Tag Archives: ACT

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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The Holidays

* April 23, 2011 Concert @ The Transit Bar * Downtown Canberra * ACT * Australia *

While exploring downtown Canberra, I popped into the Transit Bar, underneath where I was staying in the Canberra Hostelling International for a night out downtown. The Holidays, a local Australian band, was just returning from their first ever tour of the United States. Set to go on stage by 8 pm, they had a bit of a late start but rocked the house with some great Indie, Pop, Alternative tunes. They were kicking off their Seven Million Mornings national headline tour beginning with this gig, moving on to Melbourne, then around Australia, and on to Europe. Opening for them were their guest Gold Fields. Rating: 3.4 stars out of 5.


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.

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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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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.

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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
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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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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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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04.23.11: Chronicles: Exploring Canberra Downtown

Travels Down Under:
Exploring Canberra Downtown

Saturday, April 23, 2011
* Canberra to Australia Capital Territory, Australia *

Sir Bluey blessed Sir Thomas with a jam session with his amazing musical talents. Then the bard took Sir Thomas Leaf on a tour around the governmental district of Canberra, as well as around the heart of the city center. The fall foliage was in abundant colors as the turn of fall into winter came about. They drove by the National Gallery of Art, down the mall, and up to the Red Hill lookout overlooking the city. Afterwards, Sir Bluey dropped Sir Thomas Leaf at the Canberra YHA where he checked in to start out a night of partying. A swim and sauna down below, and unpacking of bags up in the room, Sir Thomas Leaf wandered down the city center to explore the sights. Much was closed for a Saturday. But it was just after Easter weekend. He then went to explore the Canberra Museum and Gallery to view over much modern art. A delicious lunch was had at the Asian Cafe. On to the Nolan Collection at the Canberra Modern Art Gallery to see the latest of his art. Sir Thomas then went on to view the Sculptures of Michael Le Grand. He learned about the Cotter and the watering of the City of Gardens. That evening he partook of a soft shelled crab dinner with sweet potato fries at the Fish Shack. After which he caught up on Hollywood’s most modern version of Ragnarok, by watching “Thor” in 3d. After an amazing movie, he was off to check out the nightlife at Club 32, and was bored. Hopping to the Phoenix for a drink, and then off to see the band the Holidays at the Underground bar underneath the Canberra YHA. Good indie music, but fatigue took him on, and off he went to sleep.

Sculpture by Michael Le Grand

[ Chronicles: Market at the Phoenix ]

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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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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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Tuggeranong, Canberra, ACT, Australia

At the heart of Canberra, lies a town center in the southernmost part of the city called Tuggeranong. The name is Aboriginal for “Cold Plains”. With over 19 suburbs and a population of 324,034. This area has alot of history relating to the original aboriginal occupation of Australia. Numerous artifacts and cave paintings found in the area show that the Ngunnawal had occupied the region for over 21,000 years. It wasn’t until 1820 that the first Europeans came to this area within an expedition by Charles Throsby where the present day Pine Island. The first white authorized settle was James Murdoch when in 1824 he was offered the small plain known by the natives as “Togranong” on his land grant which he accepted in 1827. By 1835 Lanyon Station was established by James Wright and John Lanyon … while Lanyon only stayed in Australia for 3 years, Wright bought out his end and sold the land to the Cunninghams in 1848 and that family bought out many of the other properties who finally renamed the Waniassa lands to Tuggranong. The homestead was rebuilt by the Cunninghams in 1908 and resumed by the Commonwealth Government for the military. The Cunninghma remained until 1926. From 1927-1976 the Tuggeranong property was leased by the McCormacks for grazing. It wasn’t until 1973 that new plans for Canberra took over Tuggeranong housing over 200,000 inhabitants. The Town center is to the west of the lake including a major shopping center known as the Tuggeranong Hyperdome and is surrounded by government offices and light industry.

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Canberra International Airport

Canberra Airport
Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia

The Canberra International Airport is the mainstream airport for the Australian Capital Terrority. It provides direct domestic Services to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. It also has direct daily flights to Albury and Newcastle in New South Wales. It however does not have any regular commercial international flights operating from its strips. It services much of the political government and embassy flights as well as tourism, sister city transportation, and commuters. While a small airport, I found it basic and friendly. No wifi was found during my visits in April of 2011. Rating: 2 stars out of 5. Visited month of April 2011 – Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Reviews.

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Canberra, ACT

Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia

Canberra means “meeting place” which was derived off of the Ngunnawal/Ngabri Aborigine word “Kambera” or “Canberry”. The region was used by the Nagbri as a point of reference during their seasonal migrations to corroborees held in the local. Pre-European the region was seasonally inhabited by the Indigenous such as the Ngarigo/Ngunnawal, the Wandandian, the Walgulu, the Gandangara, and the Wiradjuri. Evidence of rock art, rock shelters, burials, lithic scatters, camps, and quarry sites litter the landscape with cultural histories of these peoples for upwards of 21,000 BP. Europeans came to the area around the early 1800’s with the first expeditions between 1820-1824. The first homesteading done by stockmen who were employed by Joshua John Moore who purchased his site in 1826 calling his ranch “Canberry”. The Campbell family of “Duntroon” moved to the area sponsoring settlements of families to work their land including the “Weetangera” Southwells. The Murrays and the Gibbes were other big popular family names moving to the area. Disputes of where to place the national capital between Melbourne and Sydney eventually rested with a compromise for Canberra to be the location. This location was built in New South Wales. The region was eventually broken out to be its own Territory as the “Australian Capital Territory” to represent the Federal Government. In 1927 the Federal legislature moved to the area and setup the Provisional Parliament House. From 1920-1957, the city was expanded by the Federal Capital Advisory Committee, the Federal Capital Commission, and the National Capital Planning and Development Commitee which without Griffin’s presence led to what inefficiencies that Canberra now has. Due to this, by end of war time, Canberra was accused of being a ugly collection of buildings within a disorganized village or as “several suburbs in search of a city”. This eventually changed with later developments and the city was finally awarded for its layout especially with the construction of its monuments, sculptures, and University. Australia’s 8th largest city and its largest inland city, with a population of over 323,056 people, Canberra is located at the northern end of the ACT, 2 1/2 hours southwest of Sydney, and 8 hours northeast of Melbourne. It is the Capital of Australia and the ACT. Formed as a compromise between rivaling Melbourne and Sydney it was also one of Australia’s most “planned” cities. Designed by the World Famous Chicago architects Walter Burley Griffin with Marion Mahony Griffin in 1913 to be a entirely “planned” city featuring geometric motifs such as hexagons, circles, triangles, and axes aligned with significant topographical landmarks as its basic layout that was influenced by the garden city movement with the incorporation of significant areas of natural vegetation. They assigned spiritual values to the landmarks such as Mount Ainslie, Red Hill, and Black Mountain based on the flowers found on them. This is one of the reasons Canberra is called the “Bush Capital”. Canberra didn’t fully grow through its history as impacts from the Great Depression, the World Wars, and planning disputes but saw a major growth spurt after those events. Canberra is the seat of Australia’s Government where most of the governmental houses, buildings, and offices are located. It is home to the Parliament House as well as the High Court. Culturally it is home to the Australian National Museum, Australian Institute of Sports, the National Gallery, the National Library, the Australian War Memorial, and the Australian National University. Urban Canberra is organized into areas of group centers, local suburbs, town centers, districts, industrial areas, and villages. Canberra has seven residential areas known as Canberra Central, Tuggeranong, Woden Valley, Molonglo Valley, Belconnen, Weston Creek, and Gungahlin. A good portion of Canberra’s working class consists of public servants with the Government being the chief employer for the city causing a lower unemployment rate and average higher income than the national average. Typical crimes plaguing the area are motor vehicle theft and unlawful entry with intent. The Aboriginal Tent Embassy was established on the Parliament House grounds in 1972 to draw attention to indigenous rights and land issues. It has continuously been occupied since 1992. Canberra is a sister-city with Nara, Japan and Beijing, China involving numersou exchange activities. Canberra sees relatively dry warm to hot summers and cold winters. Sites of Interest besides the National Gallery, Library, Museum, University, and Government buildings are the Lake Burley Griffin with its Capain James Cook Memorial, the National Carillon, the Black Mountain Tower, the Australian National Botanical Gardens, the National Zoo, the Aquarium, the National Dinosaur Museum, and Questacon – the National Science and Technology Center. Every book published in Australia is required to have a copy in the National Library here. Numerous bars and nightclubs with live entertainment populate the night life with numerous festivals, community theater, and a cinema found in each of the town centers.

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