A Quick Trip to Canberra

I received an unexpectedly quick response to a job application (less than a week from submission) and found myself travelling down to Canberra on Friday, along with B. It’s difficult, and disappointing, to believe that it is only my second interview in over a month. Successful or not, I do not yet know, but at least it gave me an excuse to return to what I regard as Australia’s most beautiful city.

The fact that the interview was at the Australian National University was a bonus for me, because it is my favourite university campus and home to many memories from my three years time. We parked at the Screensound Australia building and afterwards briefly wandered through its displays of Australian film and television history. Quite interesting to note that it wasn’t until 1967 when Australia produced its own top 30 drama show (Homicide) on TV and also to see old political adverts.

Friday nights mean extended shopping hours in the ACT, so we had a chance to wander around through Civic and dine al fresco at Woodstock. Very solid, filling fare. Then back to the noisy and old (but only $65 per night!) Kythera Motel on Northbourne Avenue. The room wasn’t air conditioned and I could really tell the difference between the atmosphere in Sydney and Canberra. The lack of humidity in the capital means no more sticky feeling and I find myself thinking faster and clearer. Maybe it’s a bit less polluted too.

The next morning we visited the National Zoo and Aquarium and we surprised by how good it really was. There’s a great collection of big cats, including tigons (tiger father crossed with lion mother), and bears. The capuchins and marmosets were fun to watch too. The construction of the environments allows a clear view of the animals and in many cases you can get quite close to them. The aquarium was a little disappointing. The underwater tunnel had been converted to a snow leopard cave and the whole place was much smaller than the Sydney aquarium. The size of some of the fish, including giant murray cods, gropers and barramundi was quite impressive, and the entry fee is included with that for the zoo.

The devastation of from the fires was quite obvious from the vantage point of the zoo. Mt Stromlo and the adjacents hills were bare of the pine forests which had given the area a foreign air. No more inspirational domes of telescopes up there either.

After a pleasant lunch at the art gallery we had to head off home so I could vote in the local elections. Always sad to leave Canberra as I feel so much more inspired there than here in Sydney.

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