We left Sydney on the 6th in our new rental vehicle. Our last one, for the trip down to Sydney, was a white 8 seater Toyota Tarago van. This time we were fewer people – five – so we rented a cool blue 5 seater four door Ford Falcon for the drive to Melbourne. We stopped in Canberra, the capital of Australia, for our first night. Having missed a turn to our planned hostel, we ended up going over the bridge to the parliament buildings. We decided we might as well go in before going to the hostel, so we parked the car and went in.
Australia’s national parliament house is really weird – in a good and bad way, in my opinion. The outside appearance is nifty – very modern, even with a grass lawn on the roof.
However, having been built in 1986, the interior really shows what was a very bad decade for interior design (again, only my opinion). The lower house of the parliament, the House of Representatives, is a really ugly green. Traditionally, British colour for the lower house is a really nice green, as you can see in Ottawa. In 1986, however, the people designing Australia’s new parliament decided that an Australian green – the grey-green colour of the leaves of a gum tree – was more suitable. I disagree and think it’s hideous.
The upper house, the Senate, is traditionally a rich red colour, but in the case of Australia it’s sort of pinkish almost. I can’t remember what the justification for that was…
Either way, I think I’d be depressed by the colours around me if I had to work in those environments. But again, that’s just me.
One nifty thing in the building is quite unique – the Magna Carta. This is the document that turned England into a constitutional monarchy rather than an absolute monarchy. Produced in 1297, it was found by an English history teacher in an English school in the early 1950s. The school auctioned it off to pay for a new wing, and the Australian government bid the highest. The photo is horrible because it’s displayed in darkness and no flash photography is allowed. I had no tripod too take a proper long exposure photo.
The public is allowed to access the roof of the building as well, until 5pm. We went up about 5 minutes before 5pm, as the sun was going down.
The Telstra Tower on the horizon. We didn’t bother going to see it close up or take an elevator to the top for a view of Canberra. Telstra is the big telecommunications company here in Australia.
To be continued…