On this day, 12 March in 1913, Canberra was named as the site for Australia's capital city after Federation in 1901. It was officially given this name by the then Governor-General’s wife, Lady Denman.
Situated inside the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) – which had been declared on 1 January 1911 – American architect Walter Burley Griffin won an international competition to design Australia’s new capital city.
Soon after the city’s construction began, world wars and the Great Depression intervened to heavily stifle Canberra’s development.
After WWII, Canberra grew more rapidly and now is home to nearing 400,000 people, dominated by public servants – both Federal and ACT – who by some measures equate to almost half of the workforce (generally way above other Aussie jurisdictions). This unique attribute shapes a Canberra culture and mindset – arguably a ‘bubble’ in the nation’s capital and bureaucracy that is quite different to that in the wider community it is meant to serve.
Celebrate this naming day of Canberra – Australia’s capital born of compromise. But also reflect on how different it and its residents have become relative to the rest of Australia, and how we may get it back working for the people and taxpayers of Australia rather than having it continue to operate in its own unique interests lavished with our tax dollars to enjoy.
- Make plans to visit our nation's capital and see some of the historic and educational institutions there.
- Take an active interest in your children or grandchildren’s school visits to Canberra and perhaps volunteer to go along
- Make a conscious choice to use a private, rather than public service, such as your own vehicle instead of public transport, or watch commercial television rather than the ABC or SBS tonight, to get a greater perspective on life not influenced by the public sector
- Also share this post on social media and jump onto our website to see how Australian Conservatives would reform our increasingly wayward and insular capital for the better.