1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 1963  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/1963   
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When the foundation stone was laid on 12th March, 1913, the site of the ceremony looked out over an empty plain.

Today, from the same point, broad avenues radiate to form two sides of a Parliamentary Triangle within which the buildings necessary to Canberra's identity and function as a National Capital have arisen. Multistorey blocks of commercial buildings thrust into the skyline; institutional buildings are set in park-like surroundings, and residential suburbs spread across the plain and climb the slopes of the surrounding hills.

Canberra, at the beginning of 1963, had a population of nearly 70,000 people. It had become, in fifty years, the largest of Australia's inland cities. It had also, apart from physical growth, developed in character.

Today, Canberra as the National Capital has characteristics unique in Australia. The characteristics surprise visitors whose ideas about cities are based on the great commercial metropolis of Sydney or Melbourne. Canberra is the seat of Federal Government and an administrative centre rather than a commercial or industrial centre. Thus the most important part, which may be equated to the core of business houses in a conventional city, is the Parliament House and its supporting administrative buildings, established in landscaped surroundings. This park-like atmosphere emphasises the difference in atmosphere between Canberra and other cities.

The concept of a national capital has been developed in many countries, and Canberra has been an example used by many emerging nations in the post-war period. National capitals are the visible symbols of national spirit and, in more practical terms, are the seats of government and centres of administrative and diplomatic activity. The newer national capitals are coming to be examples in urban development-vehicles for experiment from which other municipalities in each nation can learn.


The building of the national capital is a duty imposed on Parliament by the Constitution. Commonwealth Parliament, after considering a number of possible sites, determined in 1908 that the seat of government of the Commonwealth should be in the district of Yass-Canberra and that it should contain an area of not less than 900 square miles and have access to the sea.

The Canberra district was first seen by white man less than 100 years before it was chosen as site for the Australian National Capital.

In 1820, Governor Macquarie instructed Charles Throsby, a former naval surgeon interested in exploration, to search for the Murrumbidgee River, which had been reported by aboriginals. Throsby sent Wild, an experienced bushman, with a party of explorers which included his nephew, Charles Throsby Smith and James Vaughan, to search for the Murrumbidgee. On this journey, the party camped on the plain on which Canberra now stands, and reported favourably on the district on their return. In subsequent years, the country was opened up as grazing and farming land.

Following the choice of the Yass-Canberra district in 1908 as the future site of the national capital, the district Surveyor, Mr. Charles R. Scrivener, was directed to examine the area and recommend a suitable territory for the purposes of the Seat of Government. Scrivener nominated 1,015 square miles in the water sheds of the Cotter, Queanbeyan and Molonglo Rivers and a further 2,300 acres at Jervis Bay. A request for the surrender of the land was made to the New South Wales Government, and, after negotiation, an area of approximately 900 square miles between the Queanbeyan-Cooma Railway, and the mountain ranges forming the western boundary of the water shed of the Cotter River plus Jervis Bay was selected. The final step in the adoption of the actual site was taken by the passing of the Seat of Government Acceptance Act in 1909. The schedule of this Act contained an agreement between the Commonwealth and the State of New South Wales regarding the transfer to the Commonwealth of this area.

Control of the Territory was assumed by the Commonwealth on 1st January, 1911. when the Seat of Government (Administration) Act came into force.

For many years subsequently, the site of Canberra, remote from the main Australian centres of’ commerce, removed from the sea, relatively isolated by mediocre transport facilities, remote from supplies of many basic materials and commodities, was subject to strong criticism. However, the tremendous post 1945 improvements in transportation facilities and the developing economic viability of Canberra have reduced these factors. Today Canberra is regarded as well placed between the major centres of Australian population and industry.


With the transfer of the Territory from New South Wales on 1st January, 1911, all Crown land passed to the Commonwealth without cost, but privately owned land which the Commonwealth required had to be purchased from the owners. Much of the freehold land has been so acquired by the Commonwealth for the city site and for catchment areas. The remaining freehold land is principally in the southern portion of the Territory.

It was also provided that Commonwealth Crown land in the Territory, which includes that resumed from previous owners, should forever remain the property of the nation.

The decision to vest ownership of all land in the Crown was a very significant social experiment. The intention, since maintained, was that the Crown would continue to own the land, but would lease it for specified periods and under given conditions for residential, commercial, industrial and other purposes. The method or leasing is defined in the Leases Ordinance 1918-1958, the Leases (Special Purposes) Ordinance 1925-1943 and the City Area Leases Ordinance 1936-1959. These lay down the method of disposal of the leases and indicate the conditions which will apply, the principal of which is the payment annually of a land rent based on a percentage of the unimproved capital value. The administration of the household system represents a public involvement, return from which in more recent years has been augmented by premiums paid at auctions for the right to the leases.

A principle rigidly followed since first establishment of the city has been that no land within the city area is offered for lease until all services - water, sewerage, power and roads - are provided.

4. CANBERRA FROM 1911 TO 1945

(i) The City Plan

In 1911, the site was a treeless and sparsely settled plain; improvements were few and had no bearing on the shape of the future city. The district population was 1,714 persons living on an area of grazing land, ringed by hills. The Molonglo River traversed the substantial plain, which was subject to recurring floods.

In April, 1911, an international competition for the design of the new city was launched. From 137 designs received, the first prize was awarded to Walter Burley Griffin, a Chicago architect.

Fundamental principles of the Griffin plan were:-

(a) The geometric pattern of the design;

(b) The treatment of the flood plain, useless for building purposes, to form a lake to be the unifying feature of the northern and southern parts of Canberra;

(c) The formation of a grand visual axis from the top of Mount Ainslie to Capital Hill; and

(d) The separation of national and municipal functions; this was proposed by the locating of all buildings associated with national affairs in an integrated group on the southern side of the lake and locating buildings associated with civic matters in a commanding position on the north side.

Residential suburbs were to be grouped on both sides of the river. Shopping facilities were to be provided in them only for local retail requirements, as the main commercial development was designed around the Civic Centre. The base point of the plan was Capital Hill from which main avenues were to radiate.

In time, Griffin made some changes in the original plan, but although this process of modification continues as the town planner grapples with problems that could not be foreseen in Griffin's day, the basic Griffin plan has been closely followed in the development of Canberra.

(ii) The Naming of the National Capital

On 12th March, 1913, an official ceremony marked the formality of establishing 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’MaIIey.

At this ceremony, Canberra was announced as the name for the Capital City by Lady Denman.

(iii) Early Progress

In 1913, Griffin came to Australia to collaborate in the implementation of his design and was subsequently appointed by the Commonwealth Government to the position of Federal Capital Director of Design and Construction. In 1920, he resigned to set up in private architectural practice in Sydney.

Before the 1914 War, conditions brought activities almost to a halt, a power house was erected and a railway branch line from Queanbeyan was completed. The engine which pulled the first train into Canberra in 1914 is now on permanent display in the City. 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 allocated for hotels and guest houses, The Canberra to Queanbeyan rail way was opened for passenger traffic in 1923.

The Commonwealth Parliament had met in the Exhibition Buildings in Melbourne since Federation, and it was during this post-war period that the temporary Parliament House and offices for government departments were begun in Canberra. The first assembly of the Commonwealth Parliament in its new buildings in Canberra was opened by His Royal Highness The Duke of York (afterwards His Majesty King George VI) in 1927.

(iv) The Federal Capital Commission

In July, 1924, the Seat of Government (Administration) Act was passed providing for a Commission of three to assume responsibility for Canberra's development. Although the Commission was invested with very wide powers in regard to actual constructional and developmental work, the Government made it clearly understood that the development must be along the lines of the Griffin Plan.

One of the advantages of the Federal Capital Commission was its relative freedom in regard to finance, and considerable progress was made with the transfer of Departments to Canberra for whose staff office accommodation and houses had to be provided. The following departments were involved in these transfers: - Prime Minister's, Treasury, Attorney-General's, Department of Home Affairs and Territories, Department of Trade and Customs, Department of Markets and Migration, and Secretariats for the Departments of Defence, Health and Postmaster-General's.

The pace of construction quickened between 1926 and 1928. and nearly 5,000 people were moved to Canberra. The Federal Capital Commission was directly responsible for local administration, but moves to give the citizens of the Territory a voice in local government resulted, in 1928, in the provision for the election of one of the members of the Federal Capital Commission by the residents of the Territory.

(v) The Depression and the 1939-45 War

With the onset of the economic depression there was mounting criticism, and in 1930 the Federal Capital Commission was abolished, and Canberra reverted to the departmental system of administration.

As the depression worsened, developmental work in the city was brought almost to a standstill, the only major construction during the period being the Federal Highway from Canberra to Goulburn.

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. Several defence service areas were established around Canberra, such as the Naval Wireless Stations at Harman and Belconnen, destined to play a dramatic part in the later war in the Pacific, and the Royal Australian Air Force Station in the Majura Valley.

By an amendment of the Seat of Government (Acceptance) Act in 1938, the Territory was named the Australian Capital Territory. In 1939, resources were diverted again to military purposes. House construction was restricted and transfers of Government Departments postponed.

Thus, the establishment of the National Capital was not spectacular in its first 34 years between 1911 and 1945. Indeed, it is surprising that a firm base for future progress was established during that time in the face of opposition or indifference in some quarters, two World Wars and a substantial economic depression of long duration.

An enduring achievement of these years was the establishment, on a vast scale, of landscaped and planted areas which furnished a mature background for the post 1945 developments.

(vi) Diplomatic Representation

Diplomatic activity was strengthened during the 1939-45 War. The United Kingdom (in 1936) and Canada (in 1939) were the only two overseas countries represented in Australia in the prewar period. The first foreign diplomatic representative, the United States Minister, came to Australia in 1940. Japan sent a Minister in 1941, but his mission was terminated on the outbreak of war with Japan. (Diplomatic relations were resumed in 1953, with the appointment of an Ambassador.) During the War, missions were established by China in 1941, the Netherlands in 1942, New Zealand and the U.S.S.R. in 1943, and India and France in 1945. At the beginning of 1963, 32 overseas countries were represented in Canberra.

5. CANBERRA, 1946 TO 1962

(i) General

After the 1939-45 War, Canberra's development quickened, with the emphasis on suburban growth. Canberra's rapid increase in population aggravated the problem, and the lack of balance in development was expressed in the shortage of community halls, schools, suburban shops and other facilities.

It was now recognised that permanent buildings should be constructed when and where possible. Accordingly, the construction of the permanent Administration Block, started and stopped in 1927, was considered, in 1947, by the Public Works Committee, and subsequently work was resumed on a modified and improved plan.

In 1948, a scheme of transfer to Canberra of Commonwealth Departments, spread over a number of years, was formulated and approved by the Government. Shortages of labour and materials and the urgency need for house and hostel accommodation could operate against rapid expansion in the next few years, but the major probable cause of delay in implementing the scheme of transfers would be the absence of a single authority. A balanced authoritative policy to provide office accommodation, housing and amenities on an increasing scale was essential.

(ii) Senate Select Committee

In 1954, a Select Committee of the Senate was appointed to inquire into and report upon the development of Canberra. A principal recommendation in its September, 1955, report was that the divided departmental control should be replaced by a single authority, constituted by a Commissioner who would have wide powers in the planning and development of the National Capital. Subsequently, by Act of September, 1957, the National Capital Development Commission was established. The work of administering the city remained with the Department of the Interior, and routine maintenance remained with the department of Works as agent of the Department of the interior.

In the period between the legal and the effective establishment of the Development Commission, a very significant reporting offering observations on the future development of Canberra was made by Sir William Holford, the eminent English architect and town planner, at the request of the Commonwealth Government. Holford’s interest in, and association with, the development of Canberra were to continue strongly in the future operations of the Commission.

(iii) The National Capital Development Commission

The National Capital Development Commission was appointed on 1st March, 1958, and is responsible for the planning, development and construction of the City. The Commission has under its control funds appropriated annually by Parliament. In detailed planning and construction, it uses both Private and government agents, principally the Commonwealth Department of Works. It maintains liaison with, and seeks technical advice of the highest order from, Commonwealth and State governmental agencies; it also engages specialist consultants within Australia and overseas. When a construction project is completed, it is handed over by the Commission to the Department which required it, generally the Department of the Interior as the administrative authority.

The Act which established a Development Commission also provided for a National Capital Planning Committee to advise the Commission as to the planning, development and construction of the City of Canberra. The Committee includes the Development Commissioner as Chairman, two architects, two engineers, two town planners and two other persons with special knowledge and experience in artistic or cultural matters. In practice, the Committee has met about eight times each year to review all the major issues in planning and development under reference from the Commission.

Through its land use authority, the Commission coordinates the building programs of private enterprise and government.

In terms of planning and development, one of the most significant and active responsibilities of the Commission is the close control over the design and siting of all buildings and associated structures. The harmony of design, colour, and materials within the context of the surrounding buildings is carefully studied and assessed, and all approvals to the erection of buildings for particular purposes take into account their acceptability in terms of traffic generation, noise, smoke or other nuisance, and the effect on the general amenity of the particular area.

Between 1923 and 1958, when the National Capital Development Commission was appointed, the plan of Canberra remained virtually unchanged, except for variations affecting the Lakes Scheme and some minor alterations in the design of residential streets. Meanwhile, however, the local scene had changed considerably, and many technical developments had occurred which greatly influenced the theory and practice of town planning. Thus, a first task of the Commission was to review the adequacy of the Statutory Plan, to decide whether it could provide the satisfactory basis for future development, and what changes, if any, were necessary to bring it into line with present-day needs.

By 1959, some 46 years after the commemoration stone was laid, the population had reached 44,000, and about one-third of the gazetted areas on the Statutory Plan had been developed and the outlines of the Central Area were firmly established on the ground. As noted above, the specific achievement in the development of the city area in the earlier years of Canberra was the transformation of a treeless valley into an effective urban landscape; the vigour and enthusiasm shown in the early planting programs are responsible in a very large degree for the city's present attraction. By 1959, over two million trees had been planted in Canberra.

The new Commission early 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, identified as the Central Area, in which should be situated the major buildings housing the several arms of Government. It was considered that on the design of this landscape, the vistas it afforded, and the relationship of groups of buildings, the success of Canberra as a city of world standing would depend. Also recognised was the need to extend and develop important buildings and employment opportunities. The further consideration, fundamental in planning the city, was the recognition that Canberra was essentially a garden city helping to establish an expansive tradition in urban living.

The Commission in 1959 formulated comprehensive proposals for the development of the city over the next five years. The proposals covered the identification of new residential areas, the commercial and industrial locations, and ideas in connection with the planning of the Central Area. Since then, planning has expanded to cope with a probable ultimate growth to 500,000 persons, and takes account of a possibility far in excess of that number.

It was also recommended to the Government that the Canberra lake, an 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.

The Lake Scheme is estimated to cost some 2.5 million spread over a period of five years, and it is expected that the major lake construction works will be completed by the end of 1963. Full development of the landscape around the lake margins is, however, expected to take much longer. When completed, the lake will be some 22 miles in circumference, almost 7 miles long, and have 1,748 acres of surface area. The depth will range from 7 feet to about 54 feet at the dam wall. One thousand acres of parkland will surround the lake and will be retained for public use. Sites will be provided for such activities as yachting, sculling and rowing. Traffic will cross the lake by the King's Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue Bridges. Each is in the form of twin bridges having dual one-way carriageways; the King's Avenue Bridge has four traffic lanes and the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge will have six.

Fittingly, the lake has been called after the man whose plan was responsible for its creation - Walter Burley Griffin.

(iv) The Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Australian Capital Territory

In February, 1959, the Commonwealth Parliament, recognising the merit of maintaining some close association with all the issues of development, established a Joint Committee consisting of nine Senators and members representing both Houses to study such matters concerning the Australian Capital Territory as the Minister from time to time might refer to it. Since inception, the Committee has been active, particularly in the continuing study of the Statutory Plan of Canberra and of the tourist industry.

(v) Major Works

(a) Building Operations

Among the major building operations put in hand in the period 1958 to 1962, the following are worthy of special mention.

The Russell Office Group, intended to accommodate the Defence and Armed Service Departments. The first four office buildings and an Electronic Data Processing building have been completed and three more buildings are under construction.

Australian Capital Territory Court House.

Canberra Technical College, particularly the Schools of Commerce, Engineering and Building.

Civic Offices and City Square. Associated with this project was the pool, fountain and the statue of Ethos, executed by an Australian sculptor Mr. Tom Bass.

Tariff Board Headquarters.

Australian National Mint. Following the decision of the Government to establish the Australian National Mint in the National Capital, site works commenced in 1962 in the Yarralumla Creek Valley and building construction will be undertaken during 1963. This will be the first major Government building to be constructed in this new district.

Civic Auditorium

Secretariat Building in the Parliamentary Triangle.

Bureau of Mineral Resources Building on the lake shore opposite Parliament house.

Housing. Between 1958-59 and 1961-62. 3,219 houses and 1,223 flats were constructed, using government funds (during the same period 1,559 houses and 52 flats were constructed by private enterprise).

Education. High schools have been constructed at Lyneham, Narrabundah and Dickson, and primary and infants’ schools completed at Downer, Red Hill and Campbell.

National Library of Australia. Planning is well advanced for the construction, on the lake shore adjacent to Parliament House, of a major building to house the National Library of Australia.

There has been a notable growth in the Australian National University as a centre of learning and research. This is dealt with separately in Chapter XV of this Year Book under the section on Universities.

(b) Engineering Works

The growth of population by 50,000 persons in the City area between 1945 and 1963 and an expected growth to 100.000 persons by 1969 has meant heavy expenditure on roads, water supply and sewerage systems to meet the demand for new residential areas. New suburbs of Dickson, Hackett and Watson are being developed, and a new district in the Yarralumla Creek Valley planned to cater for an ultimate district population of 60,000 persons. The first residences in this district will be occupied during 1963.

Augmentation of the original water storage constructed on the Cotter River in 1915 has been necessary. In 1951, extensions to the Cotter Dam wall were completed to increase the storage capacity from 375 million gallons to 950 million gallons, and a second storage, Bendora Dam, of almost 2,500 million gallons capacity, on the higher reaches of the Cotter River, was completed in 1961. A third storage dam site is currently being investigated.

(vi) Transportation

Canberra is a highly motorised community and advantage has been taken of the unique situation existing in the young and rapidly growing city to plan for future traffic movement to avoid the problems which beset older cities.

The assembly of traffic data such as volume counts, parking surveys, and accident studies has been a continuing process, and during 1961-62 an extensive origin-destination traffic survey was undertaken. This has provided basic material for a major transportation study, undertaken by overseas consultants, to assess the requirements of the city developed in stages to a population of 250,000 people. As a result, a system of arterial, distributor and subsidiary roads is designed to meet growing traffic requirements.

As in other aspects of Canberra development, landscaping is integrated with major traffic ways. One of the more recent examples of this is the Parkes Way, a dual carriage roadway which defines the third side of the triangular Central Area, and which will skirt the northern side of Lake Burley Griffin.

Public transport within the city area is provided by a fleet of modern omnibuses operated by the Department of the Interior. Regular rail, road and air services connect the city with the cities of Melbourne and Sydney.

(vii) Neighbourhood Planning

The Commission seeks, in its land use planning, to make Canberra a good city in which to live. It attempts to set a model for effective, efficient neighbourhood planning based on three principles - convenience, safety and pleasantness.

Neighbourhoods, each planned to be bounded and traversed by parklands, are normally designed to accommodate 4,000 to 5,000 persons in an area of about 400 acres. Community facilities are to be located at the centre of the neighbourhood, offering convenience of access to everybody living in the area. Provision is made for sites for denominational schools, churches, special purpose halls, clubs, sports ovals and neighbourhood recreation reserves.

The designs seek to achieve pleasant aspects for residential sites. Roads will run with the contours in undulating sites. The preservation of views, provision for water drainage, and protection from prevailing winds, are sought, and the topography is studied to meet the convenience of pedestrians. The intention is to give a sense of compactness and unity to the neighbourhood.

Each neighbourhood will be serviced by one or two distributor roads which will lead traffic to the arterial roads connecting to the main business areas. Road patterns in the neighbourhoods will discourage indiscriminate through traffic but offer convenience to the driver, while inhibiting speed, in moving to the major traffic ways.

Pleasantness is sought through attention to open areas. The feeling of spaciousness is influenced by road widths varying from 20 feet to 34 feet, by verges varying between 15 feet and 18 feet, and a building line set back about 25 feet from the property line. Residential block sizes vary in size between eight and ten thousand square feet.

The Commission has recently endorsed an experiment in design, based on the Radburn system, for one of the new neighbourhoods in the Yarralumla Creek Valley. This will further emphasise convenience, safety and pleasantness. The feature of the Radburn system is that all the houses face pedestrian parkways with road access to the backs of houses instead of to the front.

(viii) Private Enterprise Development

Since 1959, there has been increasing participation by the private enterprise sector in the development of the City. The increasing investment of private funds in retail, housing and other commercial development was exemplified by the completion of seven commercial office blocks, one 2 million retail shopping block and another large retail group in the business centre of the city. and one luxury hotel and four substantial motels in other parts of the city. Private house completions rose steadily from 176 in 1957-58 to 703 in 1961-62.


(i) Canberra as a Centre of Research

The philosophy behind Canberra today is that it should develop as something wider than merely the Seat of Government and the centre of administrative activity. The establishment of the Australian National University and its very substantial growth since 1953 have fostered the growth of Canberra as a centre of learning and post-graduate study, and are providing an atmosphere in which important political, social and philosophical concepts can be examined. The University has engaged in research work of international importance in such fields as physics, chemistry, medicine, astronomy, international relations, etc.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation has also established very substantial research facilities in Canberra through the years, and this has given an opportunity to flavour and characterise the City, strengthening its growing claims as a centre of Australian research. Other groups, including the Bureau of Mineral Resources and the National Health Standard Laboratories, are contributing to this development.

(ii) Education System

Following the transfer of the territory to the Commonwealth, the New South Wales Education Department agreed to a request to continue the task of educating children in the Australian Capital Territory under an arrangement by which the Commonwealth reimbursed the New South Wales Education Department for the costs incurred. This covers staffing, inspection, curricula and examinations. The Department of the Interior has the responsibility for school buildings and equipment.

School enrolments today total 16,000 or 24 per cent of the population. Approximately one-third of the pupils attend non-government schools. With the rapid migration of families to Canberra secondary school enrolments are increasing faster than the population growth.

(iii) Cultural Growth

In its formative years, when the minimum facilities for commercial entertainment were available, Canberra was thrown heavily on its own resources. The tradition of neighbourhood entertainment then developed has been carried on, and today finds expression in several active repertory groups and artists groups, an amateur orchestra, a philharmonic society and a choral society, and in the wide range of associations pursuing intellectual activities such as chess and the study of languages.

For many years, the Albert Hall seating approximately 750 persons has been the only concert hall available to Canberra. Its drawbacks of a flat auditorium floor and inadequate stage facilities have inhibited its usefulness at a time when there has been generally in Australia a tremendous resurgence in the theatre and music. Since 1958, provision of well equipped assembly halls at several of the major high schools has materially helped the arts accommodation problem, and it is expected that the difficulty will be solved for some years to come by provision of the Civic Centre Auditorium which will accommodate about 1,200 in a fully professional atmosphere.

Canberra people have developed a special tradition in community activity, and there are very strong groups representing such organisations as the Y.M.C.A., Y.W.CA., Scouts and Guides.

The existence of the Australian National University and such groups as the C.S.I.R.O. has led to the encouragement of public lectures, addresses, and presentation of illustrated materials not experienced on a relative scale elsewhere in Australia. In general, these meetings are open to the public, and they increase the depth and range of entertainment available.

On the lighter side, Canberra's population of 70,000 enjoys three motion picture theatres, two swimming pools, two bowling alleys, two squash courts, three golf courses, and widely distributed cricket and football fields, tennis courts, and basketball courts. There are facilities for horse riding and excellent opportunities for day-long trips into the surrounding rugged country.

Increasingly, Canberra is becoming known as a convention centre. It has a wide range of motels and hotels with standards ranging up to the luxurious, and with its variety of possible meeting halls and study areas together with its many points of interest affords excellent opportunities for conferences.

As the National Capital. and because of its unique characteristics, Canberra has developed as a substantial tourist attraction. It has been estimated that up to 500,000 people visit Canberra annually, and there is reason to suppose that as the national features become more defined the tourist trade will grow into a very substantial basic industry. The seasons offer brilliant colour contrasts, aided by the extensive use of exotic deciduous trees, the adjacent mountains offer picturesque scenery, and the river systems give excellent swimming and good fishing. With the completion of Lake Burley Griffin and development of its facilities for aquatic entertainment, Canberra could well become one of the most important tourist centres in Australia.

(iv) Government Office Establishments

By the beginning of 1963, 25 Commonwealth Departments were either fully established or represented in Canberra and employing 10,600 people.

In addition, Statutory Authorities such as the Tariff Board, the Australian National University, the National Capital Development Commission and sections of the C.S.I.R.O were operating in the National Capital.

(v) Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council

The Advisory Council, established under the Advisory Council Ordinance
1936-1957, originally consisted of nominated members (one from Health Department, two from Department of the interior and one from Works Department) and five members elected by citizens of the Australian Capital Territory. The members elected their own Chairman and were expected to meet at least once a month. The Council could advise the Minister for the Interior in relation to any matter affecting the Territory, including the making of new Ordinances, and the repeal or amendment of existing Ordinances; the Minister could refer to the Council any matter on which he desired the advice of the Council. The Council had power to request the attendance of any Commonwealth public servant to assist it. The functions of the Council are purely advisory.

In February, 1959, the Council recommended an increase in the number of elected members to eight and of nominated members to five, the additional nominated member to be from the National Capital Development Commission. However, it was decided that while the Commission would be represented by an Associate Commissioner at meetings when attendance was appropriate, it was not necessary to appoint a representative of the Commission to the Council.


Vast changes have taken place in the face of Canberra in the last fifty years, indicative of the planning that has gone into the development of this city and caused such changes in the skyline.

These convey some idea of what progress has been made towards implementing the directive issued by the then Minister to the district surveyor in his search for a site for a capital in 1908, namely that he must bear iii mind "the Federal Capital should be a beautiful city occupying a commanding position, with extensive views and embracing distinctive features which will lend themselves to the evolution of a design worthy of the object, not only for the present but for all time".

It was primarily to participate in the celebrations to mark the 50th Anniversary of the naming of Canberra that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and his Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh made their visit to Australia in February arid March, 1963.



From 1911 until 1921, the population of the Australian Capital Territory remained at about 2,000 persons. In 1922, it commenced to rise, and by 1927 was nearing 6,000. The following year, with the transfer of departments from Melbourne, it passed 8,000.

Little growth was made thereafter until the later 'thirties, and at the outbreak of the 1939-45 War the population had reached just under 13,000 persons. During the war, growth was again slow, and at the Census of 30th June, 1947, the population was 16,905 persons. Subsequently, the population showed steady increases and at the Census of 30th June, 1954, it was 30,315 persons. With further transfers of departments from Melbourne, the population reached 58,828 persons (including 527 in Jervis Bay) at the Census of 30th June, 1961. At 30th September, 1962, the population of the Territory was 67,308, made up of 64,929 in Canberra City and 2,379 in the rural districts (including 526 at Jervis Bay).


(i) National Capital Development Commission (see also 1. Canberra, Fifty Years of Development, p. 127).

National Capital Development Commission Act 1957-1960 provides for a Commission to undertake and carry out the planning, development and construction of the City of Canberra as the National Capital of the Commonwealth. The year 1961-62 was the fourth year of the Commission's operations. Construction work was carried out by means of agency arrangements with the Department of Works and private consultants.

Details of the expenditure by the Commission during each of the four years of its operations are as follows.



      Housing and flats
      Commonwealth Administration
      Other Architectural Projects
      Engineering Services
      Minor Works
      Fees and Charges

(ii) Department of Works.

Apart from the work it carries out for the National Capital Development Commission, the Department of Works acts as design and supervision agent for other Commonwealth departments and instrumentations. Total expenditure during 1961-62 on all operations amounted to 4,122,927, compared with 3,077,699 in 1960-61. Major items in 1961-62 were: - Building Works - Housing, 11,451, Other Building, 2,325,767; Engineering Works, 111,297; Repairs and Maintenance - Building, 722,122, Engineering, 817,705; Purchase of Plant, 134,585.