Today (actually I think it’s tomorrow) Canberra is celebrating its 100th birthday. For residents this has been a great time of celebration and reflection and for us newcomers it’s been an opportunity to learn its history.
A city that was born out of solving an argument between Sydney and Melbourne about which location should be capital. It was completely designed by Walter Burley Griffin, the prize winner in an international competition to design Australia’s capital. Can you imagine? The prize being the honour of designing an entire city. Today planners work hard to keep his vision even in the newer suburbs and I’m sure some are a little sad that the 8 storey limit that was imposed on buildings has just been decimated by the 32 (?) storey monstrosity that is making its way towards the sky in Belconnen.
For me it still doesn’t really feel like home. I spent time in Sydney as a child, my Mum was from Sydney and I lived there for 15 years so I still feel more a Sydneysider than a Canberran. I have an ongoing love hate relationship with it. I love the nature and the fact that I can walk less than 1km from my house and come across a mob of kangaroos. I love to true seasons, the cold and the abundant bird life. Now if I could just swap out the majority of drivers for those that don’t speed or tailgate and know how to merge, then I may be content.
With ‘Canberra bashing’ about to enter the dictionary I defy any visitor not to find something they love about the city. It gets a bad wrap as being boring and full of public servants (the latter is true). It certainly doesn’t have the glitz and glamour of a very large city but then it’s barely bigger than a large country town and it has its own energy and charms.
Today is the end of week long celebrations and we have enjoyed Enlighten (top) and watching the balloons take off (bottom) from the grounds of Old Parliament House (now the Museum of Democracy) this morning at dawn.
Happy Birthday Canberra.