Canberra is Australia's capital city. Developed according to the detailed plans produced by Walter Burley Griffin, Canberra's wide avenues and long vistas were designed to give prominence to the city's important government buildings and showcase the dignity of the nation's capital. Although it was a very quiet place for the first few decades of its existence, Canberra has now developed into a vibrant city, with business, shopping and entertainment precincts. Most visitors to Canberra are unaware that it could have been called Eureka or Britannia, or that sheep farming continued within the city's boundaries for many years after the first Parliament House was built. This book includes these stories as well as many others from the history of Canberra, and there is also a chapter on the Westminster System of government.
Each of Australia's eight capital cities has a unique history. Some, like Sydney, depended on convicts for their early survival. Others, such as Adelaide, refused to accept convicts and developed differently as a result. Having a reliable source of fresh water was a common requirement, which is why all of the cities are located beside a water supply of some sort. Many cities struggled through their early years, until the 19th century Gold Rush provided them with the funds to build magnificent civic buildings, as well as roads, bridges and railways. Today, each of the capitals has its own character and attractions, and their development plans will determine the shape of Australia's future.