Canberrans know how to live a full, well-rounded lifestyle – even if we were shut indoors for a big chunk of 2021.
We made the most of it, despite the challenges, and that’s reflected in our top 10 stories – everything from what’s on TV to exploring our own backyard, and discovering the things our wonderfully talented neighbours were up to, whether it be working a blacksmith forge or building a magical cubbyhouse.
Here’s a look back at the ACT region’s unique lifestyle in a year like no other.
Ever-intriguing and riddled with political scandal, Canberra is fertile ground for entertaining television.
Samara Weaving from Home and Away was raised in Canberra. Our own Daniel O’Malley had his book, The Rook, turned into a US TV show. Even the character of Pam Beesly, from the US version of The Office, once lied that her best friend lived in Canberra.
From thrilling dramas to controversial sitcoms, Jimmy Bernasconi looked at five television shows in which Canberra takes centre stage.
Parliament House went digital in 2021 – with a life-size model built by a team of dedicated gamers in the popular video game, Minecraft.
With details from the grassy hills and tiled forecourt to the towering flag pole, you might be forgiven for mistaking it for the real thing.
The 3D build took a team of two a month to create from the ground up.
This year Canberrans were keen to explore the legend of ‘King O’Malley’ – best known these days for the Civic pub bearing his name.
The popular Irish pub would have infuriated him, as he was, in fact, a teetotaller.
So how does a man who doesn’t drink get a pub named after him?
Who would have thought Yass would become the retail therapy destination for Canberrans fresh from lockdown?
It’s little wonder that talented local women such as Margot Shannon and Kate Lenehan created spaces that moved well beyond their brief as shops.
Their businesses are brimming with well-travelled homewares and gifts that each tell a story – and we’re all invited to take a look.
Take a dive into the rich history of the iconic Sydney and Melbourne Buildings on London Circuit in Civic.
Designed in the 1920s, their colonnade design was influenced by the renaissance style of the Foundling Hospital in Florence, built in the 1420s.
They’re more than historical landmarks, but you might be surprised to learn which businesses have survived longest.
Meet Freddy Gaffey – the 12-year-old running his own backyard blacksmith business.
He converted his cubby into a workshop and installed a homemade forge.
He’s so successful he employed his younger brother – and was thinking of taking on a mate as a second employee.
We were all delighted this year by a pair of alpacas that were adopted by the new Belgian ambassador to live at the Yarralumla embassy.
The pair, named Pablo and Boris (cheekily named after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson), were brought in after the ambassador’s beloved pet ducks were killed by foxes.
Belgian Ambassador to Australia Michel Goffin has kept ducks since he was gifted a pair while stationed at the consulate in Laos in 2012.
Who can forget Leo Fincher’s magical cubby house, in Canberra’s south?
His father Scott built him a replica of the home in Disney’s Pixar animation Up.
Scott became a national sensation overnight as photos of the colourful cubby house in Conder surfaced in news articles and on social media.
Captains Flat mum-of-nine Claire Hooker went from social media influencer to home-schooling her children, to taking on the world with a podcast.
It’s fair to say Claire loves a challenge.
She also loves her husband, their strong Catholic faith, her British and Irish heritage, and being a voice for parents everywhere.
Was there a familiar bluey in your backyard this year? We all spent a lot of time at home, so you might have caught a glimpse.
Despite their scary appearance, blue-tongue lizards are laidback and loved in Canberra.
If it there ever were a vote on Australia’s favourite lizard, Ian Fraser is confident they would be a shoo-in here in the bush capital.