Design and development of the National Capital – Fact sheet 60

After Federation in 1901, one of the first questions considered by the new Commonwealth Government, and the most contentious, was the site for the Federal Capital. The announcement of an international design competition for Canberra in 1911 attracted worldwide interest. Entries were received from the United Kingdom, the United States, Sweden, Italy, France, as well as from South Africa, Rhodesia, Mexico and Paraguay.

The Archives holds many maps, plans, files and reports relating to the design and development of Canberra. They range from the competition plans through to the construction of infrastructure, the first Commonwealth buildings, the slow but steady expansion of the capital during the postwar years, and the building of the new Parliament House.

Images of Walter Burley Griffin's design and those of shortlisted competition entrants can be seen on Design 29 – The 1912 Competition to Design Canberra.

Maps, plans and drawings

Accompanying/supporting documentation

* Requests for access to records from A7686 & AA1984/414 are to be referred to the Clerk of the Senate. Please consult a reference officer for more details.

Photographic records

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesMildenhall collection of glass plate negatives of early Canberra1921–35A3560

For more information

For details of further records relating to the National Capital see:

For a comprehensive design history of the national capital, see Canberra following Griffin: A Design History of Australia’s National Capital (National Archives, 2002). In this heavily illustrated book, noted Griffin scholar and architect Paul Reid explores in-depth the fate of the Griffin design over the 20th century. It contains reproductions of many maps, plans and drawings from the Archives’ collection.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019