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Purpose 1 – People

Enabling Australians and visitors to celebrate and share the story of our nation through Canberra, our National Capital



Criteria Elements


1.1 Engage, inform and educate the Australian community about the significance of Canberra as the National Capital

An increased number of visitors at NCA-managed attractions: the National Capital Exhibition, Blundell’s Cottage, the National Carillon, Anzac Parade and the National Triangle

Not achieved – a total of 174,407 people visited an NCA-managed attraction in 2018-19, compared to 179,635 in 2017-18, a fall of 2.9 per cent

The result reflects that the redeveloped National Capital Exhibition re-opened in mid- September 2019 and the temporary location received substantially less visitors due to remoteness of the location.

Increased awareness of the Australian Government’s roles and responsibilities

Achieved – the NCA continues to raise awareness of the Australian Government’s and NCA’s roles and responsibilities through a range of awareness and public relations work. For 2018-19 this work included the NCA’s submissions to parliamentary inquiries and consultations in relation to draft amendments to the National Capital Plan and works approvals.

A high level of attendance at, and positive community feedback from, NCA events, activities and programs, and education initiatives

Achieved – the National Capital Exhibition, traveling exhibition Brick by Brick, Blundells Cottage and walking tours continue to have high levels of attendance and positive satisfaction levels – see below.

Increased recognition of Canberra and the attractions in the National Capital in the Australian community

Achieved – 99.3% of visitors surveys answered that their visit to the National Capital Exhibition had increased their awareness and has provided them with a greater appreciation of Canberra as Australia's National Capital.

The National Capital Exhibition re-development is successfully completed, launched and operating

Achieved – the re-developed National Capital Exhibition was successfully launched on 14th of September 2018.

Exhibition exit surveys show a client satisfaction rating of at least 90% across NCA-managed attractions

Achieved – 99.5% of visitors to the National Capital Exhibition and related programs rated their experience as either excellent or good.

1.2 Develop new ways to engage Australians in our National Capital with enhanced visual activation and digital initiatives

We have identified, developed and rolled out new and improved engagement strategies and activities

Achieved – during 2018-19, three new education programs and two new walking tours were rolled out. Holiday activities were organised for three school holiday periods. Both Blundells Cottage and the National Capital Exhibition hosted temporary exhibitions.

There is an increased awareness of the significance and role of Canberra as the National Capital resulting from the strategies, programs and activities

Achieved – 99.3% of all visitors surveyed people indicated they had a greater awareness of Canberra as the national capital after visiting the National Capital Exhibition.

Data collected from evaluation reports from

strategies, programs and activities remain positive

Achieved – 99.5% of visitors to the National Capital Exhibition and related programs rated their experience as either excellent or good.

1.3 Collaborate with partners to expand the reach and impact of the National Capital story.

The NCA’s relationships with key organisations and agencies support NCA objectives and priorities.

Achieved – the NCA is represented on the Board of the National Capital Attractions Association, the National Capital Education Tourism Project and is a founding partner of the joint cultural institutions booking system – Bookcanberraexcursions.com.au, which was launched January 2019.

Analysis of Performance Against Purpose

The NCA continues to foster an awareness of Canberra as the Nation’s Capital. The NCA achieved its key objectives and targets throughout the year.

The National Capital Exhibition continued to perform strongly in the education market with a 3.3 per cent increase in the participation in school education programs. Free and independent visitation dropped by 4.6 per cent during the financial year, which can be mainly attributed to the National Capital Exhibition being relocated temporarily for the redevelopment of the Exhibition at Regatta Point.

The NCA continued to have increased numbers of people taking NCA guided walking tours this financial year, with approximately 7,216 people joining a tour, a 35 per cent increase. Some 80 per cent of walking tour participants were students. The guided walking tours include Anzac Parade, Reconciliation Place, the Old Parliament House Gardens, Commonwealth Park and Lake Burley Griffin. Walking tours now make up 10 per cent of our overall visitation.

The National Carillon attracted more than 11,500 spectators to the twice-weekly live performances by our carillonists. The 2018 Christmas concert attracted over 1,200 people and the May the 4th Be With You - Star Wars community concert attracted good online engagement and high physical attendance.

Some 119 Carillon concerts were performed during 2018-19 including international carillonist Eddie Mariën; a memorial for George Howe, Canberra’s longest serving carillonist; a Balloon Breakfast for Instagram tourism influencers; a ceremonial peal of bells for the 100th anniversary of the Armistice being signed and a concert for Nelson Mandela day with the High Commissioner of South Africa in attendance.

Blundells Cottage (the Cottage) was closed for part of 2018-19 for major conservation and landscape works. These new works have enabled visitors to re-interpret the historical landscape and discover the Blundells family story. Since re-opening, the Cottage has attracted 2,485 visitors during the weekend openings and 1,324 students during school visitation. This is a 106 per cent increase on visitation during 2017-18.

The NCA travelling exhibition, Brick by Brick: Build Your Own Capital has travelled to Port Augusta and Broken Hill before reaching the final State for its around Australia journey – Tasmania. Having been to Hobart and Burnie it will conclude in Queenstown in the new financial year.

Little Griffins, the learning and play program for toddlers and pre-schoolers continues to be popular. Five sessions were conducted during the year, with overall attendance of 162 people, a jump of 110 per cent from 2017-18.

Throughout 2017-18, the NCA continued its role and responsibility to increase the awareness of the National Capital through integrated and targeted marketing communications strategies including media, advertising and social media and tourism engagement activities.

Our engagement has continued to grow significantly on both Twitter (3,345 followers) and Facebook (3,261 followers). During 2017-18, our Facebook engagement continued to increase with regular comments and activity on all social media channels

The financial year 2018-19 saw the NCA deliver a panel discussion in preparation for the relaunch of the National Capital Exhibition. Held on 11 September at 6 pm, featuring the question “Has Canberra evolved into the city that Walter and Marion envisaged?” Chaired by Amanda Whitley, panel members, for this discussion included Chris Uhlmann, Dr Dianne Firth OAM and Catherine Carter. This event was a sell out with 150 audience members in attendance. There were several community consultation sessions, which related to major projects such as Light Rail , City and Gateway Urban Design Framework and several number of National Capital Plan Draft Amendments.

The NCA will continue to assess the ways in which we engage with the community and listen to their views on how they would like us to communicate with them. We will aim to seek out and incorporate new ways of community engagement to ensure our communication is both adaptive and responsive to community needs.