ACT News


We want you! Archive makes birthday wish to open up the time capital

Is that you posing on Aspen Island in the chic tracksuit? Are you one half of the restaurant couple? How about the T-shirt trio – do they ring a bell? And who's the mini-skirted model at (now Old) Parliament House?

The National Film and Sound Archive have supplied us with these images of unidentified Canberrans from their Film Australia Collection, and hope they might come forward in time for Canberra's birthday weekend.

The images are from Canberra Heart of the Nation, a 1983 promotional video “illustrating the highlights, scenic beauty and sites of tourist interest for all those visitors to the National Capital”.

From a tot on carousel to a bloke playing the pokies with a beer in hand, from a female bus driver to a family playing with a giant ball in an unidentified park, these are decades-old images of Canberra that seem to have faded from memory.

Or have they?

The consensus among archive staff is that the restaurant backdrop for the amorous couple is probably Woodstock in Civic, but are happy to be corrected.


Other than that, no one has been able to confirm the identities of any of the other people in the photographs.

But the three young things in eye-catching Canberra T-shirts - the 1970s answer to the recent Like Canberra campaign – are sure to raise a few smiles of nostalgia, and not only because of the Action bus in the background, and the outline of the pre-Canberra Centre Monaro Mall.

The shirt – issued by the Canberra Chamber of Commerce and made of some kind of synthetic fabric - depicts the Ethos sculpture by Tom Bass in Civic Square as its centerpiece, with a Lake Burley Griffin backdrop, an Australian flag, a stylised Telecom Tower (as it was then known) in the background, and a handful of recognisable cultural institutions.

It was a lot to fit on one shirt, but the message was clear: Canberra is the place to be.

It does, however, stand in stark contrast to the official Centenary T-shirt that will be available in the coming weeks.

A spokeswoman from the Centenary team revealed that this year's souvenir T-shirt would be "good quality, well designed, white with black lettering, with 'Canberra 100' written on the front, and '1913-2013' on the back".

"It will be highly sought after," she said.

The archive has passed on the images as a tantalising glimpse into the kind of footage that will form part of its Centenary highlight event, Ima-gining the Capital, a collection of Canberra film clips culled from the archive's vast collection, and including rare footage of Canberra's naming ceremony on March 12, 1913.

If you know who these people are, or have a good story attached to the photograph, you could win a double pass to see a show at the Famous Spiegel Garden, which opens at the Senate Rose Garden on March 2 and runs until March 24.

Send your information about the photographs, along with your contact details, to You could win a double pass to see a show at the Famous Spiegel Garden which opens in the Senate Rose Garden on March 2-March 24.

Imagining the Capital: Canberra On Film will be screening outdoors in the Senate Rose Garden on Sunday March 10 from 7.30pm.