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. One of these, Canberra, is also the national capital. Section 125 of the Constitution of Australia specified that the seat of the national government, that is, the national capital, would be in its own territory within New South Wales, at least 100 miles from Sydney. The Constitution also specified that until this national capital was ready, the Parliament would sit in Melbourne. In 1927, the national capital was finally ready and the national government relocated from its former seat in Melbourne to Canberra within the Australian Capital Territory (or the Federal Capital Territory as it was known at the time).

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
State/territory Capital City population[2] State/territory population[3] Percentage of state/territory population in capital city Established Date of statehood Capital since Image
Australian Capital Territory Canberra 403,468 403,468 100.00% 1913 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 1788
Northern Territory Darwin 145,916 245,740 59.38% 1869 Has not attained Statehood[N 2] 1911
Queensland Brisbane 2,360,241 4,848,877 48.68% 1825 1859 1860
South Australia Adelaide 1,324,279 1,713,054 77.31% 1836 1836 1836
Tasmania Hobart 224,462 517,588 43.37% 1804 1825 1826
Victoria Melbourne 4,725,316 6,179,249 76.47% 1835 1851 1851
Western Australia Perth 2,022,044 2,558,951 79.02% 1829 1829 1829


  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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