List of Australian capital cities

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There are eight capital cities in Australia , each of which functions as the seat of government for the state or territory in which it is located. Melbourne was the initial capital following the 1901 Federation of Australia. In 1927, the seat of national government was moved to the newly created city of Canberra, which continues to serve as the national capital.


Each capital city hosts the judicial, administrative and legislative functions for its jurisdiction. In each state and internal territory, the capital is also the jurisdiction's most populous city.

The Australian external territory of Norfolk Island has its official capital at Kingston, although this acts merely as the administrative centre of government; its de facto capital is Burnt Pine. [1]

State and Territory Capitals of Australia
JurisdictionCapitalCity Population [2] State/Territory Population [3] Percentage of State/Territory population in capital cityDate of statehoodCapital sinceImage
Australia and
Australian Capital Territory
Canberra 403,468403,468100.00%Must remain a territory as per s.125 of the Australian Constitution [N 1] 1913
View of Civic from Mount Ainslie, with Telstra Tower in the background
New South Wales Sydney 5,029,7687,759,27464.82%17881788
Skyline of the Sydney central business district
Victoria Melbourne 4,725,3166,179,24976.47%18511851
Part of the Melbourne skyline
Queensland Brisbane 2,360,2414,848,87748.68%18591860
Brisbane's CBD.
Western Australia Perth 2,022,0442,558,95179.02%18291829
View of Perth CBD skyline
South Australia Adelaide 1,324,2791,713,05477.31%18361836
View of Adelaide Skyline
Tasmania Hobart 224,462517,58843.37%18251826
View of the Hobart downtown district and Mount Wellington from Constitution Dock
Northern Territory Darwin 145,916245,74059.38%Has not attained Statehood [N 2] 1911
View of Darwin CBD


  1. Although the ACT has its own government, it remains a territory ultimately under Commonwealth rule.
  2. in 1911, South Australia transferred responsibility for governing the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth Government of Australia. It was granted self-governance in 1978, however the Northern Territory is still considered a territory under Commonwealth rule, not a state.


  1. Norfolk Island - Kingston Norfolk Island's Home on the Web
  2. Statistics, c=AU; o=Commonwealth of Australia; ou=Australian Bureau of. "Main Features - Main Features".
  3. Statistics, c=AU; o=Commonwealth of Australia; ou=Australian Bureau of. "Details - Main Features".