A spoiled sheep station

Three hours south of Sydney is a little place many Australian’s seem to hold dear.

“What are you going there for?” one friend asked when I told them of my planned trip.

“Don’t stay for longer than a day,” another said. “Nothing happens there.”

Not quite what you’d expect to hear about the capital city of a country as big as Australia, but Canberra seems to have as big a place in Aussies’ hearts as somewhere like Milton Keynes does to people in the UK.


Similar to ol’ MK, Canberra was an entirely planned city. It was built in 1913 by a couple of American architects who helpfully based it on a load of confusing concentrically-circular and hexagonal road systems and tree-filled areas. It’s home to Australia’s parliamentary buildings, as well as a load of galleries and buildings which have seemingly sprung up because they felt obliged to be in the capital, and not because they thought anyone would actually visit them.

The city replaced a load of sheep farms and agricultural land and, according to the plaque on some street art, it’s described as “a good sheep station spoiled”. Randomly, there is still farmland less than a couple of minutes out of the city centre, with huge irrigators set up to water field after field of turf.

Canberra sheep art

But despite all that, I actually think it’s a pretty nice city. Yes, it’s not the most happening of places to be on a Sunday afternoon at the end of the parliamentary session, but it still has some charm.

The war memorial was really interesting, and the new parliamentary building (despite being descibed as the “biggest political mistake” of the Prime Minister who okayed the design) is actually pretty impressive.

It’s so impressive, in fact, that I kinda wish I’d ignored a certain person and stayed an extra day to see the other government buildings and spend more time in the galleries. But instead I have the joy of terrifying an unsuspecting farmer’s son on Canberra’s road system. Before you ask, I was scared into going for an automatic. Hope you’re happy.

PS. Florence has gone, to be inadvertently replaced by Marina. I’m not sure how I’m feeling about this. I may have to resort to wearing a hat again.

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