13 – 18 May 2018
Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory is the capital of Australia and next stop in our travels across the country. Similar in arrangement as Washington in the District of Columbia, the ACT is an independent territory surrounded by the state of New South Wales. The capital city has grown to about 396,000 residents making it Australia’s 7th largest. Since planning this trip we were surprised how many Aussies had a negative opinion of their capital. Most cited it as being unexciting and filled with no good politicians. When researching places to live before moving down under, Canberra rose to the top as a safe place with a strong economy and short commutes – perfect for a family like ours.
The Commonwealth of Australia gained it’s independence in 1901 with a peaceful separation from the United Kingdom. The site of Australia’s capital city was a comprimise, located between rival cities of Sydney and Melbourne. Canberra was named for the area it was built, orignally called Canberry. Other suggested names included Paradise, Captain Cook, and my favorite – a combination of kangaroo and emu – Kangaremu.
Canberra was developed during WWI and the Great Depression so initial progress was slow. The city was planned by Chicago architect Walter Burley Griffin and his wife Marion Mohoney Griffin. Walter Griffin worked under famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright and later became one of his professional rivals. He resigned from the Canberra project before the inital work was complete due to strife with appointed government officials – almost an identical story as the design and construction of Sydney’s Opera House. Much later the lake in the heart of the city was named Lake Burley Griffin in his honor.
After all the negative impressions we given of the capital city, we have another suggested name, Under-Rated. Here are a few pictures from our first few days with more posts to follow.
View from Mount Ainslie Lookout
National Carillon on Lake Burley Griffin
Autumn along the Lake