Which City Was Created to Settle a Dispute Between Melbourne and Sydney?

city-created-settle-dispute-between-melbourne-sydney Credit: Andrew Watson/The Image Bank/Getty Images

The Australian national capital city of Canberra was created to settle a dispute between Melbourne and Sydney, two of the nation's largest cities, over which location would serve as the nation's capital. Much like the District of Columbia in the United States, Canberra is a planned city that exists within its own sovereign territory and is not part of any Australian state.

As Australia became formalized as a colonial nation under the auspices of the British Commonwealth in the late 1800s and early 1900s, there was some disagreement as to where the capital should be located. As part of the compromise between Melbourne and Sydney, Canberra was built relatively close to Sydney. In exchange for this, Melbourne served as the de facto capital until Canberra was fully established. Canberra received its official name in 1913, and the first official Australian Parliament House in the city opened its doors in 1927. Prior to its selection as the Australian government seat, the Canberra region was home to the Ngunnawal people.