Living in Canberra Australia

Population: Approximately 320,000 residents

Founded: 1911

Canberra is Australia’s capital. It was established as an antidote to the great rivalries between Sydney and Melbourne. In a meeting of representatives from all Australian states in 1889 all agreed that there was a need to establish a common capital. Only in 1906 did they manage to decide on a location that was more or less equally far from both Sydney and Melbourne. The new territory was officially declared on January 1, 1911, and included 2,365 square kilometers. In May of the same year an international contest for architects was held with the aim of designing Australia’s capital. In May 1912, the winner was announced. It was a well-known architect from Chicago, USA, named Walter Berly Griffin. His architectural plan was splendid. Griffin planned to put Capitol Hill in the center, with wide avenues running from the Hill round about, each carrying the name of another capital and going into the direction of the named city. Canberra was planned around three main routes. The inland route leading from Mt. Aynsley to Capitol Hill, the water route crossing the Black Mountains via an artificial lake (for which a large dam was built in the area), and finally, the urban route along the coastline from town to Russell Hill. By connecting the starting points of all three routes with an imaginary line the result is a huge triangle.

In 1979, it was decided that a permanent Parliament should be built. Since the plans were already very old another international architects’ contest was announced for the new parliament. In June 1980, a New York company won. After almost a decade of building and spending 1.1 billion Australian dollars the new parliament was opened in May 1988.

Living in Cannberra – Attractions

The Embassies Area – The Australian government made sure that each state would build their embassy in a style representative of their country. Now you can marvel at the marble columns of the Greek embassy, a thatch roofed building of Papua New Guinea’s embassy, a temple-like structure of the Indian embassy etc. All the embassies are located in one area making it easy to walk around and see them all.

The new parliament building was finished and only moved into in recent years. It is a strange and disappointing structure at first glance – a green hill with built-in windows and a strange iron tower on top. The architectural aim was to represent the Australian connection with earth, a gesture to the aborigines. At second glance if you go to the other side of the hill you will see the building in all its splendor.

Mt. Aynsley which is close by, provides a great view of the city both day and night.

All government offices and formal institutions are concentrated in Canberra so you can find for example the National Archives, Heroism Avenue (lined with memorial statues for fallen soldiers in each battle and war), and the Memorial Museum of Fallen Heroes. Although most government workers have to work in Canberra this does not mean that they have to spend the weekend there. Every weekend the mass workforce return to their homes in the big cities. As a result nightlife is not one of the strong points of Canberra.More about Canberra on the official site of Australia.