10 March 2007

Some people do like Canberra

| johnboy
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Not everyone is down on Canberra. Found on YouTube is a year 10 student’s slideshow of the best time of her life, a high school trip to Canberra:

Now her idea of Canberra seems to be limited to the national institutions, but I think that’s something we all need to get our heads around. Anyway it may be a bit schmaltzy but it’ll probably make you smile.

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some years back, I had to be in Sydney for a month (February, yuck) for work. I lived in a little flat in Kirribilli, and got the ferry to and from work every day (Sussex st). And the happiest day was the day I left to come home to Canberra!

Now I spend half the year in the US, and it’s getting harder I must say, although here I live in ski resort towns which are very pretty and not city-crowded. It’s great to return home to Canberra, although the big changes are a bit daunting. I miss how it was in the 80’s.

After spending the weekend in Sydney, I’ve thought of another positive about Canberra. It isn’t crawling with cockroaches.

i detest cover bands.

i recall a cold chisel member being quoted as playing (solo as himself) across the road from a cold chisel cover band and being outsold.

they are nothing more than professional buskers.

If he can’t sit or stand too long, he needs a job where he can lie down a lot. I’ll try hard to think of some, ross69.

Unfortunatly my partner isn’t the office worker type and due to a workplace injury is unable to sit or stand too long. it took him 2 years to find a job after applying for positions in both Canberra and Sydney. He’s been a retail Manager most of his life though i’m trying to get him to do maybe a real estate course as it’s a job where your not sitting on your butt all day.

Ross69 are you serious ?

Monkeys can get jobs as public servants here. I work with several, so it’s true.

Canberra is great for the following reasons:

Think Diplomat with heavily pregnant wife fronting at any given hospital in Canberra. This has been thought through and the level of service is commesurate with the risk factor.

Apply this theory to most services in town; then rule out the current idiot factory’s attempts to drive us into a negative budget via gross mismanagement.

You’ll find that things are a little better here than in most places around Australia. I still remember driving through Tamworth and loving the sign that says ‘Canberra pays for this road’, a potholed main throughfare.

Life’s not so bad here, just gotta know what’s vitally important, and not get too many parking tickets.

only place I know that holds its birthday celebrations a week before it gives its people a long weekend to “go to the coast” to celebrate its birthday. Strange behaviour indeed.

Bring back the Gypsy Bar.

Best Live Scene Canberrra EVER had.

neanderthalsis1:46 pm 12 Mar 07

I forgot, my only gripe against Canberra is the lack of decent seafood. (I mean decent seafood folks, not the semi thawed rubbish at the Fyshwick or Belco market; King prawns bigger than your hand, Barra out of the water for no more than a few hours, huge GT’s caught off the jetty etc)

all the benefits of a city with none of the disadvantages.

alll the benefits of a country town with none of the disadvantages.

i miss melbourne, but visit enough.

if only they had the equivalent of the brunswick ‘mediterranean wholesale’ store here. when i drive back the boots always loaded.

i used to live in melbournes live music circuit, but then the punters club, greek theatre, club etc all succumbed to the pokies. at least the corner hotel is still open.

tilleys was ok on occasion, uni bar and uc are ok for live acts, although i sometime think im the oldest person there!

I meant ‘starting now…’ though the astral idyll worked ok… : )

Canberra has a fabulous climate – starying now the best seasons run in order. The birds come back to the valley in the now cooling months, with about eleven species of parrot and other bird hopping about my garden and seed tray. I cycle to work and have about six different routes, all mainly through greenspace along paths off roads – do that in soy latte sydney!

And if i feel the need to get a fantastic coffee I go see Loui in the interchange. If you rekkun you can’t get a good coffee and have tried Loui’s then I rekkun you’re having a lend of yourself.

You can park, if you do have to drive, pretty well outside where you wanna go in Canberra, pretty well most times you go there. Another one up on the state capitals. Every local shops has a supermarket that sells booze and meat from at least 8 til 8 every day. Was a huge hit with me when i arrived near twenty years ago and is something i still marvel at when travelling. and get frustrated at in woolies and some big stores where you need to go to two shops!

But the specialty shops here are actually also pretty good. And i have been known to leave my bike unlocked in many places, for long periods, and never fear for its well being. i’d never canvass such beahviour in sunny sinney.

And i’ve always struck pretty good neighbours pretty well everywhere i’ve lived here.

So, what was the problem again?

I love it here. Close enough for a day-trip to the beach in summer or the snow in winter; not so populous that you feel anonymous and isolated, but not so small that you don’t have any privacy; being able to live walking distance from the city without having to live in a tiny apartment or terrace house; a decent live music scene; enough interesting little subcultures to keep yourself occupied (if you can be bothered to look for them).

bigred: I almost moved away when I first arrived here because the toilet paper wasn’t soft enough! I still find it difficult to deal with.

Seriously. You can’t handle living somewhere because the coffee is “overpriced and variable”? You must have some major worries in life.

I’d love to move back to canberra having grew up there.the only thing stopping us is my partner not being able to find a job there.

neanderthalsis10:37 am 12 Mar 07

As a fairly recent blowin from the North (nearly 18 months now) I find Canberra a great place to live and work. There are plenty of things happening of a weekend, galleries to visit, free concerts, rivers, lakes and mountains close by. Great weather, no humidity; although the winter gets a tad parky for a Queenslander.

I seem to spend much of my time when I return home to QLD trying to convince people who have never been here that it is not a cold, miserable desolate hole filled with politicians and bureaucrats.

espresso machine as a gift from a grateful client

Hard to imagine a client so full of ‘irritation or annoyance’ giving you such a nice gift 🙂

I’ve recently moved to Sydney after 18 months in Canberra (although I’ve found it hard to let go of the morning RiotACT check). There were many things about Canberra that I liked, most of which have already been mentioned – crisp, clear winter mornings, bike tracks, good wages, ease of commute etc. The rent, however, was a bummer. We are paying the same price to live in the same sized apartment in Bronte, five minutes walk to the beach.

Ingeegoodbee10:10 pm 11 Mar 07

wouldn’t know – got a sweet espresso machine as a gift from a grateful client three months ago – haven’t been near a Canberra cafe since … the downside is that I can get myself seriously wired if left unattended…

Ingee, that is the plan. Coffee here is way to expensive and variable.

Ingeegoodbee9:53 pm 11 Mar 07

Mate, you can always pack your shitty posessions in your bi red, white and blue stripey bag and get the next greyhound out of here if you don’t like it…

lemme think about Canberra:
– place to get a $100 job done for $500
– where road rules have been waived
– where the leaders can say one thing and do another
– best things are Federal Hway going north, Monaro going south, and Barton going West
– Airport departure lounge
– greatest collection of overpaid plonkers ever assembled in one place

I grew up in Canberra, moved away at age 20 (as soon as I could) then over a period of 10-15 years, living in other people’s ideas of paradise (Nthn NSW, Whitsundays etc), realised how much canberra has to offer.
If you are born here, the buzz you get from a brilliant blue skied, crisp winter’s morning, is just perfect.
Places that are nice for holidays can end up annoying you for other reasons (lack of facilties, rednecks who vote Liberal/National etc.
Meconium it’s time to visit that greener grass before you return to the green green grass of home. Aahhhh.

Does anyone care about snide remarks about Canberra? They’re lways from Sydneysiders or further north. Melburnian and Canberran cultures get along fine, always have. Who cares what the Sydney Morning Zsa Zsa brigade have to say about us?

OpenYourMind8:45 am 11 Mar 07

This is fantastic.
It’s great to see a story here once in a while that isn’t just filled up with negative, cynical, snide remarks.

Canberra is a fantastic city to live in. There’s always things that could and should be improved, but we need to recognise and celebrate the things that make Canberra special.

I forgot to mention in my essay: 😉

If you don’t enjoy it here maybe you should try somewhere else. I didn’t like Sydney and like Canberra better. I think I might prefer Melbourne to Sydney. Different horses for different courses I guess.

Just don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your opinion is the only opinion (as a lot of people everywhere do – Canberrans, Sydneysiders and Melbournians). The amount of times I’ve heard Sydney people rubbish Melbourne and vice versa is amazing.


I seriously don’t understand people who define themselves by where they live. Think of all the people that have contributed something great to society (or that you personally respect) – do you even know where they live? Should you care? Geography has nothing to do with it.

I like Canberra because the air is clean, there aren’t swarms of people everywhere you go (acting stupidly as only swarms of people can), there isn’t a lot of traffic (and if you choose to ride a bike you don’t risk your life… as much) AND it isn’t too far to Sydney for when you feel you need a dose of the big city. (Or the coast if you need to get to the beach)

Sure we don’t have beaches – that isn’t my cup of tea anyway. I lived in Southern Sydney (10 mins away from Cronulla) for over a year and only made the drive there a few times. When I did it was packed which made it hard to enjoy anyway. I hear there are a bunch of dickheads starting riots there now. FUN! On two seperate occassions we went for nights out at Bondi and Manly and both times witnessed violent assaults on seemingly innocent people. Friendly. Oh yeah – and gang rapes. Sounds like a great place to bring up a family.

Maybe we don’t want the kind of people here that think the bigger cities are the business.

I’ve always found that with a few decent hobbies, good friends and a net connection you can live pretty much anywhere and have a great time. Stop expecting the place you live to entertain you and find something to do yourself. If you think Canberra is seriously missing something, kick it off here. Just look at Gus’ for an example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gus%27s You might even get Canberran of the year! 🙂 Or I guess you could winge and leave.

Now for the things that could be improved:
Canberra does seem to have a very homogenous population. Lots of families and public servants. Shops open at 9 and close at 5. This gives it a slightly empty and dead feeling after hours. I’m not sure if this can be changed without losing some of the good points. Uni students help (since they have different schedules and tend to be active after-hours) – perhaps the work linking Civic & ANU will help?

Public transport really needs to be worked on. I still can’t believe that our capital city does not have a rail network (even just linking the town centers).

Putting the parkway between the lake & civic was a really bad idea. It segregates the lake from the CBD for foot traffic (although they probably are too far apart anyhow). I realise they’re working towards re-vitalising Civic and the lakefront but I’m not sure what will fill in all the empty space….

Wow. Long post. 😉

Personally I think we need to ban the media from referring to “Canberra” when they mean “parliament”

Ingeegoodbee11:33 pm 10 Mar 07

Oh god where to start!

– Great mountain biking;
– clients with deep pockets;
– good trout streams within easy reach;
– everythings an easy drive from anywhere;
– half decent access to hospital emergency (good thing if you’re a mountain biker);
– houses with views for under half a million;

Even the street kids here have orthodontic hardware – no shit, I got stopped by a guy needing change for the bus/drugs/pimp/booze/etc not a week ago and he was wearing fifteen grands worth of correctional metal work … ahh, we’ve got nothing to complain about if the god-damn street kids are getting dental treatment like that!

– Not as crowded as Sydney/Melbourne. This is a real selling point for me.
– Much much easier to drive around than Sydney (two way streets wide enough to fit 2 cars alongside each other)
– Every house has a parking spot and a backyard of some kind.
– The commute to work doesn’t take up half my day
– Mountain biking!
– Abundance of jobs that offer flex time
– Close to the south coast and to Sydney for visiting family, holidays or whatever
– Facilities, shops, culture, etc are actually pretty good.
– Home to Riotact 🙂

I challenge all RiotACTors to fill this thread with stories of what’s good about Canberra, in order to help me rediscover the joy of living in this town.

Earlier this year I made a bunch of friends in O’Connor and found the student community in that area to be thriving, and it was a real joy to go to pubs and parties there. I’ve since lost that excitement and feel it’s time to escape. But if any native Canberrans or satisfied immigrants could post inspirational comments like the one above, this town and I will be grateful.

Ruby Wednesday9:32 pm 10 Mar 07

I’m quite new to Canberra, having moved here from Brisbane, and I have to say that I absolutely love it. I would love it more if housing wasn’t so expensive, but being able to get to work in under half an hour even during peak hour is wonderful. It’s a very clean city and driving through the paddocks to get home (I live in Belconnen) reminds me of growing up in the bush. I really don’t see why people have it in for Canberra. My partner and I would choose to live here over Brisbane any day of the week. (And summer was not unbearably hot, which was a huge bonus.)

Uplifting as this slideshow is (not) I think it’s pretty pathetic that this is the first instance we’ve seen of outsiders showing an interest in this town. And it’s not like we’re a country town in the middle of nowhere, this is the capital city. Maybe there’s a reason Canberrans are the butt of jokes from all around the country; the same reason we’re all sensitive to this criticism, and why the Prime Minister and most politicians refuse to live here. I’m going to have to move away, live somewhere else for an extended period of time… when I find out if we’re missing out on anything, I’ll let you all know what’s wrong with this place. But then I suppose I’ll be seen as an outsider who doesn’t understand the fabric of what makes people want to live here…

Well, I’m sure AD’s mum knows.

Ari, what are you trying to say about us? 🙂

VYBerlina etc, please don’t post the first thing that comes into your head.

Please be gentle, guys, this is simply a young woman who has had a great time with her friends in Canberra.

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