Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Stormy weather

It's been a little damp here in the past 24 hours. We've had some violent electrical storms and sudden heavy downpours, and the stormwater system is getting a good run. Fortunately, the suburbs of Canberra have numerous low-lying green belts designed to take the overflow.

This Eastern Great Egret looks like he's waiting to cross the torrent. He might have to wait awhile ...

A minute later the heavens opened again, and I had to run for the shelter of the car. Meanwhile the egret continued to stand there.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fish pond

This is the pond where yesterday's frogs live (Cafe Injoy, Gold Creek).

Monday, November 28, 2011

I've nearly got 'im!

"Just give me a little boost and we can have currawong for dinner."
"Watch the face! Ow!"

Quirky frog sculpture out the front of Cafe Injoy at Gold Creek.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Part of the Gnabra and Kembery buildings on Genge Street, Civic. 'Gnabra' and 'Kembery' are both variants on the Aboriginal word for this region, which eventually became 'Canberra'. There's a really interesting discussion about the development and Anglicising of Aboriginal words for place names in Aboriginal Placenames: Naming and renaming the Australian landscape (see page 156 for the Gnabra and Kemberry/Canbery reference).

Saturday, November 26, 2011

RAAF Memorial Grove

If you turn to the right from the propeller in yesterday's photo, your eye wanders down a path towards a sandstone cairn, through the RAAF Memorial Grove. WWII Royal Australian Air Force veterans started the grove in 1954. The cairn came later, but it wasn't until 2002 that the grove was formally consecrated.

It was starting to rain when we dropped in, but hopefully I'll get back there soon and have a proper look at the memorial plaques along the path.

Friday, November 25, 2011

RAAF propeller

The Dowty-Rotol propeller symbolises, according to the plaque, the Royal Australian Air Force's operational and heritage links with the national capital, and the supporting structure reflects the strength of its people.

This propeller is located just off the Federal Highway near the ACT-NSW border, as you approach from the Sydney side (north). It's in the Hughie Edwards VC (Victoria Cross) Rest Area, one of a series of rest areas along the Remembrance Driveway dotted along the Hume and Federal Highways between Sydney and Canberra.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


This fine fellow is a currawong. Currawongs (named for their call) are sometimes mistaken for magpies, but can be easily distinguished by their bright yellow eyes (magpie eyes are a red-brown colour). Currawongs also have less white in their feathers. They're a big bird - close to 50cm - and their numbers used to be controlled by the availability of food during winter. Unfortunately, many introduced garden plants produce berries in winter, and the currawongs are quite happy to eat them, so their numbers have grown, especially in urban areas, and they're now a threat to smaller birds such as Fairy Wrens. They've even been known to hunts in groups and carry off possums!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Climbing the walls

Did you notice in the background of yesterdays photos that there was a figure on the building across the road (Mort Street, Civic)? I haven't been able to find any information about it, and I wonder how many people actually see it, hanging up there ...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I walked through a city building last week and was confronted by this large, bright red metal sculpture I hadn't seen before. It called Circuitry, and it's by Fiona Hooton. The plaque on the wall just below it reads:
People are the circulating life blood of our city spaces. "Circuitry" traces our constant movement as we seek the answer to the riddle: where are we and where are we going?

Monday, November 21, 2011


Not quite sure what this sulphur-crested cockatoo is planning to do with the pine cone. Perhaps a little spring cleaning?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Big splash

Another part of the Big Splash Waterpark. These tower sections have been there for a long time, but looks like they're undergoing some changes. They'd better get a move on though - summer is just around the corner, and the weather is warming up rapidly.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


When it's finished, this will be the Twister Speed Slide, but access is a little limited at the moment! The Big Splash Waterpark website says it was opening for summer last Saturday, but there was still a lot of construction work going on around the waterslides when we drove past on the following Thursday.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Spring in the city

A beautiful, warm spring day today, and city lamp posts are carrying bright spots of colour in these pots of petunias. These ones are in Alinga Street, opposite the Sydney Building.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A special visitor for Campbell High School

Photo: ABC News

This morning Campbell High School hosted a brief visit by US President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. The school is located close to the Australian War Memorial, where President Obama laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at 9am, before speaking to Parliament. It's been a whirlwind visit to Canberra - less than 24 hours - with very tight security. Obviously I wasn't getting anywhere near him, so this photo comes from the Australian Broadcasting Commission website (more stories, photos and video here).

Darwin and a spot of croc-wrestling (hah!) are next on the agenda ...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Time capsule

Tucked away under the trees in Commonwealth Park is this small stone pyramid. The plaque at the top has the familiar Autralian Bicentennial logo (1788-1988), and the following words:
To celebrate
Australia Day in the Bicentennial Year
a Time Capsule was placed beneath this cairn
January 26, 1988
The Canberra Times
Australia Day in the National Capital
and the
National Capital Development Commission
The Time Capsule is to be opened
in the year 2088.

Apparently there's no official record of exactly what is in the 1.5 metre glass capsule, sealed with argon gas and buried in the earth, but I did find reference to it containing a letter from the then-Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, a short history of The Canberra Times newspaper, and numerous objects and photographs submitted by the people of Canberra.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Avenue

The Avenue, on the corner of Northbourne Avenue and Barry Drive. I think this is just in the suburb of Turner, but some of the boundaries in close to the city can be a bit vague in common use.

This building (actually 3 buildings in 1) was completed in 2005, and consists of 238 single-level and split level apartments. You could have a 5th floor 1 bedroom apartment for $430,000+, and be within walking distance of the city centre and the Australian National University.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Reclamation: Culture, Spirit and Place (2007) is a three-part mixed-media artwork at the intersection of City Walk and Garema Place, Civic. It consists of two upright metal panels flanking a ceramic tile mosaic set into the pavement. You can see the three parts together on the artsACT website.

The artwork is by Western Australian artist Sandra Hill (Nyoongar) and Jim Williams (Ngunnawal), assisted by Jenny Dawson and Tony Pankiw.

The left panel (above) shows some of the birds important to the Ngunnawal people - eagles, crows, black cockatoos, and owls.

The central tile mosaic shows dancing figures, and the coloured tiles represent the land, the sea, the sky, the earth and the blood of the people. The smaller circular design on the right represents a campfire with people sitting around it.

The upright panel on the right has images of a goanna, a frog and a crane - again, all creatures important to the Ngunnawal people. The green line running through it is the Molonglo River.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The road into Braidwood

What a difference seven weeks can make! This is the road into Braidwood (or out in our case), on the Canberra side. It's lined with trees which were completely bare in mid-September (below) but covered in green again by last weekend. It's not the exact same piece of road, but along the same stretch.

The avenue of Lombardy and Golden poplars was planted in 1936 at the northern entrance to town to celebrate the 25th year of King George V's reign.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Granite store, Braidwood

On the corner of Duncan and Wallace Streets in Braidwood is this gorgeous granite store built by stonemason Terence McGrath. It was built in 1870, and has served as a produce store, butcher and saddler premises. The verandah upstairs was added in the 1890s.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Braidwood Hotel

The Braidwood Hotel, in Wallace Street. Constructed in 1859 during the gold rush, this is the oldest still-licensed pub in town. Apparently it was one of the grandest hotels in the region, with a ballroom on the first floor and attic accommodation on the second floor, as well as the public rooms and bars.

The hotel has had some brushes with fame (and infamy!) - it was featured in the 1987 film The Year My Voice Broke, and in Flirting ( with Noah Taylor, Thandie Newton and Nicole Kidman) in 1992. Mick Jagger dropped in during the filming of Ned Kelly (1970), and actor Geoffrey Rush and opera star Dame Joan Sutherland both attended the break-up party in the pub's courtyard following the filming of Dad and Dave: On Our Selection (1995).

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Braidwood Post Office

The current post office building in Braidwood was built in 1865 as the Telegraph Office, and became the Post O ffice in the 1890s (the old post office building in McKellar Street became a general store). Beside the main building is the Postmaster’s residence.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


The Sydney Morning Herald in 1863 reported:
A very large nugget, consisting of pure gold, weighing over 29 ozs, was unearthed at Nerriga about a month back. A water-worn nugget, taken from the bed of the Shoalhaven River at Nerriga, and weighing 27 ozs. 3dwts., has been exhibited in Sydney. A party of four men had been working there some time, and had taken 4 1/2 ozs fine gold, the same day they obtained the nugget, and 8 ozs. the day before. The gold had been found principally in the bed of the river, which is only workable in dry weather.

And in the Broken Hill Barrier Miner, of 1904, there was a story of a much bigger find:
A 165oz. Nugget.
SYDNEY, Friday.
The City Bank at Braidwood yesterday purchased a nugget of gold weighing 165oz., discovered at Nerriga. It is stated that about60oz. of the gold had been previously broken off by the owner of the nugget.

Of course, where there was gold, there were bushrangers:

The sign on the tree trunk reads: 'Welcome to Nerriga. We don't take our cows to the city!!!!! Don't bring your [picture of bull on a toilet] to the country.'

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

On the road between Nowra and Braidwood

These are the beehive rock formations at Bulee Gap, between Sassafrass and Nerriga on the road inland from Nowra. I've seen the road referred to as the Nerriga Road, the Braidwood Road, the Turpentine Road, and Main Road 92. Whatever it's called, it's an important connection between the tablelands (and Canberra) and the coast, especially now that the section between Nerriga and Nowra is completely sealed. Parts of this road roughly follow the old 1840s and 50s convict-built Wool Road, used to transport the wool clip down to the coast. In the photo above, part of the Wool Road has been preserved underneath the recent bridge construction on the right.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nowra Museum

The Nowra Museum is located in the former Nowra Police Station, which dates from about 1900. The building was used as the police station and lockup until the mid-1970s. It has been restored and operating as a museum since the end of 1980.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


We had a night in Nowra this weekend. Not a lot of time for taking photos, but I'll have a few from the road over the next couple of days.

This Navy helicopter is next to the information centre, on the Princes Highway, just up from the Shoalhaven River. The Navy is quite important to the region, and the association between the town and the Navy dates from the Second World War. The following information is from the HMAS Albatross website:

The decision to build an airfield on the land now occupied by the Naval Air Station was taken soon after WWII was declared in 1939. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)occupied the new base on 7 May 1942 and was soon followed by the US Army Air Corps and the Royal Netherlands East Indies Air Force.

In 1944, the British Admiralty directed forces to the South-West Pacific necessitating shore base establishments in Australia to support the Royal Navy and its Fleet Air Arm. RAAF Base Nowra was considered ideal because of its proximity to Jervis Bay, which was large enough to accommodate the entire British Pacific Fleet. The Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm began operations at Nowra in late October 1944, and the base was renamed HMS Nabbington. In March 1946, the base reverted to RAAF control "to be retained but not maintained".

In July 1947, the Commonwealth Defence Council approved the formation of a Fleet Air Arm which would be controlled and operated by the RAN. The initial planning included purchase of two aircraft carriers, aircraft and establishment of shore facilities. The carriers were named HMA Ships Sydney and Melbourne, and the shore facilities were at Nowra.

HMAS Albatross was commissioned in August 1948 and the 20th Carrier Air Group, comprising Sea Fury and Firefly aircraft, was brought from England to Australia by HMAS Sydney. These aircraft, operated by 805 and 816 Squadrons, disembarked to Nowra in May 1949. In November 1950, they were joined by the Carrier Air Group of 808 and 817 Squadrons, also flying Sea Furies and Fireflies.

HMAS Albatross has been expanding ever since. As more capable aircraft have been acquired, so ground support facilities have had to be built. In 1955, Sea Venoms and Gannets arrived, requiring radar workshops and test facilities. More aircraft necessitated stricter standards of air traffic control and a new control tower was built in 1958. In 1964 the introduction of Wessex helicopters, with a dunking sonar capability, required a further expansion of services.

In 1965, it was decided to buy American aircraft to replace the ageing British Gannets and Sea Venoms. McDonnell Douglas Skyhawks and Grumman Trackers were chosenand additional avionics facilities were built to service the complex equipment they carried.

The helicopters now based at HMAS Albatross have restored to the RAN much of the anti-submarine capability lost when the Tracker squadron was disbanded in 1983.

In recent years significant redevelopment has taken place, continuing the operation of HMAS Albatross and recognising its strategic importance as the sole Royal Australian Navy Air Station.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Lake Ginninderra

The view across Lake Ginninderra from the top of Westfield Belconnen, about 9.15am this morning.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

National Carillon

The Carillon, viewed from Commonwealth Park (with Nerang Pool in the foreground).

The 50-metre tall tower of the Carillon, with its 55 brass bells, stands on its own little island in Lake Burley Griffin - Aspen Island - connected to the shore by a footbridge. The Carillon has a recital program on Wednesday and Sunday lunchtimes, and it's not just classical or church music on the bells. Yesterday's program was:

Carillonist: Kerryn Milligan

Preludio Cou Cou - Matthias van Den Gheyn

C’est le Mai, joli Mai
Gottes Edeklnabe
The Irish Washerwoman
Barbara Allen

Yanvalloux from Haitian Suite
Serenade Lointaine

Dream a Little Dream of Me - Gus Kahn
Amazing Grace - arr. John R Knox

Botany Bay
Click Go the Shears
Wild Colonial Boy
Waltzing Matilda

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Looking towards Questacon (the National Science and Technology Museum) from Commonwealth Park, across Nerang Pool and Lake Burley Griffin.