Three Rivers Fountain


I should state upfront, lest people who have visited this fountain prior to 2014 think I have lost my sense of direction, that this fountain has in fact moved. It is at the southern end of Victoria Square and not the northern end, having been moved in a 2013-14 redevelopment of the Square. Continue reading “Three Rivers Fountain”

Bellona – The Offensive Goddess


Dear Reader – let me tell you a story – a story of Canberra’s first statue and war memorial.

In 1916 sculptor Bertram Mackennal, unable to sell this sculpture – entitled War or Bellona – Goddess of War – decided to offer it as a gift to Australia as a tribute to Australian solders in WWI (especially the ANZACs). It was accepted but it took five years before Prime Minister Hughes sent a thank-you letter – five years during which Bellona lay hidden in a Melbourne celler. Continue reading “Bellona – The Offensive Goddess”

The Queen in Parliament – Well a Sort Of!


There are not many statues of Queen Elizabeth II around the world. If Wikipedia is to be believed (2015) – nine, and two of these are in Australia. One is in Brisbane and is rather unique in that it is the only statue in the world of the Queen holding a handbag. The other one is here in Parliament House or rather on a Terrace outside the main building (accessed from within the building). Continue reading “The Queen in Parliament – Well a Sort Of!”

The National Portrait Gallery – Heroes and Villains


The latest addition to the Parliamentary prescient and located next to the High Count of Australia and the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery was opened in 2008. In contrast to the High Court I find this building (as opposed to the art therein) more appealing on the outside than on the inside – the latter being rather pedestrian from a design perspective though eminently functional as a gallery which, of course, is its purpose. According to the Gallery’s website, the “building favours intimacy and connection in lieu of reverence and the monumental’. I’ll let you be the judge if that equates with my assessment of “rather pedestrian” in regards to the interior at least. Continue reading “The National Portrait Gallery – Heroes and Villains”

Macquarie Obelisk


In January 1788 the First Fleet arrived into Sydney from the UK. It brought with it Australia’s first European, mostly convict, settlers who came ashore here at Macquarie Place, now a little further back from the harbour than it was in 1788, due to land reclamation in the intervening years. It was from here that these early settlers set out to explore and settle Australia so it was rather fitting that distances of places from Sydney be measured from here. Continue reading “Macquarie Obelisk”

Australia Proclaimed For Britain


On 26 January 1788 the First Fleet, a flotilla of eleven ships from Britain, anchored in Sydney Cove – named after Lord Sydney the British Home Secretary (now called Circular Quay). Captain Arthur Phillip, in charge, stepped ashore and, in a simple ceremony, hoisted the Union Flag (Jack), saluted it, and proclaimed the settlement of the colony of New South Wales for His Majesty King George III. The remainder of the continent was subsequently settled and claimed for Britain and today the 26th January, Australia Day, is a public holiday across Australia, marking the birthday of modern Australia. Continue reading “Australia Proclaimed For Britain”

St Michael’s Roman Catholic Church


Built in 1875, shortly after the current incarnation of its Protestant neighbour across the street (St Macartin’s Cathedral ), St Michael’s was designed by John O’Neill a very distinguished 19th century Ulster Catholic architect. His design had included a belfry and spire but these could not be built at the time because of soft foundations. A unique but necessary feature of St Michael’s are the flying-buttresses which were added in 1921 to reinforce the west wall. The current spire was added in later years. Continue reading “St Michael’s Roman Catholic Church”