List of Australian capital cities

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 403,468 403,468 100.00% Must remain a territory as per s.125 of the Australian Constitution [N 1] 1913
New South Wales Sydney 5,029,768 7,759,274 64.82% 1788 1788
Victoria Melbourne 4,725,316 6,179,249 76.47% 1851 1851
Queensland Brisbane 2,360,241 4,848,877 48.68% 1859 1860
Western Australia Perth 2,022,044 2,558,951 79.02% 1829 1829
South Australia Adelaide 1,324,279 1,713,054 77.31% 1836 1836 .
Tasmania Hobart 224,462 517,588 43.37% 1825 1826
Northern Territory Darwin 145,916 245,740 59.38% Has not attained Statehood[N 2] 1911


  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".
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