The year '1998' appears on a black backdrop.

08 March 2019

Every Canberra Day new ACT Government records highlighting Canberra’s history become available.

This year, archives from 1998 will be released, giving us all the opportunity to share in the history, politics and culture of the ACT as it hurtled towards the end of the 20th century.

The Territory Records Act 2002 enables the release new archives each year to the community, as they become 20 years old.

Revisiting 1998

In 1998 Canberra’s population had recently surpassed 300,000,

And the average Canberra house price was $155,500.

Pop ruled supreme with the Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, Aqua and Steps ruling the charts and Aussie bands The Living End, Grinspoon, Human Nature and Regurgitator were also making their mark in the top 100.

The immensely popular Oscar award winning movie ‘Babe’ had a marked effect on the growth of vegetarianism, making some of us feel a little guilty as we munched on our bacon in the mornings.

Closer to home in Canberra

The ACT Election saw Kate Carnell re-elected as Chief Minister. The Australian economy was in a slump,  The Aussie dollar fell to 62.25 US cents, and new tax reforms saw the introduction of the GST.

A review on whether the ACT milk industry should be de-regulated led to a heated political and public debate and the Pettit Review of the self government of the ACT was well underway.

Social policies being explored by the government included domestic violence, drug harm minimisation, gambling, smoke-free venues, and palliative care.

With the advent of the first National Sorry Day, the ACT Government was also working with the Commonwealth on the Bringing Them Home report.

The ACT and Sub-Region Planning Strategy was also introduced to improve the quality of life of residents.  It aimed to develop closer relationships with surrounding areas of NSW, including economic development, transport, waste management and the conservation of waterways, grasslands and wetlands.

In a popular move the government green lit a study into the future use and redevelopment of the Manuka and Phillip Ovals, with the plan to enable usage by as many types of sport as possible.

And after a lengthy conversation with the Commonwealth, work also commenced on the establishment of the Canberra Nara Park.

Where to find more

In addition to information on this year’s release, ArchivesACT has a host of resources available online at, including digital copies of our historic government property and tenancy registers, special interest projects, local history articles, and tools for researching ACT Government records.

The ArchivesACT Reading Room is located at 255 Canberra Avenue, Fyshwick and is open weekdays from 9.30 – 5pm.  If you already know what type of records you want, you can use the ‘Request a Record’ service. If not, you can meet with the team before embarking on archival research.

Subscribe for updates

For news and stories about ArchivesACT research, subscribe at

Subscribing will also get you regular features on ‘Find of the Month’, a quirky look at the more obscure records uncovered by ArchivesACT.

For more Canberra news, find out about:

All Canberra

Share this article:

Subscribe to the OUR CBR newsletter

Get the latest stories in your inbox