Portal:Australian Capital Territory

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Introduction

Canberra, viewed from Mount Ainslie
Canberra, viewed from Mount Ainslie
Flag of Australian Capital Territory
Coat of Arms of the Australian Capital Territory
Location within Australia

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT; known as the Federal Capital Territory until 1938) is Australia's federal district, located in the south-east of the country and enclaved within the state of New South Wales. It contains Canberra, the capital city of Australia.

Geographically, the territory is bounded by the Goulburn-Cooma railway line in the east, the watershed of Naas Creek in the south, the watershed of the Cotter River in the west, and the watershed of the Molonglo River in the north-east. These boundaries were set to give the ACT an adequate water supply. The Jervis Bay Territory, around the southern end of the Beecroft Peninsula, which is the northern headland of Jervis Bay, is also governed as if it were part of the ACT.

The need for a national territory was flagged by colonial delegates during the Federation conventions of the late 19th century. Section 125 of the Australian Constitution provided that, following Federation in 1901, land would be ceded freely to the new Federal Government. The territory was transferred to the Commonwealth by the state of New South Wales in 1911, two years prior to the naming of Canberra as the national capital in 1913. The floral emblem of the ACT is the royal bluebell and the bird emblem is the gang-gang cockatoo.

The economic activity of the Australian Capital Territory is heavily concentrated around Canberra. A stable housing market, steady employment and rapid population growth in the 21st century have led to economic prosperity and in 2011 CommSec ranked the ACT as the second best performing economic region in the country. This trend continued into 2016, when the territory was ranked the third best performing out of all of Australia's states and territories. There is a higher proportion of young adults in the region compared with other Australian states or territories. Approximately one-fifth of ACT residents were born outside Australia, mainly in the United Kingdom. Almost one-fifth speak a language other than English at home, the most common being Chinese.

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Overlooking Lake Burley Griffin, with Captain Cook Fountain in the distance
Lake Burley Griffin is an artificial lake in the centre of Canberra, Australia's federal capital city. It was created in 1963 after the Molonglo River, which ran between the city centre and Parliamentary Triangle, was dammed. It is named after Walter Burley Griffin, the architect who won the design competition for the city of Canberra.

The lake is located in the approximate geographic centre of the city, according to Griffin's original designs. Numerous important institutions, such as the National Gallery of Australia, National Museum of Australia, National Library of Australia and the High Court of Australia lie on its shores, and Parliament House is a short distance away. Its surrounds are also quite popular with recreational users, particularly in the warmer months. Though swimming in the lake is uncommon, it is used for a wide variety of other activities, such as rowing, fishing, and sailing.

The lake's flow is regulated by the 33 metre tall Scrivener Dam, which is designed to handle a once in 5000 year flood event. If required in times of drought, water levels can be maintained through the release of water from Googong Dam, located on an upstream tributary of the Molonglo River.

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Joshua John Moore

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Lake Burley Griffin in the foreground, Commonwealth Place and Old Parliament House in the middle, and Parliament House in the background
Credit: Adz

Parliament House is the meeting place of the Parliament of Australia. It is located in Canberra, the capital of Australia. It was opened on 9 May 1988 by Queen Elizabeth II. Its construction cost was over $1.1 billion. Prior to 1988, the Parliament of Australia met in the Provisional Parliament House, which is now known as "Old Parliament House".

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