and way of life is reflected in the national museums,
galleries and institutions in Canberra.
These national icons
hold and share the
treasures of our nation,
offering an intriguing insight
into Australian character and democracy, and our journey from an Indigenous continent to a modern nation.
Celebrate Australia's proud sporting achievements at the Australian Institute of Sport; delve into our unique political history at Parliament House and its predecessor Old Parliament House; and reflect on our young nation's experience on the international stage at the Australian War Memorial.
See our country and our people through the eyes of our artists at the National Gallery of Australia; and experience Australian character through sound and film, books and exhibitions at the National Library of Australia; the National Archives and ScreenSound Australia; the National Sound and Film Archive.
Memorials of Anzac Parade
Anzac Parade is The National Capital's major ceremonial avenue, and is set along the magnificent Land Axis which forms a key feature of the original 1912 plan for Canberra by Walter Burley Griffin. The parade is easily distinguishable, especially when viewed from Mt Ainslie. The red gravel and the mixed plantings of Australian blue gums and New Zealand Hebe species, is the element which links the Parliamentary Zone to the northern lake shore. Spanning the length of the parade, are 11 Memorial sites, dedicated to the many Australian New Zealand and soldiers that have lost their lives in war. The National Capital's major commemorative way, features The Australian Hellenic Memorial; The Australian Army National Memorial; The Australian National Korean War Memorial; The Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial; The Desert Mounted Corps Memorial; The New Zealand Memorial; The Rats of Tobruk Memorial; The Royal Australian Air Force Memorial; The Australian Service Nurses National Memorial; The Royal Australian Navy Memorial; and the Kemal Ataturk Memorial.
Australian Institute of Sport
Meet the champions - Australia has always been a sporting nation, and, these days, many of our elite sports people use the facilities of the Australian Institute of Sport.
You can see the world of the champion athlete from the inside, as you tour the complex and the world class sports facilities of the AIS, perhaps catching a glimpse of athletes in training, with an athlete as your guide. Visit the new Sports Visitor Centre, which incorporates Sportex - an exhibition of interactive sports displays, videos and tributes, as well as the latest sports technology. If you'd enjoy a swim, a spa or a game of tennis, just ask. Many of the AIS facilities are open to the public. Contact the Australian Institute of Sport for details.
The Australian National Botanic Gardens, nestled at the foot of Black Mountain, are devoted entirely to plants native to Australia. In fact, the Gardens have the finest collection of Australian flora in the world. You can see the plants of the rainforest, the desert, the mountains and more, in specially created "climatic zones." Explore the Rainforest Gully; the Rock Garden; the Eucalypt Lawn; and the Mallee Shrublands, on marked trails. In summer, particularly, the Botanic Gardens offer a relaxing way to end the day. In the Summer months, the Botanic Gardens extends its opening hours to 8pm, to allow people to enjoy the shade and ambient atmosphere of the Gardens. The Summer Concert Series has music for all tastes! Call the Gardens' Visitor Centre on 6250 9540 for more information on the Summer Concerts, and for all other general information relating to the Australian National Botanic Gardens. Parking charges apply. Educational programs for visiting students available.
The Australian War Memorial commemorates the sacrifice of Australian men and women who have served in war. Its exhibitions present stories of Australians at war, in armed conflict, and during peacekeeping activities. With its ceremonial areas, extensive exhibitions and research facilities, the Memorial has, since the present facility was opened in 1941, become a significant and important part of the national capital. The focus of commemoration is the Hall of Memory, together with the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier; the Pool of Reflection; and the Roll of Honour, that lists the names of more than 102,000 Australian servicemen and women who have died in war. Almost a million visitors annually now visit the facility. Each gallery contains magnificently presented relics, artworks, photographs and personal items, that help define Australia and Australians.
For the National Capital Authority, the Cottage is an interpretive tool, providing a connection for visitors reflecting the present and the past. It is an integral part of the story we tell our visitors and school children, and complements our suite of facilities. It provides a 'real' connection between the old and the new. Visitors to the Cottage can listen to the story of the Cottage, from the tour guides; read about each of the rooms of the cottage, and the people that lived in them; and explore the hands-on museum and its artifacts of the past. Special Cottage tours are available for schools or other groups (bookings are essential).
Blundells' Cottage is a significant character in 'The Story of Canberra' and a hands-on piece of heritage, from a time before the National Capital was conceived.
Explore the world in miniature at Cockington Green Gardens, with a fascinating collection of miniature buildings from all parts of Great Britain, all constructed down to the finest detail, and in perfect scale. From tiny townsfolk going about their daily business, to cottages, animals and vehicles, everything has been lovingly recreated for you, capturing the true feel of life in a British village. The new international and Australian section, contains miniature buildings representing Australia, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, England, Hungary, Indonesia, Lithuania, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Slovenia, Slovakia, Scotland, South Africa, Spain and Venezuela. These fantastic displays are surrounded by spectacular gardens and stunning lawns. There is also a miniature steam train ride, picnic spots and a garden cafe, and don't miss the Rose Room featuring 'Waverley' a 34 room Georgian style doll house.
We all spend time searching for some magic. And ever since 1979, everyone at Cockington Green Gardens has been working extra hard, to create somewhere magical, just for you to visit.
The High Court of Australia building, the result of a national architectural competition, was opened in 1980 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. There are three courtrooms, and an impressive public hall, adorned by murals depicting the development of the Australian nation and its Constitution. Interpreting and upholding the Constitution, is one of the important functions of the High Court, together with interpreting Federal Law and hearing cases referred from other courts. The High Court building is open for public inspection on week days. Sittings are open to the public too, though if you're feeling peckish, you might prefer to take a seat in the licensed cafeteria.
Hundreds of years of legal tradition find a home in this concrete and glass structure by the lake, on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin.
80 flags are dedicated to the United Nations, and those nations that maintain a diplomatic presence in the National Capital. The flags fly from two offset rows of flagpoles, along the promenade, between the High Court and the National Library on the southern shore of Lake Burley Griffin. The flags are flown continuously, 24 hours a day, and lit at night, casting a vivid reflection on the Lake. Each flag pole has a plaque at its base, identifying the nation whose flag is flying from that pole.
International Flag Display
The International Flag Display in Canberra's Parliamentary Zone, colourfully acknowledges the international presence in the National Capital.
The main draw card is Australia's 'birth certificate' - The Constitution; and Royal Commission of Assent - along with exhibitions and displays. The records in our collection, trace the events and decisions that shaped the nation. We hold the papers of Governors-General, Prime Ministers and Ministers. We have Cabinet documents; Royal Commission files; and departmental records on defence, immigration, security and intelligence, naturalisation, and many other issues involving the federal government. The main focus of our collection, is records created since the formation of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. We also have some nineteenth-century records, relating to functions that were transferred by the colonies to the Commonwealth government, including shipping and post offices. While most records in the collection are files, we also have significant holdings of photographs, posters, maps, architectural drawings, films, play scripts, musical scores and sound recordings. This vast collection is a rich resource for the study of Australian history, Australian society, and the Australian people, and is accessible to all. We welcome enquiries and visitors to our reading rooms, and provide a range of databases, guides, and leaflets to assist.
The National Archives looks after Australia's valuable Commonwealth records, dating back to Federation.
The National Capital Exhibition is the perfect spot to commence your visit to Canberra. The Exhibition tells the powerful story of the making of the National Capital, from the aboriginal occupation, to the arrival of European settlers. It takes the visitor through the controversial selection of the Limestone Plains site nearly 100 years ago; Walter Burley Griffin's unique design; and traces Canberra's rapid growth into one of the worlds truly great landscaped cities. Not to be missed, the Exhibition illustrates Canberra's vital role as a symbol of federation, and a place that belongs to all Australians. The recently expanded and renovated Exhibition, features interactive displays; laser models; and innovative audiovisual demonstrations (commentary in six languages). Visitors can walk through the entire Canberra story, from its indigenous links, with the controversial selection of the site for a capital, to the modern city, which is acknowledged internationally as the world's best landscaped city. The Exhibition offers a breathtaking view of Lake Burley Griffin, and the Parliamentary zone. A gift shop is located on the premises, and guided walks are available from the Exhibition through historic Commonwealth Park. You'll find the National Capital Exhibition at Regatta Point, on the north shore of Lake Burley Griffin. Just head for the spot where the Captain Cook Memorial Water Jet lifts tonnes of water from the lake into the air.
National Capital Exhibition
Queen Elizabeth II accepted the National Carillon on behalf of Australians, on 26 April 1970. John Douglas Gordon, after whom the Aspen Island footbridge is now named, played the inaugural recital. Carillons have a minimum of 23 bells. With 55 bronze bells, the National Carillon is large by world standards. The pitch of the bells ranges chromatically through four and one half octaves. The bells each weigh between seven kilograms and six tonnes. With the tower rising to a height of 50 metres, this allows the music of the bells to drift across Lake Burley Griffin, and through Kings and Commonwealth Parks. The tower is lit at night, providing a magnificent landmark in the National Capital. The National Carillon is played on a regular basis during the year, by both local and visiting carillonists. It is often used to celebrate national days, and is played in conjunction with other events, such as Australia Day. A unique function facility in the heart of the National Capital is 'Chimes' at the National Carillon. 'Chimes' is a unique function facility, located in the National Carillon on Aspen Island, on the southern side of Lake Burley Griffin. This architecturally designed room, boasts 360 degree views of the parliamentary triangle, and Lake Burley Griffin. The unique quality of this facility, makes it ideal for a wide range of functions. 'Chimes' features: A triangular room with panoramic views from each side of the room; a fully equipped kitchen; and access to the lawns of Aspen Island. Carillon recitals and tours can be arranged on request.
Located on Aspen Island, Lake Burley Griffin, the National Carillon was a gift from the British Government, to the people of Australia, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Capital.
Through a comprehensive exhibition, permanent display, and travelling exhibitions program, the Gallery attracts a diverse audience from all ages. The National Gallery of Australia's collections, include more than 100,000 works of art, across four main areas: Australian art; Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander art; Asian art; and International art. Works in the Gallery are part of Australia's national collection. They belong to the people of Australia, and are preserved and presented for their enjoyment and education. It is the Gallery's intention to make the collection as widely appreciated as possible, both in Australia and overseas.
The National Gallery is the premier art institution in Australia, providing access to works of art, locally, nationally, and internationally.
Take a behind-the-scenes tour, and find out where all the books, manuscripts, newspapers, maps and paintings are, on a trail of adventure through the Library's 220 kilometres of shelving. Browse in the all Australian bookshop, or relax over coffee, with beautiful views of Lake Burley Griffin.
See the beautiful, the rare, and the unexpected, from the Library's vast collections on show in the Visitor Centre and Exhibition Gallery.
Awarded Best Major Tourist Attraction 2005, the National Museum is the first in the country, devoted to the stories of Australia and Australians, exploring the key issues, events and people that have shaped and influenced our nation. The Museum uses three key themes of Land, Nation & People, to tell the story of Australia and Australians. State-of-the-art technology, and exhibition design, present the stories of the collection, in an exciting and inventive manner, including the use of multi-media, live performances, hands-on activities, and guided tours, to appeal to a wide range of audiences. Highlights include The Circa, a rotating cinema that introduces visitors to the Museum's three main themes of Land, Nation and People. Another must-see, is a huge three-dimensional map of Australia, visible from three floors, which shows the tracks of our explorers and settlers, and changing landscapes and boundaries over time. Excitement and innovation are not just limited to the exhibits - the colourful building itself, is now an architectural landmark, one which complements the beautiful surroundings of Canberra's Acton Peninsula. General admission is free.
Australian and international visitors get a unique chance to explore what it means to be Australian, at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.
It is a space in which portraits from around the world are displayed, and a centre for learning about portraiture and history. Come and see the Gallery's extensive permanent collection of portraits, featuring the people who have shaped the nation, those who have made history, and those who are making history. The portraits take the form of paintings, photographs, sculptures, and other media. Images range from legends, such as Don Bradman, to a unique tapestry portrait of Dame Elizabeth Murdoch. Favourites include Howard Arkley's portrait of Nick Cave; Charles Blackman's portrait of Judith Wright, and Cathy Freeman. The National Portrait Gallery has two exhibition spaces, at Parliament House and at Commonwealth Place. In 1997, the Commonwealth Government funded the restoration and refurbishment of several heritage spaces within Old Parliament House, to become the permanent home for Australia's National Portrait Gallery. The main gallery space is the Parliamentary Library, off Kings Hall, which houses a permanent display of Australia's portraits in all media, including paintings, formal busts and sketches. The galleries on the other side of the permanent space, are devoted to a program of temporary exhibitions, that will change regularly. In November 2002, the National Portrait Gallery opened a new space at Commonwealth Place. In keeping with the bold modern architecture of Commonwealth Place, the exhibitions in this space have a contemporary focus. Exhibitions to date have show-cased the galleries newly commissioned works and photographic portraits.
Giving a face to the nation. The National Portrait Gallery boasts an extensive collection of Australian portraits across time, and media that reflect the history, diversity and culture of Australia.
Experience 100 years of Australian film, television, radio and recorded sound, through film clips, sound bites, touch screens, photographs, costumes, and other memorabilia. Visit our exhibitions; stay for a movie; browse in our shop; enjoy the art deco architecture, and courtyard cafe. Presentations are held each weekend. The earliest exhibits in this treasure house of radio, film, television and sound recording history, pre-date the founding of the National Capital. You can also see Australia's first 'Oscar'; exhibits from recent Australian movies; and fabulous newsreels from the past. Trace the history of radio, from cat's whisker, to ghetto blaster. See continuous screenings of film classics. Study and research facilities are also available in the library… But watch out. If you see a shadowy figure lurking in a corner - well there are tales of ghosts here. The building used to house the Institute of Anatomy. Teachers can book an interactive excursion, where students from lower primary, through to tertiary level, can participate in our innovative education programs, that seek to encourage understanding and appreciation of how Australian life is represented through our screen and sound media.
The National Zoo & Aquarium (NZA) provides the only zooquarium experience in Australia. The impressive animals at the NZA come from all around the world, providing a truly memorable experience. Monkeys, bears, snakes, sharks, marine life, giraffes, and the largest collection of Big Cats in Australia, can all be seen at the NZA. The Zoo has some of the largest enclosures for traditional city zoos', as well as the largest inland aquarium. The NZA prides itself on providing an interactive approach with animals. The Zooventure tour, allows you the chance of a lifetime, to hand feed tigers; have bears lick honey from your fingers; and meet the entire family of the NZA. This unforgettable tour, makes it possible for you to learn all about your favourite animals and their natural habitats, through the help of your experienced guide. The Meet-a-Cheetah encounter, puts you and one of our expert keepers, in the cheetah enclosure, where you can pat Tanzi and Robi, or even cuddle Shasa. These interactive zoo experiences, bring people safely closer to these magnificent animals. This interaction, allows visitors to build a relationship with the animals, and understand the work of the National Zoo & Aquarium Conservation Team (NZACT). This team's goal, is to educate visitors, on conservation issues in the wild, and to ensure the future existence of exotic and rare animals in the wild. Visit the National Zoo & Aquarium for "a Touching Experience".
Set in a fabulous old industrial building, Canberra's quality weekly Sunday markets, feature high quality handcrafted and home-produced goods, which showcase the creativity of the region. Visitors will enjoy a large variety of stalls, all of fine quality, and the opportunity to enjoy a multicultural meal; or sip and sample outstanding gourmet food and regional wine to take home. Types of stalls that exhibit at the market, include contemporary homeware; timber furniture; bonsai; jewellery; millinery; ceramics; soap and perfumes; kids' toys; and much more. There's a massage therapy stall, plus plenty of activities to keep the kids amused. If you're interested in food, then the Old Bus Depot Markets has food galore. Ethiopian; Laos; French; and Argentinian food, is among the wide range of international foods on sale. There's also a plethora of other stalls, selling everything from farmhouse cheeses, to bagels and chilli products. Not to mention great cake and coffee at The Depot Cafe.
Old Bus Depot Markets
The national award winning 'Old Bus Depot Markets' are one of Australia's favourite markets!
Today, this much-loved heritage building, offers tourists a unique glimpse into Australia's fascinating past - a time when this magnificent building was the centre of political controversies and drama. Old Parliament House echoes with the power and the passion of stories from Australia's political past. Today, this much-loved heritage building, offers an exciting program of guided tours, exhibitions, and other engaging activities for all ages, and is also home to Australia's National Portrait Gallery. Visitors can enjoy dining at the Cafe in the House, and find a unique souvenir at the old Parliament House Shop. Don't miss a visit to this award winning attraction - the House where Australia grew up.
Old Parliament House made headlines for more than sixty years, as home to Australia's Federal Parliament from 1927 to 1988.
Situated in the centre of the nation's capital, it is renowned for its impressive architecture, landscaped gardens, and collection of Australian contemporary art. The 81 metre flag mast, soaring above the building, has become the symbol of Canberra. When Parliament is sitting, visitors can observe the process of democratic government. The lively debate of question time at 2pm, attracts wide interest, and proceedings may be observed from the public galleries. Free guided tours commence every 30 minutes. Self-guiding brochures and audio-guides are available in English, French, German, Japanese and Chinese. The Queen's Terrace Café, offers sweeping views of the Parliamentary Triangle and Lake Burley Griffin. The Parliament Shop, stocks a wide range of quality gifts, souvenirs and books.
Parliament House, the home of Federal Parliament, is one of the world's most acclaimed buildings.
Put Questacon - The National Science and Technology Centre, high on your list, especially if you're travelling with kids. But no matter what age you are, you'll be fascinated by the 'please touch' exhibits. Questacon is the only place in Australia, where you can free fall for six metres, and take the whole family on a virtual roller coaster ride. Questacon is known by kids throughout Australia, as the place where science and technology comes to life. Visitors have fun with hands-on science exhibits, on a journey of discovery, through 6 different exhibition galleries. Science drama unfolds in the theatre, every day too. Experience an earthquake; see lightning made before your eyes; understand the science of tornadoes; throwing a ball; or making a telephone call. There are more than 200 exhibits, and they're changing all the time, so, even if you've been here before, Questacon warrants a repeat visit.
The Royal Australian Mint was officially opened on Monday, 22nd February 1965. The Mint was commissioned to produce Australia's decimal coinage, which was to be introduced into circulation on 14th February 1966. The Royal Australian Mint holds a place in history, as the first mint in Australia not to be a branch of the Royal Mint, London. Since opening in 1965, the Mint has produced over eleven billion circulating coins, and has the capacity to produce over two million coins per day, or over six hundred million coins per year. You can also watch from the elevated viewing gallery, as money is being made - you'll see more money made in an hour, than most of us make in a year! There are presentations running continuously in the theatrette, that explain coins and coin production; displays of coins, dating back to the First Fleet; and a coin shop, where you can browse among a wide range of collector coins and medallions. What's more, you can operate a coin press, to mint your very own $1.00 coin. The coin you make, will have a "C" mint mark, indicating that it has been made in Canberra. The mark sets it apart from the normal circulating dollar coins.