I travelled up to Canberra recently, to see the Turner exhibition. More of that in a later post.
For those of you out of Australia, you may not know that Canberra is our capital city. Our federal government is here, along with many public offices and building like the High Court. Unlike most cities, it is deliberately planned. The Australian states federated in 1901. There was debate about whether the capital should be Melbourne or Sydney, with a third option to build a city half way between the two. (Actually it is not half way — Melbourne is 660 kms and Sydney is only 280 kms. The rivalry continues!) So we have Canberra.
Following an international contest for the city’s design, a blueprint by the Chicago architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin was selected and construction commenced in 1913. The Griffins’ plan featured geometric motifs such as circles, hexagons and triangles, and was centred around axes aligned with significant topographical landmarks in the Australian Capital Territory. (From Wikipedia)
For those of you in Australia, no, I didn’t hear any knives being sharpened or deals being done! But I am sure that some of that was going on.
It is a good city to be a tourist in. Its design is lovely. Lake Burley Griffin in a feature that can be seen from many places. Mt Ainslie and Black Mountain are nature parks, with native animals and many other spaces are beautifully treed. Design continues to be a feature. Many of the new buildings, such as the National Museum, are are interesting.
And there is lots to see. Here is my list of the things we visited
- The National Gallery
- The National Portrait Gallery, including a gallery of Paul Kelly and an exhibition of Hilda Rix Nicholas. (You would have loved the Paul Kelly Metan!) Click on the link to the Gallery to see some of their wonderful portraits.
- The National Museum
- Old Parliament House, and the very interactive Museum of Australian Democracy, as well as, amazingly, a retrospective of Arthur Boyd‘s work
- The Botanic Gardens, where I found another species of Cullen! I was very excited!
- Black Mountain
- The War Memorial
- a brief visit to the Arboretum
- and a walk along the lake
It also included getting lost a few times, because, what is a visit to Canberra without being confused on the roads. Thank heavens for roundabouts!