History of Canberra
Our city was founded on innovation and future thinking.
When Australia became a federation in 1901, the nation needed to create a new capital city. After a long selection process the site where Canberra now stands was finally chosen in 1908. Located on the ancient lands of the Ngunnawal Aboriginal people the site was favoured for its clean air, good water supply and an invigorating climate.
In 1911 an international design competition was conducted to find a truly unique blueprint for Australia's capital city. The winning design was submitted by Walter and Marion Burley Griffin, architects from Chicago who based their designs on a ‘garden city’ that would evolve and grow.
Today their vision of a people-oriented city blending the built and natural environments, still guides the development of Canberra.
On 12 March 1913 our capital was officially named Canberra, thought to mean 'meeting place', derived from the Aboriginal name Kamberra.
The Federal Parliament sat in Canberra for the first time in 1927 and in 1988 the ACT became a self-governing jurisdiction, combining state and municipal government functions.