Canberra informationCanberra is the capital city of Australia. It is Australia’s largest inland city and the 8th largest city in the country. According to the 2011 census, the city has a population of 358,222 inhabitants. It is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory, 286 km (178 mi) south-west of Sydney, and 669 km (416 mi) north-east of Melbourne. Residents of Canberra are called "Canberrans". The word Canberra derives from the word Kambera or Canberry meaning a "meeting place" in the old Ngunnawal language of the local Ngabri people.
As the two largest and rival cities Sydney and Melbourne could not agree upon the primacy, a compromise was found when a site of Canberra was selected for the location of the nation's capital in 1908. From the very beginning of its construction, Canberra was the city fully planned in every detail.
Canberra is the seat of the Government of Australia; it is the site of Parliament House, the High Court and numerous government departments and agencies. The most important social and cultural institutions of national significance, as well as seats of global companies and banks are located in this city.
Canberra locationThe city lies at the coordinates: 35°18'29" South 149°07'28" East.
Canberra covers an area of 814.2 square kilometers (314.3 sq mi) and is located near the mountain ranges of Brindabella, approximately 150 kilometers (93 mi) inland from Australia's eastern coast. It has an elevation of approximately 580 metres (1,900 ft); the highest point is Mount Majura at 888 meters (2,913 ft). There are several large hills in the surroundings of the city: Mount Taylor, Mount Ainslie, Mount Mugga and Black Mountain.
The urban area of the city of Canberra sprawls across the Ginninderra plain, Molonglo plain, the Limestone plain, and the Tuggeranong plain. The Molonglo River flowing across the Molonglo plain forms an artificial lake that has changed the landscape and has become a place for picnics and relaxation of the Canberra residents. Lake Burley Griffin has added a special value to the whole city.
Canberra weatherCanberra has a relatively dry continental climate with hot summers and rather cold winters. Summers are dry and hot, winters are chilly with heavy fog and frequent frosts. Snow is rare in the city but not in the surrounding areas and in the mountains.
The average maximum temperature is 19.7°C (67°F); the average minimum temperature is 6.5°C (44°F). The highest recorded maximum temperature was 42.2°C (108.0°F) on 1st of February 1968. The lowest recorded minimum temperature was -10°C (14.0°F) on 11th of July 1971. Snowfalls are rare, only once or twice a year and dissolve fast. The mountain ranges, especially the Brindabella range in the west, protect the city and its valleys from the harsh weather.
Annual rainfall is the third lowest of the capital cities amounting to 616.4 mm (243 in), but the rain is evenly spread throughout the seasons, with the highest rainfall in late spring. Only Adelaide and Hobart have less rain. Thunderstorms occur mostly between October and April. The winds are not very strong in this area, the strongest winds blow from August to November. Canberra is less humid than the nearby coastal areas.
The area of the present day Australian Capital had been inhabited by the native Australians before the Europeans settled there. Various native tribes were living in this area; the principal tribe were the Ngunnawal people. The natives inhabited rock shelters and caves, where rock engravings and paintings were found together with burial places, quarry sites and stone tools. According to these finds it is estimated that the natives were living at this site for at least 21,000 years.
After having explored the site, Europeans started settling the area as early as the 1820s. A station was built on the Acton Peninsula in 1824. The property was named Canberry.
The European population in the Canberra area increased slowly throughout the 19th century. The oldest surviving public building in the inner-city is the Anglican Church of St John the Baptist. St John's churchyard contains the earliest graves in the district.
On 12th of March 1913, the city was officially established as the Capital of Australia. Lady Denman, the wife of Governor-General Lord Denman has named it Canberra at a special ceremony. Canberra Day is a public holiday celebrated on the second Monday in March in honor of the Capital’s foundation in Canberra.
Canberra tourist attractionsCanberra is home to many national monuments and institutions such as the Australian War Memorial, the National Gallery of Australia, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Library, the National Archives, the Australian Academy of Science and the National Museum. Many Commonwealth government buildings in Canberra are open to the public, including Parliament House, the High Court and the Royal Australian Mint.
Lake Burley Griffin is the site of the Captain James Cook Memorial and the National Carillon. Other sites of interest include the Black Mountain Tower, the Australian National Botanic Gardens, the National Zoo and Aquarium, the National Dinosaur Museum and Questacon – the National Science and Technology Center.
Blundells' Cottage, built around 1860, is one of the few remaining buildings built by the first European settlers of Canberra.
Stonefest at the University of Canberra is a famous two-day music festival. There are numerous bars and nightclubs which also offer live entertainment, particularly concentrated in the areas of Dickson, Kingston and the city. Popular cultural events include the National Folk Festival, the Royal Canberra Show, the Summernats car festival, the Canberra Multicultural Festival in February and the Celebrate Canberra festival held over 10 days in March, occurring together with Canberra Day.