Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia
Canberra means “meeting place” which was derived off of the Ngunnawal/Ngabri Aborigine word “Kambera” or “Canberry”. The region was used by the Nagbri as a point of reference during their seasonal migrations to corroborees held in the local. Pre-European the region was seasonally inhabited by the Indigenous such as the Ngarigo/Ngunnawal, the Wandandian, the Walgulu, the Gandangara, and the Wiradjuri. Evidence of rock art, rock shelters, burials, lithic scatters, camps, and quarry sites litter the landscape with cultural histories of these peoples for upwards of 21,000 BP. Europeans came to the area around the early 1800’s with the first expeditions between 1820-1824. The first homesteading done by stockmen who were employed by Joshua John Moore who purchased his site in 1826 calling his ranch “Canberry”. The Campbell family of “Duntroon” moved to the area sponsoring settlements of families to work their land including the “Weetangera” Southwells. The Murrays and the Gibbes were other big popular family names moving to the area. Disputes of where to place the national capital between Melbourne and Sydney eventually rested with a compromise for Canberra to be the location. This location was built in New South Wales. The region was eventually broken out to be its own Territory as the “Australian Capital Territory” to represent the Federal Government. In 1927 the Federal legislature moved to the area and setup the Provisional Parliament House. From 1920-1957, the city was expanded by the Federal Capital Advisory Committee, the Federal Capital Commission, and the National Capital Planning and Development Commitee which without Griffin’s presence led to what inefficiencies that Canberra now has. Due to this, by end of war time, Canberra was accused of being a ugly collection of buildings within a disorganized village or as “several suburbs in search of a city”. This eventually changed with later developments and the city was finally awarded for its layout especially with the construction of its monuments, sculptures, and University. Australia’s 8th largest city and its largest inland city, with a population of over 323,056 people, Canberra is located at the northern end of the ACT, 2 1/2 hours southwest of Sydney, and 8 hours northeast of Melbourne. It is the Capital of Australia and the ACT. Formed as a compromise between rivaling Melbourne and Sydney it was also one of Australia’s most “planned” cities. Designed by the World Famous Chicago architects Walter Burley Griffin with Marion Mahony Griffin in 1913 to be a entirely “planned” city featuring geometric motifs such as hexagons, circles, triangles, and axes aligned with significant topographical landmarks as its basic layout that was influenced by the garden city movement with the incorporation of significant areas of natural vegetation. They assigned spiritual values to the landmarks such as Mount Ainslie, Red Hill, and Black Mountain based on the flowers found on them. This is one of the reasons Canberra is called the “Bush Capital”. Canberra didn’t fully grow through its history as impacts from the Great Depression, the World Wars, and planning disputes but saw a major growth spurt after those events. Canberra is the seat of Australia’s Government where most of the governmental houses, buildings, and offices are located. It is home to the Parliament House as well as the High Court. Culturally it is home to the Australian National Museum, Australian Institute of Sports, the National Gallery, the National Library, the Australian War Memorial, and the Australian National University. Urban Canberra is organized into areas of group centers, local suburbs, town centers, districts, industrial areas, and villages. Canberra has seven residential areas known as Canberra Central, Tuggeranong, Woden Valley, Molonglo Valley, Belconnen, Weston Creek, and Gungahlin. A good portion of Canberra’s working class consists of public servants with the Government being the chief employer for the city causing a lower unemployment rate and average higher income than the national average. Typical crimes plaguing the area are motor vehicle theft and unlawful entry with intent. The Aboriginal Tent Embassy was established on the Parliament House grounds in 1972 to draw attention to indigenous rights and land issues. It has continuously been occupied since 1992. Canberra is a sister-city with Nara, Japan and Beijing, China involving numersou exchange activities. Canberra sees relatively dry warm to hot summers and cold winters. Sites of Interest besides the National Gallery, Library, Museum, University, and Government buildings are the Lake Burley Griffin with its Capain James Cook Memorial, the National Carillon, the Black Mountain Tower, the Australian National Botanical Gardens, the National Zoo, the Aquarium, the National Dinosaur Museum, and Questacon – the National Science and Technology Center. Every book published in Australia is required to have a copy in the National Library here. Numerous bars and nightclubs with live entertainment populate the night life with numerous festivals, community theater, and a cinema found in each of the town centers.
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