A time-lapsed image of the Bureau of Meteorology?s radar tower near Captain?s Flat. The tower is 1381.6 metres above sea level. Photo: Gary Eckert
What is it with national capitals and phallic symbols? London has Nelson's Column (51.6 metres) dominating Trafalgar Square, Washington possesses its famous, self-titled 169-metre monument and the French neglected to take down Monsieur Eiffel's 324-metre Meccano-like tower after the 1889 World's Fair.
The Egyptians started it all with the 139-metre Great Pyramid and the Romans followed suit with Trajan's Column at just 35 metres. Sydney came in late with its 309-metre Centrepoint Tower a few decades ago. In Canberra we have the carillon, the Australian-American War Memorial at Russell (also known as either ''the bird'', ''Bugs Bunny'' or ''the rabbit ears'') and our tallest structure, the 195-metre Black Mountain Tower.
None of the above manages to reach the giddy heights of Canberra's least celebrated and most inaccessible massive erection, the Bureau of Meteorology's Boogie Nights-worthy radar tower near Captain's Flat.
A fitting tribute to the ACT's once burgeoning porn industry that should, in hindsight, have been erected in Fyshwick, the structure may initially seem inadequate by comparison to, say, the Washington Monument, given it is only about 23 metres tall. Where our tower has the edge, however, is that it stands on the shoulders of a giant.
''The radar dish is situated on a 22.35-metre cylindrical tower atop Mount Cowangerong at a height of 1381.6 metres above sea level,'' the BOM website states. Its rivals, including the Black Mountain Tower, are sited well below the 800-metre mark.
Asked if the bureau received much comment on the structure's uncanny resemblance to Dr Evil's spaceship in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, a femBOM told Fairfax she did not believe any staff members would be prepared to ''go down that path''.
What we can tell you is that the structure, which really does look like a giant tally-whacker, is some distance south-east of Captain's Flat down a fire trail in the Tallangada State Forest. It is solidly ensconced in NSW even though the sign at the gate proudly claims it as the ''Canberra Weather Radar''.
Due to its elevation the radar dome is capable of ''seeing'' hundreds of kilometres and covers the ACT, the Southern Tablelands, the NSW South Coast and the Monaro region down to the Victorian border.
Gang Gang suspects one reason our most phallic of all capital erections has not received the attention it deserves is that it is hidden away ''on a road never crossed except by folks that are lost'' in order to secure the optimal position for the job at hand.
Gang Gang suggests that if and when the time comes to replace this technological marvel (which underwent a major upgrade as part of a $48 million investment in the weather radar network earlier this year) consideration should be given to using Mount Stromlo.
It would make a wonderful ''talking point'' that would appeal to residents and visitors alike. I'm sure that after taking a look at today's image, taken by Gary Eckert and supplied by the bureau, readers will agree.
■ Note: The Bureau of Meteorology's Sean Carson will be speaking at the Shine Dome this Saturday at 10am, 11.30am and 1pm as part of the bureau's Centenary of Canberra activities.