I n 2013, Australians will celebrate the centenary of modern Canberra. This singular anniversary – intensely local but also emphatically national – commemorates not the actual building of the capital (that process was fraught and would not gather pace until the 1920s), but rather the optimistic laying on 12 March 1913 of three foundation stones for the grandiosely named Commencement Column on Capital Hill where the Australian Parliament, seat of our increasingly raucous national democracy, stands today. The high point of the ceremony was the naming by Lady Denman (wife of the governor-general) of Australia’s new capital as ‘Canberra’.
Granville Allen Mawer: Canberry Tales
Canberry Tales: An Informal History
by Granville Allen Mawer
Arcadia Publishing, $39.95 pb, 255 pp, 9781921875649
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John Thompson is a historian and writer now living in Sydney after a long career at the National Library of Australia in Canberra. He holds a doctorate in history from the Australian National University and has written for various journals. He is a frequent reviewer for Australian Book Review. The author of The Patrician and the Bloke: Geoffrey Serle and the Making of Australian History (2006), he co-edited (with Brenda Niall) The Oxford Book of Australian Letters (1998). His anthology Documents that Shaped Australia was published in 2010.
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