History of the National Capital Exhibition
Regatta Point, Canberra
In early 1962, the National Capital Development Commission (NCDC), the National Capital Authority's predecessor organisation, decided that there was a need for an observation point to allow the public to watch the construction of Lake Burley Griffin and Commonwealth Bridge. Richard Clough, NCDC landscape architect, designed an enclosed octagonal pavillion as a viewing platform above the slope of a hill at Regatta Point.
In November 1962 the pavillion was updated to house an exhibition based on the development of the National Capital. The exhibition and surrounding vistas of the Lake were to be viewed by the Queen during her visit to the National Capital on 11 March 1963. The following day, the pavillion was used for a ministerial reception, and then opened to the general public.
It was originally planned that the Exhibition housed within the building
would be closed on
30 June 1963 to make way for a restaurant. The closing date, however, was extended on numerous occasions and the pavillion became a permanent exhibition about the building of Canberra.
In 2000 the National Capital Exhibition had a major upgrade with new interactive displays, and on 2 November 2000, the Hon. John Howard MP officially reopened the facility.
Redevelopment of the building was undertaken to meet increasing visitor numbers and to offer an updated and interactive educational experience for student groups and their teachers. The upgrade included an extension to the northwest, a new pedestrian forecourt, the Exhibition shop and a Parliamentary Zone viewing terrace. Improved visitor facilities were added to the inside of the Exhibition, including new audio-visual presentations and an update to the popular 3D laser model.
The Exhibition continues to be one of the most popular destinations for school groups visiting Canberra, with over 60,000 students passing through its doors each year.
The National Capital Exhibition is open from 9am to 5pm daily, except Christmas Day, and admission is free. Group bookings are essential and guided tours are offered as part of the overall experience. Students are encouraged to interact with Exhibition staff and volunteers and to participate in discussions relating to what their National Capital means to them.