Planning for the university was disrupted by World War II but resumed with the creation of the Department of Post-War Reconstruction in 1942, ultimately leading to the passage of the Australian National University Act 1946 by the Chifley Government on 1 August 1946.
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Many university sites are of historical significance dating from the establishment of the national capital, with over 40 buildings recognised by the Commonwealth Heritage List and several others on local lists.
Four of Australia's five learned societies are based at ANU—the Australian Academy of Science, the Australian Academy of the Humanities, the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and the Australian Academy of Law.
The Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science and the National Film and Sound Archive are also located at ANU, while the National Museum of Australia and CSIRO are situated next to the campus.
ANU occupies additional locations including Mount Stromlo Observatory on the outskirts of Canberra, Siding Spring Observatory near Coonabarabran, a campus at Kioloa on the South Coast of New South Wales and a research unit in Darwin.