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Research Guides

Government Records about the Australian Capital Territory

1. An overview of the Australian Capital Territory

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) comprises 2360 square kilometres. Canberra, the national capital, is situated in the northern part of the Territory, approximately 280 kilometres south-west of Sydney and 600 kilometres north-east of Melbourne. In July 2012, the Territory's population was 367,000.

The Territory's boundaries are defined by the Goulburn–Cooma railway line to the east, the watershed of Naas Creek to the south, the watershed of the Cotter River to the west, and the watershed of the Molonglo River to the north-east. The Territory also includes a small seaport at Jervis Bay.

There are several townships and communities located within the Territory, including Williamsdale, Naas, Uriarra, Tharwa and Hall.

Apart from the city of Canberra, the Territory has agricultural land (sheep, dairy cattle, vineyards and some crops). Namadgi National Park, the only national park in the Territory, is located in the south-west. It is about 106,000 hectares in size and comprises 40 per cent of the Territory. Tidbinbilla, also located to the south-west of Canberra, includes the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and the former Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, operated by the United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration.


Chapter 1
An overview of the Australian Capital Territory