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Unit 2 - Creation of a Nation

Lesson plan
Activity - Location, Location


Section 125 of the Australian Constitution provided for a National Capital. In 1902, members of the Federal Parliament began inspections of possible sites. Factors influencing the choice of site included: good permanent water, pleasant outlook, an existing lake or possibility of one, flat land (because it would be cheaper to build on) and a large area for military manoeuvres. The site also had to be inland, to reduce the risk of attack on the National Capital from foreign invaders approaching from the sea. In total, 35 sites in New South Wales were considered, and in 1908 the Federal Parliament passed the Seat of Government Act that declared the capital of Australia would be situated in the Yass-Canberra district.


Students will make an informed choice on the preferred location for Australia's National Capital by referring to a list of selection criteria and a map.


  • understand and successfully complete a set of instructions
  • understand the political and physical process involved in finding a suitable site for the National Capital
  • understand that parameters are often established to ensure basic community requirements are met
  • choose a site for the National Capital and justify their decision
  • actively participate in an informal class discussion


Exhibit title - The Search for a Site
Location - Creation of a Nation, section 4

This activity relates to a large map on the wall of the National Capital Exhibition in section 4.


  • student activity sheet
  • Location, Location map


  1. Introduce the topic by setting the scene with the class.
  2. Hand out the activity sheet and Location, Location map.
  3. Discuss with the class the selection criteria requirements on the activity sheet.
    Selection criteria
    • at least 100 miles from the ocean
    • at least 100 miles from any major city
    • good permanent water supply
    • pleasant outlooks from nearby hills
    • existing lake, or possibility of creating one by damming a creek
    • flat land
    • a large area for military manoeuvres
    • nearby forests for harvesting wood
    • limestone deposits for construction
    • nearby crude oil deposits
    • a blustery area for wind farms
    • a cool climate
  4. Discuss why these requirements are important for choosing a site for a major city.
  5. Point out to the students there is not a right or wrong answer for the final chosen location, but certain infrastructure may be lacking based on their final decision (eg. not enough fresh water nearby or not enough limestone to help construct dwellings).
  6. Once students have finalised their decision, they can colour in their Location, Location map and present their project to the rest of the class.
  7. This activity can be easily adapted for group participation.