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Granville Allen Mawer

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’.

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