Australian Capital Territory

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The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is the capital territory of the Commonwealth of Australia and its smallest self-governing internal territory. It is an inland enclave in New South Wales, situated on what was formerly land occupied by an Australian Aboriginal tribe known as the Ngunnawal people and from the 1820s occupied by white settlers who grazed sheep and cattle.

The ACT was created to be a neutral location for the Autralian national capital after discussions between Melbourne and Sydney could not determine which city should be the capital. The Territory is approximately 180 miles (280 kilometres) southwest of Sydney, and 400 miles (650 kilometres) north-east of Melbourne. To avoid speculation on the land in the Territory, all land in the ACT is held on 99 year crown leases.

The Capital city of Australia, Canberra, is located entirely with the ACT. Canberra comprises 99.7% of the ACT population, the remainder being in several villages and those living on farming leases. Around two-thirds of ACT land is the Namadgi National Park, that borders the Kosciuszko National Park which contains the majority of Australia's snow skiing fields.


The ACT has a population of 323,056 (2006 census) consisting of 156,000 males and 167 056 females, with 63.4 per cent of the population of being Christian, 22.7 per cent have no religion, 2.6 per cent are Muslim and 1.3 per cent Buddhist.

Jervis Bay Territory

A second portion of the Australian Capital Territory is at Jervis Bay near Nowra, New South Wales. Jervis Bay was intended to be a port for the Capital, but this was not developed as such; however, the Royal Australian Navy's officer college, HMAS Creswell, was established there and this remains, along with a satellite airfield of the Navy's air base, HMAS Albatross, near Nowra.