Allan Takes Aim Blog

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Posted on: 31 March 2012

Canberra’s Centenary-Australia’s biggest ever birthday party

Let me present to readers a brief history of Canberra, home for the Allan family for more than forty years.

Most readers probably know is Canberra is not only the seat of Australian Government but also Australia’s National Capital. What they might not know is that land for the Capital was excised from the State of New South Wales.
Some might not know either that the design of the city came from two Chicago architects, the husband and wife team of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony, who won the 1912 International architectural competition to design the capital.

When the first sod of the new Capital was turned in March 1913 the area’s population was very small. It has grown slowly but now numbers around 350,000. Most of the population were public servants. They still are.
Many of the first buildings erected were for Government Departments and houses for residents to live in.

Being in the mood to flatter Canberra let me say the face of the baby city was beautiful but as is generally the case with all babies it has developed into a strikingly beautiful modern city. You might want to take that comment with a pinch of salt as some of its critics have said to me that I must have forgotten the old adage that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

However, despite it being Australia’s national capital arguments about the city’s planning started even before the first brick was laid. Needless to say, ever since, arguments about the plan have continued. Ninety nine years later they are still going on. Indeed I doubt they will ever stop. And perhaps it could be said with some degree of truth, that without planning arguments, Canberra might have become the deserted capital.

Nevertheless, despite the arguments, next year Canberra will celebrate its hundredth birthday with an almost non-stop party that not only will leave visitors and residents exhausted but also will change for ever Canberra’s reputation as a stodgy, sterile, and unexciting city where nothing ever happens

In fact the year 2013 will be so exhausting that for a short time afterwards Canberra might well become the deserted Capital as residents go elsewhere to recover.

It’s early days yet I know but, after August, let me suggest that as well as reading my website,, read the Canberra Centenary website http://www.canberra and the Chronicle’s www:// to see what Canberra has in store.

And next year when you come for a holiday let The Chronicle know. In the meantime keep an eye on the Centenary and Chronice websites for the non-stop party updates.


30 Responses to "Next Post"

Don, there seems to be a big mix-up with your dates in this. You say that the Architectural competition took place in 1012 and that the first sod was turned in March 2013. I stopped reading after that. I’ll come back tomorrow.

Lady Mmarylin,
Many thanks for your notice. Errors now fixed. fixed
Best regards,

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