Since I finished featuring Canberra City in my site, now I can rank the places that I visited in the city according to my preference or my liking. If you had visited the city, what are your top places in Canberra? And why?
Mount Ainslie Lookout gave me a chance to see the city at one point, a scenic view that can only be found at the top. And it gave me a chance to see beyond that my eyes can discover if I was at the ground, a viewpoint of the national city of Australia.
I looked at Australian War Memorial as the father of all war or peace memorial or shrine of remembrance in Australia, not only because it is the largest structure of all but because the national scope it features about their country’s heroes.
Having a chance to see what’s inside the national government house of Australia and understanding its objective why its open to the public made me understand the way they think how they govern their country and their people.
Mountain is one of the best places that I wanted to be. Though I never climb Mount Ainslie and our tour drove directly to the lookout, I still enjoyed the time that our group spent in the lookout. The tour had given me a chance to see the whole city of Canberra from one of the mountains around the city.
From the lookout, I saw how amazingly designed Parliament House both old and current one and the Australian War Memorial. These buildings are straightly aligned to each other even though there’s river or lake between these structures, a beautiful landscape indeed.
From Mount Ainslie, I noticed as well the Telstra Tower in Black Mountain, which another option to visit to see the whole city.
Another scenery to enjoy from the lookout was Lake Burley Griffin or Molonglo River which makes Canberra a nature feel good city.
Looking far beside the city central of Canberra, I got a chance to see nearby mountain ranges that surrounds the city which was a scenic view to enjoy.
One thing that I like about Australia is having a similar building or structure if not in all cities but on its major cities, so tourist can see and visit the place to appreciate and to enjoy wherever you are in the country. I remembered the same concept also exist in Canada, they have structures that can be found in some cities as well. A good example is Telus World of Science, a museum where I visited one in Edmonton and saw from a distance in Vancouver. Another example is Provincial Legislature Building exist in Alberta and British Columbia, and in other provinces of Canada.
Based on my observation while traveling around Australia, arcade building is one good example of a structure that can be found in major cities of the country. These arcades are historical buildings which showcases how grandeur the building was during earlier years and portrays its notable 19th century interior design that can make everyone feel to be back in old times. In relation to arcades, I perceived Queen Victoria Building as the mother of all historical arcades in Australia. I explained why in my previous post.
How about for the memorial structure that intended to honor and remember the Australian heroes that fought for the peace that Australian currently enjoying nowadays? In relation to this, I looked at Australian War Memorial as the father of all peace or remembrance structure in the country. During my stay in Australia I visited two(2) structures that significantly honors and remembers the heroes that served for the country’s peace. One was Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne and the one that I will be focusing in this post is The Australian War Memorial in Canberra. The group tour that I joined that day visited the structure after coming from Mount Ainslie Lookout.
Australian War Memorial – looks so far from Parliament House Rooftop
Australian War Memorial (with dome), just at the bottom of base of Mount Ainslie
The first time I saw the building for real was at the time I was at the rooftop of Parliament House in that same day I visited the memorial museum, the structure is noticeable even from a far distance. I got a clear visibility of it, while we were at Mount Ainslie Lookout where anyone get noticed that the building is a cross structure with a dome in the middle. And when we arrived at the building itself, I can sense immediately the solemn ambiance that surrounds the building. The external design of the building signifies how these heroes are important to Australian and I honestly admired them the way they honor and respect these people.
Australian War Memorial from Memorial Grounds
Due to limited time in the building since it was our last place in the day tour’s itinerary and near for closing time, I wasn’t able to see all of the parts of the memorial but I still tried my best to capture photos inside the building. Apology at some of the photos are not as clear, at the time of the trip, I used iPhone 4 and Panasonic digital camera.
Here are some of the photos that I was able to capture while visiting Australian War Memorial:
Mosquito – Wooden Wonder Aircraft
Cockpit Simulator – used to train pilots without experience in flying
Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero Fighter V-173 – best know Japanese aircraft in World War II
Kittyhawk – aircraft named Polly after its regular pilot’s sweetheart, a mainstay of the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) during World War II
Hawker Sea Fury – fighter bomber, one of the last propeller driven naval aircraft to see action
G for George – Avro Lancaster bomber, survived the disastrous raid in Nuremberg in 1944 and some toughest mission over Germany, France and Italy
Anti-aircarft searchlight projector – used to detects enemies aircraft
HMAS Sydney Gun – One of the eight six-inch guns which took part against SMS Emden
HMAS Sydney Stern – patrolled in North Sea in 1917 and present for the German surrender at Scapa in 1918
Ship’s Telegraph – engine telegraph from SMS Emden
Morshead in Africa – 3 ton truck, with caravan body, a mobile command post and living quarters
MiG-15 bis – Soviet Union produced, with modern jet-fighter powered by British-designed engine
Mustang – used in Korean War as fighter and ground attack aircraft
LePkw Type 82 Kubelwagen
Chevrolet lorry and Breda anti-aircraft gun
“Kriegies” hut – Joe Kibling captured in Greece and called as Kriegies, this house up to 20 men
Anti-tank gun – gunner used near in Gemas and Bakri in 1942
1940 Studebaker Commander Sedan with gas producer
Below are other exhibits found in the memorial but I wasn’t able to identify its name
Before we end the tour in the building, there was Last Post ceremony being held at Commemorative Area wherein the memorial bids farewell to the visitors with the ceremony with singing of the Australian National Anthem, followed by a sound of the piper. Some visitors put some flowers as tributes besides the Pool of Reflection, then a story of one of the names listed in the Honor Roll will be told, followed by Ode recitation and ended by sound of Last Post. A ceremony that I witnessed that shows recognition and respect to the heroes of Australians.
Last Post Ceremony
–RSL (Returned and Services League)
My country’s name found in Commemorative area which is allied of Australia specifically during Second World War
Before leaving the memorial, I saw from the main entrance of the structure the scenery towards Parliament House, old and current one.
Australian War Memorial – the last snapshots before leaving the memorial and before ending my day tour in Canberra.
Transportation (Post#5) : 1940 Studebaker Commander Sedan with gas producer
During war, lots of products and commodities are being scarce, one of this product is petrol. Lots of vehicles forced to off the road due to this reason. Other vehicles turned to alternative fuel sources such as gas producer units. One of the sedan below has gas producer at its rear end. These photos are part of Canberra Day Tour June 2013 Collection.
Whether its memorial or museum, there is always something to learn and to discover. In all my souvenir photos that I captured inside Australian War Memorial, one of the things that interesting to learn about ‘Mosquito’. Mosquito is one of the aircraft used during World War II which very unique at that time. Why its unique? The aircraft is mostly made of plywood and balsa wood and it was extremely fast and could fly a long distance. Mosquito flew by RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) from 1942 to 1953. The photo is part of Canberra Day Tour June 2013 Collection.
Event (Post#1) : Australian War Memorial – Last Post Ceremony
During my visit in Australian War Memorial, I had a chance to witness the Last Post Ceremony being held everyday in the memorial before closing the building for the day and as farewell to the visitors. When I witness the event, it was a reflective commemoration activity to honor and recognized those who died in the name of service for the country. These people are not only the people died in the past world wars, but even the Australian died in the past and present conflicts they were sent to serve. These photos are part of Canberra Day Tour June 2013 Collection.
Parliament House building tour was completed, what’s next? We were back again in the road and driving around Canberra, and in few minutes we were at the next tour destination which is a museum. One thing that I noticed while touring in Canberra is the idea of making the building in the city to be the national institution. The name of the country or nation is either on the building’s or structure’s name. If Parliament House in Canberra is called as Australian Parliament House, the museum’s name in the city has the same case and called as National Museum of Australia.
While I was still in the bus, when we were approaching the museum, my expectation of its building was different. At the back of my mind, its probably like historical structure, an old and classic building, and then we passed a loop shape structure with bold colors which surprised me as that structure signifies modern art and then we had a full stop in the parking lot. Looking at the nearby building ahead of us, I knew to myself that I was wrong in my expectation. It was my mistake because Canberra was not old enough to its development to have a very old and historic buildings like in Sydney and Melbourne, and the city’s development had been pending during Depression and World War II years.
The Loop (the modern art shape that serve as walkway from parking towards the museum)
The building that we approached has a modern architecture. The bold colours and design of the building is new and unique, even its surroundings convey its modern concept, I like what I am seeing in my surroundings.
National Museum of Australia is not the typical museum with a concept of displaying historical and physical archives about its nations history. Its concept is story telling of people who live in the country and even who just passed by Australia.
At the time of the visit, the museum’s exhibit has a theme of “Glorious Day” which coincides with the centenary celebration of the city. It features the artwork, music, and photographs during 1913.
Looking at my photos during my visit, there is only one photo that I captured related to theme at that time which was just the piano.
The regular or permanent exhibit display in the museum that I found are below and since they are home exhibit in the museum, these can still be found inside National Museum of Australia.
Ernie Old’s Malvern Star bicycle
Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies steam engine
Simplex Windmill from Kenya Station
The Percival Gull Six monoplane came with a reputation for high performance
Saw Doctor’s wagon
Ranken family coach
I went to the cafe of the museum and I was surprised that I found a scenic views that I will enjoy, where I got a chance to see the Captain Cook Memorial Jet, National Library of Australia, Commonwealth Avenue Bridge and the Lake Burley Griffin itself or Molonglo River.
Captain Cook Memorial Jet
National Library of Australia
Commonwealth Avenue Bridge
Lake Burley Griffin or Molonglo River
After enjoying the museum, we went at the back of the building to see a a place like playground that most youngster can really enjoy at that time. But now you cannot see exactly what I had seen before since this has changed to now they called “Garden of Australian Dreams”.
I enjoyed the visit in the museum. Learned something about Australia again.
Colors (Post#7) : Saw Doctor’s Wagon – A Home and A Workshop All In One
Wondering what’s in the photo? It is a mobile home and a workshop. This collection is being displayed at National Museum of Australia. People has instinct to survive no matter what is the condition he has in life. This wagon is both a home and workshop of Harold Wright for more than 30 years who migrated from England to Australia during Depression time. And because of high unemployment, this is one thing he created so he survived and he promotes himself as ‘The Saw Doctor”. Understanding how this wagon survived until this day? This has been sold to a secondhand dealers and before it was scrapped, it was saved by collector and then bought by National Museum of Australia. I honestly admired how this country putting an effort to preserve such wagon so people will know and understand how Harold and other people like him to survived that time. This photo is part of Canberra Day Tour June 2013 Collection.
Source: Informative facts above came from National Museum of Australia.
Discovery (Post#15) : Ernie Old’s Malvern Star Bicycle
Anybody can discover and learn something inside the museum. One of the collection display that I saw is Ernie Old’s Malvern Star Bicycle. What’s the story about this bicycle? This bike has been given to Ernie by Malvern Star company and Ernie used this for long distance cycling across different capitals in Australia. And another amazing facts about it, he did those long cycling events when he is in his 70’s to 80’s of age which is really a remarkable thing to know. This photo is part of Canberra Day Tour June 2013 Collection.
Source: Informative facts above came from National Museum of Australia
When we reached Canberra, our tour guide drove us first to see the National Embassies located not far and also surrounds Parliament House. We drove between Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne Avenue to see different and fascinating buildings that unique on their own as cultural identity of the country they belong to.
Then, we drove up to Capital Hill where the current Parliament House stands which symbolizes Australian politics. For me the building is like White House because White House represents American Government while Parliament House represents Australian Government. Living in Australia comes with familiarity with the country. Every time I watched the news in the morning before I go to office, I used to see Parliament House in the TV where most of the time they feature and interview Prime Minister of the country regarding the current affairs of the nation and its politics.
From the moment that I saw Parliament House, I was excited. I never imagined before that there will be a chance that I will see it up close and personal. I had never even imagined that I will be able to do a building tour and see what’s inside of this so-called ‘National Meeting Place of Parliament of Australia’.
The building is immediately recognizable even from a distance with the help of its location which is at the top of the Capital Hill. It’s architectural design is based on two boomerangs, so if you look down to the building from the sky, it is two boomerangs where its rear are near each other or connected to each other.
Below is my Parliament House building tour story.
We got off from the underground parking of the building. And from there we went up to reached the Forecourt. The rain fell at the time we visited Canberra, the clouds view outside the building was gloomy and the ground outside has been wet due to rain.
Raindrops in my bus window approaching Parliament House
The scenery was different because of heavy and dark sky, but even that was the case, I had been happy to be in that part of the world at that moment. While waiting for others in our group, I had a chance to witness from a far the Old Parliament House (Provisional Parliament House which used in 1927-1988). When the group has been re-assembled, we entered the building.
Scenery From the Forecourt
Old Parliament House (Provisional Parliament House)
The first thing that I saw when I entered the building are the semi-marble clad columns stands all over the ground on its lobby. Second thing to notice are the two grand marble staircases in both sides. My overall impression in the foyer, it showcases how grand the Australian Parliament House is.
THE GREAT HALL
The Great Hall is part of the building that I saw from the 1st Floor since I immediately went up when I saw the grand marble staircase at the foyer. As a discovery in The Great Hall aside from being used for large national gatherings, receptions or events, is the art displayed in one of its space. The ‘Great Hall Tapestry’ which created by collaboration of finest artist when the building is being built.
The Great Hall Tapestry
(One of the Five Treasures in Parliament House)
The Great Hall
I strolled around the building and below are some of the displays to be found inside the building at the time of our visit. This means that these displays might not be available anymore aside from the arts that are permanent display in the building.
Some of the exhibits found during my visit in Parliament House
Opening of Parliament House by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 9 May 1988(1994),
by Marcus Beilby (1951)
The picture on the right side is call “The Big Picture” By Tom Roberts
(One of the Five Treasures in Parliament House)
Some photos of 1st Floor
The Parliament Idealism
While walking around inside the Parliament House and after enjoying some of the displays found in the first floor, next part of the building to be discovered is what they call Member’s Hall. It is a square-shaped located at the center of the building and directly under the huge flag mast.
Surroundings of Members’ Hall
Another part of the building that excites me was at the time that I got a chance to see up close the chambers of the House of Representatives and Senate. Before, I only saw these chambers in TV but during my Canberra’s tour I got a chance to be inside of it. One significant thing that I observed inside of both chambers are the direct sunlight coming through its glass ceiling at its center. The color scheme on each chamber has been based on colors of British Parliament’s House of Commons for House of Representatives Chamber while British Parliament’s House of Lords for the Senate Chamber.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CHAMBER
House of Representatives Chamber
After enjoying what’s inside the Parliament House, another part of the building that excites me during the tour was at the time we went outside and walked at the grass roof of the building. First thing to enjoy were the scenic views to see around Canberra. Because Parliament House stands at the top of Capital Hill, everyone can enjoy the fresh air and the beautiful surroundings where the building is almost at the center of the city. Another thing to enjoy is the up close view of the world’s largest stainless steel structure and its 81-metre high flag mast with its own unique features. And last but not the least to enjoy was anyone can just lie around and have a rest in the grass, enjoy the sky, the fresh air and feel like you are in a park, the only difference, you are at the rooftop of Parliament House.
Scenic Views to enjoy while at the Parliament House Rooftop
Parliament House Rooftop and its World’s Record Flag Mast
I only got a chance to see the Courtyard which is the garden within the Parliament House through glass windows while I was roaming around the first floor of the building, these pictures also shows the recent rain that occurred in the city.
Reflections, Inspirations and Perceptions (Post#2) : A Formal Apology to Forgotten Australians and Lost Innocents
If you live in Australia for sometimes and able to travel around the country, most likely you heard about the ‘Forgotten Australians and Lost Innocents’. At first when I heard about it, I was curious. I wanted to understand what those words really means. And then I learned from different tours that I had in the country that ‘Forgotten Australians and Lost Innocents’ are referring to aboriginal children that were forced to be away from their parents to experiment the development of these ethnic children to adapt to modern society instead of growing from their natural birth family and its tribes. It is also referred to children that migrated to Australia and grew up to national institutions instead of growing with a foster parents. Last 2009, the Prime Minister of Australia had a formal apology to the nation about the mistreatment given to these children. And that apology transcript has been displayed in Parliament House and I had a chance to see it during the visit.
When I found this piece of document, I stopped for a while to read the whole script. While reading it, it’s a profound discovery because, its one of the apology that I learned coming from a government. The acceptance of mistakes that was done from the past and the willingness to correct it to move forward and to be responsible of what the nation has done is something unusual. Apology between people are already common as innate feature of humanity, but nations apology is something different, it’s a huge responsibility. Yes, we cannot go back from the past, but accepting it and making a difference is something the government or the nation can do right now. Please refer to the link Forgotten Australians Apology for the whole transcript of the apology since my photo is not as clear as it should be. This photo is part of Canberra Day Tour June 2013 Collection.
Most of the time, during a tour inside a building or museum, if quote or a saying caught my eyes, I made sure that I able to capture it. Going back to the photo, I pondered the idea and it’s amazing the truthfulness behind its words. The two photos below were some of the snapshots that caught by my eyes and the idea behind Parliament. These photos are part of Canberra Day Tour June 2013 Collection.
Interior (Post#10) : Canberra’s Parliament House – Marble Foyer
The Parliament House Marble Foyer is one of the lobby that I saw how grand it is in a different way. The ceiling lights, pendant lights, hanging clocks in the middle are all in white colors. The walls with balustrades, the columns partially covered with marbles, the flooring designs with different shapes had complimented to each other. The grand staircase in both sides, by just looking at it and thinking if I started walking on it I felt I am a debutante, it’s so simple but so elegant. Its design seems to be basic but its refreshing, comforting and relaxing. These photos are part of Canberra Day Tour June 2013 Collection.
Chromatic Outlook (Post#33) : Canberra’s Parliament House
The first stop we did after we reached Canberra was the current Parliament House located at the south apex of Capital Hill in Australian Capital Territory. The building was opened last May 1988 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This photo is part of Canberra Day Tour June 2013 Collection.
Discovery (Post#14) : Canberra’s Parliament House – Flag Mast
During the Parliament House Tour in Canberra, we had a chance to see its huge flag mast stand at the roof top of the building. It’s 81-metre high flag mast, one of the world’s largest stainless steel structures. This photo is part of Canberra Day Tour June 2013 Collection.
The flag flown from the 81 meters (266 feet) flagpole is 12.8 by 6.4 m (42 by 21 ft), about the size of half a tennis court. The flagpole weighs 250 tonnes and is made of polished stainless steel from Wollongong. It was designed to be the pinnacle of Parliament House and is an easily recognizable symbol of national government. It is visible by day from outside and inside Parliament House and floodlit at night. The flag itself weighs approximately 15 kg (33 lb). – Wikipedia
Before I had been assigned to a project work in Australia, I thought that Sydney was the capital city of Australia. My colleague at work actually asked me, “Do you know what’s the capital city of Australia?” And I replied to him “It’s Sydney right?” and then he responded me “No”, then I answered him again, “Don’t tell me it’s Melbourne”, then he responded to me again with “No”. And I paused in a while to think, but honestly I was surprised because I was wrong all a long. Then my colleague smiled at me and he said “It’s Canberra”. Well, I never heard the name of the city. I am not familiar with the name. With that conversation with him, I learned something, I was wrong in thinking that Sydney is the capital of Australia.
I lived in Melbourne for quite a long time that gave me a chance to see not only the city but major cities or almost the whole country. With a 4-years temporary permanent residence visa which eligible to work in Australia, in that 4 years I came back to Australia for 5 times and live there for more than 1.5 years, gave me a lot of opportunities to see the huge continent country like Australia.
Like other cities that not so popular to tourists, Canberra receives perception that it’s not like Sydney and Melbourne. I met few people who shares with same sentiments when I asked them about the city. I always received a comment that there is nothing to see there.
But because I planned to see Australia as a whole, Canberra was already in my list. Why? Its’ where the White House of Australia can be found. I was also intrigue how the city was created. It’s one of the city that I learned to be a planned city. Canberra has been created to resolve the conflict between two major cities of Australia, the rivals between Sydney and Melbourne for being the capital city of the country. Unlike Canberra, the two cities has been discovered and settlement arose where huge city has been born. Canberra is the same, but because it is located at the inland, unlike most cities in Australia that has been born at edges of the country, its location is somewhat not strategic to become a big city. And Australia decided to place in that city the national government offices of the country.
Looking back with the reason how the city was developed, Australia decided a very expensive decision just to address the competition between Sydney and Melbourne. I got a chance to see and visit the two cities and even myself will not immediately favor one city over the other and say which specific city deserved to be the Capital City of Australia.
Another reason why I decided to join a tour in Canberra is to find out why most people say there is nothing to see in Canberra. I wanted to defy that perception and see it for myself.
If you had read some of my posts, you know that I used weekend as opportunity to travel. This is one of my quick travel to Sydney wherein I just passed the airport and stayed in the hostel in the city. I booked my flight from Melbourne to Sydney via Virgin Australia and when I returned to Melbourne I booked my flight via Jetstar. The flight is customized to leave Melbourne late Friday night and leave Sydney early Sunday morning. I had my hostel accommodation in Sydney Central YHA for 2 nights and booked a day tour from Sydney to Canberra through colourfultrips.com. The tour was 13 hours, it was long due to travel time needed between two cities. The tour happened last Saturday of June 2013.
I woke-up early in the morning and prepared early for the tour. The tour picked me up in the hostel. That day, the weather was quite gloomy and it had pouring rain before we left Sydney. We traveled to Canberra for around 3 hours. Before reaching the center of Canberra City, I had a chance to see it from a distance. The city is in inner land which technically in New South Wales but became a territory.
Canberra is located in a pretty flat place which partially surrounded by nature reserves in the south. Well if you are adventurous, flat place can be a disadvantage. In my personal preference, it’s interesting if a place can offer us a lot of things to do right? But for me, seeing another place is already an interesting to do. It’s not just to show that I’d been in that place but the feeling or experience to be in that place. I am always like this in every places that I had a chance to visit.
Canberra is a quiet city. During the tour I learned that because national governments offices has been placed in the city, most people live around the city are employees who work in government. The city is also the location of national embassies of different countries including mine. The impression the city left on me was, it’s a refreshing city and a balance one.
So you are wondering what’s so special with Canberra? For me like mountains, where every mountain has its own identity, each city has its own as well. Canberra is called a Bush Capital of Australia. And it’s has reason for it. This is a city that is surrounded by forests, farmlands and nature reserves. The city may not have Opera House of Sydney and it may not have Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) of Melbourne but Canberra has something to offer on its own too.
Some places to enjoy in this so-called Australian Capital Territory are:
Precious Moment In The Mountain (Post#25) : Mount Ainslie
We reached Mount Ainslie Lookout which gave us the birds view of the capital city of Australia. And from the lookout itself, even though Canberra is a flat cit, the center of the city is situated between two mountains, namely Black Mountain and Mount Ainslie. This photo is part of Canberra Day Tour June 2013 Collection.
Beyond Our Reach (Post#3) : Telstra Tower at Black Mountain
When visiting Canberra, Telstra Tower is one of the immediate and noticeable landmark to see within the city. It also offers a lookout to see a different kind of view of Canberra aside from Mount Ainslie Lookout where I took this snapshot. At the time I took this one, the tower seems to be near yet so far. This photo is part of Canberra Day Tour June 2013 Collection.
The lake location is almost at the center of the City of Canberra. The lake is artificial lake and named after Walter Burley Griffin, the architect who won the competition to design the city. Knowing the lake and how Canberra became a city, I just remembered another city that exactly has the similar concept with artificial lake at the center of it and that is Putrajaya in Malaysia. I took this photo while I was in Mount Ainslie Lookout. This photo is part of Canberra Day Tour June 2013 Collection.
During my visit in Canberra, one of the significant structure to enjoy in this planned city is the Australian War Memorial. For me, I can say that is the center of all shrine of remembrance or war memorial across the country. A magnificent structure made to honor who died for the peace that the country enjoys. This photo is part of Canberra Day Tour June 2013 Collection.