Canberra, Australia’s national capital, located in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has a population of approximately 432,000. The area was inhabited by Indigenous Australians from the Ngunnawal tribe for over 21,000 years. Some state that word Canberra was derived from the Aboriginal word “Kambera” or “Canberry” meaning “meeting place” in Ngunnawal while others say that it was derived from the word “Nganbra” meaning “woman’s breasts” which is the indigenous name for the two mountains: Back Mountain and Mount Ainslie. European settlement commenced in this city in the 19th century.
The median age of the population is around 35 years and most Canberrans or 75% spoke only English at home. 34% of Canberra’s inhabitants were born overseas. Like other Australian cities, a large percentage (over 37%) of Canberra’s population do not follow any religion and the largest religious denomination (24%) is Catholic.
After a long disagreement of whether Melbourne or Sydney should be the national capital, a compromise was reached that the new capital should be located within 100 miles (160 kilometres) off Sydney. The capital, an entirely planned city, was founded and named Canberra. Once the site for the capital was chosen it was decided in 1909 that the Federal Capital needed to be a beautiful city, that occupied a commanding position with extensive views and a state-of-the-art design. In 1911 an invitation was sent to all parts of the world calling for submissions. The competition attracted 137 entrants and the blueprint submitted by American architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin was the winning entry and the building commenced in 1913. The plan featured geometric motifs and was aligned to the topographical landmarks like Black Mountain, Mount Ainslie, Capital Hill and City Hill. It offered views of snow-capped mountains during winter. The design is visible from the Telstra Tower and the Mount Ainslie summit. Canberra’s design incorporates large areas of national vegetation. The National Arboretum was a result of the 2003 Canberra bushfires and Lake Burley Griffin was commemorated in honour of the city’s architects.
The city houses several federal government institutions, significant national monuments and museums. These include the Parliament House, Government House, the High Court and various government agencies. The Australian War Memorial, the Australian National University, the Royal Australian Mint, the Australian Institute of Sport, the National Gallery, the National Museum and the National Library are all located here. It is also home to the Australian Defence Force, the Royal Military College and the Australian Defence Force Academy and is host to all foreign embassies in Australia.
Canberra has been ranked as one of the world’s most liveable cities in recent years and has the lowest crime rate of any capital city in Australia.
January is considered the hottest month for Canberra with the highest average temperature hovering around 28 degrees centigrade. In July, the coldest month, the highest average is approximately 11 degrees centigrade.
Canberra hosts the largest flower festival in the Southern Hemisphere during the Spring months of September and October.
Schools, Universities and Religious institutions
Parents moving to Canberra will be pleased to know that there is a plethora of schools in the area with just a few of them listed below:
- Burgmann Anglican School Valley Campus
- Campbell High School
- Canberra Girls Grammar School
- Canberra High School
- Cranleigh School
Canberra also has the highest-ranking universities so if you are planning on moving from interstate here with the hope of enrolling in further education, you can be sure of finding a university that will suit your needs. The five universities include:
- Australian National University
- University of Canberra
- University of New South Wales
- Australian Catholic University
- Charles Sturt University
And if you are concerned that moving to Australia’s capital will impact on your religious pursuits, do not stress – that’s covered too with the various religious institutions on offer. See list below:
- Canberra City Uniting Church
- Canberra Region Presbytery
- Serbian Orthodox Church St George
- Canberra Korean Uniting Church
- St John the Baptist Russian Church
Public Transport: Buses, Bikes, Light Rail and Trains
Canberra has several modes of transport that are easily accessible and cost-effective. If you are making an interstate trip to this city, you could use the Red Explorer Loop bus to explore the sights and sounds this city has to offer.
Alternatively, get the New South Wales’ Xplorer service by NSW TrainLink which terminates at Canberra. It departs from the Central Railway station in Sydney. The NSW TrainLink road coach provides services to Cootamundra, Bombala and Eden and the V/Line coach has services to Bairnsdale also operating via Canberra station.
A light rail operates between Gungahlin and the city loop every five minutes from 6 a.m. right until 11 p.m. daily and until 12.30 a.m. on Fridays.
Canberra has easy access or “no step” buses for people with reduced mobility. The high frequency routes known as ‘Blue Rapid’ or ‘Red Rapid’ services are specially designed with carry racks making it convenient to commute. You can cover longer distances when cycling by taking your bike on a bus and you can take your bike on the Light Rail.
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