Gang-gang

Angelo Zorbas (speaking) Minister Simon Corbell and Risemary Dobson's son Robert Bolton at naming of Rosemary Dobson Park, Deakin.

Simon Corbell, left, Angelo Zorbas and Rosemary Dobson's son, Robert Bolton, at the park.

Although left a little under-reported because of the weekend's revolutionary and newsworthy same-sex weddings (not even journalists can be everywhere at once), there was another revolutionary ACT achievement celebrated on Saturday afternoon.

Burghers of ''newer'' Deakin, augmented by Environment and Sustainable Development Minister Simon Corbell, other dignitaries and sports stars, staged a family day embracing the official naming of a hitherto unnamed (and therefore orphaned) local park. Now this little space next to where Strickland Crescent liaises with Norman and Lawley streets in Deakin is Rosemary Dobson Park. Dobson's son, Robert Bolton, was at the ceremony. It is Deakin's Christmas present to itself and, as you can see, the new park's post and plaque were Christmas wrapped for the occasion.

The great poet (1920-2012) lived in Deakin. The plaque at the park boasts her 20-line poem Canberra Morning from a collection of her works published in 1978.

The "pink lady" at Hughes shops.

The Stepping Out (Lady in Pearls) sculpture at Hughes shops is sometimes spray-painted a bright pink.

The naming of the park has been unusually and very democratically achieved. As we reported earlier this year, and while the process was under way, organiser Angelo Zorbas was alerted to the fact that an 800-home zone area of ''newer'' Deakin had a nameless park. Territory and Municipal Services (TAMS) testifies that there are 500 such suburban Canberra parks and so, readers, you must have one near you. What are you going to do to embrace your local orphan?

Zorbas and others entertained the revolutionary idea that local residents might like to have a forceful say in getting the park named, and with a name that they had chosen. The other way is to wait to have a name foisted on your local place by the faceless gnomes of the place names committee. Zorbas got behind the galvanising of the burghers who live in the constituency and now thinks that what's been done in Deakin may be a kind of ''consultative model'' for a deeply democratic process all Canberrans might like to follow for choosing someone to name a park after.

First, a plebiscite was held to decide from which categories of achievement the candidates should come. All of us, thinking of naming our parks, will have to do this because our suburbs have place name themes. Deakin's upmarket, toffish themes include governors-general, governors and diplomats but also ''local identities''.

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A ballot offered the locals six worthies to choose from. One of them was Dobson.

Gang-gang always had every confidence that sensitive, literary Deakin would want the poet and that has come to pass. The process was far more convoluted than we have room to report here or than Zorbas and his pioneering revolutionaries had imagined but the result has been a triumph of The Will Of The (Local) People. So rise up, ye suburbanites! You have nothing to lose but your chains. Pester TAMS, citing the revolutionary example set by the people of newer Deakin.

In Dobson's poem, she notices ''looking slantwise at everyone's morning'' how the Canberra bus driver has ''a book by Sartre in his pocket''.

Sartre! What intellectuals our bus drivers must have been in the 1970s.

If any readers, looking slantwise at their bus drivers, notice what books the drivers are reading these days, please let us know.

Residents new and old tickled pink with life in Hughes

Of course, the most famous person in Hughes is the almost life-size figure of a woman in the Stepping Out (Lady in Pearls) sculpture at the shopping centre. Gerard Murphy and Giovanna Ianniello's statue is looking brown and bronzed at the moment but, occasionally, she is playfully white-washed or spray-painted a bright pink.

She never calls us, but another long-time resident of Hughes, Dawn Thornton, has called to say that she and a neighbour have just calculated, with excitement, that this week (to be precise, Friday the 13th) is the 50th anniversary of the day when they bought their blocks of Hughes land at a government land auction.

They are still living in the homes that arose on those very blocks. Her block, today valued for rates purposes at $500,000, set her and her husband back £100 at the 1963 auction. At the same auction, another block nearby sold for £10.

Dawn and her husband were Hughes pioneers (''There was nothing here,'' she recalls of a site that seems to have been, until then, former poppy paddocks of a CSIRO experimental farm). In 1963, she and her husband of two years were living in established Campbell with the in-laws. So she is not so much a long-time resident of Hughes as an all-time resident.

She can remember how on that 1963 day when her husband dashed over to where she was working to break the news of his purchase and to do some quick juggling of their finances, her first reaction was: ''Hughes! Where the hell is Hughes?''

Today, Hughes nestles in the desirable and fabled inner south. But, of course, Dawn's 1963 reaction to mention of its then-foreign name echoes the way, today, we greet the first mention we've heard of a pioneering new suburb (''Moncrieff? Where the hell's Moncrieff?'') in far-flung Gungahlin.