Question:

What is the Geography of the ACT?

The People

Like most cities in Australia, Canberra contains a myriad of people encompassing all walks and religions of life. The presence of embassies contributes to the variety of citizens in Australia's capital, although the city is not quite as multicultural as Melbourne or Sydney.

Many of the people who live in Canberra were not born there, and are there to work or study for a few years before moving on.

The average income in Canberra is around $100 higher per week than anywhere else in Oz. The educational level is higher in Canberra than anywhere else in the country, and 4.5% of the population hold a postgraduate degree, in comparison to the Australia-wide average of 1.8%.

In 2006, the population of the Australian Capital Territory was 333,667. On 869 of this was people living outside of Canberra.

Geography

The Australian Capital Territory is entirely surrounded by the state of New South Wales. It is bordered by three rivers to the south, north-east and west, and a railway line in the east proper.

The ACT contains cultivated farm land as well as the city of Canberra. The entire area is well above sea level, with the lowest point, located on the Murrumbidgee River, being 429m above sea level.

The territory contains several mountains, the highest being Mt Bimberi, which is located on the south-west border with New South Wales.

The ACT has a number of national parks including the Namadgi National Park, which contains Mt Bimberi. The park meets the Kosciuszko National Park which is located in New South Wales, and supplies 85% of the territory's water.

History

It is believed that Aboriginal people used the area which is now the ACT as a meeting place, possibly for corroborees held to mark the migration of the bogong moth, which was hunted and eaten. Canberra was first settled by Europeans in 1824, when Joshua Moore bought the first land grant in the area, at the foot of Black Mountain. By 1845 a town had grown up in the shadow of the mountain, with the newly built St John´s Church and the nearby school at its centre.

The establishing of a national capital and surrounding Australian Capital Territory (ACT) was one of the tenets of the constitution created when the colonies were federated into Australian states in 1901.

Orientation

Orientation

The ACT is 80km (50mi) from north to south and is about 30km (19mi) wide. It is landlocked within the mountainous country of southeastern New South Wales, 305km (190mi) from Sydney by road. Canberra and its surrounding suburbs are in the northeast of the territory, while the Namadgi National Park occupies the whole southwestern area. The population grew from 50,000 in 1960 to 100,000 in 1967 and has soared to more than 300,000 today.

Canberra is arranged around the artificial Lake Burley Griffin. In Civic, on the northern side of the lake, are the shops, businesses, university and suburbs such as Reid, Braddon, Turner and Acton. Parliamentary and other administrative buildings are located to the south of the lake, surrounded by suburbs such as Parkes, Barton, Forrest, Deakin and Yarralumla (home to the prime minister and governor-general). Canberra is also surrounded by the satellite towns of Woden, Belconnen and Tuggeranong.

Canberra's airport is about 7km (4mi) east of the city. Interstate buses arrive at the Jolimont Centre, which is in the centre of Civic. The railway station is in Kingston, on the south side of the lake. Most shops and restaurants are in Civic and Manuka, also just south of the lake, with a few cafes sprinkled through the inner suburbs. Each satellite town has its own charming mall. Civic is also the centre of Canberra's nightlife, which is somewhat more lively than its reputation suggests.

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