Canberra is the capital city of the Commonwealth of Australia, it is largest inland city. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory, south-west of Sydney, and north-east of Melbourne. The site of Canberra was selected for the location of the nation's capital in 1908 as a compromise between age-old rivals Sydney and Melbourne, Australia's two largest cities. It is unusual among Australian cities, being an entirely purpose-built, planned city.
As the seat of the government of Australia, Canberra is the site of Parliament House, the High Court of Australia and numerous government departments and agencies. It is also the location of many social and cultural institutions of national significance, such as the National Gallery of Australia and the National Museum of Australia. The federal government contributes the largest percentage of Gross State Product and is the largest single employer in Canberra.
Canberra has four distinct seasons, because of its latitude, elevation and distance from the coast. The climates of most Australian coastal areas, which include all the state capital cities, are moderated by the sea. Canberra experiences hot, dry summers, and cold winters with heavy fog and frequent frosts, with a rare spot of snow in the CBD and surrounding areas. Light snow falls in the city in one out of approximately three winters but is usually not widespread and quickly dissipates. Thunderstorms can occur between September and March, with rainfall maximums in spring and summer.