Living in Canberra
Canberra is the capital of Australian Capital Territory and the capital of Australia. It has a population of around 380,000 people, making it the eighth biggest city in Australia. But it is Australia’s biggest inland city. What does that mean?
We’ll get to that in a minute. First, a little history. Early in the 1900’s, the Commonwealth of Australia was formed and the search was on for somewhere to call Australia’s capital.
The story goes that both Sydney and Melbourne wanted the job, but because of the fierce rivalry between the two, some wise men decided to go for somewhere in between. It ended up being Canberra, not quite in the middle, and the town was built almost from scratch.
World War One slowed things up a bit but by 1927, federal government had moved in. Further development didn’t pick up speed until about 1950, thanks to the Second World War. It is pretty much all finished now, and it’s what is called a “planned city”. It didn’t grow naturally, everything was worked out before it was all started.
At the centre of the city is the artificial Lake Burley Griffin, named after the Chicago architects who designed the city. It is good for rowing, fishing and sailing but it’s really not suitable for swimming.
So, still no beach!
But if beaches are your thing, don’t despair. You will need to drive for around 150 km, which will take you a couple of hours (ouch) before you reach the Tasman Sea on Australia’s south east coast. There you will be able to choose from the beautiful Bateman’s Bay, or the nearby beaches at Durras, Maloney’s Beach or Surf Beach.
But if beaches ARE your thing, you probably wouldn’t want to live in Canberra.
Canberra’s biggest employer, easily, is the federal government. Unless you are going to be working for them, it’s difficult, as far as I can see, to make a case for moving to Canberra. Perhaps somebody who does live in Canberra, and loves it there, can get in touch with me and tell me why I am wrong.
Whilst Canberra is described as an “outdoors” place, most sources quote the top attractions as being the National Gallery and Old Parliament House. But Canberra is also home to the Australian Institute of Sport, a world class training facility that churns out our Australian sporting hero’s.
What’s the weather like?
As you can see from the weather chart, Canberra is distinctly colder than most other major cities in Australia. Winters really are winters.
Occasionally it snows in Canberra, but not very often. The nearest ski resort to Canberra is probably Selwyn Snowfields, about 90 kms away.
Severe weather that can affect the area include bushfires and flash flooding along with the usual gale force winds.
West Canberra consists mainly of forest.
Here’s a map of the area…..
Canberra can be divided into four main areas…..
- Inner Canberra – including City and Inner North Canberra and Inner South Canberra
- North Canberra – including Outer North West and Outer North
- South Canberra – including Mid South West and Mid South
- East Canberra – includes Wamboin, but NOT Queanbeyan, (which I originally suggested) as some in the comments have pointed out. That town is just over the border in New South Wales.
Questions about Canberra?
If you have any question about living in Canberra, please please feel free to ask them in the comments below. Or if you know this city well, why not tell us what you think of it or maybe even help out by answering some of the questions people have about the area. I’m sure anybody thinking of moving here would be very grateful for any help you can give them.