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Australian Capital Territory

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The Australian Capital Territory, the ‘Heart of the Nation’, is the economical, cultural and political nerve centre of Australia. Wilh an area of 2395 square kilometres, it is the smallest of Australia’s States and Territories. It is an area of remarkable diversity and beauty, its landscapes ranging from the cosmopolitan Canberry Plains, the site of the nation’s capital, to the majestic alpine mountains of the Great Australian Alps. The northern and eastern districts are generally plains and grazing lands, and the bulk of the western and southern districts consist of broken mountainous terrain frequently capped with snow during the winter months. These areas are sparsely populated, with most of the population concentrated in Canberra.

The first European known to have entered the region was the emancipist Joseph Wild in 1820. Five years later a Sydney merchant, Robert Campbell, secured a land grant which he named Duntroon, now the site of the Dun-troon Military College. Early this century constant lobbying from the then Labor leader, Chris Watson, and the people of Queanbeyan ensured that the district would be selected as the site for the national capital. In 1909 the New South Wales government passed the Seat of Government Surren dcr Act, which transferred the Territory to the Commonwealth.

The economy of the ACT is based on wheat, wool, whole milk and meat industries, and extensive commercial timber forests of softwoods and native hardwoods. Secondary industry consists mainly of the service industry associated with the growth of the Territory, and tourism which is now a major element in the economy.

There are many places of interest surrounding Canberra. One of the more popular sites is Cockington Green, an outdoor, one-twelfth size miniature village and gardens situated on the comer of the Gold Creek Road and the Barton Highway, behind the old Gii—fcm SrtmotWHe and George 11 wen— haoa the outskirts of Canberra.

Some 60 i>— in r »«b-*T3t of Canberra » Corrin Dam. tbe largest of the Aatnkai Capri Territory's three waaer soppb sKwapcx It has a capacity at "5000 bcres and

was complied * 196” Coder Dam is located m the northern part at Tidbmbdia Vnat Reserve. some 22 kilometres west at Canberra. The spot at Gasuanna Sands *s tbe source of Canberra s or^^naf tracer supply The 51000 hectare Gudgenby Nature Reserve represents about 20 per cent of the Australian Capital Territory area. Tbe reserve is fully circumscribed brh*h mountains and contains the upper catchment of the Naas and Gudgenby rivers. The nature

reserve rises steeply from agricultural lands, and at its base is the tiny village

ofTharwa, nestling on the hanks of the Mumimbidgec River. Mount Ten-nent is the sentinel of Gudgenby Nature Reserve and it was once a haunt of the bushranger John Tennent. It is regarded as the gateway to the lands of Gudgenby by all who pass her.

Mount McKeahnie is situated in the northern part of Gudgenby Nature Reserve. This mountain was named to honour Charles McKeahnie, the first settler to take up land in the Gudgenby region in 1838. His wife is remembered by the more mundane sounding Breakfast Creek, where history records her having fed her children one morning after a rugged night flight from the Aborigines, who had menaced her and her children at the Gudgenby Homestead. The homestead lies in the centre of the reserve, on the only road that runs through the reserve. Built by pioneer Charles McKeahnie in 1838, it was later owned by Marmaduke Watson-Lee who had a ‘hospital paddock’ set aside for calving and lambing. Hence, the derivation of nearby Hospital Creek. Today, the area around the homestead has been cleared.

The Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is situated in Tidbinbilla Valley 40 kilometres south-west of Canberra, with more than 5000 hectares set
aside for development into a nature reserve. The prime purpose of the reserve is to preserve Australian flora and fauna species and their natural habitats. It is an information bank for future generations, and recreational activities are of secondary importance. The reserve features an information centre, picnic facilities and several walking trails. Guided evening walks are a highlight during the summer months. Access to the reserve is along Cotter Road.

The Tidbinbilla Deep Space Tracking Station is one of three space stations in the Australian Capital Territory operated by the Department of Science for the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The Space Centre features spacecraft and antenna models, photographic records, commentaries and audio-visual presentations.

The Mount Stromlo Observatory is located 16 kilometres west of Canberra. These large silver domes house telescopes of the Department of Astro-
nomy at the Australian National University. and a visitor annexe is open to the putobc at the 188 centimetre telescope. the main telescope reflector. Situaicd at an atotudc of ~68 metres, the ohMJiJBn re founded in 1930 and rranplrwil m 1955. It also has a 66 11 ■■■■< mi refractor operated by the Yabr and Cdadbn Universities, and a 5066 cencanetre Schmidt camera operaaed toy die University of Uppsala in fnriV n

Some 30 kakmetres south of Canberra is Larry on Homestead, nestled in the southern end of Tuggeranong Valley Tins homestead is one of the grand old homes of the pioneer settlers, and it is classified ‘A’ by the National Trust. The homestead features an art gallery and coffee shop

Located 24 kilometres north of Canberra. on Macks Reef Road, is Reh-winkels' Animal Park. This 20 hectare natural bushland contains Australian and exotic animals which are allowed to roam free.

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