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Self-catering casual accommodation in Canberra's university residences

Not just for students - anyone can book!

  • A great alternative to staying in a hostel or a cheap hotel
  • Self-catering casual accommodation in university halls and colleges close to Canberra city centre available for everyone
  • Flexible booking options allow you to book only what you need

Canberra Visitor information

Canberra is the capital city of Australia and is the largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. The site of Canberra was selected for the location of the nation's capital in 1908 as a compromise between rivals Sydney and Melbourne, Australia's two largest cities. It is unusual among Australian cities, being an entirely planned city. Following an international contest for the city's design, a blueprint by the Chicago architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin was selected and construction commenced in 1913. The Griffins' plan featured geometric motifs such as circles, hexagons and triangles, and was centred around axes aligned with significant topographical landmarks in the Australian Capital Territory. Within the central area of the city near Lake Burley Griffin, major roads follow a wheel-and-spoke pattern rather than a grid. Griffin's proposal had an abundance of geometric patterns, including concentric hexagonal and octagonal streets emanating from several radii. However, the outer areas of the city, built later, are not laid out geometrically.

The city's design was heavily influenced by the garden city movement and incorporates significant areas of natural vegetation that have earned Canberra the title of the "bush capital". The growth and development of Canberra were hindered by the World Wars and the Great Depression, which exacerbated a series of planning disputes and the ineffectiveness of a sequence of bodies that were to oversee the development of the city. The national capital emerged as a thriving city after World War II, as Prime Minister Robert Menzies championed its development. As the seat of the government of Australia, Canberra is the site of Parliament House, the High Court and numerous government departments and agencies.

Accommodation in Canberra's university residences

The two main tertiary institutions are the Australian National University, established in 1946, and the University of Canberra. Many of the univeristy residences offer casual visitor accommodation during the vacation periods. It should be understood that these residences and colleges are designed primarily for students and not children or adults expecting a high level of luxury. However, with this in mind, they do meet a level of comfort that we expect most visitors to be happy with, and we will welcome any feedback where this is not the case.

Getting around Canberra

The car is by far the dominant form of transport in Canberra. Canberra's districts are generally connected by parkways, ie. limited access dual carriageway roads, with speed limits generally set at a maximum of 100 km/h. The government-operated bus service ACTION provides public transport throughout the city. An interstate CountryLink railway service connects Canberra to Sydney. Train services to Melbourne are provided by way of a CountryLink bus service which connects with a rail service between Sydney and Melbourne in Yass, about one hour's drive from Canberra. Canberra International Airport provides direct domestic services to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, with connections to other domestic centres. No regular commercial international flights operate from the airport.

History of Canberra

Before European settlement, the area in which Canberra would eventually be constructed was seasonally inhabited by Indigenous Australians. Archaeological evidence of settlement in the region includes inhabited rock shelters, rock paintings and engravings, burial places, camps and quarry sites, and stone tools and arrangements. The evidence suggests human habitation in the area for at least 21,000 years. European exploration and settlement started in the Canberra area as early as the 1820s.

The district's change from a New South Wales (NSW) rural area to the national capital started during debates over Federation in the late 19th century. Following a long dispute over whether Sydney or Melbourne should be the national capital, a compromise was reached: the new capital would be built in New South Wales, as long as it was at least 100 miles (160 km) from Sydney, with Melbourne to be the temporary seat of government (but not referenced as "capital") while the new capital was built. The NSW government ceded the Federal Capital Territory (as it was then known) to the federal government.
In 1913, the city was officially given its name by Lady Denman, the wife of Governor-General Lord Denman, at a ceremony at Kurrajong Hill, which has since become Capital Hill and the site of the present Parliament House. Canberra Day is a public holiday observed in the ACT on the second Monday in March to celebrate the founding of Canberra. The federal legislature moved to Canberra in 1927, with the opening of the Provisional Parliament House.

Planned development of the city slowed significantly during the depression of the 1930s and during World War II. Some projects planned for that time, including Roman Catholic and Anglican cathedrals, were never completed. Immediately after the end of the war, Canberra was criticised for resembling a village, and its disorganised collection of buildings was deemed ugly. It was often derisively described as "several suburbs in search of a city". Prime Minister Robert Menzies regarded the state of the national capital as an embarrassment, but over time his attitude changed from one of contempt to that of championing its development.

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