Canberra & the Surroundings

Mum & I, at a look out point into the city of Canberra.

Mum & I, at a look out point into the city of Canberra.

Continuing the Holiday Post.
So on the 12th of November, 2014, Mum & I, did a day trip with Carlo (my father’s first cousin), into the Australian Capital Territory, more specifically Canberra, the capital of the Kangaroo Country. Long before, I ever went to Sydney, I had always wanted to see Canberra. Not just Canberra, in general when I go to a country, I have to visit the capital. It just a must for me. So it’s unfortunate, that when I was residing in Sydney, for two years, between 2006 and 2008, I never got a chance to do so, besides having travelled so much around the Eastern Coast of Australia. There was so much more to see and do, back then, that I had to omit the Capital of this country. Now, six and almost a half years later, since I left Oz, I finally got a chance to see the Australian capital.

At a shopping complex in Canberra

At a shopping complex in Canberra (X-Mas decorations)

As, on the 11th, my Camera fell while walking around the streets of Sydney (see my post Holidaying in Australia (NSW)); and though it did not break, the left side of the photographs, taken since, happen to blur-up; the first thing I had to do when we reached Canberra the next day, was to get a new Camera. Anyway, a new digital camera was due, as my old one is five years old, and kept getting stuck. The fact that it fell, was a sign, about time I got a new one. Unlike the earlier analogue cameras of the past, which required a film roll, and lasted a decade or so, the lifetime of more modern day digital camera’s aren’t that long. My first digital camera, Casio Exilim EX-S100 (the tiniest camera I ever owned), lasted from 2005 to 2009, till it contracted some sort of a lens disease; and the next, Sony Cyber-shot 1080, from 2009 till now. But since a rechargeable new camera has to be charged for at least 24 hours before use, I had to buy a digital Nikon Coolpix L29 Camera, that required the ordinary AA Batteries.

Mum, Carlo & I lunching @ the National Arboretum Canberra (Outskirts of the City)

Mum, Carlo & I lunching @ the National Arboretum Canberra (Outskirts of the City)

Due to the heavy traffic, we reached Canberra way past 12 noon. Thus, with new camera in hand, the first thing we needed to do, was to have some lunch. We went to the outskirts of the city, a hilly area, to the ‘National Arboretum Canberra’, a beautiful lookout point, into the capital city, and with a great dinning space with a view of the newly planted flora, minus the fauna, in the deserted hills. I had Kangaroo for lunch, the third time I tasted it.

After lunch, the first place we visited was, The Parliament House, where no parliament was in session.

Mum & I, at the main entrance to the new Parliament House.

Mum & I, at the main entrance to the new Parliament House.

It’s interesting how Canberra came to be the Capital city of Australia. The two large Ozzie cities, Sydney and Melbourne, both competed to make their city the capital of the country. Ultimately as a comprise, neither got it, and instead, the smaller city of Canberra, became the capital of nation in 1908. Canberra is a well planned city, inspired by the famed ‘Garden City Movement’ of the United Kingdom from 1898. ‘Garden City Movement’ was a method of Victorian era British urban planning that was intended to be self-contained communities, surrounded by greenbelts, with parks, farms and other vacant land with greenery, along with areas of residences and industrial locations. Due to this, Canberra, is also known as the ‘Bush Capital’.

The modern Parliament House (pictured above and below), was opened in May 1988. The unique contemporary architectural design was influenced by the Boomerang (a weapon authentic to ancient Aboriginal culture). The visit to the Parliament was really interesting. First you come into the Great Hall, in the ground floor, from which one can see the Old Parliament building as well as the Australian War Memorial right opposite, afar. In the Great Hall, there is also a beautiful tapestry, one of the largest tapestries in the world, which was based on a painting by Australian Impressionist Artist, Arthur Merric Bloomfield Boyd.

The Senate chamber, New Parliament House

The Senate chamber, New Parliament House

On the floor above, there are two corridors with huge portraits of famous personalities, including the Queen of England and the past Australian Prime Ministers. Then come the two meeting rooms; one House of Representatives, represented in a muted greenish tone, inspired by the colour of the eucalyptus leaves; and the next, The Senate chamber, with pinkish hue, representing the colours of the Australian outback, earthly tones. Then we went up to the Parliament’s neatly mowed green roof top.

Roof Top, New Parliament House

Roof Top, New Parliament House (The old Parliament is the white building in the background)

Post the new Parliament House, we drove past the old Parliament, and went straight to the Australian War Memorial. Neither could we do much, nor visit the military museum, as it was near closing time. But highlight of the Canberra tour for me was being able to witness the closing ceremony at the war memorial. It was peaceful simple affair, and hardly took that much time, and it was totally worth it.

'Australian War Memorial', all set for the closing ceremony PIX: Nuwan Sen

‘Australian War Memorial’, all set for the closing ceremony PIX: Nuwan Sen

Australian War Memorial, closing ceremony PIX: Nuwan Sen

‘Australian War Memorial’, closing ceremony PIX: Nuwan Sen

Sculpture of John Simpson Kirkpatrick, and his donkey

Sculpture of John Simpson Kirkpatrick, and his donkey

Pictured above is a sculpture of John Simpson Kirkpatrick, and his donkey, located outside the Australian War Memorial. During the Battle of Gallipoli, in Turkey (during World War – I), John Simpson, a combat medic, carried wounded British soldiers on this donkey from the front line to the beach, and to safety.

Post the war memorial, we drove around Canberra’s diplomatic enclave, with all the foreign Embassies/High Commissions/Consulates, and left by evening.

Leaving Canberra by six in the evening.  PIX: Nuwan Sen

Leaving Canberra by six in the evening. PIX: Nuwan Sen

On the way back to Sydney, we went to the city of Goulburn, where we had a Chinese dinner, and then drove into the night. Reached Castle Cove (Sydney’s Northshore suburb, where Mum & I were staying), quite late.

Nuwan Sen n’ Travel

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