Canberra Quick Facts
Did you know…
- The Ngunnawal are the indigenous people of the Canberra region. The neighbouring people are the Gundungurra to the north, the Ngarigo to the south, the Yuin on the coast and the Wiradjuri inland. Indigenous people have been living here for at least 30,000 years.
- One of the reasons why the Canberra area was chosen as the site for the National Capital was that residents generally lived long and healthy lives. When the selection process commenced, at the turn of the twentieth century, both Sydney and Melbourne had outbreaks of the plague and the climate was hot and humid, and prone to fevers. Therefore, one of the criteria for the National Capital site was a bracing climate.
- In October 1908 the Seat of Government Bill passed both Houses of the Federal Parliament. On 7 December 1909 the Surrender Bill ceding the area to the Commonwealth passed both Houses of the New South Wales State Parliament. The Federal Capital Territory came into being on 1 January 1911. The name was changed to the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) in 1938.
- Harold Lasseter, famous for searching for a huge reef of gold in the Australian outback, lived in Canberra during the construction phase. He is listed in the 1928 Electoral Roll as a labourer living in a camp on Mount Pleasant. The electoral roll for 1928 was the first for the Federal Capital Territory, compiled for the first referendum - to vote to end prohibition of alcohol in Canberra.
- Sargent's Meat Pies were served at the opening of (Old) Parliament House
in 1927 -
about 10,000 were left over and buried near the site.
- In 1912, American architect Walter Burley Griffin won the international competition to design Australia's National Capital - until 1913 he'd never been to Australia.
- Sir Edmund Barton was the first Prime Minister of Australia (1901-1903). His statue stands in Kings Avenue on the approach to Parliament House.
- The area of the ACT is 2,356 square kilometres (910 square miles). It
85 kilometres north to south and about 35 kilometres wide.
- The Australian Capital Territory's floral emblem is the Royal Bluebell or Australian Bluebell (Wahlenbergia gloriosa). The Gang-Gang Cockatoo (Callocephalon fimbriatum) is the territory's bird emblem.
- There was a competition to name the Capital. Some of the names proposed were Kangaremu, Eucalypta and Swindleville. Luckily the name 'Canberra' was chosen.
- There are many Canberra suburbs named after explorers
- COOK - Captain James Cook 1728-1779
- FORREST - John Forrest 1847-1918 and Alexander Forrest 1849-1901
- HUME Hamilton Hume 1797-1873
- MAWSON Sir Douglas Mawson 1882-1958