Canberra is the capital city of Australia. The site of Canberra was selected for the location of the nation’s capital in 1908 as a compromise between age-old rivals Sydney and Melbourne, Australia’s two largest cities. It is unusual among Australian cities, being an entirely purpose-built, planned city. Following an international contest for the city’s design, a design by the Chicago architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin was selected and construction commenced in 1913. The city’s design was heavily influenced by the garden city movement and incorporates significant areas of natural vegetation that have earned Canberra the title “bush capital”. Although the growth and development of Canberra were hindered by the World Wars and the Great Depression, it emerged as a thriving city after World War II.
Burley Griffin’s plan was Gazetted as the Official Plan in 1918. Griffin proposed a central area featuring a series of artificially modelled lake basins and a land axis extending from Mount Ainslie, through the centre of a group of government buildings and the Capital.
As the seat of the government of Australia, Canberra is the site of Parliament House, the High Court of Australia and numerous government departments and agencies. It is also the location of many social and cultural institutions of national significance, such as the National Gallery of Australia and the National Museum of Australia.