Lingering Look at Science Windows.

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 Questacon is a large centre with more than 200 interactive exhibits relating to science and technology. It has many science programs that are devoted to inspiring the children of Australia to love science.

We spent a couple of hours exploring the many interactive exhibits and watching the hordes of children of all ages enjoying them too.

But it was the huge windows that caught my attention.

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Questicon PC 004_3264x2448

A ramp wound up and took you through 8 different rooms of discovery.

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Wow how many of us can you see?

This is just another of the interesting things to do in Canberra.

Dawn hosts a “Lingering Look at Windows” post each week. Take a look at what other windows people have found from around the world this week. 

Categories: Australia, Canberra, Lingering look at windows, photos, Questacon | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Delving further into Australia’s Heritage History.

 

Goulburn Brewery

Goulburn Brewery

Bungendore had been such a pleasant surprise and we had spent longer there than intended. But now we were on a mission to visit the heritage homes and brewery that only opened on weekends in Goulburn.

Well we were disappointed as the first home on the list, Riversdale, was closed. But not to be deterred we moved on to find the brewery.

I felt I had just walked into an old brewery in Europe, but no this is in Goulburn, country town Australia. It is only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and we had made a special trip to visit it. It was fascinating.

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Along the red brick path lined with spring bulbs.

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Through the gate in the white picket fence.

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Taking photos all the way.

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Round the corner into a most delightful courtyard.

Rosemary in front of the window and creepers covering the walls.

A gallery and museum is on the top floor.

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What a very interesting person Francis Howard Greenway (read his biography here, it is a fascinating story)   Born at Mangotsfield, near Bristol, England in 1777,  he became an architect. In March 1812 he was found guilty of forging a document. He was sentenced to death but the penalty was later changed to transportation for fourteen years. He arrived in Sydney in February 1814.

Greenway’s face was shown on the first Australian decimal-currency $10 note (1966–93), making him probably the only convicted forger in the world to be honoured on a banknote. 

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Be careful Jack, watch your step. These are well-worn flag stones.

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Funny place to store a ladder.

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We will use conventional stairs to see what is upstairs.

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First room we peer in is very dark, can’t find any light switch. We wander around and discover it is an old bar area. We later learn they run special events up here, but that must be in the summer as it was freezing cold today.

We move on to the next room.

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Bunganbore Goulbourn PC sx40 126_4000x3000_4000x3000

A large dining area. More light in here from the windows, but still very cold. We move on and up some more stairs, and find a gallery/museum of old brewery machinery and an odd assortment of “stuff” that Francis Greenway had accumulated. He had a passion for mathematics.

There was a lot of interesting reading, a lot of it beyond my comprehension, I never excelled at maths, but by now the cold was seeping into our bones. It is lunch time and hopefully it will be warmer down stairs.

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This is better, no log fire but the heaters are on and pumpkin soup is on the menu. Perfect.

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Bunganbore Goulbourn PC sx40 108_1984x1488_1984x1488

Another couple are ordering lunch. No one else had been up stairs.

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This is Australia’s oldest brewery and it brews Real Ales in the time-honoured traditional way with no preservatives. We bought a couple of bottles to take home and yes it is very refreshing..

Warmed up, refreshed and relaxed we still have time to find the last heritage house on my list of places to see.

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Garroorigang Historic Home.

A beautiful privately owned heritage home on the outskirts of Goulburn NSW where visitors can enjoy a personally guided tour through 157 years of living Australian history in the unique setting of a lived in family home. As a result Garroorigang ( Garroorigang is an Aboriginal word for black swan) retains the warmth and aura of a family home, steeped in time, affording visitors a rare personal view of life over much of Australia’s history. 

The present owner, Stuart Hamilton Hume greeted us as we stepped out of the car. He was busy weeding and tending the garden but he stopped to take us inside and introduce us to his wife, Anne. Then he went back to his chores. Anne and Stuart are totally dedicated and passionate about their home and Anne guided us through telling us stories and anecdotes as she took us from room to room filled with history. The magnificent antique furniture gleamed with the care and love that had been lavished on it. Impressive dining table and sideboard, four-poster beds draped with lace and velvet. Copies of the original wallpaper set the scene in each room. Paintings, photographs and many original tapestries, that had been created by Stuarts mother, hung on the walls, and interesting memorabilia every where. I have visited many heritage homes as I travelled around Australia and this would be one of the truly great experiences, it had the atmosphere and feel of a house loved and cared for.

We could not take photos in the house, just the outside, but to read the full and interesting history go to this link

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The buildings on the left were originally the stables but were converted into a classroom in 1868. Students received a classical education including Greek, Latin and French in a curriculum also heavily influenced by the Headmaster’s passion for cricket.

I’m so pleased we went back to see these unique, old heritage buildings.

 

Categories: Australia, Garroorigang Historic Home, Goulburn, Goulburn Brewery, Heritage Buildings, New South Wales, photos | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments

Busy, Bustling Bungendore.

This time we take the scenic route to Goulburn. Leaving the Federal Highway we slow to the heartbeat of the country and have the road almost to ourselves. At a steady 80 to 90 kilometres and no traffic to worry about I have time to gaze around. This is sheep farming country and it is spring.

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Half an hour and suddenly up ahead there are men in orange vests waving banners and cars parked with flag waving bystanders. Of course we have to see what is going on.

Intrepid cyclists

Intrepid cyclists

We grab the cameras and watch. A van flashes past, I think it said 1000 kilometre ride, but it was gone to fast for me to read it all. Well now where are we? This small village we have stumbled across is VERY busy, cars parked bumper to bumper right along the main street.

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We squeeze into a parking spot and wander along Gibraltar Street Bungendore. This is a friendly, relaxed country town. Locals greet each other, and us, with a smile and take time to stand around talking.

Then there are the cottages, houses, heritage buildings, hotels and churches that look as though they have been around for ever. I LOVE them, a photographers ideal place. Let me share some of them with you.

Trellis fences tick my box

Trellis fences tick my box

Picket fences and dormer windows another favourite

Picket fences and dormer windows another favourite

This one was my favourite

This one was my favourite

I fell in love with this cottage and took so many photos from all angles. Here are some of the details.

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What does that notice say? I have to take a closer look.

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Now that seems to say it all about this town’s attitude to life. Not too sure about the WWW at the bottom, it is a UK website. Oh well it is certainly relevant.

"Smile for the camera" says Jack

“Smile for the camera” says Jack

 

Then a local farmers wife stops for a chat when she sees us taking photos and tells us of more interesting buildings and also another town to go to. Braidwood she tells us is a heritage town on the way to the coast. Sounds a real must-see, but that will be another days outing. Today we are entranced with this town.

This was on the door, and the shop was shut.

This was on the door, it was Saturday but the shop was shut.

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Jack loves talking to locals and when he saw these two hoeing into yummy looking pies he had to ask them where they bought them. They directed us to Gunna Doo, the local bakery. Then he took their photos and told them they may be in a blog…

Jack on the search for the pie shop

Jack on the search for the pie shop

This is it "Gunna Doo"

This is it “Gunna Doo”

These are seriously delicious pies and Jack talks to, then takes a photo of Grandad and his cute Granddaughter.

These are seriously delicious pies and Jack talks to, then takes a photo of Grandad and his cute Granddaughter.

It is always time for a home-baked pie in a country town, so in we go.

Jack chats to more locals while I order 2 steak and kidney pies with coffee.

Jack chats to more locals while I order 2 steak and kidney pies with coffee.

The pies were meaty, dripping with gravy and yummy.

Royal Hotel getting ready for business

Royal Hotel getting ready for business

After driving along Gibraltar Street we went round the back to find the church we had been told about.

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Next to the church I peered over the fence at this very impressive house.

Looks a bit like a castle

Looks a bit like a castle

The grounds are impressive and park-like

The grounds are impressive and park-like. What is that object?

Take a closer look. It reminds me of the Dreamer's gate architecture/building in Collect.

Take a closer look. It reminds me of the Dreamer’s gate architecture/building in Collect. I think it is a bench.

For sale...

For sale…

Another local walks by with his dog and we ask him if he knows how much this house would be.

“About $500000″ he said, “but it has half an acre of land”

Any one out there wanting a “tree change”?

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There was more to see, but we were on a mission to get back to Goulburn to see the brewery and heritage homes and galleries that are only open on the weekend. So reluctantly we left this charming little village hoping we get the chance to come back for another visit.

Next stop Goulburn, again…

(to be continued)

 

 

Categories: Australia, Bungendore, New South Wales, photos | Tags: , , , | 18 Comments

Goulburn, Rich in Heritage and History.

Goulburn surprised me with its old fashioned, well-preserved heritage buildings. I felt I was walking back into the history of the Victorian era. Compared to the modern Canberra it felt rural and a very livable city. The camera went into over-drive and I took well over 200 photos.

After the interesting stop in Collector it was lunchtime as we pulled into the Visitors Centre to collect maps and information, so first priority was to refuel the inner man and woman…

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This was the first café we came to and looking inside it was busy, always a good sign. So in we went.

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Just look at the selection, it made my mouth water...

Just look at the selection, it made my mouth water…

This is the sweets selection and it is so attractive.

This is the sweets selection and it is so attractive.

This is our choice quiche for me, mini shepherds pie for Jack, Look at that fresh salad.

This is our choice quiche for me, mini shepherds pie for Jack, Look at that fresh salad.

With energy levels restored and with map in hand we explore. Just across the road from the café is Belmore Park with a fine example of a Victorian fountain and Band Rotunda.

The beds were planted with the sweet pansies and spring was in the air. Turning the corner into Auburn Street was like stepping back 100 years. I expected to see horses and carts trundle by.

 

Turning another corner another world opens up, the cute cottages and villas from the early 1900’s. Well maintained and loved.

Goulburn was the first inland city and I found this information in Wikipedia.

Goulburn holds the unique distinction of being proclaimed a City on two occasions. The first, unofficial, proclamation was claimed by virtue of Royal Letters Patent issued by Queen Victoria on 14 March 1863 to establish the Diocese of Goulburn. It was a claim made for ecclesiastical purposes, as it was required by the traditions of the Church of England. The Letters Patent also established St Saviour’s Church as the Cathedral Church of the diocese. This was the last instance in which Letters Patent were used in this manner in the British Empire, as they had been significantly discredited for use in the colonies, and were soon to be declared formally invalid and unenforceable in this context.[4] Several legal cases[5] over the preceding decade in particular had already established that the monarch had no ecclesiastical jurisdiction in colonies possessing responsible government. This had been granted to NSW in 1856, seven years earlier. The Letters Patent held authority only over those who submitted to it voluntarily, and then only within the context of the Church – it had no legal civil authority or implications. An absolute and retrospective declaration to this effect was made in 1865 in the Colenso Case,[4] by the Judiciary Committee of the Privy Council. However, under the authority of the Crown Lands Act 1884[6] (48. Vict. No. 18), Goulburn was officially proclaimed a City on 20 March 1885[7] removing any lingering doubts as to its status. This often unrecognised controversy has in no way hindered the development of Goulburn as a regional centre, with an impressive court house (completed in 1887) and other public buildings, as a centre for wool selling, and as an industrial town.

The Cathedral is an impressive sandstone building. The splendid bell-tower, soaring windows and massive stone work are the first impressions one has of St Saviour’s. Named after the Saviour himself, Jesus Christ, the Cathedral dominates Bourke Street and the streetscape of Montague Street. 

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St Saviour’s Cathedral expresses the grace, care and forethought of  one of Australia’s most famous architects, Edmund T. Blacket,  a great architect at the height of his powers. It gains the effect of spaciousness without being very big, and of splendour without being over-ornate. 

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Many of the galleries and craft shops are only open on the weekend so we are going back tomorrow for another day in Goulburn…

(to be continued)

Categories: Australia, Goulburn, New South Wales, New South Wales, photos | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Collector of Dreams

Wattle the herald of spring

Wattle the herald of spring

 The Federal Highway, a 4 lane highway, dips and curves through the rolling hills of the Great Dividing Range, eventually  joining the Hume Highway and fast tracks Canberrians 300 kilometres from Canberra to Sydney

But today we will only go approximately 90 kilometres to explore the inland city of Goulburn

The Great Dividing Range and Lake George

The Great Dividing Range and Lake George

The highway by-passes many small villages on its relentless rush from point A to B, but the joy of slow travel is to take the road less travelled and what interesting and delightful discoveries are waiting to be found. So it was when we noticed the sign for “Collector”. Now who could resist wanting to see a village with a name like that.

Tranquillity

Tranquillity

The sun sparkled on this small pond and the raucous sound of the “motorbike frog” filled the air. It was a joy to see the soft green leaves cloaking the trees on the side of the pond. A definite photo stop…

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Further along the road the local Hotel was once the refuge for the Ben Hall bush-ranger gang.

“The hotel’s dubious claim to fame is linked to the murder of Constable Samuel Nelson by John Dunn a member of bushranger Ben Hall’s gang on 26 January, 1865. The hotel changed its name to the ‘Bushranger’ after the incident.”

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Now it is for sale. Any takers out there? Have you $755,000 to spare?

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It was closed but we snooped around peering through windows.

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Now here is a very interesting piece of information…

The Paranormal Guide lists it as a potential haunted hotspot.

“The Bushranger Hotel is said to be haunted by a former publican, who continues to go about his work. Glasses on the bar are moved by unseen hands, and even found to be stacked when a staff member leaves and reenters the room. At other times glasses just shatter while they sit on the shelves,” they note.

“White, whispy figures have been seen travelling through the doorways, accompanied by the step of heavy shod boots. If you are a woman and are staying in the hotel, you may be fortunate enough to have the sensation of your hair been stroked and run through with invisible fingers.”

The hotel was also the subject of a documentary, and has been investigated by West Sydney Paranormal.

WOW! I only found this after checking the hotel in Google. Here is another interesting site about the present owners.

Next to the Hotel is another interesting place.

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It is an old books and rare items shop. Look inside. Hundreds of books, but it is only open by appointment.

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But then I looked across the road. WHAT is this???

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I take a closer look.

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There’s no one around, it looks as though it has been deserted for quite a long time, so I go round the back.

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It certainly has been well reinforced. I think a major dream has been under construction here. My curiosity is running wild and when a young bloke comes by I ask if he can tell me about it.

Yes he could as his father lives next door. He remembered when he was at school watching as  Tony Phantastes, the art teacher at Goulburn High, slowly created his “Dreamer’s Gate”. All along the front had electric wires running through and lights installed. Tony would turn them on in the evening, lighting up his dream.

“Collector is also famous for the controversial sculpture Dreamers Gate by Tony Phantastes, built between 1993 and 1997 to commemorate, among other things, his father’s life. A Gothic structure of cement and chicken wire, the artist and the Gunning Shire Council have been in constant battle regarding the structure since 1999.[9] The plot in which the sculpture stands is now for sale and the sculpture itself under demolition orders.[10]”   (Information from Wikipedia)

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This is the gateway round to the back. Tony had planned to build an art gallery and coffee shop.

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This is his field of dreams. How very sad. My young informant thinks he has gone somewhere north and hasn’t been seen in Collector for quite a while now.

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Slowly we drive away leaving behind the dreams of yesterday, now dying and turning to dust.

Just as we turn back onto the Federal Highway I notice signs of new life arriving in Collector. Roads and paving are being constructed and a new housing development is rising out of the earth waiting for commuters to build and create a new dream. Working in the city but living in this idyllic and eccentric country town.

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As we leave this funny fellow waves goodbye.

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Our day out has just begun and we are half way to Goulburn, but I will take you there tomorrow.

(To be continued….)

 

Categories: Australia, Canberra, Collector, photos | Tags: , , , , , | 18 Comments

Inner City Chic : I’m Loving Canberra

 

Yesterday I showed you the amazing architecture of New Acton (see it here) But today I’m going for a walk through the lane ways and past the sculptures and gardens. I hope you enjoy the ramble.

(Jo of “Restless Jo” has formed a cyber walking group and each Monday bloggers from all around the world walk you around a small part of their patch. Maybe you would like to join them.) 

Guarding the entrance to the precinct, "Modern Man"

Guarding the entrance to the precinct, “Modern Man”

He looks rather formidable, but sneak by and into the lane.

 

It is too early for me to grab a coffee but I love the oriental look of this coffee hole in the wall.

Careful he may swoop and carry you away

Careful he may swoop and carry you away

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I will also pass by the beauty parlour.

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Here’s the mate of the other bird busily building the nest and “capturing time”

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Around the corner along another lane way and passed another interesting style of building.

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Here is another coffee shop. I think Canberra business people are fuelled by caffeine. But wait a minute I think some one really needs a boost.

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Yes! I think he is having a “power nap” or maybe just soaking in the warming rays of the spring sunshine.

This bench look inviting and the sculpture invites you to sit and contemplate for a while. The poem is engraved in the granite, but hard to read so I found it on Google.

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When you set out for Ithaka
ask that your way be long,
full of adventure, full of instruction.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon – do not fear them:
such as these you will never find
as long as your thought is lofty, as long as a rare
emotion touch your spirit and your body.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon – you will not meet them
unless you carry them in your soul,
unless your soul raise them up before you.

Ask that your way be long.
At many a Summer dawn to enter
with what gratitude, what joy -
ports seen for the first time;
to stop at Phoenician trading centres,
and to buy good merchandise,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensuous perfumes of every kind,
sensuous perfumes as lavishly as you can;
to visit many Egyptian cities,
to gather stores of knowledge from the learned.

Have Ithaka always in your mind.
Your arrival there is what you are destined for.
But don’t in the least hurry the journey.
Better it last for years,
so that when you reach the island you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to give you wealth.
Ithaka gave you a splendid journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She hasn’t anything else to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka hasn’t deceived you.
So wise you have become, of such experience,
that already you’ll have understood what these Ithakas mean.

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Time to move on and past another rather strange sculpture, a place to put notices about coming events.

But I notice a different shaped building across the road. This needs looking at. Careful as you cross the road it is quite busy.

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This is very interesting I think we will take a quick look inside.

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Well it was interesting on the outside. Back across the road.

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“The Nishi building is a 6 star rated building and represents a significant advance in environmental sustainable design. Every aspect of Nishi’s originally Japanese-inspired design has been reconsidered so that tenants can benefit from its innovative solar heat retention principles. Where the average accommodation energy rating in Canberra is only 2.5 star, Nishi delivers an average 8 star NaTHERS rating” 

Every where you can see these interesting and different sculptures mostly environmental statements.

Time to take a look inside.

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What an intriguing staircase, it resembles a wood yard, but I love it. But just a moment, what is happening?

Maybe I will wait a while to see what happens…

Up stairs is the foyer to the “Hotel Hotel” and it is also the Monster Restaurant. Through a door to the side I found a smaller dining room with interesting tiled wall and art work.

 

 

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The main lounge area was dimly lit and I was unable to take photos, I tried but they were all blurred. (Maybe I need a better camera!) but it was a very inviting space.

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Jack caught me as I wandered around taking photos. We will be back on a weekend for lunch as they have live music and poetry readings on a Sunday.

It was an interesting view through the portholes in the ceiling.

It was an interesting view through the portholes in the ceiling.

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Back down the stairs the photographers had finished and disappeared but we are now going to take a break and go to the Palace Electric cinema that is also part of the complex.

We saw “100 foot journey” starring Helen Mirren. It is an excellent story, well acted and the scenery is beautiful.

Well are you still with me?

Let’s take a quick peep into this office space before we go out, I can see a very interesting wall treatment. Is it real?

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Yes they are real plants and they look very healthy. It is the foyer to the offices of the Australian Government Department of Industry.

Outside again and I noticed unusual looking planter boxes.

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Can you see what they are made of? Look closer…

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 This precinct is very serious about making environmental statements. Every where I look I can see more of interest.

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Another Modern Man sits contemplating the gardens. I spot the gallery behind him, but it is closed. Another reason to come back again. But then I notice the raised garden beds.

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A community garden in inner Canberra, I like this. I wonder who actually looks after it. Are people allowed to help themselves? There was no one around to ask, but the idea intrigues me

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This tree has been left where it fell as a sculpture, a monument to nature.

There is so much more to see in this area but we will come back another time. I hope you enjoyed visiting this precinct with me. To find out more about the Nishi building click here.

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BTW, I must mention the Canberra weather. We were warned about how cold it is in Canberra, our Queensland friends thought we were crazy coming here in the winter. BUT… have you noticed the sky in most of my posts? The weather is lovely. OK so maybe a bit cold at night, but we are tucked up warm in a heated house. By about 10am the sun has warmed the day and it is crisp and clear and perfect walking and exploring weather.

I’m loving this Australian capital City a real hidden gem.

 

Categories: Australia, Canberra, Jo's Monday walks, New Acton, photos | Tags: , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Travel Theme : Edgy Architecture

 

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This week we discovered the exciting new inner city precinct of New Acton. After parking the car we rounded the corner and as we walked toward the building it looked like an industrial construction site. Slabs of timber piled high but that timber is for a purpose, it helps keep the inner areas cool.  The whole building is environmentally designed and has the highest rating for sustainability.

NewActon continues to be Canberra’s most awarded private development.

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The Precinct

NewActon is a mixed use precinct incorporating landscaped gardens, art, retail, residential and commercial spaces all linked by an inspired vision. NewActon is more than just a place to live, work and play–it’s a living art and design precinct that has won more awards (local and national) across architecture, property development and urban design than any other in Canberra’s history.

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I thought this architecture was perfect for this weeks edge challenge, “Travel Theme” from Ailsa at “Where’s my backpack”.

But wait there is so much more to see in New Acton and tomorrow I will join Jo’s walking group to take  you through the lane ways looking at the gardens and art work then the inside is just as amazing. See you tomorrow….

Categories: Australia, Canberra, edge, New Acton, photos, travel theme | Tags: , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Dialogue

“Dialogue is an engaging conversational exchange.

When it comes to photography, dialogue can be perceived as a consensual interaction between two images.

Placed next to each other, each photograph opens up to meanings that weren’t there when viewed alone.

Each composition reveals the photographer’s specific sensitivity to certain content or visual elements.”

Hmmmm…

This is certainly a new concept in photography for me. I’m finding it rather difficult to comprehend the meaning of photographs “talking” to each other.

I thought about it as I made breakfast. I continued to mull over it as I washed the dishes and did some house work.

Then I thought of the interesting and modern architecture I had seen in New Acton, an inner city suburb we explored this week (another post about this place coming soon).

This is my interpretation of this weeks WP photo challenge.

“LIVE AND LET LIVE”

As I walked past the towering buildings I noticed the sunlight filtering through the last of the Autumn leaves. Then I noticed the sculpture of the tree trunk supporting the weight of the building. The real tree seemed to be bending and sympathising with the entrapment of the sculpture.

Around the corner another sculpture, carved from wood, hovers between the living tree and the metal sculpture.

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Do you hear what they are saying?

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Then there is the more conventional interpretation of dialogue.

These two are clearly in love...

These two are clearly in love…

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Sharing a bottle of wine on a sunny day

Sharing a bottle of wine on a sunny day

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Of course it is also a great place for people watching...

Of course it is also a great place for people watching…

Categories: Australia, Canberra, dialogue, photos, post-a-week, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 13 Comments

Signs of Spring

A walk in the park

A walk in the park

One of my dog walking tracks takes me through a park behind the houses. The trees are still in winter mode but look can you see small white dots among the branches? Take a closer look…

The buds are swelling

The buds are swelling

At the shopping centre I tie Millie up and go in to do some shopping.

Millie waits patiently

Millie waits patiently

More of the same trees

More of the same trees

Some of these trees have the flowers open. I try to find out what they are but no one seems to know. Can any one identify them for me?

What beautiful delicate flowers

What beautiful delicate flowers

Last week the weather turned warmer, the evening temperatures are no longer below zero and the days are sunny. Over the weekend, unlike Sydney that had torrential rain and storms, we had a gentle steady rain, the first for about 4 weeks. Suddenly spring has sprung and it is still 2 weeks before the official start of spring.

Jonquils

Jonquils

Wattle

Wattle

Snowdrops

Snowdrops

Even a lonely iris has appeared

Even a lonely iris has appeared

Six weeks have flown past since we arrived in Canberra. Half way through this house sit. Only six more weeks and we will be heading home to the Goldcoast and there is still so much to see around the region.

 

Categories: Australia, Canberra, house sitting, photos, spring | Tags: , , , , | 31 Comments

A Hundred Forests from the Flames

In January 2003 Canberra  was consumed by a “fire tornado”

(Google images of 2003 bushfires)                                                      

Within 10 hours 4 people died, 490 were injured and over 500 homes destroyed.

A large number of suburbs lost power due to the fires and high winds, many suburbs were also without communications and water.

The following day, on the 19th of January, the Mt Stromlo Observatory was destroyed. The observatory was not only a highly active observatory, it was also historically significant on a national level.

In total the fires burnt 164,000 hectares, which was close to 70% of the Territories total area. (information “Canberra bushfire web page)

These bushfires that ravaged Canberra in 2003 have been the catalyst for the creation of the National Arboretum Canberra envisaged by Walter Burley Griffin so many years ago. It provides an opportunity to conserve threatened species, a place for community recreation and a valuable resource for ongoing education and research.

The goal is to create a place of outstanding beauty, of international standard and interest, that is a destination and recreational resource in its own right. The Arboretum and Gardens is being developed on a 250-hectare site in the Greenhills Forest and boasts spectacular views across Lake Burley Griffin.

Looking toward Lake Burley Griffin

Looking toward Lake Burley Griffin

290ha site originally pine forest

290ha site originally pine forest

This is all that is left of the original 290ha pine forest plantation. The fire was stopped and contained along that line.

The concept was developed to plant 100 forests each forest containing one species of tree. The trees were selected on strict criteria, including rarity, degree of environmental threat to the species, country of origin, temperate sources, whether they are suitable for Canberra’s climate, distinctiveness and diversity. Each forest being approximately 2ha.

Eventually, as the trees grow, it will give a total emersion experience as you will be able to walk along the trails through the forests.

Two large stands of tree were spared when the fire raged through. A Cork Oak plantation from 1917 and a grove of Himalayan Cedars from approximately the same time. to walk through these plantations gives a feeling for what this Arboretum will eventually be like.

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Ardoretum PCsx40 181_4000x3000

Trees showing the marks of were the cork has been harvested.

Entering the Visitors centre

Entering the Visitors centre

But to go back to our visit. It was a glorious day with the feeling of spring in the air. The visitors centre is large and impressive and inside many display cabinets explain the concept and history of the Arboretum.

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Ardoretum PCsx40 003_3000x4000

Banksia cones create hide away places for the children

Banksia cones create hide away places for the children

The Pod is a unique children’s playground and the children were loving it.

Oh what is this...?

Oh what is this…?

Acorns to explore

Acorns to explore

In a building next to the village centre is the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection of Australia it is a unique collection of the finest miniature trees and forests.

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The village centre sits on a hill surrounded by celebrity terraces. These will eventually be used to plant individual trees by celebrities.

The village centre sits on a hill surrounded by celebrity terraces. These will eventually be used to plant trees by celebrities.

The village centre

The village centre, the building in front houses the Bonsai collection.

From the top of Dairy Farmers Hill the size of the building is impressive. Also on the Dairy Farmers Hill is this sculpture.

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Look closely and you can see the nest is made of tools and machinery parts. It dominates the horizon.

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In the opposite direction is Black Mountain dominated by Telstra Tower. We visited that iconic feature a short while ago. (Check it out here)

The building on the right is “The Margaret Whitlam Pavilion”  that is used for weddings, concerts and conferences.

It has been a very interesting and enjoyable day, 4 hours have flown by and it is time to head home, but one last point of interest to look at is the Cedar forest.

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Some of the trees have been given a warm, woolly knitted scarf to protect them from the winter blasts.

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Arboretum PCsx40 234_4000x3000

The sun filters through the trees and spreads fingers of silver. Another decade and this Arboretum will be all a forest of maturing trees. Will we get back to see it I wonder?

Jack has done a post about the amazing sculptures, especially the “Wide Brown Land” sculpture that is in my heading. To find out more about it click here.

 

Categories: Arboretum, Australia, Canberra, photos | Tags: , , , | 28 Comments

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Postcards from Ian and Margaret

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