Canberra is the capital city of Australia. The city is located in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), an enclave in the south-east of New South Wales.
Canberra was established in 1913 as the capital for the newly federated Australian nation. The ACT was excised from New South Wales and put under the control of the federal government. The creation of the planned city was not without critics who claimed it was a "waste of a good sheep pasture".
Canberra's design was conceived by the American architects Walter Burley and Marion Mahony Griffin, built on the shores of an artificial lake (Lake Burley Griffin). Populated at first largely by politicians and public servants, it took time to develop its own identity and culture. Extensive building of national facilities and a concerted effort to develop public institutions in the city have made it an interesting destination.
Lake Burley Griffin divides central Canberra. The central shopping and commercial area, known as "Civic", on the north side and the parliamentary triangle and embassy area is on the south side. National institutions are likewise divided, examples being the National Museum of Australia and the Australian War Memorial on the north side and the National Library and National Gallery of Australia on the south side.
There are suburbs surrounding central Canberra, and also suburbs surrounding several outlying town centres. These town centres are, Belconnen and Gungahlin to the
north, and Tuggeranong and Woden to the south. The ACT also has surrounding towns, such as Murrumbateman. which boasts a strong cool climate wine selection. The historic village of Hall is also on the outskirts of Canberra.
It has a population of about 350,000 people (400,000 including adjoining Queanbeyan ).
Australian Capital Territory follows the same time as New South Wales that surrounds it. It's 10 hours ahead of GMT (UTC+10) and 11 hours ahead (UTC+11) during daylight saving (first Sunday in October and ends the first Sunday in April).
Many people who live in Canberra are not originally from Canberra, having usually moved there to study or take up employment with the Australian Government. A common pattern is that people from other parts of Australia move to Canberra, study or work for a few years and then return to their place of origin or move on to elsewhere. As this means a constant influx of new arrivals to Canberra, you should not be reluctant to ask for directions and the like from locals - they are more than used to it and usually only too happy to help.
Canberrans on the whole are easygoing, friendly and tolerant people who have the highest levels of education and income in Australia.
Ethnically, Canberra's population is more diverse than most regional areas of Australia, but nowhere near as culturally and linguistically varied as Sydney and Melbourne.