The Canberra Region Joint Organisation Area (Canberra Region) is located in south-eastern New South Wales, to the immediate north, east and south of the Australian Capital Territory. The Canberra Region is located between 10 and 250 kilometres from the Canberra CBD, and between 100 and 400 kilometres south-west of the Sydney CBD. The Canberra Region is bounded by Bland Shire, Weddin Shire, Cowra Shire, the Bathurst Regional Council area, the Oberon Council area and Wollondilly Shire in the north, Wollongong City, Shellharbour City, Kiama Shire, Shoalhaven City and the Tasman Sea in the east, the State of Victoria in the south, and Towong Shire, Greater Hume Shire, Wagga Wagga City, the Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council area and Temora Shire in the west. The Australian Capital City is not included as part of the Canberra Region.
The Canberra Region includes ten municipalities: Bega Valley Shire, Eurobodalla Shire, the Goulburn Mulwaree Council area, the Hilltops Council area, the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council area, the Snowy Monaro Regional Council area, the Snowy Valleys Council area, Upper Lachlan Shire, Wingecarribee Shire and the Yass Valley Council area.
The Canberra Region is predominantly rural, with major townships at Batemans Bay, Bega, Cooma, Crookwell, Goulburn, Moruya, Narooma, Queanbeyan and Yass. Smaller townships include Bemboka, Bermagui, Berridale, Bombala, Boorowa, Braidwood, Bredbo, Bungendore, Candelo, Captains Flat, Cobargo, Delegate, Eden, Gunning, Harden - Murrumburrah, Merimbula, Michelago, Pambula, Pambula Beach, Taralga, Tathra, Tura Beach, Wolumla, Wyndham and Young, along with numerous villages. The Region includes growing residential and rural-residential areas, particularly in the areas closest to Canberra and along the coast. The Canberra Region encompasses a total land area of nearly 52,000 square kilometres, including national parks, nature reserves and state forests. Land is used largely for conservation, timber production and agriculture (particularly sheep and cattle grazing, orcharding and grain growing), with some fishing and viticulture. Tourism is an important industry, with several ski resorts in the south-western areas, and holiday areas along the coast.
The original inhabitants of the Canberra Region were various Aboriginal tribes, including the Bugelli-Manji, Gundungurra, Monaro, Ngambri, Ngarigu, Ngunnawal, Walbunja, Wiradjuri and Yuin people.
European settlement dates from the 1820s, with land used mainly for sheep and cattle grazing and timber-getting. Several townships were established from the 1830s into the 1850s, with most beginning as small agricultural service centres. Population was minimal until the 1850s, spurred by gold discoveries, the establishment of fishing, whaling and mining, and the increased popularity of crop growing. Substantial growth took place during the late 1800s, and into the early 1900s, aided by the opening of the railway line from Sydney and then branch railway lines. The most significant development occurred in the post-war years, with rapid growth from the 1960s. During the 1950s and 1960s significant population growth occurred in and around Cooma, due to the township being the headquarters for the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme. The Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme was established in 1949 and completed in 1974, creating six major dams and ten smaller dams, in order to enhance agricultural production by irrigation, and to provide peak electricity generation for the wider area. Growth continued during the 1970s, particularly in the coastal areas. The population of the Canberra Region increased gradually from the early 1990s, rising from about 179,000 in 1991 to about 218,000 in 2011. Much of the recent growth has been in the areas closest to Canberra and the coastal townships and villages.
Major features of the Region include numerous National Parks (Abercrombie River, Ben Boyd, Bendick Murrell, Biamanga, Blue Mountains, Bournda, Brindabella, Budawang, Clyde River, Deua, Eurobodalla, Gourock, Gulaga, Keverstone, Kooraban, Kosciuszko, Mimosa Rocks, Monga, Morton, Mount Imlay, Murramarang, South East Forests, Tallaganda, Tarlo River, Wadbilliga and Yanununbeyan), numerous Nature Reserves (Araleun, Badja Swamps, Bees Nest, Bell Bird Creek, Bermaguee, Binjura, Black Andrew, Bobundara, Bondi Gulf, Bournda, Broulee Island, Burnt School, Burra Creek, Burrinjuck, Coolumbooka, Coornatha, Cullendulla, Cuumbeun, Dananbilla, Dangelong, Egan Peaks, Good Good, Goorooyarroo, Hattons Corner, lllawong, Ironmungy, Jerrabomberra Mountain, Koorawatha, Kuma, Kyebeyan, Meringo, Merriangaah, Montague Island, Mount Clifford, Mount Dowling, Mundoonen, Myalla, Nadgee, Nadgigomar, Ngadang, Nimmo, Numeralla, Oak Creek, Paupong, Queanbeyan, Quidong, Razorback, Scabby Range, Scott, Stony Creek, Strike-a-Light, Tinderry, Turallo, Undoo, Wadjan, Wanna, Wee Jasper, Wullwye, Yanununbeyan and Yaouk), Brindabella State Conservation Area, Bungonia State Conservation Area, Keverstone State Conservation Area, Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve, Burrinjuck Holiday and Recreation Park, Grabine Lakeside Holiday Park, numerous state forests, Burrinjuck (Yass) Dam, Googong Dam, Lake Eucumbene (Eucumbene Dam), Lake George, Lake Jindabyne (Jindabyne Dam), Lake Wyangala, Merimbula Lake, Wallaga Lake, Tantangara Reservoir (Tantangara Dam), Mount Dromedary, Mount Kosciuszko, Wombeyan Caves, Mumbulla Falls, Googong Foreshores, TAFE NSW Illawarra Institute (Bega, Cooma, Goulburn, Moruya, Queanbeyan and Yass Campuses), TAFE NSW Riverina Institute (Young Campus), University of Wollongong (Bega Campus), NSW Police Force Academy, Cooma Correctional Centre, Goulburn Correctional Centre, Charlotte Pass Snow Resort, Perisher Ski Resort, Thredbo Alpine Village, Batemans Bay Town Centre, Bega Town Centre, the Cooma CBD, the Crookwell CBD, Eden Town Centre, the Goulburn CBD (inc Goulburn Square Shopping Centre), Merimbula Town Centre, the Moruya township, Narooma Plaza, Riverside Plaza (Queanbeyan), the Yass township, Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre, Kosciuszko Education Centre, Bega Cheese Heritage Centre, Magic Mountain, Mandeni Family Fun Park, Merimbula Aquarium, Potoroo Palace, Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre, Maryvale Lavender Farm, Birdland Animal Park, Mogo Zoo, The Original Gold Rush Colony, Eucumbene Trout Farm, Gaden Trout Hatchery, Crookwell Wind Farm, Gullen Range Wind Farm, Taralga Wind Farm, the Tasman Sea, and numerous beaches, rivers, wineries, hospitals, museums, galleries, golf clubs, sportsgrounds and sporting facilities.
The Canberra Region is served by the Barton Highway, the Federal Highway, the Hume Highway, the Kings Highway, the Monaro Highway, the Olympic Highway, the Princes Highway, the Snowy Mountains Highway, Merimbula Airport, the Port of Eden, and the Southern Highlands railway line.
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