of these in flowers. That way each hill would be covered with a single, primary color which represented its spiritual value. This part of their plan never came to fruition. In fact, WWI interrupted the construction and some conflicts after the war made it a difficult process for the Griffins. Nevertheless, Canberra stands as an exemplary city design and is located halfway between the ski slopes and the beach. It enjoys a natural cooling from geophysical factors.
The urban areas of Canberra are organised into a hierarchy of districts, town centres, group centres, local suburbs as well as other industrial areas and villages. There are seven districts, each of which is divided into smaller suburbs, and most of which have a town centre which is the focus of commercial and social activities. The districts were settled in the following chronological order:
The North and South Canberra districts are substantially based on Walter Burley Griffin's designs. In 1967 the then National Capital Development Commission adopted the "Y Plan" which laid out future urban development in Canberra around a series of central shopping and commercial area known as the 'town centres' linked by freeways, the layout of which roughly resembled the shape of the letter Y, with Tuggeranong at the base of the Y and Belconnen and Gungahlin located at the ends of the arms of the Y. Development in Canberra has been closely regulated by government, both through the town planning process, but also through the use of crown lease terms that have tightly limited the use of parcels of land. All land in the ACT is held on 99 year leases from the national government, although most leases are now administered by the Territory government.
Most suburbs have their own local shops, and are located close to a larger shopping centre serving a group of suburbs. Community facilities and schools are often also located near local shops or group shopping centres. Many of Canberra's suburbs are named after former Prime Ministers, famous Australians, early settlers, or use Aboriginal words for their title. Street names typically follow a particular theme; for example, the streets of Duffy are named after Australian dams and reservoirs, the streets of Dunlop are named after Australian inventions, inventors and artists and the streets of Page are named after biologists and naturalists. Most diplomatic missions are located in the suburbs of Yarralumla, Deakin and O'Malley. There are three light industrial areas: the suburbs of Fyshwick, Mitchell and Hume.
EducationAlmost all educational institutions in the Australian Capital Territory are located within Canberra. The ACT public education system schooling is normally split up into Pre-School, Primary School (K-6), High School (7-10) and College (11-12) followed by studies at university or TAFE. Many private high schools include years 11 and 12 and are referred to as colleges. Children are required to attend school until they turn 15 years old, most finish year 10 (around 16 years old).
In February 2004 there were 140 public and non-governmental schools in Canberra; 96 were operated by the Government and 44 are non-Government. In 2005 there were 60,275 students in the ACT school system. 59.3% of the students were enrolled in government schools with the remaining 40.7% in non-government schools. There were 30,995 students in primary school, 19,211 in high school, 9,429 in college and a further 340 in special schools.
As of May 2004, 30% of people in the ACT aged 15–64 had a level of educational attainment equal to at least an bachelor's degree, significantly higher that the national average of 19%. The two main tertiary institutions are the Australian National University (ANU) in Acton and the University of Canberra (UC) in Bruce. There are also two religious university campuses in Canberra: Signadou is a campus of the Australian Catholic University and St Mark's Theological College is a campus of Charles Sturt University. The Australian International Hotel School offers degree and diploma level courses and operates the Hotel Kurrajong in Barton. Tertiary level vocational education is also available through the multi-campus Canberra Institute of Technology.
The Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) and the Royal Military College, Duntroon (RMC) are in the suburb of Campbell in Canberra's inner northeast. ADFA teaches military undergraduates and postgraduates and is officially a campus of the University of New South Wales while Duntroon provides Australian Army Officer training.
The Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) offers courses in computer game development and 3D animation.