Australia's national capital, Canberra is home to over 100 diplomatic missions and international organisations.

The diplomatic missions maintain the formal relationships between Australia and the governments of other nations. Some missions are known as embassies and others, those which belong to the Commonwealth, are known as High Commissions.

The diplomatic corps was first established in Canberra in 1936 when the United Kingdom appointed their first High Commissioner to Australia.

This was followed a year later by a representative from Canada. The United States of America opened an office in 1939.

Residences and chanceries were originally located in the suburbs of Red Hill and Forrest but today the majority are situated in picturesque settings in the lakeside suburb of Yarralumla, and the southern suburbs of Deakin and O'Malley.

The National Capital Authority is responsible for most of the diplomatic leasing in the Australian Capital Territory including the sale and issue of Crown leases, rent collection, rent reappraisal, lease variations and lease compliance.

The Embassy of the United States was the first embassy built in Canberra and the first to introduce the notion of design characteristics representative of the culture of each mission's home country. Many other missions have followed suit - India, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Egypt and Papua New Guinea.

The National Capital Authority encourages foreign governments to design their missions to reflect their country's national architectural style. This practice is quite unique and allows the embassy to be easily identified by visitors to the national capital.

Embassies are also represented in a unique way through the International Flag Display on the shore of Lake Burley Griffin which provides a colourful and permanent display of the flags of all nations represented in the capital.

Why not take a driving tour of the Diplomatic Missions?