The Origins of Australia's Capital Cities is a comprehensive survey, well illustrated with maps and plans, which aims to answer two questions. First, why Australia's eight capital cities are situated where they are, and second, how they were established. Pairs of chapters on each of the State capitals - Sydney, Hobart, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane - are accompanied by studies of Canberra as the federal capital and Darwin as a territorial capital. A capital is the administrative centre of a political entity, and in Australia, unlike many overseas countries, a uniquely high proportion of the population resides in the capitals. Companion chapters examine the causes of initial European settlement in each area, and reasons for the actual establishment of each capital city. Attention is given to such topics as planning and layout, the basis of growth, potential rivals, the social nature of the cities and the nature of their spread. While there have been no other volume covering all the capitals to seek answers to the same basic questions. This will therefore be an invaluable source book, and provide a stimulus to further enquiry in the social history of Australia. An introduction by the editor pulls together the general strands which link the chapters, and highlights the ways in which the Australian experience contrasts with the urban experience overseas.