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There are eight capital cities in Australia, each of which functions as the seat of government for the state or territory in which it is located. One of these, Canberra, is also the national capital. (The national capital was initially Melbourne, following the 1901 Federation of Australia. In 1927, the seat of national government was moved to the newly created city of Canberra.)

Each capital city hosts the judicial, administrative and legislative functions for its jurisdiction. In each state and internal territory, the capital is also the jurisdiction's most populous city.

The Australian external territory of Norfolk Island has its official capital at Kingston, although this acts merely as the administrative centre of government; its de facto capital is Burnt Pine.[1]

State and Territory Capitals of Australia
Jurisdiction Capital City Population[2] State/Territory Population[3] Percentage of State/Territory population in capital city Established Date of statehood Capital since Image
Australia and
Australian Capital Territory
Canberra 403,468 403,468 100.00% 1913 Must remain a territory as per s.125 of the Australian Constitution [N 1] 1913
View of Civic from Mount Ainslie, with Telstra Tower in the background
New South Wales Sydney 5,029,768 7,759,274 64.82% 1788 1788 1788
Victoria Melbourne 4,725,316 6,179,249 76.47% 1835 1851 1851
Part of the Melbourne skyline
Queensland Brisbane 2,360,241 4,848,877 48.68% 1825 1859 1860
Brisbane's CBD.
Western Australia Perth 2,022,044 2,558,951 79.02% 1829 1829 1829
View of Perth CBD skyline
South Australia Adelaide 1,324,279 1,713,054 77.31% 1836 1836 1836
View of Adelaide Skyline
Tasmania Hobart 224,462 517,588 43.37% 1804 1825 1826
View of the Hobart downtown district and Mount Wellington from Constitution Dock
Northern Territory Darwin 145,916 245,740 59.38% 1869 Has not attained Statehood[N 2] 1911
View of Darwin CBD


  1. ^ Although the ACT has its own government, it remains a territory ultimately under Commonwealth rule.
  2. ^ in 1911, South Australia transferred responsibility for governing the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth Government of Australia. It was granted self-governance in 1978, however the Northern Territory is still considered a territory under Commonwealth rule, not a state.


  1. ^ Norfolk Island - Kingston Norfolk Island's Home on the Web
  2. ^ Statistics, c=AU; o=Commonwealth of Australia; ou=Australian Bureau of. "Main Features - Main Features".
  3. ^ Statistics, c=AU; o=Commonwealth of Australia; ou=Australian Bureau of. "Details - Main Features".

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