Mapping the Capital
Celebrating 100 Years of the Scrivener Survey of Canberra

In December 1908 the Australian Parliament chose Yass-Canberra as the location for the Australian national capital. A Capital Choice Teacherís Resource provides background information to this decision.

Following the selection of the site for the national capital, the next step was to survey and map the area. In early 1909 surveyor Charles Robert Scrivener was given the tasks of mapping the federal territory and identifying the location for the new city.

How did Scrivener and his team undertake this task in the early 1900s? What tools did they use?

Through images, historical objects and documents the exhibition explores how Scrivener and his team completed the task.

The resulting contour survey map produced by Scrivener was the foundation for the building of the national capital. It was a vital document for the competition to design the capital city. Some of Scrivenerís recommendations for planning the city can be seen in place today.

Through an interactive display, compare and contrast Scrivenerís contour survey map with Walter Burley Griffinís plan, an aerial photograph and a contemporary contour survey map of Canberra.

MAPPING the CAPITAL is on display at the National Capital Exhibition.

Visit the Mapping the Capital exhibition in your classroom as part of the National Capital Exhibition online virtual tour.

A teacher's resource has been developed to assist with the presentation of the themes of the display to school students. Further activity sheets on surveying and mapping are available for secondary students.

Mapping the Capital links directly to the National Capital Authority's primary education kit, The Story of our Nation's Capital and secondary education kit, Reflections of a Nation.

Background information to the selection of the site can be found in the teacherís resource (A Capital Choice) and student activity sheets.