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Location of Canberra
Coordinates 35°18′ S 149°08′ E
Location ACT
Mayor {{{mayor}}}
Area 805.6 km²
Time zone
• Summer ( DST)
AEST ( UTC+10)
AEDT ( UTC+11)
• 2004
• Density

323,645 ( 8th)
Canberra is the capital city of Australia and with a population of just over 323,000 is Australia's largest inland city. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory, 300 km southwest of Sydney, and 650 km north-east of Melbourne. Canberra was selected as the location of the nation's capital in 1908 as a compromise between Sydney and Melbourne and is unusual amongst Australian capital cities as an entirely purpose-built, planned city. Following an international contest for the city's design, a design by Chicago architect Walter Burley 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 was hindered by the World Wars and the Great Depression, it emerged as a thriving city post-World War II.As Australia's seat of government, Canberra is the site of Parliament House, the High Court of Australia and numerous government departments; it is also the location of numerous social and cultural institutions of national significance. The federal government contributes the largest percentage of Gross State Product and is the largest employer in Canberra. Canberra is also a popular destination for domestic and international tourists.For most Australians the city's name is pronounced in two syllables as either /ˈkæn.bɹə/ or /ˈkæm.bɹə/. A minority pronounce it /ˈkæn.bə.ɹə/ and a few use /kæn.ˈbe.ɹə/, although the last is generally considered incorrect.

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History - Contents

Blundells' Cottage, built in the 1860s, is one of the few remaining buildings built by the first European settlers of Canberra.
Blundells' Cottage, built in the 1860s, is one of the few remaining buildings built by the first European settlers of Canberra.
Before European settlement, the area in which Canberra would eventually be constructed was seasonally inhabited by the Ngunnawal and Walgalu tribes. The Ngarigo lived south-east of the Canberra area, the Gundungurra to the north, the Yuin on the coast and the Wiradjuri to the west. Archaeological evidence from the Canberra region suggests human habitation of the area for at least 21,000 years. The word "Canberra" is said to be derived from the name of the local Ngabri people, one of the Ngunnawal family groups, or alternatively from the word Kambera meaning "meeting place" in the Ngunnawal language. The Ngunnawal name was apparently used as a reference to corroborees held during the seasonal migration of the Ngunawal people to feast on the Bogong moths that pass through the region each spring.European exploration and settlement started in the Canberra area as early as the 1820s. There were four expeditions between 1820 and 1824. White settlement of the area probably dates from 1824, when a homestead or station was built on what is now the Acton peninsula by stockmen employed by Joshua John Moore. He formally purchased the site in 1826, and named the property Canberry. The European population in the Canberra area continued to grow slowly throughout the 19th century. Foremost among them was the Campbell family of "Duntroon"; their imposing stone house is now the officers' mess of the Royal Military College, Duntroon. The Campbells sponsored settlement by other Scottish farmer families to work their land, such as the Southwells of " Weetangera". As the European presence increased, the indigenous population dwindled, mainly from disease such as smallpox and measles.
Opening of Parliament House in May 1927.
Opening of Parliament House in May 1927.
The district's change from a New South Wales (NSW) rural area to the national capital started during debates over Federation in the late 19th century. Following a long dispute over whether Sydney or Melbourne should be the national capital, a compromise was reached: Melbourne would be the capital on a temporary basis while a new capital was built somewhere between Sydney and Melbourne. Canberra was chosen as the site in 1908, as a result of survey work done by the government surveyor Charles Scrivener. The NSW government ceded the Federal Capital Territory (as it was then known) to the federal government. In an international design competition conducted by the Department of Home Affairs, on 1 January 1910, the design of Walter Burley Griffin was chosen for the city, and in 1913 Griffin was appointed Federal Capital Director of Design and Construction and construction began. On 12 March 1913, the city was officially given its name by Lady Denman, the wife of the then Governor-General Lord Denman at a ceremony at Kurrajong Hill, which has since become Capital Hill and the site of the present Parliament House. Canberra Day is a public holiday observed in the ACT on the third Monday in March to celebrate the founding of Canberra.
Two of Canberra's best-known landmarks, Parliament House and Old Parliament House (foreground). Commonwealth Place runs alongside the lake and includes the International Flag Display.
Two of Canberra's best-known landmarks, Parliament House and Old Parliament House (foreground). Commonwealth Place runs alongside the lake and includes the International Flag Display.
The federal government moved to Canberra on 9 May 1927, with the opening of the Provisional Parliament House. The Prime Minister, Stanley Bruce, had officially taken up residence in The Lodge a few days earlier. Planned development of the city slowed significantly during the depression of the 1930s and during World War II. Some projects planned for that time, for example, Roman Catholic and Anglican cathedrals, were never completed. The development of Canberra gained pace after the Second World War, and it has grown beyond the planners’ expectations since then. Several Government departments, together with public servants, were moved to Canberra from Melbourne following the war. Government housing projects were undertaken to accommodate the city's growing population. Parts of Canberra's north and south were further developed in the 1950s, and urban development in the districts of Woden Valley and Belconnen commenced in the mid and late 1960s, respectively. Lake Burley Griffin was completed in 1963.On 27 January 1972 the Aboriginal Tent Embassy was first established on the grounds of Parliament House; it was created to draw attention to indigenous rights and land issues and has been continuously occupied since 1992. On 9 May 1988, a larger and permanent Parliament House was opened on Capital Hill as part of Australia's bicentenary celebrations, and the Federal Parliament moved there from the Provisional Parliament House, now known as Old Parliament House. In December 1988, the ACT was granted full self-government through an Act of the Commonwealth Parliament. Following the first elections in February 1989, a 17-member Legislative Assembly sat at its offices in London Circuit, Civic, on 11 May 1989. The Australian Labor Party formed the ACT's first government, led by the Chief Minister Rosemary Follett, who made history as Australia's first female head of government.On 18 January 2003, parts of Canberra were engulfed by a bushfire that killed four people and destroyed 491 homes and the major research telescopes and workshop at the Australian National University's Mount Stromlo Observatory.

Geography - Contents

The location of Canberra within the ACT, Canberra's seven districts are shown in yellow, they are North Canberra, South Canberra, Woden Valley, Belconnen, Weston Creek, Tuggeranong, and Gungahlin.
The location of Canberra within the ACT, Canberra's seven districts are shown in yellow, they are North Canberra, South Canberra, Woden Valley, Belconnen, Weston Creek, Tuggeranong, and Gungahlin.
Canberra covers an area of 805.6 km² and is located near the Brindabella Ranges, approximately 150 km inland from Australia's east coast. It is located at altitudes that range from 550 m to 700 m above sea level. The highest point is Mount Majura at 888 m. Other large hills include Mt Taylor, Mt Ainslie, Mt Mugga Mugga and Black Mountain. The surrounding bushland and the original bushland that Canberra was built in is a mixture of eucalyptus savanna, scrubland, swamp and dry eucalyptus forests.The Molonglo River flows through Canberra and has been dammed to form the body of water in the centre of the city called Lake Burley Griffin. The Molonglo then flows into the Murrumbidgee north-west of Canberra, which in turn flows north-west toward the New South Wales town of Yass. The Queanbeyan River joins the Molonglo River at Oaks Estate just within the ACT. A number of creeks, including Jerrabomberra and Yarralumla Creeks, flow into the Molonglo and Murrumbidgee. Two of these creeks, the Ginninderra and Tuggeranong, have similarly been dammed to form Lakes Ginninderra and Tuggeranong. Until recently the Molonglo had a history of sometimes lethal floods; the area was a flood plain prior to the filling of Lake Burley Griffin.

Because of its elevation and distance from the coast, Canberra has four distinct seasons. The climates of most Australian coastal areas, which include all the state capital cities, are moderated by the sea. Canberra is notorious for hot, dry summers, and cold winters with heavy fog and frequent frosts, with occasional snow limited mostly to the surrounding ranges. According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, January is Canberra's hottest month, with a mean daily maximum temperature of 27.7 °C — the highest recorded maximum temperature was 42.2 °C on 1 February 1968. July is the coldest month, with a mean daily maximum of 11.2 °C and mean daily minimum of −0.2 °C. The lowest recorded minimum temperature is −10.0 °C on 11 July 1971. Light snow falls in the city in one out of approximately three winters but is usually not widespread and quickly dissipates. Thunderstorms can occur between October and March, and annual rainfall is 623 mm, with rainfall maximums in spring and summer (180.6 mm and 168.1 mm) and minimum in winter (128.1 mm). Autumn average rainfall is 146 mm.

Urban structure
Inner Canberra demonstrates some aspects of the Griffin plan, in particular the Parliamentary Triangle.
Inner Canberra demonstrates some aspects of the Griffin plan, in particular the Parliamentary Triangle.
Canberra is a planned city that was originally designed by Walter Burley Griffin, a major 20th century American architect. The city centre is laid out on two perpendicular axes: a water axis stretching along Lake Burley Griffin, and a ceremonial land axis stretching from Parliament House on Capital Hill north-eastward along ANZAC Avenue to the Australian War Memorial at the foot of Mt Ainslie. The area known as the Parliamentary Triangle is formed by three of Burley Griffin's axes, stretching from Capital Hill along Commonwealth Avenue to the Civic Centre around City Hill, along Constitution Avenue to the Defence precinct on Russell Hill, and along Kings Avenue back to Capital Hill.The urban areas of Canberra are divided into seven districts. In chronological order of development, they are:
  • North Canberra, mostly settled in the 1920s and '30s, with expansion up to the 1960s, now 15 suburbs
  • South Canberra, settled from the 1920s to '60s, 13 suburbs
  • Woden Valley, settled in 1963, 13 suburbs
  • Belconnen, first settled in 1967, 25 suburbs
  • Weston Creek, settled in 1969, 8 suburbs
  • Tuggeranong, settled in 1974, 19 suburbs
  • Gungahlin, settled in the early 1990s, 5 suburbs to date
View from Tuggeranong Hill, looking down into Tuggeranong Valley.
View from Tuggeranong Hill, looking down into Tuggeranong Valley.
Oaks Estate is a small suburb located near the ACT/NSW border; it is not part of any of the districts and has close ties with the neighbouring NSW town of Queanbeyan, of which it was originally a part before the ACT was separated from NSW in 1910. The North and South Canberra districts are based on Walter Burley Griffin's designs. The others are based on land contour design, each with a central shopping and commercial area known as the 'town centre'. The districts are typically separated from each other by natural parklands — some 30 Canberra Nature Parks in all. Although the urban development of Canberra after World War II did not follow Burley Griffin's plan, strict urban planning rules still govern the development in the city.Many of Canberra's suburbs are named after famous Australians, early settlers, or use Aboriginal words for their title. Street names typically follow a particular theme; for example, the streets of Duffy are named after Australian dams and weirs, and the streets of Page are named after biologists and naturalists. Most diplomatic missions are located in the suburbs of Yarralumla, Deakin and O'Malley. There are three light industrial areas: the suburbs of Fyshwick, Mitchell and Hume.

Governance - Contents

ACT Legislative Assembly & the statue Ethos (Tom Bass, 1961)
ACT Legislative Assembly
& the statue Ethos ( Tom Bass, 1961)
Outside Canberra, the Australian Capital Territory has no settlements larger than a village. The Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly performs the roles of both a city council and territory government. The Assembly consists of 17 members, elected from three districts using proportional representation. The three districts are Molongolo, Gininderra and Brindabella, which elect seven, five and five members, respectively. The Chief Minister is elected by the Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) and selects four MLAs to serve as Ministers to form an Executive, or cabinet. At the 2004 election the Australian Labor Party, headed by Chief Minister Jon Stanhope, won nine of the 17 seats and formed the ACT's first majority government. The Commonwealth Government retains some influence over the ACT government; the Commonwealth can overrule the laws of the territories, although this rarely happens, and its National Capital Authority is responsible for many aspects of the planning of Canberra's urban development and growth.The Australian Federal Police provides all of the police services of a state police force under a contractual agreement with the Australian Capital Territory Government. People who have been charged with offences are tried either in the ACT Magistrate's Court or, depending on the severity of the offence, the ACT Supreme Court. Prisoners can be held in remand at the Belconnen Remand Centre in the ACT; there are no prisons so people who have been sentenced to imprisonment serve their sentence in NSW. Courts such as a Small Claims Tribunal and a Family Court exist for civil law actions and other non-criminal legal matters.

Economy - Contents

Many Canberrans are employed by Government departments such as the Australian Treasury.
Many Canberrans are employed by Government departments such as the Australian Treasury.
As of July 2005, there are 182,000 employed people in Canberra, and although labour shortages have been reported in some sectors, the unemployment rate is only 3.3%, well below the national unemployment rate of 5.0%. As a result of low unemployment and substantial levels of public sector and commercial employment, Canberra has the highest mean weekly disposable income of any Australian capital city. The gross average weekly wage of a Canberra resident is ,173.10, compared with the Australia wide average of ,008.10. The median house price in Canberra as of June 2005 was 2,500, lower than Sydney and Melbourne but higher than all other capital cities. The median weekly rent paid by Canberra residents is higher than rents in all other states and territories. The city's main industry is government administration and defence, which accounted for 26.1% of Gross Territory Product in 2003–04 and employed over 40% of Canberra's workforce. The major public-sector employers in Canberra include the parliament, government departments such as Department of Defence, Finance, Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Treasury. A number of Australian Defence Force establishments are located in or near Canberra, most notably the Australian Defence Force headquarters and RAAF Fairbairn, which now almost exclusively services VIP flights. HMAS Harman is a naval communications centre located within Canberra that is being converted into a tri-service, multiuser depot.Property and business services, construction, health and community services, and education are other significant contributors to the economy of Canberra. A large amount of Australian and international visitors make tourism a significant contributor to the economy. The most popular seasons are spring and autumn; the annual Floriade spring flower display in September is a major attraction.

Demographics - Contents

Canberrans shopping at the weekly Old Bus Depot Markets, Kingston.
Canberrans shopping at the weekly Old Bus Depot Markets, Kingston.
As of 2003, the population of Canberra was 323,004 persons, and the city has a population density of 401.0 persons/km², which is dense with respect to other Australian cities. The 2001 census showed that 1.2% of Canberra's population were of indigenous origin and 21.6% were born overseas. The largest group of people born overseas came from English-speaking countries, led by England and then New Zealand. Significant numbers of immigrants have also come from Germany, Scotland, Italy and Vietnam. Recent immigrants have arrived from countries in east and south Asia. Most Canberrans are native speakers of English; many have a second language, the most common being Chinese, Italian and Croatian.Canberrans are relatively young, highly mobile, and well educated. The average age is 32 years, and only 8.3% of the population is aged over 65 years. Between 1996 and 2001, 61.9% of the population turned over which means that more than half of the population and moved to or from Canberra between census counts, which is the second highest rate of turnover of any Australian capital city. As of May 2004, 30% of people in the ACT aged 15–64 had a level of educational attainment equal to at least a bachelor's degree, significantly higher that the national average of 19%. Approximately 63% of Canberra residents describe themselves as Christian, the most common denominations being Catholic and Anglican; less than 3% of the population practice a non-Christian religion and 19% are not religious.As of 2002 the most common crimes in Canberra are property related crimes, unlawful entry with intent and motor vehicle theft. They affect 1,961 and 630 of every 100,000 persons respectively. Homicide and related offences affect 1.5/100,000 persons which is below the national average of 4.9/100,000 persons. Rates of assault and sexual assault are also below the national average.

Education - Contents

ANU School of Art (formerly the Canberra High School)
ANU School of Art (formerly the Canberra High School)
The two main tertiary institutions are the Australian National University (ANU) in Acton and the University of Canberra (UC) in Bruce. The ANU was established as a research university in 1946; it continues to have a strong research focus and is ranked among the best Universities in the world in The Times Higher Education Supplement and the Shanghai Jiao Tong World University Rankings. Both ANU and UC also have campuses interstate and overseas. There are also two religious university campuses in Canberra: Signadou in the North Canberra suburb of Watson is a campus of the Australian Catholic University; St Mark's Theological College adjacent to the Parliament House is a campus of Charles Sturt University.The Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) and the Royal Military College, Duntroon are near the suburb of Campbell in Canberra's inner north-east. ADFA teaches military undergraduates and postgraduates and is officially a campus of the University of New South Wales; Duntroon provides Australian Army Officer training. Tertiary level vocational education is also available through the multi-campus Canberra Institute of Technology.In February 2004 there were 140 public and non-governmental schools in Canberra; 96 were operated by the Government and 44 are non-Government. Most suburbs are planned to include a primary school and a nearby preschool, and schools are usually located near open areas for play and sports. Preschool is not a compulsory year, but many children attend for the government-funded 10.5 hours a week (12 from 2006). Primary school consists of seven grades: kindergarten and years 1 to 6. From years 7 to 10 children attend high school and in years 11 to 12 attend a college. The ACT has the highest retention rate in Australia with 89% of the number of students who were enrolled in year 7 in 1999 were enrolled full-time in year 12 in 2004. This retention rate has declined from a peak in 1994 when the rate was nearly 5% more, probably because of poor job prospects for young people at that time compared with 2004.

Culture - Contents

Arts and entertainment
The National Museum of Australia established in 2001 records Australia's social history and is one of Canberra's more architecturally daring buildings.
The National Museum of Australia established in 2001 records Australia's social history and is one of Canberra's more architecturally daring buildings.
Canberra is home to many national monuments and institutions such as the Australian War Memorial, the National Gallery of Australia, the National Portrait Gallery currently housed at Old Parliament House, the National Library of Australia, the National Archives of Australia, and the National Museum of Australia. Many Commonwealth government buildings in Canberra are open to the public, including Parliament House, the High Court and the Royal Australian Mint. Lake Burley Griffin is the site of the Captain Cook Memorial and the National Carillon. Other sites of interest include the Telstra Tower and the Australian National Botanic Gardens on Black Mountain, the National Zoo and Aquarium on Scrivener Dam, the National Dinosaur Museum and Questacon, the National Science and Technology Centre.
Every book published in Australia is required by law to be held by the National Library of Australia.
Every book published in Australia is required by law to be held by the National Library of Australia.
The Canberra Museum and Gallery in Civic is a repository of local history and art. Several historic homes are open to the public: Lanyon and Tuggeranong Homesteads in the Tuggeranong Valley, Mugga-Mugga in Symonston, and Blundell's Cottage in Parkes all display the lifestyle of the early European settlers. Calthorpes' House in Red Hill is a well preserved example of a 1920s house from Canberra's very early days. Duntroon House, in the suburb of Campbell, was one of the district's earliest homesteads and is now the officers' mess at Royal Military College; it is occasionally open to the public.
The Floriade flower festival attracts many tourists to Canberra
The Floriade flower festival attracts many tourists to Canberra
Canberra has many venues for live music and theatre: the Canberra Theatre and Playhouse which host many major concerts and productions; and Llewellyn Hall (within the ANU School of Music), a world-class concert hall. The Street Theatre, also located at the Australian National University, hosts many amateur student and community theatre groups. Stonefest at the University of Canberra is Canberra's largest music festival. There are numerous bars and nightclubs which also offer live entertainment, particularly concentrated in the areas of Dickson, Kingston and the City Centre. Most town centres have facilities for a community theatre and a cinema, and they all have a library. Popular cultural events include the National Folk Festival, the Royal Canberra Show, the Summernats car festival and the Celebrate Canberra festival which is held over 10 days in March in conjunction with Canberra Day.Canberra has a number of sister cities, including Atlanta in the United States, Beijing in China, Dili in East Timor, Nara in Japan, and Versailles in France. Cultural exchange happens to some extent with each city. The largest community event associated with a sister city is the Canberra Nara Candle Festival which is held in October.

As Australia's political centre, Canberra is an important centre for much of Australia's political reportage and thus all the major media organisations, including the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the commercial television networks, and the metropolitan newspapers maintain local bureaus. Many news organisations are represented in the " press gallery", a group of journalists who report on the national parliament. The National Press Club of Australia in Barton has regular television broadcasts of its weekly lunches at which a prominent guest, typically a politician, delivers a half-hour speech followed by a question-and-answer session.Canberra has a daily newspaper, the Canberra Times which was established in 1926, and some free weekly suburban and special interest publications. Canberra has free-to-air analogue television stations including two government funded ( ABC and SBS) and three commercial stations ( Prime, WIN and Southern Cross Ten) as well as two free-to-air digital services ABC2 and SBS News. Subscription (pay) television services are available from Foxtel via satellite service, and cable by local telecommunications company TransACT who also offer telephone and broadband internet services on their optical fibre cable network covering many suburbs.A number of community radio stations broadcast in Canberra, including Radio 2XX FM, which offers a multicultural radio broadcast featuring weekly programmes in twenty languages as well as community service and specialty music programmes. There are a number of other commercial AM and FM radio stations including Austereo Radio Network, ABC networks and Radio 1RPH which offers broadcasts for the print handicapped.

A rugby league match at Canberra Stadium, the Canberra Raiders (green) v Canterbury Bulldogs (white).
A rugby league match at Canberra Stadium, the Canberra Raiders (green) v Canterbury Bulldogs (white).
In addition to local sporting leagues, Canberra has a number of sporting teams that compete in national and international leagues. The best known teams are the Canberra Raiders and the ACT Brumbies who play rugby league and rugby union respectively, and who have both been champions of their leagues. Both teams play their home games at Canberra Stadium, which is Canberra's largest stadium and was used to hold preliminary soccer matches for the 2000 Summer Olympics and matches for the 2003 Rugby Union World Cup. Canberra also has a successful basketball team, the Canberra Capitals. The Canberra Capitals won the 2006 women's basketball Grand Final.There are also teams that participate in national competitions in netball, field hockey, ice hockey and cricket. Manuka Oval is another large outdoor sporting facility where cricket and Australian Rules football are played. The Melbourne based AFL team the Kangaroos plays some home games at Manuka Oval, and the historic Prime Minister's XI cricket match is played there annually. Other significant annual sporting events include the Canberra Marathon, the City of Canberra Half Ironman Triathlon and the Canberra Women's Tennis Classic held in the lead up to the Australian Open.The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) is located in the Canberra suburb of Bruce. The AIS is a specialised educational and training institution providing coaching for elite junior and senior athletes in a number of sports. The AIS has been operating since 1981 and has achieved significant success in producing elite athletes. It is also a popular tourist destination.Canberra has numerous sporting ovals, golf courses, skate parks, tennis courts and swimming pools that are open to the public. A Canberra-wide series of bicycle paths are available to cyclists for recreational and sporting purposes. Canberra Nature Parks have a large range of walking paths, horse and mountain bike trails. Water sports like sailing, rowing and water skiing are popular activities on Canberra's lakes. The Rally of Canberra is an annual motor sport event and a facility for drag racing is currently being planned for construction.

Infrastructure - Contents

The Canberra Hospital
The Canberra Hospital
Canberra has two large public hospitals, the 500 bed Canberra Hospital located in Garran and the smaller 174 bed Calvary Public Hospital located in Bruce. Both public hospitals are also teaching hospitals. The largest private hospital in Canberra is the John James Memorial Hospital Hospital in Deakin. Calvary Private Hospital in Bruce and The National Capital Private in Garran are also major healthcare providers. The city has 10 aged care facilities. Canberra's hospitals receive emergency cases from throughout southern New South Wales. The ACT Ambulance Service is operated by the ACT Government's Emergency Services Agency.

ACTION buses in Canberra
ACTION buses in Canberra
The car is by far the dominant form of transport in Canberra, due to the city's urban structure and the high income levels of its residents. Past planning policies have resulted in well developed good quality roads and a low population density spread over a relatively large area of the city. Canberrans enjoy excellent travel times over relatively large distances in comparison with other Australian capital cities. Traffic jams are few and any 'peak hour' congestion generally does not last longer than twenty minutes. Canberra's districts are generally connected by 'parkways' - limited access dual carriageway roads with speed limits generally set at 80km/h or 90km/h, The best example is the Tuggeranong Parkway which links Canberra's CBD and Tuggeranong, and bypasses Weston Creek. It is considered more a Freeway, than a dual carriageway road. In most districts, discrete residential suburbs are bounded by access roads.
Aerial view of Canberra International Airport
Aerial view of Canberra International Airport
A publicly run bus service — ACTION, the Australian Capital Territory Internal Omnibus Network — provides comprehensive public transport throughout the city. A network of cycle ways has been established. Only 4.6% of the population use the bus system however, and 5.5% walk or cycle to work. There is no urban rail network in Canberra.A private bus service operates between Canberra and Queanbeyan, an adjoining town in New South Wales. An interstate CountryLink railway service connects Canberra to Sydney. Canberra's railway station is in the inner south suburb of Kingston. Train services to Melbourne are provided by way of a CountryLink bus service which connects with a rail service between Sydney and Melbourne in Yass, about one hour's drive from Canberra. Plans to establish a very fast train service between Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney have been contemplated, but not implemented, mainly because the large distances, modest populations, and cultural and political preference for road transport make the investment difficult to justify.Canberra is about three hours by road from Sydney on the Federal Highway, which connects with the Hume Highway (National Highway 23) near Goulburn, and seven hours by road from Melbourne on the Barton Highway (National Highway 25), which joins the Hume Highway at Yass. It is a two hour drive on the Monaro Highway (National Highway 23) to the ski fields of the Snowy Mountains and the Kosciuszko National Park. Batemans Bay, a popular holiday spot on the New South Wales coast, is reached via the Kings Highway. Canberra International Airport provides direct domestic services to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, with connections to other domestic centres. There are direct daily flights to Albury and Newcastle in New South Wales. Regular international flights have been considered, but to date only chartered international flights have connected Canberra directly with overseas destinations. The civilian airport shares runways with RAAF Base Fairbairn, which regularly receives international dignitaries and handles VIP flights such as those carrying federal ministers.

Telstra Tower is a Canberra landmark and tourist attraction in addition to providing telecommunications.
Telstra Tower is a Canberra landmark and tourist attraction in addition to providing telecommunications.
The ACT government owned ACTEW Corporation manages Canberra's water and sewerage infrastructure. ActewAGL is a joint venture between ACTEW and AGL, and is the retail provider of Canberra's utility services including water, natural gas, electricity, and also some telecommunications services via a subsidiary TransACT. Canberra's water is stored in four reservoirs, the Corin, Bendora and Cotter dams on the Cotter River and the Googong Dam on the Queanbeyan River. The Googong Dam is in New South Wales but it is managed by the ACT government. ACTEW Corporation owns Canberra's two wastewater treatment plants, located at Fyshwick and at Lower Molonglo on the Molonglo River.Electricity for Canberra comes from the national power grid through substations at Holt and Fyshwick (via Queanbeyan). Some limited local renewable power is produced via a hydro generator on the main water supply pipeline for Canberra at Mount Stromlo and methane plants at waste landfill sites at Belconnen and Mugga Lane. The first domestic power supply in Canberra was in 1913 for the suburb of Acton. Unlike most Australian cities, the power poles in Canberra's older suburbs are located along the rear boundaries of residential housing lots rather than on the street front. In newer areas the power supply and communications cabling are located underground.As in other parts of Australia, terrestrial and mobile telecommunications services are provided by a range of competing companies. The majority of the infrastructure is owned by Telstra but some is owned by TransACT (a Canberra-based communications company) as well as other providers.
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