In 1901, the colonies of Australia federated to form the Commonwealth of Australia. Now a nation, Australia had to choose a city in which parliament could be held, but due to an intense rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne, a decision could not be made. In response to this, politicians decided to create a city somewhere in between Sydney and a Melbourne. It was specified that the city was to be 100 miles from Sydney, and that it would occupy its own territory within NSW. The site’s location was chosen, but the name was yet to be. 'Canberra' was agreed upon as the name of the capital. It is thought that the word Canberra is derived from the Aboriginal word for meeting place - corroboree. The development of Canberra as a city was unlike any other city in Australia. Most cities develop naturally, however Canberra, much like Washington D.C, was planned artificially. On the 24th of May 1911, a competition was held for the design of Canberra. Architects from around the world sketched their plans for Australia's capital city, drawing on many different architectural and artistic styles in an attempt to embody the Australian dream.
Walter Burley Griffin, an American architect from Chicago, entered the competition. Griffin's designs won because they captured the essence of Australian politics by using different building levels to give an impression of the hierarchy of government. He also created a harmony between politics and nature by leaving wide open spaces and areas of bushland to connect with Australia's natural landscape. Parliament was first held in Canberra in 1927, but due to developmental restrictions imposed by World War 2 the city’s full potential as a developed community was not reached until the late 1960s.
Today we visited the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) Centre, an organization in which research is constantly being made specifically in two areas; scientific and industrial (hence the acronym CSIRO). Throughout the course of the day, we engaged in an interactive game which made us all aware of the various fields of research CSIRO is involved in. We then wondered around the various exhibits, including insects (both alive and preserved), energy - related fields of research (renewable/sustainable energy) and health/industrial information and displays. Overall, the visit to CSIRO was both informative and interesting.
- Joel Peiris
We began our second last day in Canberra at the Deep Space Communication Centre. The purpose of this centre is to gather information from deep space. It is from there that the moon landing pictures were distributed around the world. We viewed footage of space probe Cassini and its seven year voyage to Saturn in which it uncovered more and more mysteries about the planets that orbit our sun. We watched informative videos that delved into the possibility of life beyond earth, explaining the likelihood of alternative life existing in water because Europa, one of Saturn's moons, has liquid water below its icy surface. Overall the information that the centre provided us with that valuable and the entire experience was enriching.
The Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia has multiple residences with his primary being Government House in the ACT which we toured today. Our guide was a man named Roger who had been serving the Governor General for nearly 50 years. His job is to travel with the Governor General and make sure he is comfortable - basically a fancy butler. He has had to serve 10 Governor Generals in his time. Roger was at the House when Prince William was a baby and last year William returned with his child Prince George. The tour started in the front room where most functions, events and ceremonies are held. We then met "His Excellency General The Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove, Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia". He explained his roles were Ceremonial, Constitutional and Community. Joel Peiris played a wonderful piece on the grand piano after which the tour continued to the office where some of the most important decisions in Australian history were made for example Gough Whitlam's dismissal. Roger then took us through the dining room, another office and guest room. One of the highlights was the Governor General's Celebratory Rolls Royce Phantom VI. He even let us sit in it which is a privilege basically nobody gets. It was a truly once in lifetime opportunity and we are extremely grateful for the His Excellency's time.
We started the day off with an early breakfast at 5:30am while it was still dark out. Then at 6, we started our journey to the mountain but we were quickly interrupted as we had to change buses. We drove to around sunrise until we arrived at the small town of Cooma to get measurements for our gear. While we traveled through the town, our bus driver Ray, explained the history of the town and how it was built by immigrants who came to work on the Snowy Mountains Scheme after World War II. This was a huge construction project to provide hydro-electricity to the south-east of Australia. After an hour and a half, we reached the snowfields at Kosciusko National Park. Once we arrived, we split into two groups and began our ski lessons. For some, it took a while to get the hang of it but others managed to figure it out pretty easily. After our lessons, we took a break for lunch for which we had hotdogs and fruit juice. Later some continued skiing while some decided to sty inside. Those that continued skiing tried to perfect their technique but failed miserably while the more experienced skiers did runs down the mountain. Once it was time to leave, we headed to the town Jinderbyne to pack away our gear and we returned it back at Cooma. After that, it was a straight forward trip back to the motel. Stay tuned for some photos to come!
-Isaac Pun and Subaru Saito-Abdullah
It was a short drive from out stay to the old parliament house which was first opened in 1927. It was one of the first buildings created for the national capital. It is a grand old white building that has since been turned into the Museum of Australian Democracy when the new parliament building opened in 1988. The first exhibit we viewed was an interactive exhibit where we learnt all about Australian Government and even saw Sir Edmund Barton's coatee. After that we went to the old senate where we re-enacted the 1964 debate about conscription in Australia. The debaters were very enthusiastic and had to be stopped much to their dismay.
The film and sound archive was a pretty good experience. We looked at advertisements from the past and present. There were a good variety of advertisements, such as shopping, safety and equality. We also got to see some cool equipment, such as Walkmans, records and film cameras. Some of the things that stuck with me were Dumb Ways To Die and the Vegemite Jingle. All in all, it was pretty fun and funny.
Our guided tour through the National Dinosaur Museum let us explore the many creatures of the past. A few of these creatures include the Allosaurus, and how they can literally 'hug someone to death'. Another creature encountered was an Australian-origin dinosaur, the Australovenator, known to have long flexible arms and super long claws. An interesting fact I learnt was about the Elephant Bird, and how it lays the largest egg! (~15cm)
On 17/7/2018 the G&T class visited high court and learned about the function of each courtroom and some interesting cases such as the Franklin dam case that was quite interesting. The G&T class learned that the court one was used for disputes over the constitution, court two was used as the highest appeal court and court three is a designed to deal with cases which only require a single justice or involve the Chief Justice making decisions on other cases such as how much time other justices, lawyers, etc. get to prepare their cases. Very few cases actually get into the high court (around 10%) because most are dealt with in lower courts and rejected from being dealt with in the high court. The first sorting of the high court was in 1903 at the drums court in Vancouver Melbourne. The current high court building was opened on 26th of may 1980. The court was created soon after federation following section 71 of the Australian constitution. The constitution emphasises the following: nationhood, separation of powers, democracy, freedom, justice and right to vote.
We arrived at the National Library of Australia at around 12:30. Our tour guide, Ben, began by introducing us to the Library's website and telling us how we could take advantage of the its expansive collection of resources as you cannot lend books from the library. From there we went though the library's exhibition: "Changing Times: 1968"which was in celebration of the 50th anniversary. From here our tour guide took us behind the scenes of the library to get a glimpse at the resources and changing technology. On this tour we also met Isaac who was a robot that helped move around the books behind the scenes of the Library.
We are the GATE class of 2018, and have made this blog so that you can see our everyday events and higlights from our week long tour of Canberra.