The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is situated within New South Wales and is the only completely land-locked Australian state or territory (i.e. does not have a coastline). ACT’s capital city is Canberra, which is also Australia’s national capital.

ACT Facts 

  • The ACT is often called the ‘Nation’s Capital’ or the ‘Bush Capital’.
  • The Lodge is the name of the Australian Prime Minister’s official residence in Canberra. In 1827, James Scullin, the Leader of the Opposition, campaigned against the expensive costs of the building. When his party won the 1929 election, making him Prime Minister, he stuck to his convictions and refused to move in to the building.
  • Australia’s first Prime Minister was Edmund Barton. Many Prime Ministers have followed him including Robert Menzies, Harold Holt, Gough Whitlam and Robert Hawke.
  • Many talented film stars were born in the ACT including Sigrid Thornton, most well known for her role in ‘The Man from Snowy River’ (1982), and Mia Wasikowska most well known for her role alongside Johnny Depp in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (2010).
  • Canberra holds many festivals such as the Balloon Spectacular, the National Folk Festival and Floriade.
  • Advertising billboards along the roadside are banned in the ACT, with the exception of bus shelters.
  • While Old Parliament House was intended as a provisional building to house Parliament for only 50 years, the new Parliament House at Capital Hill is intended to house Parliament for 200 years.
  • Canberra is home to The Royal Australian Mint and is responsible for producing all of Australia’s circulating coins. Rare and historical coins can be viewed, as well as the coin making process involving some amazing robots.
  • In 2013 Canberra celebrated 100 years as the nation’s capital and the home of Parliament. Throughout the year there were many exciting celebrations to mark this exciting event.

ACT State Flag 

The ACT’s flag features Canberra’s Coat of Arms against a yellow background on the right-hand side and the Southern Cross against a blue background on the left-hand side.

ACT Coat of Arms 

In 1927, Mr C R Wylie won a competition to design the Coat of Arms of the City of Canberra. The design was slightly modified before being granted on 7 November 1928.

The Coat of Arms features a black and a white swan (to represent the Aboriginal people and the Europeans) supporting a shield. The shield displays a crown (representing British royalty), a white rose (for the Duke of York), a castle with three towers (for the three branches of Government), a sword, a mace, a portcullis face and a gum tree (representing growth and progress).

At the base of the shield is the Latin motto Pro Rege, Lege et Grege which translates to ‘For the Queen, the Law and the People’.

ACT Emblems 

The ACT has two emblems: the faunal emblem and the floral emblem.

The faunal emblem of the ACT is the Gang-Gang Cockatoo. It was adopted on 27 February 1997. Canberra is the only city in the whole of Australia where these grey cockatoos live.

The floral emblem of the ACT is the Royal Bluebell. It was adopted on 26 May 1982. The Royal Bluebell can be found in the mountainous areas of the ACT. The flower was named after G.G. Wahlenberg who was a Swedish Professor of Botany from Uppsala.