Saturday, October 05, 2013

Day 8 Cooma to Canberra 24/09

Anything I read said that Canberra was a one hour drive from Cooma. More like one and half. My oh my the roads in Canberra were confusing. We meant to park in the National Gallery carpark but mistakenly parked in the Portrait Gallery car park. No matter, it is a short walk away. You have to get reasonably close to this sphere before you can see supporting wires.

I rather liked this.

I found a new appreciation for Australian art in the gallery. Some of it was just glorious. The painting Blue Poles, which we had already seen at home in Victoria, attracts a good crowd. There was an extensive exhibition of pop art by Roy Lichtenstein which we enjoyed very much.

After the gallery, we popped into the Portrait Gallery. I'm afraid the exteriors of the two gallery buildings and the High Court leave me cold. There seem disconnected from their surrounds. We had some lunch and more very average coffee.

Canberra is nothing like we know as our big cities, say Sydney and Melbourne. It is a very planned city with little left to chance. Larger public buildings are often surrounded by tall native trees so that you have a series of individual buildings, rather than an area of buildings. The city part of Canberra is not like that, but you don't have to go far from the city to have tall Eucalyptus trees surrounding your.

Parliament House opened the year of Australia's bi-centenary, 1988, replacing a smaller and less practical one opened in 1927.

Parliament House wasn't quite as large as I expected, but still, quite impressive. Oh, I just saw a workmate here with his wife. Guess I better say hello. This is a nice wall hanging, but nothing compared to the huge tapestry in the Great Hall, made in Melbourne.

I liked these lamps that seemed to be in most of the public areas.

There are many courtyards like this around the building.

We took a fifty minute free guided tour. The guide was excellent. We are in the lower house here, The House of Representatives. Order!!!

Now in the Senate. There were many amusing anecdotes.

The entrance hall with mucho marble. Very little of Parliament House is foreign born, but most of the marble is.

That'd be our Liz, who opened the building.

We were able to go up onto grassed roof top for a fine view of Old Parliament House and in the distance Anzac Parade leading to the War Memorial at the foot of Mount Ainslie.

Ah Peter, what a fine gift your government gave to us.

Grass, lovely green grass. You can't beat it.

We were last in Canberra in the early 1980s and the water jet was spurting then. I took a photo of it back then and it looks like the water jet is coming out of R's head. The jet sits in Lake Burley Griffin, named after the designer of Canberra.

What a fine flag pole, flying a fine flag.

We had driven from Cooma, walked around two galleries and Parliament House and we were now pretty weary. Time to check into our motel in Queanbeyan, which is not in the Australian Capital Territory as we thought, but across the border in New South Wales, which is why the sat nav was being very unhelpful. Google maps on the phone guided us as we did not have a detailed map of Canberra. While R had screwed the motel on the price for our room, we were given a double and not a twin. R sorted it out. He is good at such things. The motel was nearly full, so really the advantage was to them.

In the evening we bought a few supplies at the supermarket and had some Indian food in what was little more than a cafe in an obscure arcade. Quite unremarkable and a somewhat challenging experience.


  1. Yes, life in NSW for Melbournians, even for just one night, can be challenging. The sophistication must be overwhelming.


  2. The city was well planned and laid out by the Burley Griffens before WW1 broke out in 1914 and continued after. Everything is easy to locate, easy to reach and looks attractive.

    But what happens to facilities they could not have predicted in 1911, like the National War Memorial and Museum? Who makes new decisions for a pre-planned city?

    1. Hels, I found things hard to locate but in the greenery, things do look attractive. The old PH was only meant to be temporary so perhaps land was reserved for the new one. It is a wonderful from back towards the House from the War Memorial, as I will show tomorrow.

  3. I've never explored Canberra, only passed through. I should really go some day, your pics make it look interesting enough :)

    1. Fen, we certainly could have spent another day or so there. There is enough to see.

  4. I haven't been to Canberra for about 15 years looks pretty much the same.
    I think Canberra has many nice modern buildings but for some reason it lacks soul and I feel no affection for the capital.
    Merle......... .............. ............

    1. Merle, it certainly doesn't feel like a big city and although people who grew up there, such as the person commenting below, I understand your lack of affection.

  5. The first big ball that was suspended in the air at the National Gallery got struck by lightning and was written off. It was a beautiful sculpture of the Earth and was by the same artist.

    1. Ad Rad, how tragic. I suppose it was on the news at the time, but I can't recall. I sure like the its replacement.

  6. ACT has its own border?? How snobbish of them. Like NSW isn't good enough.
    I like those brightly coloured wall hangings.

    1. River, I guess it was the Sydney/Melbourne thing. Neither state could be favoured so they created a separate territory.