A GRAND DAY OUT

So, to continue........

Tuesday dawned bright and sunny. Glen picked us up from the friends` house where we were staying and off we set. The plan had been to make one stop for coffee en route from Sydney to Canberra, but in fact we made several stops to take in points of interest.

A small detour took us to meet Lorraine Warren and a delightful Border Collie pup called Tulsa (Tuckonie InLove in Tulsa). He was a very 'laid-back' young man, but roused himself to give us a lovely greeting. While we stood talking, kookaburras were flying down to a low brick wall, where Lorraine had placed lumps of minced beef for their breakfast. Tulsa wandered off, very nonchalantly & was next seen (or rather his nose was) on the far side of the wall, stealthily helping himself to the mince, much to our amusement and the annoyance of the birds!

Our next stop really was for coffee, which we had at a roadside truck stop. We drank it outside in the sunshine and I mention it only because at our feet, gnawing on the most enormous bone I've ever seen, was an aged Border Collie. Another sighting! We left him to it and drove on.
We paused twice more before reaching Canberra. A slow drive around the Sir Don Bradman Oval and Museum, which celebrates the life and times of the world-famous cricketer, one of Australia's sports heroes, plus a stop to see Lake George.

Apparently this huge stretch of water normally almost laps the road - when we were there, we had to gaze into the far distance to see any water at all (I personally think it had all moved to England!)

To the right is a picture of tourist and guide - Sheila and Glen - at the lookout point above the `elusive` lake.

Canberra itself was fascinating - mind you we did start by taking a look at the city's purpose built showground for dogs! (Later that evening, Glen drove us round the permanent showground in Sydney). We have nothing like them in England and I was most impressed, as I'm sure any of the UK show fraternity would be.

I don't propose to give you a 'potted history' of the city; suffice to say it was built in the first half of the 20th century for the express purpose of housing the Australian Parliament and the embassies. The latter are worth a tour, as their architecture is that of their country of origin. Our first stop was the Telstra (communications) tower, from the top of which you can view the entire panorama of Canberra. Well worth seeing! Second stop was the War Memorial, approached along a broad avenue lined with monuments to the Australian dead of each war the country has fought.

Looking towards Parliament

The view above looks back from the War Memorial, down the avenue to Parliament in the distance. There are two Parliament buildings, the original in front, the new, currently used one behind it. Click on the thumbnail to enlarge.

The War Memorial itself was a place of great peace and tranquillity - a place to remember the supreme sacrifice of those gone before. In such wonderful sunshine, it was hard to imagine death and hardship, but inside the museum both were graphically illustrated. There are many tales of individual courage and humanity arising from any conflict, but one which caught the imagination of the public was that of `Simmo` and his donkey, heroes of Gallipoli. Under heavy fire, Simmo would climb the hill and bring the wounded down on the back of his donkey. He managed this unscathed for several weeks, saving many lives, before finally succumbing to the enemy's bullets. A photo of this brave man's statue is below left & on the right is the Canberra War Memorial & Museum, showing the pool on which 'floats' the Eternal Flame. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge.

Simmo War Memorial, Canberra

Our last stop in Canberra was Parliament itself and it was at the top of a long flight of steps leading up to the building that I had my third Border Collie sighting of the day. These Aussies certainly do their best to make you feel at home! We spent a little time in the public gallery of the House of Representatives, where Glen identified some of the protagonists for us. I'm here to tell you that parliamentary debate is basically the same all over the world!

It was a terrific day out for both Chris and myself and I can't help feeling we had a much better time with Glen as our guide than we would have had we made our own way there. Thanks, Glen, we really did have a great time!

We'd all been invited to a good ole Aussie Barbie that night - if you'd like to meet our hosts, (and they're well worth meeting!) please move on to Oz 3.

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