Canberra, a brief history

A short explanation of our unique and modern capital.

With the formation of the Commonwealth of Australia 1901 came the need for a capital city. The solution was to build a new city partway between the vying and vigorously growing state capitals of Sydney and Melbourne. A site was chosen on the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales for the Australian Capital Territory and a competition was held for the design of the new city. The winning architect was American Walter Burley Griffin and the foundation stone for Canberra was laid in 1913 then war intervened.

Melbourne was the interim capital until Government House and Parliament House were completed in Canberra in 1927. New Parliament House was opened in 1988, the bicentennial year of European settlement. Quite possibly the most outstanding feature of New Parliament House is the lawn that covers the roof and symbolically allows the people to walk over the building thus being higher than their government*.

The lawns on Parliament House roof prior to the erection of security fencing, a great spot for the kids to roll. Image By Nick-D – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Sadly, in the interest of security we can no longer walk, run and roll across that symbolic lawn but we live in hope that one day the world will be a better place and we can again.

Parliament_House_Canberra by Ryan Wick
Parliament House, Canberra. Image By Ryan Wick –, CC BY 2.0,


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