Capital, eh?

Posted on December 3, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

So after the lovely Melbourne we headed to the manufactured Canberra. Which is not to say that it isn't lovely too. It's just odd. It's built where it is because when Australia was wee Melbourne and Sydney couldn't agree about which of them should be the capital. They eventually decided that they would purpose build a new city between the two, and that would be the capital. And so Canberra was born.

If any of you have been to or seen much of Washington, it's just similar to that, but quieter (so James tells me, never having been myself!). The streets are very wide, and very long, and very empty. Not many people live there anyway, all the students (all 15,000) of them were on holidays, and parliament was on recess so all the government people were gone too. It was _quiet_

To give you an idea of the space, this is the run up to the Parliament building.

It's a relatively new building, and we went of a tour while we were there. Fascinating, and a beautiful building. Here is the entrance lobby:

And this is in the main space used for big functions. In the pic is a tapestry. An Australian artist was comissioned to create a painting for the room. He did so, but said he wouldn't make it as big as they wanted it. So the Parliament comissioned the Victorian Tapestry Workshop to create a huge hanging version of the painting. It's wonderful:

Since it went so well in Cambodia, we rented some bikes when we were there to see more of the city. This is an unflattering picture taken en route:
Whilst on the cycle we happened upon one of our favourite things in Canberra, completely by accident: the National Carillion. Nope, we didn't know what it was either. It's a huge musical instrument, with a minimum of 20 or so bells, encased in a huge tower. This one has 56 I think.
I also took a little video of the Carillon sounding the bells on the hour. Apologies for the sideways view; you'll have to bear with us!
So that was our whistlestop tour of Canberra, after which we got a bus to Sydney. James will let you guys know how that went soon!

Posted via email from dreadpiratesarcas


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