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Welcome to Canberra! Some thoughts on the ACT’s gateway signs

By Paul Costigan 15 July 2015 46

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I enjoy the drive between Sydney from Canberra. I do it reasonably often. The mood of the country changes according to the weather, the drought, the latest rains and the time of day. Lake George and the surrounding hills have many moods to be enjoyed.

All of this leads back to how the traveller is welcomed back to Canberra. This is not so good. In fact, many country towns do a far better job. As Australia’s national capital, Canberra deserves something far better than the insignificant tokens at the borders.

What do we have on the return from Sydney? There’s a small stonewall with a concrete sign – Australian Capital Territory. This is followed by a couple of signs about the indigenous connections and the sister city arrangements. And there’s a threatening 100 km per hour speed sign.

When you leave, there’s a sign that welcomes you to New South Wales. But there is no sign to welcome you to Canberra.

A couple of decades ago I used to suggest that there should be a large set of statues at the border. These were to be at least 18 metres tall and should have been statues of public servants. The perception by people outside of Canberra was that this was a city full of public servants, and no one else, so why not give them what they expected at the border. The gateway was to be dominated by a series of large public servants, complete with lunch boxes and briefcases and boring clothing.

Given that the current federal government has been working extra hard to make public servants a thing of the past, I need to update this concept.

There should now be large illuminated signs alerting visitors to watch out for the endangered species known as public servants. The signs should have phone numbers to bring assistance to this rare species of humans as many are now often seen wandering about the city in a distressed state.

Given the introduction nationally of the new Border Force, maybe Canberra should introduce its own border force to check on who is entering the city and where they have come from.

Travellers would feel as though Canberra was a very important city if our own uniformed border force officers greeted everyone at the border checkpoints. And given the Chief Minister’s recent statements that venues such as Westside were not designed for people over 50, the Border Force could enforce limits on those pesky aging travellers trying to jump the queues and sneak through our borders.

And now for more serious thoughts.

While the landscape along Northbourne Avenue is about to be altered, as any landscape does, it is a good time to consider the whole road entrance to the city. At the moment, when you travel from Sydney across the border, the greenery is patchy and there is nothing special to indicate that you are in Canberra.

These early parts of the road entrance could be enhanced with a greater variety of trees and shrubs to provide a range of visual interests as you drive up and over that last hill and down towards the city. Along the way there should also be a range of artworks, both hard sculptural pieces and landscape artworks.

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To be honest, whether it is more greenery, artworks or whatever, both this entrance and the one from Yass urgently need a rethink. The entrances to Canberra should offer very clear messages that welcome people to the national capital.

So the first target should be to have some far better signage and sculptural pieces at the entrances. Given the way planning is carried out in Canberra, whereby committees meet to discuss setting up other committees and then meet in venues to hold workshops, I hope that there is a way to cut through the bureaucracy and for some visionary within our government to push hard for new gateways to be installed sooner rather than later.

Canberra has loads of creative residents, so maybe it is time to hear from some of them.

What would send a message of welcome to visitors to Canberra and welcome back us travellers after we have ventured by road in to New South Wales and beyond? Over to you!


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46 Responses to
Welcome to Canberra! Some thoughts on the ACT’s gateway signs
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miz 11:38 am 20 Jul 15

The Monaro Highway is also a significant entry into Canberra, with no welcome and very daggy IMO.

dungfungus 11:37 am 20 Jul 15

rubaiyat said :

dungfungus said :

Pity we can’t get the same effect on the fossil fuel industry shills!

Such feigned concern about wildlife.

The windmills are simply an ineffectual method of mass extermination of wildlife when you can wipe out twenty times as many with coal powered power stations, and eradicate the rest with climate change.

Then the conservatives will be coexisting with the roaches in their tax havens.

I think you are getting confused with canaries in coal mines.

I think you are getting confused with Liberal Party parrots in Family Trusts heavily invested in coal mines.

Johnny Howard lost a stack of ministers who “forgot” to declare their conflicts of interest. Johnny fixed that by removing the requirement to declare.

“I think you are getting confused with Liberal Party parrots in Family Trusts heavily invested in coal mines.”
Source?

rubaiyat 10:13 am 20 Jul 15

dungfungus said :

Pity we can’t get the same effect on the fossil fuel industry shills!

Such feigned concern about wildlife.

The windmills are simply an ineffectual method of mass extermination of wildlife when you can wipe out twenty times as many with coal powered power stations, and eradicate the rest with climate change.

Then the conservatives will be coexisting with the roaches in their tax havens.

I think you are getting confused with canaries in coal mines.

I think you are getting confused with Liberal Party parrots in Family Trusts heavily invested in coal mines.

Johnny Howard lost a stack of ministers who “forgot” to declare their conflicts of interest. Johnny fixed that by removing the requirement to declare.

dungfungus 5:11 pm 19 Jul 15

rubaiyat said :

Evilomlap said :

watto23 said :

dungfungus said :

Why not put the 2 x bird blenders on Red Hill so everyone could see them up close and get to love them?

Amazing how birds manage to avoid vehicles travelling at far greater speeds than a wind turbine, and occasionally one gets hit, but when its a wind turbine and a bird gets hit, the conservatives use it as a valid reason to justify their very weak anti wind-power argument. Contrary to what you might think, wind turbines have very little effect on birds and animals, if any. I’ve seen nests on wind turbine pylons, so clearly those birds didn’t seem to mind too much.

Darwinism – only stupid birds fly into wind turbines. We’re just helping nature weed out the idiots.

Pity we can’t get the same effect on the fossil fuel industry shills!

Such feigned concern about wildlife.

The windmills are simply an ineffectual method of mass extermination of wildlife when you can wipe out twenty times as many with coal powered power stations, and eradicate the rest with climate change.

Then the conservatives will be coexisting with the roaches in their tax havens.

I think you are getting confused with canaries in coal mines.

GardeningGirl 3:00 pm 19 Jul 15

tim_c said :

Wait, did I read that right? The chief minister has said the newest addition to the city is not designed for people over 50, while his current registration plate slogan is “An age friendly city”???
Yeah, we’re an age friendly city, as long as you’re not over 50.

Yeah, haha, I noted that too.

dungfungus 1:06 pm 18 Jul 15

watto23 said :

dungfungus said :

Why not put the 2 x bird blenders on Red Hill so everyone could see them up close and get to love them?

Amazing how birds manage to avoid vehicles travelling at far greater speeds than a wind turbine, and occasionally one gets hit, but when its a wind turbine and a bird gets hit, the conservatives use it as a valid reason to justify their very weak anti wind-power argument. Contrary to what you might think, wind turbines have very little effect on birds and animals, if any. I’ve seen nests on wind turbine pylons, so clearly those birds didn’t seem to mind too much.

You must have seen those nests when you flew over them by yourself. Were they inhabited by Cuckoos?

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