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Portal:Australian Capital Territory

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The Australian Capital Territory Portal

Flag of Australian Capital Territory
Coat of Arms of the Australian Capital Territory
Location within Australia

The Australian Capital Territory, formerly known as the Federal Capital Territory until 1938 and commonly referred to as the ACT, is a federal territory of Australia containing the Australian capital city of Canberra and some surrounding townships. It is located in the south-east of the country and is an enclave within the state of New South Wales. Founded after federation as the seat of government for the new nation, all important institutions of the Australian federal government are centred in the Territory.

On 1 January 1901, federation of the colonies of Australia was achieved. Section 125 of the new Australian Constitution provided that land, situated in New South Wales and at least 100 miles (160 km) from Sydney, would be ceded to the new federal government. Following discussion and exploration of various areas within New South Wales, the Seat of Government Act 1908 was passed in 1908 which specified a capital in the Yass-Canberra region. The territory was transferred to the Commonwealth by New South Wales in 1911, two years prior to the capital city being founded and formally named as Canberra in 1913.

While the overwhelming majority of the population reside in the city of Canberra in the ACT's north-east, the Territory also includes some surrounding townships such as Williamsdale, Naas, Uriarra, Tharwa and Hall. The ACT also includes the Namadgi National Park which comprises the majority of land area of the Territory. Despite a common misconception, the Jervis Bay Territory is not part of the ACT although the laws of the Australian Capital Territory apply as if Jervis Bay did form part of the ACT. The Territory has a relatively dry, contintental climate experiencing warm to hot summers and cool to cold winters.

The Australian Capital Territory is home to many important institutions of the federal government, national monuments and museums. This includes the Parliament of Australia, the High Court of Australia, the Australian Defence Force Academy and the Australian War Memorial. It also hosts the majority of foreign embassies in Australia as well as regional headquarters of many international organisations, not-for-profit groups, lobbying groups and professional associations. Several major universities also have campuses in the ACT including the Australian National University, the University of Canberra, the University of New South Wales, Charles Sturt University and the Australian Catholic University.

A locally elected legislative assembly has governed the Territory since 1988. However, the Commonwealth maintains authority over the Territory and may overturn local laws. It still maintains control over the area known as the Parliamentary Triangle through the National Capital Authority. Residents of the Territory elect three members to the House of Representatives and two Senators to the Australian Senate.

With 423,800 residents, the Australian Capital Territory is second smallest mainland state or territory by population. At the 2016 census, the median weekly income for people in the Territory aged over 15 was $998 and higher than the national average of $662. The average level of degree qualification in the ACT is also higher than the national average. Within the ACT, 37.1% of the population hold a bachelor's degree level or above education compared to the national figure of 20%.

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The Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) is a tri-service military Academy that provides military and tertiary academic education for junior officers of the Australian Defence Force in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Australian Regular Army (ARA) and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). It also provides post-graduate study for civilians, more senior ADF personnel and public servants. It is associated with the University of New South Wales, which is the awarding body for ADFA qualifications.

The stated purpose of ADFA is "to serve Australia by providing the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with tertiary graduates who have the foundational attributes, intellect and skills required of an officer."

ADFA is located in the Australian capital city of Canberra, in the suburb of Campbell near the Australian Government district of Russell. It is situated next to Mount Pleasant which gives some parts of ADFA a view over the rest of Canberra. The ADFA is also adjacent to the Australian Army military academy, the Royal Military College, Duntroon. The junior officers that attend the Australian Defence Force Academy hold the rank of Officer Cadet in the Australian Army (OCDT) and the Royal Australian Air Force (OFFCDT), and the rank Midshipman (MIDN) in the Royal Australian Navy. The Academy is currently commanded by Acting Commandant Captain Pete Murray, RAN.

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Blundells' Cottage in 2005
Credit: PDH

Blundell's Cottage is a five-roomed stone cottage on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, in Canberra, Australia. It was built by George Campbell in about 1858 for his ploughman William Ginn. Ginn lived there with his family until c1870 and then Flora and George Blundell moved in and remained there until about 1920. Flora was a midwife and George a bullock driver for Campbell. After their departure in the 1920s the cottage was planned to be demolished. However Lord William Holford proposed that the cottage be kept as a museum. The National Capital Development Commission renovated the cottage and in 1964 gave it to the Canberra and District Historical Society.

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Joshua John Moore

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View of Canberra, Australia's capital city from the Telstra Tower on Black Mountain
Credit: Martyman

Lake Burley Griffin is an artificial lake in the centre of Canberra, Australia's federal capital city. It was created in 1963 after the Molonglo River, which ran between the city centre and Parliamentary Triangle, was dammed. It is named after Walter Burley Griffin, the architect who won the design competition for the city of Canberra.

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