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Unit 4 - On Behalf of the Nation

Lesson plan
Activity - Greetings from Canberra


Australia's National Capital is a place for national protest, celebration and commemoration. As the political pulse of the nation, Canberra hosts regular visits from international w orld leaders and heads of state. Yet the city has so much to offer the visitor. It is certainly the political hub - but Australia's National Capital is now a leading city of ideas and innovation, excellence in the arts, education and sport. It is home to national events, national celebrations, national memories and national treasures. But most importantly, this is a city that can be truly called ‘the heart of the nation'.


Students design a postcard promoting Canberra as Australia's National Capital.


  • engage in group discussion (optional)
  • understand the positive role Canberra plays as Australia's National Capital
  • generate a sympathetic understanding of the symbolic and administrative roles of the National Capital
  • create symbols and justify their meaning whilst referring to Canberra as Australia's National Capital


Exhibit title - Cement Blocks
Location - The Human Landscape, section 1

Exhibit title - What is a National Capital?
Location - Creation of a Nation, section 4

Exhibit title - Walter Burley Griffin's Winning Plan
Location - The Ideal City, section 5

Exhibit title - The Parliament of Australia
Location - On Behalf of the Nation, section 8

This activity relates to a number of exhibits within the National Capital Exhibition which reinforce the positive role Canberra portrays as the National Capital.


  • student activity sheet
  • cardboard
  • colour pencils
  • scissors
  • glue or sticky tape
  • additional craft materials for decoration


  1. Introduce the topic by setting the scene with the class.
  2. Students answer a list of questions (refer to activity sheet) that allow them to express their personal feelings and thoughts on their National Capital. This can also be adapted to a group discussion coordinated by the teacher.
    Questions include:
    • Does Australia need a National Capital? Explain your answer.
    • How has Canberra shaped Australia's history?
    • Should people visit the National Capital? Explain your answer.
    • Would you like to visit the National Capital? Explain your answer.
    • What role does Australia's National Capital play in the present day?
    • What words best describe Canberra?
  3. Students design a modern or historic postcard based on images and information they research and identify as being ‘Canberra' and/or ‘National Capital'. A catchy slogan should also be included.
  4. On conclusion of the activity, the postcards can be put on display