Sunday, October 22, 2006

Beloved Canberra

It is just wonderful to reacquaint myself with my beloved city of Canberra.

I love the dry parched grass, the ACTION buses, the space, the bird life and the trees and flowers, and the lazy, sunny spacious pace of life

Even better, my family loves it too - thank heavens.

Driving down Commonwealth Avenue reminded me that the word 'Commonwealth' is not used much these days. It certainly was in the days when I worked directly for the Commonwealth, in the Department of the Treasury.

These days in a Howard government innovation, copied from the Whitlam government, everything has been rebranded "Australian Government, Capital Hill Canberra" - as if Capital Hill is Australia's HQ.

It is true that Capital Hill is where the Parliament is, although the other sadly ironic truth is that Walter Burley Griffin insisted that Capital Hill was where Australia's Parliament should NOT be.

He thought that "Capitol Hill" * was too important a location for either the Parliament or the administration. It was a site he set aside for the Australian people which should look down on the Parliament - which would either at Camp Hill below it, in the location of the first Parliament House or by the water. The administration would be somewhere else, such as West Block.

And then there's the question of logos and branding. Everything 'Government of Australia' now has to have Australia's coat of arms as its logo - logos such as the Tax Office's etc have been ditched.

I looked up the website of Screensound Australia. I thought it would be a nice place to take our children. It has reverted back to its old name: The National Film and Sound Archive, with an Australian Coat of Arms as its logo, of course.

*Griffin's name for Capital Hill ("Capitol Hill") corrected. Thanks Andrew Leigh.