Why don’t people promenade any more?
Every time I visit Commonwealth Park I am somewhat taken aback by the paucity of people out enjoying this beautiful park. I often wonder (and I have been here 16 years), as do visitors, where do Canberrans go at weekends. Why are they not out enjoying the delights of this great city? Their loss is the visitor’s gain.
Commonwealth Park, located on the northern side of the central basin of Lake Burley Griffin took shape in the 1960’s when the lake was created and it became the city’s premier garden. It stretches from Commonwealth Avenue (Bridge) to around the southern end of Anzac Parade.
This park is a very well maintained and beautiful garden- 34.5 hectares – with its own mini lake – Nerang Pool (above). It is well laid out with numerous paths, seats and a kids play area. In addition to its horticultural beauty, the park contains many other sites of interest to the visitor including the Canberra and Region Visitors Centre, the National Capital Exhibition, Captain Cook Memorial Fountain and Memorial Globe, Blundell’s Cottage, and a number of pleasant sculptures including one of former Prime Minister Robert Menzies on what is now called the RG Menzies Walk along the lake shoreline.
While I normally only write reviews on things that I have personally seen or experienced and which you can see, with your indulgence, I will make an exception here. There is one piece of artwork in the park that you won’t see – a set of six polished aluminum tetrahedrons by Bert Flugelman, similar to his work in the sculpture garden at the National Gallery of Australia which was buried in March 1975 in a trench (close the the Kangaroos pictured here) for reasons not explained by the artist. Fear not, Dear Reader, there is still an ample supply of above ground public art works, such as the cranes depicted below, in the park for your enjoyment.
The large (39metres) flagpole, which you will see in the park, is a gift from the Canadian government and Canadian timber industry – a Douglas Fir weighing some 7.1 tonnes. If you happen to the in Park on 1 July (Canada Day) you will note that the Australian flag which normally flies on the pole is replaced with the Canadian flag.
The annual springtime Floriade Festival (not to be missed) turns a large part of the park into a sea of colour derived from the million plus bulbs and annuals planted just for the festival. Highly recommended for visitors (and any locals reading this review who are not aware of it already!)
Address: Parkes ACT 2600
Directions: Regatta Point/National Capital Exhibition car parks