‘Canberra’ is a loaded term among Australians. The capital embodies the aspirations, expectations, and disappointments of a nation. It is at once a bold experiment in Australian democracy and a national source of ambivalence and derision, the unfortunate shorthand for the federal government, and a symbol of Australia’s collective disenchantment with politics. Many Australians feel they can speak for the capital and are quick to pass judgement on it. It is hotly contested ground. There is even tension between the Ngunawal, Ngarigu, and Ngambri people over who can speak for country on the Limestone Plains.
'A History of Canberra' by Nicholas Brown
A HISTORY OF CANBERRA
by Nicholas Brown
Cambridge University Press, $39.99 pb, 285 pp, 9781107646094
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Billy Griffiths is a Melbourne-based writer and historian. He is the author of The China Breakthrough: Whitlam in the Middle Kingdom, 1971 (2012) and co-editor (with Mike Smith) of The Australian Archaeologist's Book of Quotations (2015). His latest book is Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia (2018, Black Inc.).
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