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Canberra Introduction

Canberra Overview

Canberra is located in the Australian Capital Territory on the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range, and was conceived in the early 1900s in order to create a capital city in a federal State separate from any of the uniting States. Spectacular green countryside is ringed by mountains nearly 600m (2000ft) above sea level. Lake Burley-Griffin, an artificial lake, is the main feature of this constantly expanding modern capital. Hills, trees and greenery remain prominent among the architecture of a city that is attractive, tidy, spacious and efficient as befits the national capital city.

Area: 2400 sq km (1511 sq miles).

Population: 312,400 (official estimate 2000).

Population Density: 130 per sq km.

Capital: Canberra (also national capital). Population: 309,900 (official estimate 1999).

Time: GMT + 10 (GMT + 11 from last Sunday in August to last Saturday in March

American Express--The office at Centerpoint, Shop 1, 185 City Walk (at the corner of Petrie Plaza), Civic (tel. 02/6247 2333), is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm, and Saturday from 9am to noon.

Business Hours--Banks are generally open Monday through Thursday from 9:30am to 4pm and Friday from 9:30am to 5pm. Stores and offices are open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5:30pm. Many shops stay open on weekends and until 9pm Fridays.

Climate--The best time to visit Canberra is in spring (Sept-Nov) or autumn (Mar-May). Summers are hot and winters can get pretty cold.

Currency Exchange--Cash travelers checks at banks, at American Express (above), or at TravelEx on 02 62479984

Dentist--Canberra lacks a dental emergency referral service. A reputable dentist in the center of town is Lachland B. Lewis, Level 3, 40 Allara St., Civic (tel. 02/6257 2777, and for emergency calls only on 02/6295 9495 on weekends).

Doctor--The Capital Medical Centre, 2 Mort St., Civic (tel. 02/6257 3766), is open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm. A standard consultation costs A$30 (U.S.$19.50). The Travellers Medical & Vaccination Centre, Level 5, 8-10 Hobart Place, Civic (tel. 02/6257 7154), offers vaccinations and travel medicines. Standard consultations cost from A$39.50 (U.S.$26).

E-mail--The National Library, Parkes Place, Parkes (tel. 02/6262 1111), has e-mail facilities available during opening hours: Monday through Thursday 9am to 5pm.

Emergencies--Call tel. 000 for an ambulance, the police, or the fire department.

Eyeglasses--For repairs, glasses, and contact lenses try OPSM Express, shop 5, Lower Ground Floor, The Canberra Centre, Civic (tel. 02/6249 7344). Its open 9am to 5:30pm weekdays (to 9pm on Fri) and 9am to 4pm on Saturday.

Hospitals--For medical attention, go to the Canberra Hospital, Yamba Drive, Garran (tel. 6244 2222), or call the Accident & Emergency Department on tel. 02/6244 2324 (24 hr.).

Hot Lines--In Canberra you have access to the Rape Crisis Centre (tel. 02/6247 2525); Drug/Alcohol Crisis Line (tel. 02/6205 4545, 24 hr.); Lifeline Crisis Councelling (tel. 13 11 14); Salvation Army Councelling Service (tel. 02/9331 6000); Poison Information Centre (tel. 02/6285 2852); and National Roads & Motorists Association (NRMA) (tel. 13 21 32).

Pharmacies--The Canberra Centre Pharmacy, Civic (tel. 02/6249 8074) is open during general shopping hours.

Photographic Needs--Fletchers Fotographics, Shop 2, 38 Akuna St., Civic (tel. 02/6247 8460), is the best place to buy camera gear and films. They also repair cameras and sell secondhand equipment.

Post Office--