Australian Bureau of Statistics
1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 1988
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 01/01/1988
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The basic Griffin plan has been closely followed in the development of Canberra.
On 12 March 1913, an official ceremony marked the formal establishment of the Seat of Government. The Foundation Stone was laid on Capital Hill jointly by the Governor-General, Lord Denman, the Prime Minister. Rt. Hon. Andrew Fisher, and the Minister for Home Affairs. the Hon. King O'Malley.
At this ceremony, Lady Denman announced Canberra as the name for the Capital City.
Before World War 1 brought activities almost to a halt, a power house was erected and a railway branch line from Queanbeyan was completed. Brick works were established, the Cotter Dam to store water for the city was started, and the Royal Military College was established at Duntroon.
Between 1921 and 1923 work on engineering services proceeded and main and subsidiary roads were formed. Residential buildings were started and sites were established for hotels and guest houses. The Canberra to Queanbeyan railway was opened for passenger traffic in 1923.
The Commonwealth Parliament continued to meet in Melbourne until 1927 when the new Parliament House in Canberra was opened by His Royal Highness, The Duke of York (afterward His Majesty King George VI) in 1927.
As the economic situation improved again approval was given for the building of the Australian War Memorial and a building for the National Library, the recommencement of the administration building (on which work had started in 1927) the construction of the Patents Office, and the commencement of a new hospital. The growth in the city's population, though less than expected, necessitated the building of more roads, schools and public utilities. However, the outbreak of World War II is 1939 diverted resources to military purposes, and house construction and transfer of government departments to Canberra were postponed.
Since 1962 the metropolitan growth of Canberra has been catered for in a series of new towns.
Three of these new towns - Woden-Weston Creek, Belconnen and Tuggeranong - are in various stages of development while planning has been undertaken for a fourth new town, Gungahlin. Together with inner Canberra, they will be capable of accommodating about half a million people. Canberra's population is now approaching 260,000.
The new towns are being planned and built with many of the characteristics of independent towns, with their own commercial, employment and retail centres, each having the potential to develop its own individual character. All will be linked by a comprehensive transportation system including roads, cycleways and an intertown public transport system and each will accommodate some of the national capital functions of Canberra.
One of these functions is the provision of office space for government departments and agencies which, with the development of private-enterprise facilities, assists in the decentralisation of employment opportunities to the new town centres.
After World War II Canberra's development quickened and a scheme to progressively transfer Commonwealth Government departments to Canberra was formulated. With a requirement for permanent administrative buildings, hostel accommodation and suburban growth to cater for the influx, the need for a single authority to coordinate planning, development and construction became evident. Subsequently the National Capital Development Commission (NCDC) was established and assumed control of Canberra's further development on 1 March 1958.
The new Commission endorsed the view that Canberra must have features to distinguish it from other cities, and that these features could emerge from the existence in the heart of Canberra of a large park-like landscape, bounded on the three sides by King's Avenue, Commonwealth Avenue and Constitution Avenue. The Commission also recommended to the Government that the Canberra lake, and essential feature of the original concept, should proceed. These proposals were approved by the Government. As well as being a simple and decorative feature in itself, the lake was also a fundamental requirement for the integrated growth of the approved city, as the recurring flooding of the Molonglo Flood plain made it unsuitable for building sites. Major construction work was completed by the end of 1963 and the lake was named Burley Griffin after the man whose plan was responsible for its creation.
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This page last updated 22 November 2012