1307.8 - Australian Capital Territory in Focus, 2006  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/09/2006   
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Contents >> History



c21,000 BC

Archaeological remains indicate that Aboriginal people were settled in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) region. There is speculation that their tenure is much older than this. The large number of artefact scatters and rock shelters with Aboriginal paintings, provide evidence of the activities of the Wolgal, Ngarigo and Ngunnawal people.



One of the Indigenous people known as Taree, told Dr Charles Throsby about Wee-Raa-Waa, better known today as Lake George, and a large river, the Murrumbidgee. Dr Throsby and ex-convict Joseph Wild went in search for Wee-Raa-Waa and found the vast but shallow lake. Charles Throsby despatched his nephew, Charles Throsby Smith, along with police constable James Vaughan and Joseph Wild on a month's expedition from Lake George to find the Murrumbidgee River. They didn't find the river but they did discover the site of Queanbeyan and set up land on what later became Duntroon. They also discovered the Molonglo River. Throsby Smith reported fine rich soil and plenty of grass ideal for sheep grazing, and large quantities of limestone. The area later became known as Limestone Plains.


Led by an Aboriginal guide, Dr Throsby and Joseph Wild went again in search for the Murrumbidgee River. Crossing the Molonglo and Queanbeyan rivers and the site where Canberra now stands, they successfully came across the Murrumbidgee near what is known now as Pine Island in Tuggeranong.


Lieutenant Joshua John Moore was the first landowner on the Limestone Plains. He took out a 'ticket of occupation' for 2,000 acres and then later in 1826, bought a reduced claim of 1,000 acres which covered much of what is now central Canberra. He called his land 'Canberry' after hearing Aboriginal people using the word 'Kamberra' which means 'a meeting place'.


Wealthy Sydney merchant, Robert Campbell, received a grant of land and sheep to the value of 2,000. He received this as compensation for the loss of his ship 'Sydney' in 1806 whilst he was under charter to the government to bring food from India. Campbell's overseer, James Ainslie, was sent to find suitable grazing land. With the help of Aboriginal guides, Ainslie reached Limestone Plains and built huts on the banks of the Molonglo River, near the site of the present Royal Military College, Duntroon. The property established by Ainslie was known for the next 20 years as 'Pialligo' (Piallago) Station and originally occupied 4,000 acres.


No official records exist of the number of Indigenous people in the Canberra area in 1820. William Davis Wright, an early settler, spoke of a tribe between 400 and 500 at the time of European settlement. The 1828 census showed 21 white inhabitants living in Canberra and 15 in Ginninderra.


On January 27, the first European child was born in the area, Helen Jane McPherson. Her father had supposedly received his 640 acre farm below Black Mountain as a reward for his part in the capture of a bushranger.


The 1833 census return for the Country of Murray (which included Ginninderra and Canberra) indicated 500 white people living in the area. Of these, 351 were convicts.

1838 to 1842

The ever present threat of drought became a reality when rainfall fell far short of expected averages. Lake George dried up, as did the creeks in the Molonglo with only a few water holes remaining. The Murrumbidgee River stopped flowing for two years and drinking water could only be obtained by sinking holes in stream beds. A financial depression followed and livestock could not be sold, and wool prices fell sharply.


The church of Saint John the Baptist was established. It was built on land provided by Robert Campbell, who contributed 1,000 for its construction. The school house adjoining the church was the first school for inner Canberra. Enrolments varied from 23 pupils in 1859 to 49 in 1865. Education was neither free nor compulsory until 1880, but by 1847 there were three schools in the Canberra area.


Convicts were used as labour until 1840 and were often treated harshly. Convicts who were resentful of their cruel treatment often sought escape and became bushrangers. Two of the most notable bushrangers were John Tennant and William Westwood, better known as Jacky Jacky. Tennant and his accomplice John Rix, were captured at gunpoint by James Ainslie. Two of the local mountains are now known as Ainslie and Tennant. Westwood held up a number of local residents, including the local doctor and the first clergyman in the area. He was finally hanged at Norfolk Island in 1846 after escaping from captivity on several occasions.


Goldrushes caused a shortage of farm labour as workers fled their jobs in search of their fortune.


The 1851 census showed 2,562 white people living in the Queanbeyan Police District, of which 1,511 were men and 1,051 were women. Children were not counted. Only 10 of the men had more than a basic education, with five being clergymen, two being doctors, one a lawyer and the other two described as 'other educated persons'.

A trip to Goulburn took five or more days and a trip to Sydney took at least three weeks.


Stories of early Canberra include accounts of women who were abandoned and left to fend for themselves and their children. Mary Ann Brownlow was said to be an overworked heartbroken woman, and was pregnant when she stabbed her husband after a quarrel. Despite much protest and local sympathy, she was tried and hanged in October.


Rubble stone cottages were constructed for workers on the Duntroon estate, which included Blundell's cottage built for head ploughman William Ginn, his wife and four children. The second residents of the cottage were newlyweds, George and Flora Blundell. Blundell lived in the cottage for 60 years.


The Canberra Post Office was established with local school teacher, Andrew Wotherspoon becoming the first postmaster. There was already a post office at Ginninderra, north of Black Mountain (1859) and at Lanyon (1860).


The southern railway slowly progressed from Campbelltown and reached Goulburn.


The railway extended to Yass.


William Farrer settled at 'Lambrigg' near Tharwa and for the next eleven years carried out experiments to produce varieties of wheat resistant to drought and rust. These experiments laid the foundations of the modern Australian wheat industry.


The rail service to Queanbeyan commenced.


A general economic depression and drought brought disaster to small land-holders with many farmers going bankrupt along with shopkeepers, and even some banks were forced to close down.


Rabbits appeared in Ginninderra and quickly increased to plague proportions destroying fields and crops. Regular shooting drives were organised to keep numbers down.


The intrusion of Europeans was disastrous for local Aboriginal people and by 1870 they had almost vanished. Nellie Hamilton was one of the last Aboriginals of the Canberra area who could remember a lifestyle unaffected by white settlement. She died in Queanbeyan Hospital on New Year's Day of 1897.


Federation was achieved for Australia. Queen Victoria signed the Constitution Bill in 1899 declaring that on and after January 1 1901, the Australian states should be united in the Commonwealth of Australia. A selection for the site of the National Capital was needed. The new Constitution directed that the seat of Government should occupy its own Territory in New South Wales but not closer than 100 miles from Sydney. The site also had to contain an area of not less than one hundred square miles, therefore a 'bush capital' it was to be. In the meantime, until a site was found, the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia was to sit in Melbourne.


The search for a site for the National Capital took place. Seven years of submissions, inspections, arguments, and eight ballots had to be withstood before a decision was made. Forty districts were proposed and twenty three of them were inspected. A Capital Sites Enquiry board was established to report on eight sites named in the commission: Albury, Armidale, Bathurst, Bombala, Lake George, Lyndhurst, Orange and Tumut. Dalgety, a site close to the Victorian border, was re-examined.


The Commonwealth Parliament chose Dalgety for the site of the National Capital. New South Wales refused the decision threatening that the State would secede from the Commonwealth.


John Christian Watson, Australia's third Prime Minister, said he would have voted for no other site except Canberra if he and the other Parliamentarians had seen it in May 1902 during their tour of possible sites. After rigorous travelling, they had slept-in missing their visit to the Canberra valley during the tour.



The choice for the proposed Capital site had come down to Yass-Canberra and Dalgety. Yass-Canberra won by 39 votes. Those that had favoured Dalgety switched to Tumut for a Capital site. Once again Yass-Canberra won 19 vs 17 votes. In October 1908, the Seat of Government Bill, confirming Yass-Canberra as the nation's capital, was passed by the Parliament.


Robert Charles Scrivener, the NSW district surveyor in the town of Hay, was sent to survey and make recommendations on the best 900 square mile area in the Yass-Canberra district. He examined four sites in the Canberra-Lake George-Yass triangle, making his final choice largely based on water supply, topography, and outlook. The chosen sites comprised the Cotter, Molonglo and Queanbeyan River catchments. Queanbeyan was later removed from the proposed Territory, and other catchment areas to the south of the site to be included instead. This resulted in a 912 square mile territory. The separate Commonwealth territory of Jervis Bay was also added to the territory.


Robert Charles Scrivener became the first Commonwealth Director of Lands and Surveys.

King O'Malley was appointed Federal Minister of Home Affairs.


In April, the population of the Federal Capital Territory was 1,714 people, 1,762 horses, 8,412 cattle, and 224,764 sheep.

A world-wide competition was announced to design the city. A prize of 1,750 for the winning design was announced, 750 for the runner-up, and 500 for third prize. It was almost impossible for designers to travel to inspect the site, so information about the area and site was sent around the world. The competition resulted in 137 entries.

The Royal Military College at Duntroon opened its doors to cadets.


First prize for the Federal Capital Design Competition went to Walter Burley-Griffin of Chicago, USA. Griffin's plan consisted of an artificial lake and a 'parliamentary triangle', and was designed for a population of 25,000 which would be expected to grow to 75,000.


There was dispute over the design, with some finding it too extravagant and impracticable and a Departmental Board of specialists put forward another plan. Despite the Board's recommendation, O'Malley and the Fisher Government eventually approved Griffin's plan. On March 12, there was a ceremony to lay the foundation stones for the city and to announce its new name. At noon that day, Lady Denman, the first lady of Australia, announced "I name the capital city of Australia, Canberra."

Walter Burley-Griffin came to Canberra and was appointed as Federal Capital Director of Design and Construction for three years.


1914 to 1918

World War I began and changes in Government and a lack of money slowed the city's progress. It is difficult to count the number of Canberra men enlisted to war, but historian Jim Gibbney suggests around 60 men were enlisted and 6 were killed.

The Royal Military College sent 158 officers on active service and of these, 42 were killed and 58 were wounded.

Despite the slow progress of the city, the Royal Canberra Hospital opened in Balmain Crescent, Acton, in May 1914. The hospital had eight beds and tents were used to supplement the isolation ward. Despite an increasing number of women living in Canberra, there was no obstetrics facility, and patients had to travel to Queanbeyan Hospital.

The railway was extended from Queanbeyan to the south-east corner of Canberra, a power station was built in Kingston, a brick-works was opened in Yarralumla, and in 1915, the Cotter Dam was completed.


Walter Burley-Griffin's plan for Canberra was gazetted.


The Prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII, visited Canberra. His visit was commemorated with a stone laid on Capital Hill.

Walter Burley-Griffin left Canberra with the framework of the plan established on the ground, but disappointed at the lack of progress and the repeated efforts to change his design.

1921 to 1927

The movement of parliament to Canberra caused an increased urgency to develop the city. It had to be able to accommodate the public servants and politicians who would be moving there. The Federal Capital Commission (who took over from the Advisory Committee) employed 4,000 tradesmen and labourers. More than 700 houses were built, along with some hotels and guest houses.

More than 350 plans were approved for private investment. The Melbourne and Sydney buildings were built on Northbourne Avenue, and the prime minister's lodge began construction.

Griffin had planned the city to be an attractive one. The Advisory Committee's annual report in 1924 stated that workmen had planted around 1,162,942 trees.

Residential accommodation provided by the government now included, the Kurrajong Hotel at Acton and the Hotel Ainslie.


The prestigious Hotel Canberra opened.

The Mount Stromlo Observatory was established. This was 14 years after the first telescope was erected there. Dr Walter G. Duffield was appointed first director of the observatory.


Canberra's first newspaper, The Canberra Times, was issued on September 3, with subscribers paying 3 pence for the sixteen page edition. It was initially a weekly paper.


A provisional Parliament House designed by the Department of Works was opened by the Duke of York, to house the Australian Parliament until a permanent one was designed and built. An international competition for the design of a permanent Parliament House had been launched in 1914, but then withdrawn due to the war.

Ten departments employing 37,300 people were transferred to Canberra. By November, 650 officers and their families had moved to Canberra and by 1928 another 142 public servants had arrived.

The ACT Police Force was established, headed by Major H.E Jones.

Records show registration of 373 cars, 60 trucks, and 55 motorcycles, and 520 people licensed to drive.


Brick houses were being built for 90 a square metre and public servants could purchase a home with 100 deposit and a 25 to 30 year loan. Cottages could be rented at 1/4s to 3/10s a week.

Prohibition, which had been enforced since 1912, was abolished allowing the sale of alcohol on licensed premises. Hotels were permitted to serve alcohol until 6 pm, but the rough and ready cafes were set up to sell only alcohol and no food. It wasn't until the 1960's that women were allowed to drink in hotels, although they were allowed to drink at the cafes.


In September, Canberra's Coat of Arms were granted, with the motto being 'For the King, the Law, and the People'.


1927 to 1933

The Wall Street stock market crashed in October 1929 and Canberra started feeling the effects of the Depression.

The construction of many projects had to stop including the Australian War Memorial, the rail link to the Civic Centre and the artificial lakes in Walter Burley-Griffin's plans. Many private building projects also came to a halt. This led to workers being laid off and the body responsible for developing the city, the Federal Capital Commission, was abolished.

The Government cancelled plans to transfer more public servants from Melbourne, which had an adverse effect on many businesses in Canberra.

In December 1930, the Federal Government transferred the Royal Military College from Duntroon to Sydney in attempt to save money, some 70 jobs were lost.

The population of Canberra in 1930 was around 7,000.

There were a variety of Government relief schemes in Canberra during the Depression. In July 1932, the Canberra employment office reported 655 single men and 17 couples on rations.

By 1933, the worst of the Depression in Canberra was over.


The Australian Institute of Anatomy was completed, housing a collection of preserved specimens of Australian fauna. Included in the collection was the heart of Phar Lap.


Albert Ryan, Australian Infantry Forces Veteran, opened a shop for the sale and repair of electrical appliances. He built his own radio transmitter and after securing a license began the radio station 2CA, which was officially opened from a back room of Ryan's shop on November 14.


Work on the Australian War Memorial began.

Regular air services to and from Canberra commenced.


The Federal Capital Territory officially became the Australian Capital Territory.



On the evening of September 3, the Prime Minister, Robert Menzies, announced that Australia was again at war. The bulk of the war administration agencies were still located in Melbourne as there was insufficient office or housing accommodation in Canberra. As a result, Australia conducted the war from Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney. The War Cabinet met in Canberra which meant a lot of travelling by ministers.


On August 13, an air force flight carrying three ministers and the chief of general staff crashed behind Mount Ainslie. The plane burst into flames on impact, killing all ten on board. The Canberra Aerodrome was later named Fairburn in memory of the Minister for Air, James Fairburn, who was one of the victims.

The building of the new Canberra Hospital began. In 1942, the United States Army Medical Corps took over construction and commissioned it as an American military hospital. This only lasted five months, and in February 1943, the hospital was handed over to the Canberra Hospital Board.


Despite the War, the Australian War Memorial was completed and opened on November 11. Before the completion of the building it had been decided to expand the original building to be able to include World War II information.

1941 to 1943

Fears of invasion grew after Japan's entry into the war in 1941. A blackout was imposed on the city in 1942. Windows had to be blacked out, cars could only use one heavily hooded headlight and even torches were not allowed. Evacuation trenches and air raid shelters were built although fortunately proved to be unnecessary. Other than for practice, air raid sirens only sounded twice in February 1942 and March 1943.


The building of the American Embassy commenced.


The Second World War ended.

There is no accurate list of how many Canberrans died in the war. The Honour Roll for the Royal Military College at Duntroon lists 59 former cadets killed in the war. The Canberra High School Honour Roll lists 43 ex-students who died, and Canberra Grammar School Honour Roll includes three people who died.


The Government endorsed the transfer of thousands of public servants to Canberra, but didn't do much to make the move easy for them. Four years after the endorsement there were almost 3,000 outstanding applications for housing and some married public servants were spending years in a hostel before they could bring their family to Canberra.


The population of Canberra had grown to 28,000 people. Twenty per cent of the population was made up of migrants from sixty different countries.

Queen Elizabeth II visited Canberra, on a Royal tour, and opened the third session of the Twentieth Parliament.

An Australian-American Memorial was erected and opened by the Queen on February 16 1954. The tall column with a large American eagle on top was the work of sculptor Paul Beadle.


The Federal Government, under Robert Menzies, established the National Capital Development Commission (NCDC). It was responsible for the planning, development, and construction of Canberra as the national capital of the Commonwealth. John Overall, a twice decorated ex-army officer, was chosen as commissioner.


The NCDC's budget submission asked for 1,000,000 to build the man-made lake Walter Burley-Griffin had in his plans.

The population of Canberra reached 50,000.


By 1963, the first houses were built in Hughes, and within 12 months 3,000 residents were living in the area.

The Russell Offices opened.

The Australian National University conducted its first intake of under-graduates.


The first television station opened (CTC7). It began conferring the big city programs to ACT viewers.


On September 20, the valves of Scrivener Dam were closed to begin filling the man-made lake.

Commonwealth Avenue Bridge opened.


The man-made lake was filled and named after Walter Burley-Griffin. On October 17, it was officially opened with Prime Minister Menzies conducting the inauguration. It was nine kilometres long, with six islands and forty one kilometres of landscaped foreshore.

When the NCDC began operation there were around 8,000 houses in Canberra, and by the end of its first seven-year term in June 1964, there were nearly 17,000. Each neighbourhood was provided with a small shopping centre, a school and a park.

The growth in Canberra's population was averaging approximately twelve per cent a year by the mid 1960s.


The Royal Australian Mint was opened by the Duke of Edinburgh. He started a machine that produced one-cent coins.

Anzac Parade officially opened on April 25, to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landing at Gallipoli.

The Canberra Theatre opened.


The population of Canberra reached 100,000.

The first residents moved into the new town of Belconnen. It was designed for a population of around 85,000, featuring a town centre built beside Canberra's second man-made lake, Lake Ginninderra. Major office blocks were built there at the end of the 1960s.


The National Library was opened on August 15 by Prime Minister John Gorton. It contained a two-level podium which could house 2.5 million books and could be expanded in three directions to take up to 11 million.


The first courses were offered by the Canberra College of Advanced Education.


Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the Captain Cook water jet which ejected water 1,020 metres into the air. It is located in Lake Burley Griffin, opposite the National Library.

The National Botanical Gardens, devoted entirely to Australian flora, opened.


A disastrous flood in Woden in January claimed seven lives. The flood was caused by a 'one in a 100 year' pattern of rainfall over the Woden Valley. A 200 metre wide torrent of water, one and a half metres deep swept away cars on the causeway at the intersection of Yarra Glen and Melrose and Yamba Drives. The causeway was replaced one year later by a 'flood-free interchange'.

The first nature reserve in Canberra was declared (Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve).


John Overall left the NCDC. Canberra's population had passed 155,000, compared with the 39,000 when he started in 1958.

The Woden Plaza was opened.

On Australia Day, the Aboriginal Tent Embassy was established on the front lawns of Old Parliament House.


Tuggeranong, the third new town commenced. It was designed to have a population of around 100,000.

The first patients were admitted to Woden Valley Hospital.


Federal Parliament decided that Capital Hill would be the new site for the permanent Parliament House.


The National Athletics Stadium, known today as Canberra Stadium, was completed.


The Belconnen Mall was opened.

A referendum in November 25, resulted in ACT residents rejecting a proposal for self-Government, with 63% of Canberrans voting for no change to the present arrangements.


The Canberra Cannons basketball team played their first game in the National Basketball League.


A large telecommunications tower (now known as Telstra Tower) was built on Black Mountain, complete with viewing platforms and a revolving restaurant. The construction of the tower had caused many arguments and protests, when it was first proposed by the Postmaster-General's Department to crown Black Mountain with a 195-metre concrete structure.

The High Court of Australia opened on May 26.


By the mid-1980s, the average cost of a residential lease in Canberra was $34,000, making ACT land some of the most expensive of any Australian city.


The Australian Defence Force Academy had been approved, and building began on a site adjacent to the Duntroon Military College.

On January 26, the Australian Institute of Sport was officially opened by Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. The original eight sports were basketball, gymnastics, netball, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field, and weight-lifting.


The Canberra Raiders played their first game in the National Rugby League competition. They played against the Newtown Jets, 1981 grand-finalists. The Raiders won their first grand-final in 1989.


The Tuggeranong Hyperdome was built.


The new Parliament House was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in May. It was designed by American firm Mitchell Giurgola in partnership with Australian-born architect Richard Thorp. The design was selected from 329 entrants in a world-wide competition.



Canberra became a self-governing territory with the creation of a legislative assembly.

The NCDC was abolished, and replaced by the National Capital Planning Authority.


The Canberra College of Advanced Education became the University of Canberra.

Work began on the new town of Gungahlin. It was designed for a population of 85,000.

The Canberra Centre retail complex opened.


The closure of Royal Canberra Hospital was announced.


A referendum was passed to change the electoral system to the Hare-Clark system (proportional representation).

Casino Canberra opened.


The Australian International Hotel School opened.


The ACT Brumbies became part of the first Super 12 rugby tournament. They won their first championship in 2001.


A public implosion to bring down the Royal Canberra Hospital caused debris to fly, killing a 12 year old girl and injuring nine others.


The Snowy Hydro SouthCare Helicopter Service was established in October, offering Canberra and the region aero-medical and rescue helicopter services.

The Canberra Museum and Gallery opened.


Canberra celebrated 10 years of self-government.

The Canberra Tourism and Events Corporation signed an agreement with the Australian Vee Eight Supercar Company, the governing body of the Shell Championship Series for V8 Supercars, to stage an annual street race in Canberra for five years. The first three races of the series were held on the June long weekends in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Following a General Auditor's report in July 2002, the race was withdrawn from the Canberra circuit because it was unprofitable.

Grevillea Park, on the Lake Burley Griffin foreshore, was the selected site for the new Canberra Hospice, and was later completed in 2001.

The International Flag Display was opened in Canberra. At the time, the flag display was one of the largest continuous and permanent displays of national flags in the world and consisted of flags from 78 countries and two international organisations. It is located between the High Court and the National Library of Australia, on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin.


Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip began their national tour in Canberra.

The Australian National Korean War Memorial was unveiled on Anzac Parade in April.


The National Museum of Australia opened on March 8.

On the eve of ANZAC day, the New Zealand Memorial on Anzac Parade was officially dedicated.

Two major bushfires on Christmas Eve and three on Christmas Day ravaged areas in and around Canberra.

An inquiry began into the 35 km clearing through Namadgi National Park by an electricity infrastructure supplier. It was labelled by the National Parks Association as "the worst environmental vandalism ever seen in the ACT".


Work began on the Kingston Foreshore redevelopment.

The ACT Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope, announced mandatory water restrictions as of midnight December 16. For the first time in 30 years, water levels had dropped to 56% of capacity.


On January 18, a state of emergency was declared as bushfires from Namadgi National Park moved into Canberra's south-west and northern suburbs. More than 500 buildings were destroyed including houses. Thousands of hectares of forest and parkland burnt out, and four lives were lost.

In March, Canberra celebrated its 90th birthday since Walter Burley-Griffin's city design was implemented.

The first section of absolute water front land at Kingston Foreshore was sold for $27 million.

Canberra became the first jurisdiction in Australia to introduce a plan to phase out smoking in clubs, pubs and licensed venues.

The United States President, George Bush, visited Canberra.

The Chinese President, Hu Jintao, visited Canberra to hold international trade talks with Prime Minister John Howard.


On January 9, the ACT Government gave the go ahead for the establishment of a correctional facility in the ACT with estimated capital costs of $103 million.

The Parliament of ACT became the first jurisdiction in Australia to introduce a bill of rights (Human Rights Act 2000) to help to protect freedom of expression, religion and movement.

The Mount Stromlo Observatory, which was devastated by the 2003 Canberra bushfires, officially reopened to the public with an Open Day on October 30.


In April, work began to implement the Cotter Googong Bulk Transfer program, a way of utilising existing infrastructure to increase ACT's water supply.

In November, the ACT Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope, opened a five-star energy rated building at the Brindabella Business Park. The building was the first in Australia to be awarded a five-star rating under the Green Star scheme developed by the Green Building Council of Australia.

On December 8, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) celebrated its Centenary. The Federal Treasurer, Peter Costello, announced that the entire content of the ABS website would be accessible free of charge from Monday 12 December.


On February 25, Canberra welcomed the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton.

On March 14, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited Canberra. During the visit the Queen and Prince Philip met with representatives from the ACT Fire Brigade, ACT Ambulance Service, ACT Rural Fire Service, ACT State Emergency Service and the Australian Federal Police. This event was arranged so that the Queen and Prince Philip could personally thank those involved with fighting the 2003 bushfires.

On March 31, water conservation measures became mandatory for the ACT and Queanbeyan.


1989 to 1989 - Rosemary Follett

1989 to 1991 - Trevor Kane

1991 to 1995 - Rosemary Follett

1995 to 2000 - Kate Carnell

2000 to 2001 - Gary Humphries

2001 to present - Jon Stanhope


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