Home    What's new    Search    Contact Us   Sign in / Register
· You are here: Home • Our work • Schools and education » • Teaching resources » • Key Stage 1-2 resources » • Australia
About us Our work What's on Geography today Press & Media News Join us
Royal Geographical Society (with IBG): the heart of geography
Locating Australia
Australia's diverse landscape
Weather and climate
The Australian population
Australia's cities
Daily life in Australia

Australia - Australia's cities

This lesson encourages pupils to research and present the geography of Australia’s coastal cities

In this lesson pupils research and present the geography of Australia’s coastal cities. They learn that Australia has a national capital as well as state capital cities. Pupils locate each of the state capitals on a map of Australia and explore the geographical reasons why settlements grew in coastal areas. In the main activity, each group is assigned a state capital to research using the information sheet provided. They create an information poster to later share with peers. Both the human and physical geography of each city is explored (location, climate, physical features and population).

Key questions

  • Where are Australia’s main cities located and why?
  • What is the different between a national capital and a state capital city?
  • What is the physical geography of the city? (Location, landscape, climate).
  • What is the human geography of the city? (Population, nationalities, tourism attractions).

Key ideas

  • Australia’s major cities are all located on the coast.
  • There are six states in Australia: New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia and each has a capital city. These are political boundaries and therefore a human feature of the country.
  • There is also the national capital, which is the capital city of the country as a whole: Canberra.

Subject content areas

  • Locational knowledge: Locate Australia’s largest cities on a map of Australia.
  • Place knowledge: Discovering why people choose to settle in specific places and the geographical characteristics of Australia’s cities.
  • Human Geography: Learning more about the political boundaries (states) of Australia and the population in Australia.
  • Physical Geography: Considering the physical geography of cities and physical features that attract people to these locations.
  • Geographical Skills and Fieldwork: Recognizing geographical content in a passage of writing and presenting it in an organized way. 


Additional resources

  • Marker pens
  • Large white poster paper
  • Scissors and glue


Display the map on slide two of Australia’s Cities PowerPoint presentation (see downloadable resources) and ask pupils what the capital city of Australia is. How do they know?

Discuss the symbol of the star and use of bold capital letters for the country’s capital city on this map. Explain that the national capital is Canberra. The national capital is the capital city of the country as a whole.


Using slide three of Australia’s Cities PowerPoint presentation (see downloadable resources) ask pupils to volunteer to read out each of the five facts about Australia’s national capital.

Explain that Australia’s capital city and state capital cities are not necessarily the largest by population. Australia’s state capitals are Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth-Fremantle and Darwin. Sydney is the most populated and largest Australian city, followed by Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide. Canberra is the eighth most populated and Darwin is the fifteenth most populated.

Ask pupils to match the state to the state capital using slide five on the PowerPoint. They use the initials of each state to determine the capital of each. 

Using slides six to ten: The cities are all located by the coast as the coastal areas of Australia are most accessible for trade and travel, have the best climate and leisure activities, and there is enough water available to meet the needs of a large population. Also, the first European settlers arrived by boat so this is naturally where settlements sprung up.

Main Activity

Slide 11: Split the class into six groups and assign each group one of the state capital cities to research:  Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth-Fremantle and Darwin.

Pupils use the Australia’s Cities Information sheet (see downloadable resources) and encourage the most able reader in the group to read the information to the others or take turns to read sections out. The groups discuss the information and choose some key points to bullet point on their information poster.

Encourage pupils to illustrate their poster and stick on images and organise the information under headings of physical and human geography. They can use the Blank Map of Australia (see downloadable resources) and map on the information sheet to mark the location of their city and stick this map onto their poster. 


Slide 12: Once pupils have completed their information posters, each group presents their poster to the class to teach peers what they have learned about their focus state capital city.

They take two or three questions from peers.

Once all groups have presented, initiate a whole class discussion comparing the geography of each of the cities, asking leading questions such as:

  • Which state capital city has the highest population? Which has the lowest?
  • Are all the cities located in coastal areas?
  • What are the most attractive tourist attractions in each city?
  • Which state capital would you like to live in the most? Why?

Mayor of London

· Accessibility statement
· Terms and Conditions, and Cookie use
· Contact Webmaster
· Download Adobe Reader
· RGS-IBG is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Bookmark and Share