Monday, March 19, 2007

Canberra Day

Today is our Canberra Day holiday. It was actually Canberra Day last Monday, the 12th, but the holiday is today. It is being blessed with steady, soft and much-needed rain.

Canberra is distinctive for a number of reasons. It is the city (with the possible exception of Darwin) most populated by people from somewhere else in Australia, and for that reason - and also because it is the national capital - it is the least parochial of the capital cities. Only in Canberra can one get a serious discussion about something happening across the whole country or in a state far away. Its effective planning, publicly owned land, integration of the built and the natural landscape and avoidance of large-scale advertising make it look different at once. That difference worries some Australians, who think cities ought naturally to be noisy, badly planned and chaotic because that is what they know. And the placement of the national government there has made “Canberra” a synonym for politics and bureaucracy, a word almost never used affectionately in news telecasts. The parliamentarians understandably rarely like it, especially those who live far away.

Aitkin, Don. What was it all for? The Reshaping of Australia. Allen & Unwin 2005, pp.184-185.

I was raised here and my earliest memories are of this place. When I was away in Sydney for 20 years, it was still home. Canberra's landscape is the geography of my heart. Canberra is my cherised home.


Jejune said...

Thanks for that post, Taph - Canberra has been my main home throughout my life too - we moved here when I was 1 month old, and despite various years in the USA, Canberra is the only place in Australia I've lived, the birthplace of my husband, brother, and children, and my favourite place to live. It has a different history from many other places, but that isn't a bad thing!

The Shopping Sherpa said...

Mine too, though I've "only" been here just over 8 years.

It can be an odd place but once you "get" it your heart is lost...

twitchy fingers said...

Here here!!! I'm born and bred and love it. You know, I used to work for a Senator and she'd been in Parliament for eight years, and NEVER been past the Commonwealth Avenue bridge, never seen Canberra Museum and Gallery, Blundell's Cottage, National Library, Sculpture Garden or anything. Same goes for their staff - the Holy Grail in Kingston is as far afield as they venture - a full 5kms from The House. Their basis for rarely liking it is because they barely know it.