Canberra – Australian Capital Territory

From northeast Victoria, we travel through New South Wales to the Australian Capital Territory.

Australian Capital Territory
Nice scenery, but watch out for echidnas

We call ahead to several caravan parks in Canberra. They have no vacancies. Probably because many people are in town for the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI. We find a place near Yass, NSW on Lake Burrinjuck for the night.

Australian Capital Territory
Top of the lake

It’s pretty idyllic. We have the place to ourselves. Except for a very friendly dog that adopts us. (We assume she belongs to the proprietors.) She behaves perfectly and doesn’t make a sound. She sleeps outside the van and is still there in the morning. We name her Molly.

Australian Capital Territory
Hills near Yass

As the sun sets, the surrounding hills turn red.

Australian Capital Territory
Hills near Yass

The only sound is sheep bleating in the hills.

Some jolly jumbucks

Our first stop in Canberra is the Australian War Memorial. Essentially a war museum. It is extremely well done.

Australian Capital Territory
Poppies at the AWM

The scene of lots of activity the day before we arrive, November 11, but now quiet and uncrowded.

Australian Capital Territory
AWM entrance

It contains lots of nifty hardware, including a Japanese midget submarine that attacked Sydney Harbour, a WWI tank, and a Lancaster bomber.

Australian Capital Territory
Australian War Memorial courtyard

We spend four nights in Canberra. Like most planned-from-scratch cities, it features sweeping boulevards that look great. As long as you’re not a pedestrian.

Australian Capital Territory
Looking down ANZAC Parade to the new parliament house.

Being the national capital, Canberra has some great museums. We see a special exhibit about Rome at the National Museum of Australia.

Australian Capital Territory
Cool architecture of the NMA

We visit the superb National Portrait Gallery. Ottawa has been dithering over creating a national portrait gallery for decades. Jeeze, just friggin’ build it, already.

I like this portrait of Nick Cave.

Nick Cave portrait by Howard Arkley

We visit the Museum of Australian Democracy, housed in the former Parliament House.

Australian Capital Territory
You can still feel the hot air

Australia and Canada are similar in being burdened with less-than-impressive, mediocre, self-serving politicians, yet both countries manage to be great places to live.

We visit the new Parliament House.

 Australian Capital Territory
Just visiting

By design, it is a delightfully open place. After a security check, people are welcome to poke around its interesting features. A pleasant change from the Iron Fortress isolation from the public found in most other western countries’ government buildings.

Still, there are enough men and women around toting machine guns to discourage any would-be jihadis yearning for martyrdom.

Australian Capital Territory
Looking down Federation Mall back to the Australian War Memorial, with the old Parliament House in the foreground

Sight or Insight of the Day

You can see the fields of red in the photos of Parliament House above.

This is an ocean of poppies.

Australian Capital Territory

Each handcrafted poppy has been created by a volunteer and represents an Australian life lost in the First World War. There are 62,000 of them.