Category Archives: Canberra

Australian Embassies / Parliamentary Triangle

The Parliamentary Triangle & Australian Embassies
* Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia *

As Canberra is the capital of Australia, with the Australian Capital Territory the central region for all of Australia’s government, it is also home to Australia’s Parliaments, Embassies, and Governmental offices. Most countries in allegiance with Australia have their embassies represented here. In the heart of this governmental sector is what is called the “Parliamentary Triangle” or the “ParTri” – the ceremonial precinct of Canberra. The triangle is formed by the Commonwealth, the Kings, and Constitution Avenues. Architecture and buildings within the triangle align in style to coordinate and complement the triangle for the visual effect and to create national significance making it a popular hotspot for tourists similar to that which one can find in Washington, D.C. The triangle was designed and planned for in Walter Burley Griffin’s original design for manifesting Canberra. The triangle is bordered at each point by the Parliament, the Defence Headquarters, and City Hill. He constructed it around two axes converging on the center with a land axis connecting Mount Ainslie, Capital Hill, Red Hill, and off towards Mount Bimberi. Water axis runs at right angles to the land axis along the length of Lake Burley Griffin whose southern shore bisects the Trinagle forming a smaller triangle known as the Parliamentary Zone which contains all the the significant buildings located in the Triangle. The streets in this triangle are lined with large deciduous trees and buildings inset with grassed parkland creating an open feel and convenience between offices. The Parliament House and the The Old Parliament House are the most significant features within it. Other contributing buildings are the National Library, the National Science and Technology Center, Commonwealth Park, Kings Park, Department of the Treasury, John Gorton Building, Department of Finance, Department of Environment and Water Resources, the National Rose Garden, and the Aborigine Tent Embassy. Canberra and Washington D.C. share design similarities as both consist of triangles that line up the House of Government with other monuments and landmarks. Within this area on the outskirts of the Triangle are various countrie’s Embassies.


The New Parliament House

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Old Parliament House / The Museum of Australian Democracy

Old Parliament House or Museum of Australian Democracy
* Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia *

Within Canberra lies several Parliaments and Embassies, representing many cultures and governments. One of the Parliaments which is no longer used for law making as it was the “provisional” parliament house which was base operations for Australia’s Parliament from 1927 until 1988 when it was moved to its permament location atop Capital Hill. It began as a temporary location for law making while the new Parliament house was being constructed in 1927. Today it serves as a premiere location for concerts, lectures, and exhibitions. It was also used by the Executive Agency of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in as recent as 2008. Since 2009 it has been called the “Museum of Australian Democracy”.Its design was created by John Smith Murdoch including gardens, furnishings, and decor in simplified or “stripped” classical style with no typical legislative deco elements like columns, entablatures, or pediments. Made of local Canberra clay brick with timber and lightweight white concrete floors. Originally oulined in a “H-shape”, it is now a large rectangle due to various extensions added to it during the years with a small rear projection. It has four courtyards with colonnades and some light wells with verandas. It’s center boasts the “King’s Hall” named after King George V whose statue is located within. Adjacent to the Hall are the chambers of the House of Representatives, the Senate, and at the rear the Parliamentary Library and dining rooms. Remainder of the building consisted of offices and meeting rooms.

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Tuggeranong Homestead


Tuggeranong Homestead

* Tuggeranong, Canberra,
Australia Capital Territory, Australia * http://www.tuggeranonghomestead.com.au/ *

My last day in Tuggeranong just outside of Canberra, before packing up for the plane to Brisbane, we ventured down the street to get a peek at the Tuggeranong Homestead. Unfortunately, due to being Easter weekend, I didn’t get a chance to visit this heritage property of the Australian Capital Territory. My host tells me its interesting. It is an extensive, heritage-listed rural property that is commonly used for events, concerts, outings, weddings, and conferences. It is set in the Australian bush with a country-side ambiance for the events held there. It featueres a full commercial kitchen, homestead rooms, outbuildings, outdoor spaces, and catering. The first landowners of Tuggeranong was Peter Murdoch, the aide-de-camp of Thomas Brisbane, who was given 2,000 acres in 1827. After he left, John McLaren from Glasgow settled this land in 1828 calling it “Janevale” as a cattle station managed by William Wright. The property was sold in 1835 to Thomas Macquoid, Sheriff of the Supreme Court. After his death, it was sold to Andrew Cunningham of Lanyon, also from Scotland in 1845 wherre he raised sheep. After his death in 1887, it was passed on to his sons James and Andrew Jackson Cunningham. The first homestead on this land was known as the “Waniassa House”, originally built by the Macquoids from 1836 to 1841. At this time, it consisted of 5 rooms. James Cunningham expanded and re-built the homestead in 1908 where it carried the name of “Tuggeranong Homestead” and is the current building that exists today. Through history it was expanded on upwards 23 rooms, a underground cellar, acetylene gas, electric bells throughout the buildings, hot and cold water running through. It became a center for social and sporting activities in the area. After Andrew Cunningham’s death in 1913, the family relocated to Lanyon, and the property was taken over by the Commonwealth Government to be used as a military arsenal. After this, it was abandoned in 1919, later to be taken over by the staff of war historian Charles Bean who used the property in the research for his books of the Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918. It was then leased and farmed by Timothy McCormack from 1927-1976. Much of the original property was taken over by Canberra suburbs, but the homestead and site today took 65 acres under preservation.


Photos are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission of authors Tom Baurley or Leaf McGowan. Photos can be purchased via Technogypsie.com at Technogypsie Photography Services for nominal use fees. Restaurants, Businesses, Bands, Performances, Venues, and Reviews can request a re-review if they do not like the current review or would like to have a another review done. If you are a business, performer, musician, band, venue, or entity that would like to be reviewed, you can also request one (however, travel costs, cost of service (i.e. meal or event ticket) and lodging may be required if area is out of reviewer’s base location at time of request).

These reviews are done by the writer at no payment unless it is a requested review and the costs for travel, service, and lodging was covered – in which case, expenditure reimbursement will not affect review rating or content. If you enjoy this review and want to see more, why not buy our reviewer a drink to motivate them to write more? or help cover the costs they went through to do this review?






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Transit Bar, Canberra, Australia

Transit Bar
* 7 AKUNA ST *
Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia * P 02 6162 0899 * http://transitbar.com.au/ * ?

A great little hole-in-the-wall bar down below the Canberra YHA Hostel on Akuna street. Delving into a mix of indie, rock n’ roll, and general alternative nights and gigs, the Transit Bar provides a good heap of fun for the alternative crowd in Canberra. Restless from the Bush, this is a fun place to be when seeking some upbeat fun in the Australian Capital Territory. I had the pleasure of visiting the club/bar a couple of times during my visit, one for the Indie rock band “The Holidays” and another night for the Electro Gothy night called “Chrome”. Good drink prices and a great place to party with the international backpacking crowd. Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5. ~ Leaf McGowan, April 23-25, 2011.

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Chrome: Transit Bar, Canberra, Australia

Chrome Goth Night
* Transit Bar * http://www.gothclublist.com/details/chrome.html * 7 AKUNA ST *
Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia * P 02 6162 0899 * http://transitbar.com.au/ * ?

Eager for some darksome and divine music, I hunted out what could lie beneath the underground of Australia’s capital city … Canberra. A Google search provided promising tales of “Chrome” but came to realize upon arriving it’s night at the “Holy Grail” had vanished without a trace. Knowing that echoes of chatter that it was still located near the corners of Akuna and Bunda streets, we discovered it moved down the street to the infamous underground club … the Transit Bar, located underneath the Canberra YHA. From 9 pm until 5 am, Canberra’s only goth night raises the dead with their EBM, Industrial and dark elektro tunes with some goth on monday nights (instead of the previous saturdays). Video projections, laser lights, and good music was had. Oddly though, the bar was still quite normal with their casually dressed local bar patrons, but up towards the stage in the dance floor were alitter with some finely costumed gothy and cyber dressed dancers. Coming from North America and Germany goth clubs where everyone usually dresses up in their finest black garments, it was a little difficult getting used to the mix of color and normality into this cache of a music club treasure grove one is used to finding when searching for it in most cities. Oddly though, the music was not so industrial and gothic, but more darksome Burning Man raver music. Enjoyed none-the-less and eye candy galore, me and my host had a splendid time. Realizing the night has setup shop in this new location from their fabled old locale, not 100% sure if the night is still happening at the transit bar … could be completely “transit”-ional. Rating: 2.3 stars out of 5. ~ Leaf McGowan, April 25, 2011.

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Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, ACT, Australia

Tidbinbilla Nature reserve
* Tidbinbilla Visitor Centre, Paddy’s River Rd, * Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia * (02) 6205 1233 * http://www.tidbinbilla.com.au/ *

Venturing south just 40 minutes from Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory is a beautiful nature reserve called “Tinbinbilla”. Named after the aboriginal word “Jedbinbilla” for a “place where boys become men” and “Birrigai” meaning “to laugh”. It is a valley with deep Eucalyptus forests lies nestled between the Tidbinbilla and Gibraltar Mountain ranges of the Northern Australian Alps housing numerous critters and flora. Here you can find over 164 bird species, mammals, and reptiles such as the wallabies, emu, cockatoos, mountain duck, corroboree frogs, parrots, wombats, echidnas, koala, platypus, and kangaroos. As you enter the park, a greeting pay station and visitor center awaits a brief introduction to the park and its facilities. The park has forests, woodlands, wetlands, grasslands, and sub-alpine slopes. Hiking and bicycling trails abound as well as picnic areas, wildlife petting areas, and playgrounds for kids. The area is rich with Aboriginal history as was once an area where boys became men during their puberty rites. The park houses the Birrigai Rockshelte where 20,000 years ago the Ngunawal people lived. This was a meeting place for the Ngarigo, Wolgalu, Gundungurra, Yuin, and Wiradjuri clans for intiations, marriages, trading, and other ceremonies. The Bogong Rocks are where tribes came to harvest bogong moths to roast as a delicacy as well as to hold ceremonies by walking around the mountain. Today some native clans still gather for celebrations here. Once white settlers came to the area in the 1800’s, homesteads were built in the area, of whose ruins you can now see at the Rock Valley Heritage Site, Church Rock Heritage Loop, or the Nil Desperandum Homestead along the river.

The park encompasses over 52 kilometers of terrain. In 1939 a Koala sanctuary was built as well in the area. The reserve has become a leader in wildlife reproductive biology with state of the art facilities, a veterinary surgery and animal breeding center. The park often holds bushwalks. The park is also across the street from the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex part of NASA’s Deep Space Network. Since 2008, Tinbinbilla has become part of the Australian National Heritage List.

I found the park very relaxing and breathtaking for an outdoor escape from busy Canberra. Hiking with my friend through the nature trails, the wetlands, and the preserves provided many opportunities for wildlife viewing. Definitely a place I’ll be back to on my next trip to Australia. Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5. Visited 04/24/11. Review by Thomas Baurley.

Bibliography/Recommended Readings:

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Gibraltar Falls, ACT, Australia

Gibraltar Falls
* Corin Road * Namadgi National Park * +61 02 6207 2900 * Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia *

One of the first waterfalls that I had a chance to see in Australia as accompanied by my travel mate Bluey Bee Fabbo. A nice calm overcast day, we ventured outskirts of Canberra to find this charming little falls which is pretty close to the city. Easy to find, one drives out of Canberra southwest 45 kilomenters, along highway 5 – “Tidbinbilla Road”, roughly a half hour drive turning off at the sign pointing the way to the Falls within the Gibraltar Creek Pine Forest south off Corin Road. Park and take the well-marked footpath down to the falls. With warnings of steep cliffs abound, we kept to the trail, until the end of the path dictated (as everyone else was venturing over) to experience the waters ourselves. Now, being a world traveller and having seen some of the best falls around the world, I wasn’t that impressed. It also seems probable that the falls are more spectacular after a good hearty rainfall, even though it has been deemed the largest waterfall in the ACT. The falls cascade 50 meters down into a 800 meter granite walled gorge feeding the headwaters of Gibraltar Creek.

Historically, the falls and area was of special interest to the Australian Aborigine. Archaeological finds have shown habitation patterns near the falls including rockshelters, axes, lithics, and grinding grooves. The area was first settled by white westerners in the 1890’s. The first recorded white settlers were the Woods family who named the area “Gibraltar Creek”. It wasn’t until the 1960’s with the establishment of a station for the Corin Dam Road that the location found much foot traffic. Environmentally, the falls are home to a rare species of dragonfly called the Waterfall Redspot.

Atop in the parking lot are restrooms, picnic tables, shelters, amenities, first aid equipment, and gas barbeque grills. There are more picnic tables and areas, as well as camping, further into the woods reserves. The footpath takes one to a couple lookouts for viewing the falls, though the best way to photograph the falls is to wander off path (not recommended but seems something that everyone who visits does).

I found the waterfall quaint, and would be a picnic spot I would frequent often if I lived in Canberra. Rating: 2 stars out of 5. Visited/Reviewed by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan with Bluey Bee Fabbo on April 25, 2011.

For more information, recommended readings, and photographs ~
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04.25.11: Chronicles: Koalas and Cybergoths

Travels Down Under:
Koalas and Cyber-goths

Monday, April 25, 2011
* Area around Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia *

A later start to the day, Sir Bluey heated up the last of the kangaroo meat for lunch. This time the adventuring duo spiced it up with a peanut satay sauce which Sir Thomas Leaf thought tasted amazing. Sir Thomas Leaf also gifted Sir Bluey with some Pirate Relief stickers for his car after finding them while organizing his gear as he would soon be heading off for the high seas. Sir Bluey Bee proudly displayed them on his car as they were soon off to Gibraltar Falls. As the delvers headed down the path towards the cliffs leading to the waterfall, Sir Bluey expressed strongly to Sir Leaf not to wander off the trail out of fear he might slip and fall on the rocks. For once (perhaps in his lifetime) Sir Leaf listened. But Sir Bluey Bee did not to his own advice and a slip, slide, tumble, roll, and splash … Sir Bluey was on his ass. Luckily he was fine. But they both laughed. Quickly distracted from the humor as they were in awe of Gibraltar Falls. Scenic panoramas and beautiful tumbling waters falling down the rocks. After wandering around the falls, the explorers headed off to the Tidbinbilla Nature reserve in search of kangaroos, eucalyptus trees, wallabees, quolls, and koalas. Wandering through the park provided much viewing of kangaroos and wallabies, and even a koala. Admiring the flora and fauna, Sir Thomas Leaf photographed and notated all the different species he spied. He even actually saw a Platypus, but unfortunately it went underwater before he could take a photograph. That evening, Sir Bluey Bee and Sir Thomas Leaf donned their darkest dress and headed downtown Canberra for the Chrome Goth Night at the Underground Bar underneath the Canberra YHA. Cyber-goth pleased, the two comrades had a blast at the night as they shared ciders and flirts with the fair maidens … a late night and a good sleep welcomed them in the wee hours of the morn.


[ Chronicles: The Vegemite Down Under ]

(note: this is an actively written blog. If links are broken or come to blank pages, it means the page hasn’t been written yet.
Check back soon. Meanwhile entertain yourself by going backwards into the blog below)

Remainder of the Story, Photos and videos below the cut:

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Australian National Botanical Gardens

Australian National Botanical Gardens
* GPO Box 1777 * Canberra, Australia Capital Territory * 2601 * Australia * +61 2 6250 9599 * http://www.anbg.gov.au/ *

In the heart of Australia’s Capital Territory and City of Canberra is the Nation’s most exquisite National Botanical Gardens. Radiating like a gem in the midland plains, this fabulous collection of Eucalypti, plants, trees, shrubs, vines, orchids, and botany is any garden lover’s paradise. It is operated by the Australian Government’s Department of the Environment and Heritage. The park encompasses the largest living collection of native Australian flora in the world. The goal of the center is to understand, study, and promote Australia’s flora locally, regionally, and around the world; hosting a variety of botanical resources for researchers while protecting and cultivating endangered native plants. The Garden was first conceived in Canberra’s development plans of the 1930’s when the Advisory Council set up a framework for its development, planning a large site on Black Mountain. The first trees were planted in September 1949, though not opening its gates until October of 1970. The Gardens encompass over 90 hectares on Black Mountain, of which 40 is currently developed and embracing thematic sections in the park housing plants with shared taxonomy of over 5,500 cultivated species. The Gardens have a Rainforest Gully, a Rocky Garden, A Sydney Region Flora area, A Mallee Plants section, Banksias, waratahs, grevilleas, Callistemon, Leptospermum, Melaleuca, A Eucalypt Lawn, Wattles, and a Research facility, gift shop, and cafe. The National Herbarium is also on site housing the largest collection of dried, pressed, and recorded plant specimens in Australia. The facility manages several large plant databases of Australian plants based on its collections. For any botanist or plant enthusiast, the Botanical Gardens is a must see while in Canberra. “Extroadinary”. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5. Visited on April 24, 2011 by Thomas Baurley.

Australian National Botanical Gardens: Botanical Resource Center

sign at the gardens: “Botanica Resource Center: Plant identification at your fingertips
The Botanical resource center is a learning place for visitors to discover, identify, and explore flor of the A.C.T. and southeastern N.S.W. This self help collection is available for use by students, plant surveyors, and people who want to learn more about plants. To explore this library of pressed plant specimens and computer plant identification resources contact the Australian National Botanical Gardens Visitor Centre.”

    Bibliography & Recommended Reading:

  • Australian National Botanical Gardens. ~ About Us. referenced in 2011 from website; ANBG: http://www.anbg.gov.au.
  • Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. ~ “Autralian Nationa
    l Botanical Gardens
    ; referenced in 2011 from website; author unknown. Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org.

Plants, Species, Photos, and more information: Continue reading Australian National Botanical Gardens

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Hasmis Kebabs and Turkish Kitchen (Canberra, Australia)

Hasmis Kebabs Turkish Kitchen
* 11-13 East Row * Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia * 2601 * 02 6249 7783 *

We popped into this hole-in-the-wall quick Turkish cuisine spot near the Phoenix for some lunch fare. While the service was average, the food wasn’t anything to write home about. All three of us felt the fare was unsatisfactory. The restaurant and take-away offers pizza, turkish cuisine, and indian fare. They are open late at night, often serving the bar crowds. They have outdoor dining and free wi-fi. Family owned, Ridvan Sadil and his family took over the business early in 2010. Not so hot. Rating: 2 stars out of 5. Visited 4/24/11 – review by Leaf McGowan.

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Facepainting at the Phoenix Flea Market (Canberra, Australia)

Facepainting at the Phoenix Flea Market
Phoenix
Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia

On April 24, 2011 in Canberra, Australia at the infamous Irish Bar “The Phoenix”, bodypainter Leaf McGowan participated in the Phoenix Flea Market. Drinking, revelry, and art was had by all in attendance. Utilizing Ben Nye, Wolf, and Mehron bodypaint, the following is a photogallery of Leaf McGowan’s portfolio work for the event.

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The Phoenix Flea Market (Canberra, Australia)


The Phoenix Flea Market
* Phoenix * 21 East Row * Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia * * 2601 * (02) 6247 1606 * http://www.lovethephoenix.com/ *

The Irish ultra-cool hip hangout in Canberra, Australia known as the “Phoenix” celebrates its connection with the arts and alternative culture by hosting a sunday Flea Market where vendors can come and sell their art, creations, wares, used goods, and treasures. Its a definite trendy move for alternative bars and establishments today to have a market once in a while, monthly, or even weekly. I’ve become a great fan of these moves by venues as I think it is an extroadinary motion on their behalf – supporting the arts, community, local culture, alternative subcultures, and home based merchants. I feel the Phoenix has a great potential with their market and idea. During our participation in the market, unfortunately due to a bus strike during Easter sunday weekend, we were the only participating vendors and clientele was at a minimum. We still had a blast, good time socializing, and face painting. Visited 4/24/2011. Reviewed 11/15/2011 by Leaf McGowan, technogypsie.com.

Photos are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission of authors Tom Baurley or Leaf McGowan. Photos can be purchased via Technogypsie.com at Technogypsie Photography Services for nominal use fees. Restaurants, Businesses, Bands, Performances, Venues, and Reviews can request a re-review if they do not like the current review or would like to have a another review done. If you are a business, performer, musician, band, venue, or entity that would like to be reviewed, you can also request one (however, travel costs, cost of service (i.e. meal or event ticket) and lodging may be required if area is out of reviewer’s base location at time of request).

These reviews are done by the writer at no payment unless it is a requested review and the costs for travel, service, and lodging was covered – in which case, expenditure reimbursement will not affect review rating or content. If you enjoy this review and want to see more, why not buy our reviewer a drink to motivate them to write more? or help cover the costs they went through to do this review?






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Bytes Cafe (Canberra, ACT, Australia)

Bytes Cafe
*
Canberra YHA * 7 Akuna Street * Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia * http://www.yha.com.au/hostels/nsw/canberra/canberra-city/ * (+612) 6248 9155 * Facebook Page *

If you’re looking for a deep in the heart of Canberra breakfast spot that is a little hidden gem, try to Canberra YHA’s “Bytes Cafe” for a economically affordable and delicious meal. They serve other meals besides breakfast, but must declare that would be where they are above normal in quality and taste. Atypical service that you can expect from a YHA restaurant, with a semi selve serve manner, the staff is ultra friendly and the cooking is delicious. This little hotspot was one of my favorite Australian breakfast locales. Hours of operation is different than most “restaurants” as their service is more oriented towards their hostel guests, but it has an entrance from the street and welcomes in the public. I can’t recommend more the berry pancakes. Extraodinary! The joint is also a great cyber cafe with internet terminals, computers, and wifi service at your service! Rating 5 stars out of 5. Visited 04/24/2011. Reviewed 11/14/2011 by Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie.com.

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The Fish Shack

The Fish Shack
* 87/105 Petrie Plaza Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia * 2601 * (02) 6248 5885 *

As I was on my way to see “Thor”, i was hungry for a quick and affordable dinner, so I settled for the “Fish Shack” across from the theater … and i was very impressed with the offerings. I’m a total sucker for seafood, as well as fish n’ chips. But when I saw they had soft shell crab sandwiches, or with chips, I was sold. The owner was pleasant, friendly, and a great guy. He even let me swap out the chips for sweet potatoe chips much to my ecstatic pleasure. Price of the meal was very affordable in Australian standards, and they have an extensive seafood menu. If they are busy, there is a wait, it takes time to make a good dish and they were also brand new when I hit them – so are in their learning curve with getting the food out faster. The food was delicious and I was very satisfied with my experience. Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Visited 4/23/11.

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Asian Cafe, Canberra

Asian Cafe
* Melbourne Building
32 West Row * City * Canberra, * 2601 * Australia Capital Territory, Australia * (02) 6262 6233 *

Hungry from running around between the museums and sights in Canberra, I eagerly went for some Asian cuisine at the Asian cafe in the Melbourne building just across from the Canberra Museum and Art Gallery. Very spacious, very comfortable, fast and friendly service with a good assortment of Malaysian and Chinese dishes to choose from. They only serve lunches and dinners from 11:30 am – 2:30 pm, 5 pm until 9:30 or 10:30 on the weekends. Entrees range from $-11.80, with main dishes from 12.80 to 22.80 AUD, so definitely higher priced than normal (or what I’m used to). They are BYOB (wine only) and offer a $6 corkage per bottle. Rating 3.5 stars out of 5.

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Cotter and the Garden City

The Cotter and Garden City
Canberra Gallery of Art
* http://www.museumsandgalleries.act.gov.au/cmag/ * Cnr. London Circuit and Civic Square, * Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia

A historical section to the Canberra Museum and Art Gallery exists on the “Cotter River”, the dam they built, and how it helped keep Canberra the Garden City that it is. I believe this is a permanent exhibit. Running through the Australian Capital Territory is the Cotter River, a fresh water source that is a tributary of the Murrumbidgee River and is really one of two rivers in the region, next to the Queanbeyan River that supports Canberra and its region. It was named after Garrett Cotter, a colonial convict who first settled the area. When Canberra was recommended to be Australia’s capital, water catchment was a significant consideration for the decision. Of the 2,358 square kilometers of the ACT, 480 was reserved as the catchment area for the Cotter River, calculated to support a population of just over 100,000. Three reservoirs were created, the Corin, the Bendora, and the Cotter Dams. Cotter Dam was built as a gravity dam out of concrete in 1912 alongside construction of the capital. They raised the height of the dam wall in 1951 for increased capacity, holding more than 3,856 million litres. This supplies the domestic drinking water and therefore only used for water reserves, blocking off any recreational watercraft use.

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Sculptures of Michael Legrand @ the CMAG

Michael Le Grand
* http://www.artwhatson.com.au/cmag/sculpture * Canberra Gallery of Art
* http://www.museumsandgalleries.act.gov.au/cmag/ * Cnr. London Circuit and Civic Square, * Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia

Wandering around the Canberra Museum and Art Gallery I had the chance to view the sleek artwork of Michael Le Grand which is on exhibition at the CMAG from March through June of 2011. Michael Le Grand is one of the leading Australian and Canberra artists, demonstrating his range of art from the 1970’s to 2010. He takes metal and sculpts it into formalist abstract sculpture making monumental and imposing indoor and outdoor work. In 1974 Michael graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts, and by 1978 from the St. Martin’s School of Art in London, being awarded the Australian National University Creative Arts Fellowship. By 1997 he was recipient of the Australia Council Traavel Grant and the Capital Arts Patron’s Fellowship and actARTS Creative Arts Fellowships, co-winner of the Inaugural Sydney Water Sculpture Prize. He has travelled the world doing residency and symposiums in the USA, Canada, Germany, and Japan. He has retired in 2007 as the Head of Sculpture at the Australian National University School of Art. Rating: 4 stars out of 5. Visited 4/23/11.

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The Nolan Collection @ CMAG

Nolan Collection
Canberra Gallery of Art
* http://www.museumsandgalleries.act.gov.au/cmag/ * http://www.museumsandgalleries.act.gov.au/nolan/index.html * Cnr. London Circuit and Civic Square, * Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia

Wandering into the Canberra Museum and Art Gallery i was able to enjoy 15 of the fine collections of Australia’s notable artist, Sidney Nolan. This was donated by Australia’s citizens and include some of the first works of the Burke and Wills paintings. Sidney Nolan is most famous for his iconic “Ned Kelly” paintings all demonstrating Australian history, landscape, and European modern art. Sidney’s art weaves together biography and autobiography with a narrative about Ned Kelly and his gang, shooting of constables at Stringybark Creek, the chase, police spy Aaron Sherrit, siege of the Glenrowan hotel, and Ned’s hanging. Sidney’s style was based on direct vision and intuitive execution. Sir Sidney Robert Nolan lived from April 22, 1917 until November 28, 1992 and was one of Australia’s most famous painters and printmakers. He was born in the Melbourne suburb of Carlton as the eldest of 4 and was a student at the Brighton Road State School on into the Brighton Technical School, Prahran Technical College, and night classes at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School. In 1938 he married Elizabeth, and the 1940’s he joined the Angry Penguins. In 1951 he was travelling around Europe settling in London focusing on painting themes based on festivals in Europe and Greek Mythology while in Greece. He was a World War II deserter, after which he lived at the fine arts patrons Reeds home where he began painting the iconic “Ned Kelly” series and hooked up with Sunday Reed although he was at the time married to Cynthia. By 1978 he married Mary Boyd. Besides the Ned Kelly series, Sidney painted numerous interpretations of legendary and historical figures such as the explorers Burke and Wills, as well as Eliza Fraser, Australian nationalism, the Australian outback, and Australian life. He was also known for his theatrical set designs and books of illustrations. He experimented with numerous styles and applications of paint, often devising his own methodology, and focused on the figurative potential of painting. By 1981 he was appointed a Knight Bachelor for service to art and received the Order of Merit in 1983. His Trust was established in 1985 to support artists and musician as well as exhibition space for his works and others at the Rodd in Herefordshire, England. He was made Companion of the Order of Australia by 1988, and elected honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as a member of the Royal Academy of Arts. Rating: 4 stars out of 5. Visited 4/23/11.

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Canberra Museum and Art Gallery

Canberra Gallery of Art
* http://www.museumsandgalleries.act.gov.au/cmag/ * Cnr. London Circuit and Civic Square, * Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia

Right around the corner from the YHA Hostel, in the heart of the City Center, is the Canberra Museum and Gallery located on the London Circuit. It was first opened early 1998 containing a permanent collection called “Reflecting Canberra” since 2001. With a few galleries located on two floors in the building, ranging from paintings, photography, and sculpture, one can quickly learn the social history of Canberra by visiting the Museum. As of to date, it has had over 160 exhibitions and has remained free to enjoy. Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5. Visited 4/23/11.

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Red Hill Lookout

Red Hill Lookout
* Red Hill Drive
Red Hill * Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, * 2603 * Australia * +61 02 6297 4949 *

If you take the main road from the city center, you can climb up Red Hill onto a lookout that gives you great panoramas of the national icons located within Canberra. The nature park that this lookout is part of, gives great views of the tree-line, the city center, Parliament, the Embassies, and most of Canberra.

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Aborigine Embassy

Aborigine Embassy
* http://www.aboriginaltentembassy.net/ * Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia *

As the Australian Aborigine were not treated as humans until roughly around 1972 in Australia, there is much need for an awakening in Australia on Aborigine Rights. One of the stand-offs and controversial semi-permanent assemblages done in protest about Aborigine polical rights is the “Aboriginal Tent Embassy” that is setup on the lawn of the Old Parliament House in the capital of Australia, Canberra. It is here that a incredible number of Aborigine activists, signs, and tents are gathered dictating appeals for laws on behalf of the Aborigine populations of Australia. This embassy is not considered “official” by the Australian government. It was on January 26th of 1972 that the Aboriginal Embassy was established by Michael Anderson when he rammed a sun umbrella into the Old Parliament’s lawn. The following day, Quakers came and helped out with the erection of tents across the lawn. This was done is response to the McMahon Coalition Government’s refusal to recognise Aboriginal land rights and the new general purpose lease for Aborigines that required them to have intention and ability to make reasonable economic and social use of land with the exclusion of all rights to mineral and forest rights. The following month, the Embassy made a list of demands to Parliament for (a) control of the Northern Territory as a State within the Commonwealth of Australia with a primarily Aboriginal parliament with title and mining rights to all land within the territory; (b) Legal title and mining rights to all other presently existing reserve lands and settlements in Australia; (c) preservation of all sacred lands and sites in Australia; (d) legal title and mining rights to areas in and around all Australian capital cities; (e) compensation for lands not returnable with a down-payment of 6 billion dollars and an annual percentage of the gross national income. These were rejected and were responded to 6 months later with police moving in, removing tents, and arresting 8 people. In October, over 70 Aborigine protesters staged a sit-in on the steps of Parliament house and re-established the Tent embassy. This ended when Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam agreed to meet the protestors. Mid 1974, the tent embassy was destroyed in a storm and re-built by October the same year. By Feburary of 1975 the Aboriginal activist Charles Perkins negotiated a temporary removed of the Embassy with promises offered to them of Government action on land rights. It however was re-established in March of 1976 in a house nearby but closed by 1977. Then in 1979 a new “National Aborigianl Government” encampment was setup on the site of the proposed new Parliament House. Within its 20th anniversary, the Aboriginal Tent Embassy relocated back to the lawn of Old Parliament and has existed ever since. Through those years, it has fallen victim to an arson attack, attacks from criminal elements, fire bombed, and vandalized. Even local Aboriginal Ngunnawal people have called for the eviction of the Tent Embassy. By 1995, the site of the Tent Embassy was added to the Australian Register of the National Estate as the only Aboriginal site in Australia to be recognized nationally as a site representing Aboriginal political struggle. Since 1998, the Sacred Fire at this site has been kept continuously lit to represent peace, justice, and sovereignty. In 2005, the Federal government reviewed the Tent Embassy and has negotiated its future creating the organization “Mutual Mediations” for decision making and deciding that the Embassy will have no residents and shall be replaced with a more permanent structure on site, including “No Camping” signs erected on site, but with no removal of residents against their will.

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National Gallery of Art, Canberra, ACT, Australia

National Gallery of Art
* http://nga.gov.au/ * Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia

One of Canberra’s largest attractions is the National Gallery where over 120,000 works of art is housed celebrating Australian and world art. It was established in 1967 by the government as a National Public Art Gallery after alot of the lobbying by the famous Australian painter Tom Roberts. Originally it was decided that the government should collect portraits of Australian governors-general, principle fathers of the Federation, and by parliamentary leaders which formed the Commonwealth Art Advisory board. It was persuasion of Robert Menzies, the Prime Minister, that established the gallery and incorporated by Prime Minister Harold Holt for building construction. They wanted the Gallery to be located in the Parliament Triangle but this was delayed because the final site of the new Parliament House was not yet determined. Colin Madigan of Edwards Madigan Torzillo and Partners won the competition for its design in 1968, and tentatively was set to be built on Capital Hill, with no design yet permitted until it was designated properly. Location was changed from Capital Hill and collaboration with James Johnson Sweeney (former Director of the Guggenheim and Houston Museum of Fine Arts) and Mollison began. Construction began in 1973 and officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II by 1982 at a price tag of $82 million in late 20th century Brutalist style with angular masses based on a triangle and raw concrete surfaces surrounded by a series of sculpture gardens planted with Australian native trees and plants and over 23,000 square meters of floor space. Three floors of galleries with the first floor the largest, hosting Indigenous Australian and International collections; bottom level with a series of large galleries of sculpture originally then the Asian art collection. The uppermost level for a series of smaller intimate galleries which now house the collection of Australian art. Extensions of the Gallery took place twice with a new entrance project in 2010.

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Sir Bluey Bee


Sir Bluey Bee
Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia

Sir Bluey Bee, one of Australia’s men of mystery, a bard in his own right, is one of the many adventurers who have travelled with Sir Thomas Rhymer Oisin Leaf McGowan during his travels through Australia. This amazing man, was instrumentally helpful in guiding Sir Thomas Leaf along his coastal journey from Melbourne and up the Sapphire Coast, through the Snowy Mountains, and all around Canberra within the ACT. Not only is this man a polite knight and a graceful host, but a comedian, comic, and incredible musician. An employee of the Australian government, a father, and a fisherman … he is truly a blessed friend to have. Thank you Sir Bluey for the amazing Australian adventures you made possible during my trip to Australia.

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The Phoenix, Canberra

The Phoenix
* 21 East Row * Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia * 2601 * (02) 6247 1606 * http://www.lovethephoenix.com/ *

Although this amazing Irish Pub is one of the few bars/pubs I visited while in Canberra, it is by far my favorite. Introduced to me by Sir Bluey, the place was like home to me when I wandered Canberra on my own, and while hanging with Bluey in downtown Canberra. The Phoenix has been serving Canberra for over 16 years and undoubtedly has the best pints in town, a great festive atmosphere, and a unique decorated environment. It has a very home-like hang-out feel and charm, with real character and art within its dark interior and welcoming couches, chairs, sofas, and tables to relax at. Unlike many Irish pubs, the Phoenix doesn’t buy into the plastic leprechauns and tacky green icons that so many do, it has its own style and decor with odd antiques, mysterious art, and historic wooden furniture. They have a wide selection of beers and ciders, from foreign to local brews, including Kilkenny, Guinness, Magners, and Murphys as well as a stocked bar. They also host quite a few bands and local entertainment. They have stand-up nights called “Bootleg Night” and on various sundays, have a arts and crafts market. What a wonderful pub! Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Visited 4/21/11, 4/22/11, 4/23/11.

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Canberra YHA

Canberra YHA
* www.yha.com.au * 7 Akuna Street *Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia * (02) 6248 915 *

For a night into town for exploring the nightlife of Australian’s Capital Territory center, I stayed at teh Canberra City YHA which is centrally located near all the bars, clubs, museums, and activities that Canberra has to offer. It is also only a 5 minute walk from the Interstate bus terminal. Very sleek, top of the line, YHA – with a pool and whirlpool with spa and sauna in the basement, wired for wi-fi throughout the building, fully equipt kitchen, rooftop BBQ areas, TV/game rooms, an underground bar, and cafe. I thoroughly enjoyed my cost-effective stay that opted me a chance to see the local arts, and imbibe in the nightlife without having to worry about late night transportation home. Great hostel: 5 stars out of 5. Visited 4/22/11.

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Bar 32, Canberra, Australia

Bar 32
* 32 Northbourne Avenue * Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia * (02) 6162 3232 * http://www.bar32.com/

In search of the nightlife in Canberra, I was strongly recommended that Bar 32 was the place to be. We dropped in around 11 pm on a Friday night and it was pretty dead, being the only few individuals in the bar. Looked promising. Tried Saturday night as well, but seems it really doesn’t take off until the wee hours of the night. Bar 32 is the home to the popular club nights of “REV” and “Shakedown” as one of the ACT’s popular nightspots for Indy music, alternative, and classics.

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Australian National Museum

National Museum of Australia
* Lawson Crescent * Acton Peninsula, Canberra ACT 2601 * (02) 6208 5000 *

One of Australia’s most brilliant and diverse museums is the National Museum of Australia in Canberra within the heart of the Australian Capital Territory. It was established in 1980 by the National Museum of Australia Act to preserve and interpret Australian history, cultures, people, and events that made Australia what it is today. It was homeless until March 11, 2001 when it opened its doors in the national capital. Diverse collections and exhibits ranging from 50,000 Before Present upwards to the current day with focus on the Aborigine, the original inhabitants, their beliefs, culture, and myths. It covers European settlement of these shores from 1788 to modern day and focuses on the material culture that Australia creates both past and present. They possess the largest collection of Aboriginal bark paintings and stone tools found in Australia. Exhibits rotate around like all major museums and during my visit had a feature called “Not Just Ned” covering the Irish immigration to Australia. In addition to a massive artifact collection, they have a wide range of books, catalogues, and journals in their archives. Highly innovative and on track with technology, the Museum is notable for its advancement and design. They have an incredible outreach program with regional communities as well as a inclusion with the Aborigines. The Museum was designed by architect and design director Howard Raggatt themed with knotted ropes symbolizing the weaving together of Australian stories and tales. The entire building and grounds tells the story of creation, the Dreaming, and immigration of these shores. The building is at the center of the knot with trailing ropes or strips extending from the building, forming large loops that are walkways extending past the neighbouring AIATSIS building ending in a large curl aligning as the “Uluru Axis” representing the Australian natural landmark. This design incorporates Bed Maddock’s “Philosophy Tape”, Jackson Pollock’s “Blue Poles”, the Boolean String, A knot, Ariadne’s thread, and the Aboriginal Dreamtime story of he Rainbow Serpent creating the land. Within the Museum complex is an exact copy of the lightning flash zigzag that Libeskind created for the Berlin Museum by breaking a five pointed star of David. This initially brought allegations of plagiarism. Its exterior is covered with anodised aluminum panels that include worlds written in braille. These words include “mate”, “She’ll be right”, “sorry”, and “forgive us our genocide”. In 2006 the Museum was damaged by a hail storm that caused the ceiling to collapse, expose power cables, and flood the floor.

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Black Mountain Tower (Canberra)


Black Mountain Tower
* http://www.blackmountaintower.com.au/ * 100 Black Mountain Drive, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia * (02) 6248 1911 *

Atop one of the higher peaks overlooking Canberra, is a telecommunication tower situated above the summit of “Black Mountain”. Rising over 195 meters above the Mountain summit, is Canberra’s notable landmark that allows visitors to view panoramic views of the city and its surrounding countryside from an indoor observation deck with two oudoor viewing platforms and a revolving restaurant, business offices, sales, and radio communication facilities that was originally the “Telstra Tower” or “Telecom Tower” that replaced the microwave relay station of Red Hill. Developed by the Department of Housing and Construction under design by William H. Wilson of Sydney, much debate and protest proceeded its construction based on aesthetic and ecological concerns. It was beat in Federal High Court and the government was able to proceed. It was opened on May 15, 1980, was unveiled by the Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser. It annually receives over 6 million visitors. It is responsible for major trunk line radio-telephony facilities, television transmitters for national and commercial services, FM radio transmission, radio paging facilities, mobile radio telephone base station services, and as a cellular phone base station. It cost over 16 million to build.

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Isabella Plains of Canberra

Isabella Plains
* Canberra/Tuggeranong, Australian Capital Territory, Australia *

Within the district of Tuggeranong in Canberra lies the suburb known as “Isabella Plains” which was named after Thomas Brisbane’s daughter “Isabella Maria Brisbane” who lived from 1821-1849. As Thomas Brisbane became the first white explorer of the area in 1823 who later became colonial Governor of New South Wales it made sense to name this area after her. The area borders the suburbs of Monash, Richardson, Calwell, and Bonython. It has boundaries by Drakeford Drive, Isabella Drive, Johnson Drive, and Ashley Drive. It contains a small shopping center with a supermarket, hairdresser, a Chinese Restaurant, a pathology clinic, a chemist, small doctor’s surgery, a Neighbourhood House, and a takeaway shop. It also has a few schools and universities both private, public, and government operated. There is also three churches in the area.

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Canberra’s Pine Island Reserve

Pine Island Reserve
* Canberra/Tuggeranong, Australian Capital Territory, Australia *

Along Australia’s Murrumbidgee River that travels through Canberra and the Tuggeranong is a Nature Reserve called “Pine Island Reserve”. It isn’t really an Island persay, but a seasonal “island” during flooding and is named after the Black Cypress Pines that grow within this particular natural area of the Australian Capital Territory. Originally occupied by the Aboriginee, it was taken over by the British Man named Charles Throsby who in 1820 while exploring Canberra and searching for the Murrumbidgee River decided to settle here at Pine Island as this was where he came across the river in April 1821. Pine Island is a popular swimming location for locals. Activities include hiking, kangaroo and bird watching, and picnicking. The “Murrumbidgee River Corridor” running from Pine Island to Kambah Pool is one of the more popular bushwalking paths in the park. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

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