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It's the little things that make us Like Canberra

Balloons above Canberra.

Balloons above Canberra. Photo: Graham Tidy

The Like Canberra campaign – the campaign, that is, not the whole website debacle – has really got us thinking over here at The Canberra Times.

I’ve just finished writing a piece for the weekend about the Melbourne literary journal Meanjin, which next month is putting out an entire edition devoted to Canberra. The editor, Zora Sanders, said the whole process of putting the edition together made her really nostalgic for the place (she spent her childhood here), and the range of writing that came through has shown how multi-layered the city is. Physically, emotionally, functionally, artistically - it’s no longer feasible to claim a definitive last word on the place.

One of the writers, Canberra author and curator Yolande Norris, who at this very moment is busy getting ready for the cross-arts You Are Here festival, of which she’s the co-producer, has a beautiful piece in the volume about how tedious it is feels to constantly defend Canberra against ignorant naysayers – even the well-meaning ones. But then, she writes, “it feels irrelevant to talk about currawongs calling before rain”.

Rowing on Lake Burley Griffin.

Rowing on Lake Burley Griffin. Photo: Paul Jurak

That’s just it, isn’t it? It’s the small things that, when said aloud, don’t always sound like the best retort to someone moaning about Canberra being boring blah blah blah.

Here at The Canberra Times, we’re also busy putting together a list of what we, in the newsroom, love about Canberra. The sound of hot air balloons in autumn. The alpacas at Pialligo. Rowing on the glassy lake in winter. The wildflowers on Farrer Ridge.

Could you get more poetic?

Native wild flowers on Farrer Ridge.

Native wild flowers on Farrer Ridge.

Actually, come to think of it, that’s not a rhetorical question. What are some of the things you love about Canberra? And don’t get all “McDonalds” and “Salads are yummy in the summer” on me. There are so many small, distinct pleasures to be had at every time of year in Canberra. It’s time to articulate them.

4 comments so far

  • Love this article. There is a bit of a #canberraloveletter fever on twitter - my love letter is here: - would love to see more love letters (whether it's as short as a tweet or a comment or as long as a blog post)!

    In The Taratory
    Date and time
    March 01, 2013, 10:20AM
    • Agree, great article! I love the four seasons in Canberra, particulaly Autumn where the oak trees turn beautiful reds and golds, and walking through Westbourne Woods. My dad's parents first arrived in Canberra in 1910 (3 years before Canberra's birthdate) so our family has seen many changes over the years with the Lake established and the growth in Canberra, etc.

      Date and time
      March 01, 2013, 11:17AM
      • I love the way the media use he word "Canberra" to refer to federal parliament, which then degrades the rest of Canberra.

        Date and time
        March 01, 2013, 11:27AM
        • What I like about Canberra, would you settle for what I 'LIKED' about Canberra.
          I LIKED the smell of Av Gas or Methanol on a Saturday night or Sunday afternoon, the skill of serious drag racers skillfully reading the start line tree and the exciement, colour and presentaion of sanctioned drag racing.
          I LIKED the professional presentation and excitment of the V8 Supercars and their door handle to door handle racing around the streets of Canberra.
          And I miss real speedway racing but that was 100 yards outside the ACT and even though it had a strong ACT influence.
          Thats what I LIKE / D about Canberra.

          MIKE the HAMMER
          Date and time
          March 01, 2013, 12:10PM

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