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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View from the top of Mount Ginini, Namadgi National Park
Namadgi National Park is located in the southwestern part of the Australian Capital Territory, bordering Kosciuszko National Park in New South Wales. It lies approximately 40 km southwest of Canberra, and makes up approximately 46% of the ACT's land area.

The park protects part of the northern end of the Australian Alps with its spectacular granite mountains. Its habitat ranges from grassy plains over snow gum forests to alpine meadows. The fauna is also varied: Eastern Grey Kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, magpies, rosellas and ravens are commonly seen. The water catchment area of the park supplies approximately 85 per cent of Canberra's water.

In this sub-alpine region the weather ranges from cold winter nights to warm summer days, and it can change very quickly. Snow normally falls on the Bimberi and Brindabella Ranges during winter, and is not uncommon throughout most of the park. The highest mountain is Bimberi Peak (1911 m) which is the highest peak in the Australian Capital Territory. There are numerous Aboriginal sites in the park including paintings at Yankee Hat dating from at least 800 years ago. The area is one of cultural significance to indigenous Australian people of the Australian Alps region, and in particular the Ngunnawal, and the park's management plan is exercised with their consultation.

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View of Canberra, Australia's capital city from the Telstra Tower on Black Mountain
Credit: Martyman

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.

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