“Meeting Place” is what the city’s name essentially means, and it is derived from the Aboriginal name Kamberra. Located on the ancient lands of the Ngunnawal Aboriginal people, the city is about 90 miles inland, surrounded by national parks and mountain ranges.

The first European settlers actually arrived in the area in the 1820s. Early settler Joshua John Moore took the first land grant and named the area Canberry, which in time becomes Canberra. The railroads arrive and link the settlement with the coastal region in the 1860s.

And on January 1, 1901 the Commonwealth of Australia was established, and both Melbourne and Sydney claiming the right to be the capital. A compromise was reached that would establish a new city to be the capital, and of 40 districts proposed, Canberra was one of seven to be considered as the site of the national capital.

In 1911 it was decided that this site would be the capital, and a large parcel of land was set-aside. Construction of the capital began in 1913, and initially known as the Federal Capital Territory, the area officially was renamed Australian Capital Territory in 1938. In 1988 the new Parliament House was built to replace the old House, built in 1927, which was to have been only a temporary home to the Parliament. Today the city is truly a meeting place for the Austrlian government.

Australian Capital Tourism - A Brief History of Canberra