What most inspires you about Canberra history?

johnboy 24 February 2009 103

The Chiefly Jon Stanhope reports that Fraser, Wanniassa Hills and Yarralumla Primary Schools as well as Canberra High are going to have a stab at teaching local Canberra history to their students.

Apparently this was prompted by the impending 2013 centenary of the city’s founding, although one hopes the curriculum isn’t being messed with just because of the movement of the stars.

If all goes well (and apparently the tykes have reportedly favourably on the relevancy and enjoyability of the units so far for the little that’s worth) then they plan to send it to schools all over Australia for the consideration of inter-state teachers.

But I found this bit to be intriguing:

    “There is no doubt that learning about Canberra’s inspirational history will help a new generation of Australian students better understand their nation’s capital while tuning into the excitement of our centenary celebrations,” Mr Stanhope said.

So what parts of Canberra’s history do you find to be the most inspirational?


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103 Responses to What most inspires you about Canberra history?
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BimboGeek BimboGeek 12:49 pm 13 Apr 10

The guy who drove a car right through the glass doors at the front of of parliament house. I don’t think he even wanted anything, he was just a bit messed up. And now we get to look at all those beautiful waist-high concrete pillars whenever we go past. Lovely!

The ANU explosion a few years back now that spewed so much toxic chemicals that the entire university, basically all of Acton, had to be evacuated. Oh but it was fine the next day, nothing to see here! (yup I was a student there at the time and felt totally safe)

Speaking of ANU, didn’t an ANU student once do doughies in the Duntroon parade ground leading to RMC mobilising, digging in and locking down the entire campus? Nobody could get in or out for an entire day.

I also love the tent embassy. Why don’t they ever get invited to art exhibitions and concerts like the other diplomats do?

the booth the booth 9:58 am 13 Apr 10

The Night of the Long Prawns would have to be up there…
http://moadoph.gov.au/exhibitions/online/dismissed/prologue.htm

p1 p1 5:37 pm 27 Feb 09

I know JB said move along, but I saw this and it made me think about earlier in the thread…

p1 p1 4:06 pm 26 Feb 09

I have been wondering for some time about the Tunnel through which Parks Way passes at Acton. I have been through said tunnel countless times, as have most of you, I am sure. I have also been in “Acton Underhill”, the underground storage facility which ANU operates. It is located directly above Parks Way, between the roof of the tunnel and the ground surface.

So, I want to know,

– When was it built? The lake was flooded in about ’63, and I see no reason for it to have existed before this..

– How was it built? I am guessing “cut and cover”, which would have been an awesome cutting before the built it back up.

– Why can I find so little about it on the web? I am guessing again, that it is where the alien bodies are stored, or it connects to the Secret Bunker under the lake.

BerraBoy68 BerraBoy68 3:42 pm 26 Feb 09

While probably unsuitable for e young audience there’s plenty of material available for a ‘criminal history’ of Canberra. For example, the Civic siege in the late 1970’s. A young bloke broke up with his girlfriend and took mit so well he went into the old barber/gun shop upstairs in East Row. After asking for a rifle and some rounds he loaded these and started threatening all and sundry. To prove he was serious he fired a few dozen rounds into the police cars being used to block traffic. I recall the warnings broadcast on TV and radio advising people to stay out of civic brought the biggest crowd into the area that had been seen in East Row in many a year. All ended well when the gunman rang one of the local radio stations (2CA or 2CC, can’t recall which) to tell them his story. They arranged for his girlfriend to vist the bloke and bring the saga to a close.

There’s also the Jolimont Ctr seige in the 90’s where an employee of Parkwood eggs drove his ute thought the Ansett (?) office at the front corner of the building. The gas tanks he’d apparently wired to explode failed to go off but he did stalk the building for a while before fatally shooting himself in the building’s foyer.

Add to that the murder of Ricky Conway (read the book “An Almost Perfect Murder”, the AFP lead investigator in the case is a relation of mine) and several other similar acts and you’d have a massive history. Now I think of it this could be a book in the making….

PBO PBO 3:36 pm 26 Feb 09

This might get the memories of some people going. Legend has it that Yarralumla there is a rather large diamond buried under a tree in the Govenor Generals back yard, The legend goes like this:

‘In 1826, a large diamond was stolen from James Cobbity, on an obscure station in Queensland. The theft was traced to one of the convicts who had run away, probably to New south Wales. The convict was captured in 1858, but the diamond could not be traced; neither would the convict (name unknown) give any information, in spite of frequent floggings.

‘During 1842 he left a statement to a groom, and a map of the hiding-place of the hidden diamond. The groom, for a minor offence, was sent to Berrima gaol. He was clever with horses, and one day, when left to his duties, plaited a rope of straw and then escaped by throwing it over the wall, where he caught an iron bar. Passing it over, he swung himself down and escaped. He and his family lived out west for several years, according to the Rev James Hassall who, seeing him live honestly, did not think it necessary to inform against him. I have no reason to think he tried to sell the diamond. Probably the ownership of a thing so valuable would bring suspicion and lead to his re-arrest.

‘After his death his son took possession of the jewel, and with a trusty aboriginal set off for Sydney. After leaving Cooms for Queanbeyan they met with, it was afterwards ascertained, a bushranging gang. The aboriginal and his companion became separated, and finally the former was captured and searched, to no avail, for he had swallowed the jewel. The gang, in anger, shot him. He was buried in a piece of land belonging to Colonel Gibbs, and later Mr. Campbell. I believe the diamond to be among his bones. It is of great value. My hand is enfeebled with age, or I should describe the trouble through which I have passed. My life has been wasted, my money expended, I die almost destitute, and in sight of my goal. I believe the grave to be under the large deodar-tree. Being buried by blacks, it would be in a round hole. Believe and receive a fortune. Scoff and leave the jewel in its hiding place.

‘Written near Yarralumla.’

If the story is untrue, the deodar is not. The tree is considered to be the finest of its kind in the Commonwealth. No attempt has been made to uproot it, for the owners of Yarralumla have always thought more of this grand old tree than the chance of treasure among its roots, and they have left the jewel – if any – in its hiding-place. Many thousands of deodars growing throughout the country have been planted from the seeds of this famous old-timer with its absorbing tale of mystery.

Whilst i have cut and pasted this, the story is still cool and should be more well known.

johnboy johnboy 2:58 pm 26 Feb 09

I suggest we get back on the topic of Canberra history now people.

PBO PBO 12:24 pm 26 Feb 09

Jim Jones said :

p1 said :

They still teach religion. I’d put that in the same class as any of those ones.

Actually, I’m pretty sure Jebus was a Zombie, what with all the rising from the dead and stuff.

And he wanted people to eat his flesh and drink his blood, which would explain the highly viral nature of the whole thing.

And he was most probably black! Just to upset all the anglo non-Darwinians.

Jim Jones Jim Jones 12:11 pm 26 Feb 09

p1 said :

They still teach religion. I’d put that in the same class as any of those ones.

Actually, I’m pretty sure Jebus was a Zombie, what with all the rising from the dead and stuff.

And he wanted people to eat his flesh and drink his blood, which would explain the highly viral nature of the whole thing.

p1 p1 12:08 pm 26 Feb 09

They still teach religion. I’d put that in the same class as any of those ones.

Actually, I’m pretty sure Jebus was a Zombie, what with all the rising from the dead and stuff.

dexi dexi 11:55 am 26 Feb 09

monomania “Next you’ll be teaching them astrology, palmistry and phrenology as a means of engaging them in the “real” world.”

and the “real world” is such a charming place to engage. You do know the “real world” is a fantasy world controlled only by your ability finance it. It can be anything you can afford.

justbands justbands 11:47 am 26 Feb 09

> Next you’ll be teaching them astrology, palmistry and phrenology as a means of engaging them in the “real” world.

They still teach religion. I’d put that in the same class as any of those ones.

monomania monomania 11:43 am 26 Feb 09

nyssa76 said :

Woody, good for you mate. My taxes pay for education too.

Now for the reality:

1. They’re engaged in the history of Canberra
2. It’s a topic they like
3. It includes components of geography and literacy

Reality: Ghosts? zombies? witches? elves and fairies.

Next you’ll be teaching them astrology, palmistry and phrenology as a means of engaging them in the “real” world.

PBO PBO 11:00 am 26 Feb 09

Gungahlin Al said :

There is a tunnel under Northborne Ave (thanks NCA)

What the?? Where?

And what’s this Ma-nooka nonsense? Never heard anyone pronouce it that way.

Apparently it runs under the Melbourne building and some of the others and is accesible through some buildings basements. I have only seen a couple photos and this is coming from a mate in NCA as he said that it falls into their juristiction and they are now responsible for its upkeep.

jakez jakez 10:50 am 26 Feb 09

Loose Brown said :

That we are a totally planned city that is the head of government for one of the most politically stable and longest lasting democracies in the world.

I believe P.McGuinnes referred to Canberra as a ‘dysfunctional socialist utopia’. Heh heh.

Dear God, I have an evil doppelganger!

My guess is that Paddy didn’t venture far enough out of the devil’s triangle to see the real Canberra.

Beserk Keyboard Warrior Beserk Keyboard Warrior 6:47 pm 25 Feb 09

justbands said :

> and the queen saying ‘marn-ukka’ instead of ‘ma-nooka’…

Who does pronounce it “Ma-nooka”??

The Maori, when speaking of the native N.Z tree that Manuka was named after.

nyssa76 nyssa76 6:43 pm 25 Feb 09

Woody, good for you mate. My taxes pay for education too.

Now for the reality:

1. They’re engaged in the history of Canberra
2. It’s a topic they like
3. It includes components of geography and literacy

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 5:47 pm 25 Feb 09

There is a tunnel under Northborne Ave (thanks NCA)

What the?? Where?

And what’s this Ma-nooka nonsense? Never heard anyone pronouce it that way.

willo willo 5:29 pm 25 Feb 09

sepi said :

Finnegans and the ANU Bar both had that wierd thing of being a bar opposite a gym.

So the rows of drinkers can watch the rows of treadmillers and vice versa.

And both sides can pity the other for their boring loser timewasting.

or…..both sides look at the other and think “now….that’s what I really should be doing right now”

sepi sepi 4:54 pm 25 Feb 09

Finnegans and the ANU Bar both had that wierd thing of being a bar opposite a gym.

So the rows of drinkers can watch the rows of treadmillers and vice versa.

And both sides can pity the other for their boring loser timewasting.

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