Lonely Planet has a great guide for the things to see and do in Australia’s Capital – Canberra.
Here’s an excerpt:
Some capital cities almost define the country they represent. What would France be without Paris, Italy without its Eternal City or England without London?
Canberra, on the other hand, is so obscure many overseas visitors have never heard of it. The unloved offspring of a disagreement between Sydney and Melbourne is a meticulously designed made-to-order metropolis that suffers from some of the same flaws that other purpose-built capitals possess: an over-supply of bureaucrats and students, and a slight under-supply of urban chic.
But a closer look at the capital reveals that Canberra’s quirks are, in fact, a fitting testament to Australia’s history and culture. Unlike Washington, DC, with its imposing neo-classical edifices, Canberra’s public buildings are all understated modernism. Parliament House is built under a hill, which perhaps hints at Australians’ distaste for political pomp and circumstance, while Canberra’s connection to the striking natural surrounds has lent it the moniker of Bush Capital.
Read the rest here.
The Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, has had to find new accommodation after the official residence, known as The Lodge, was deemed unsafe.
From the New York Times:
Ms. Gillard has been forced to vacate the Lodge — the prime minister’s official residence in the capital, Canberra — after a leak in the roof, whose original copper electrical wiring is covered in flammable cloth insulation, led to its being declared a fire hazard.
Gary Gray, the special minister of state, said Tuesday that Ms. Gillard was seeking “suitable, secure accommodation” while the 84-year-old building is repaired, a process that could take as long as 18 months.
“The roof repairs are essential because the slate has deteriorated to such a point that it is dangerous, with badly broken or cracked tiles, and no longer safely weatherproofs the building,” he said in a statement posted on a government Web site.
No explanation was given as to why the renovations, which come at an inconvenient time for the unpopular Gillard government, had to be undertaken with such urgency.
The Lodge has been the home of nearly every Australian prime minister since construction was completed on the Georgian-revival style mansion in 1927. In addition to housing the head of state, it is often used to entertain foreign dignitaries.