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Cartoonist David Pope maps Canberra's Lake Burley Griffin one lycra-clad cyclist at a time

Don't be surprised if you spot Canberra Times cartoonist David Pope cycling around Lake Burley Griffin this weekend.

Pope is putting the finishing touches to a commemorative illustration of Lake Burley Griffin which will be revealed in The Canberra Times on October 18 to mark the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of Canberra's ornamental centrepiece.

"I'll go for one final cycle around the lake on the weekend just to make sure I haven't left out anything too important," Pope, also a keen lake kayaker, said on Friday.

Pope's elaborate visual tribute is designed to resemble an old-world map of the lake, but with the award-winning political cartoonist's whimsical sense of humour and trademark cheekiness dotted in every cove. 

"I want to hark back to a time when illustrative elements were a stronger feature of maps and they did more than just convey information in a dry manner, but tell an emotional sense of the story," he said.

"The more things I include the more I realise I'm leaving things out as there are so many stories around the lake and that's really struck me while drawing this."


Pope's playful style can be seen in every corner of the map, from a terrifying algae monster in the East Basin to a lycra-clad cyclist speeding through Stirling Park.

The national institutions that surround the lake are represented, as is everyone's favourite lake event of yesteryear, the Birdman Rally.

In a quiet corner office off the Canberra Times newsroom, Pope can be seen leaning over his digital notepad fine-tuning the map and the creatures and characters adorning its depths and shores.

"I've been working digitally for about three years and I don't really miss working on paper to be honest, although I still doodle away on the sketch pad," he said.

A souvenir poster of Pope's tribute will be published in The Canberra Times on October 18.

The art work is also available to buy as a limited-edition reproduction on archival paper, framed or unframed.

Each of the 500 copies is signed by Pope and accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity signed by the Editor-in-Chief of The Canberra Times, Rod Quinn.

To order your limited-edition print go to: