Canberra's iconic Cummings concrete bus shelters are definitely not for sale (On the Move, May 9) but it seems many readers would still love to score one for their backyard.
Steve Ulrich would especially like one for the nostalgia. "They are awesome, and a bigger part of Canberra's history than most realise," reflects Steve. "They represent a Canberra before 'self-government', and a simpler time."
Several readers including Jess McRice think they'd especially make a good cubby, and Todd Baker, a well-known street-skater has even mastered a trick in a Canberra bus shelter.
"It was back in 2013, at a construction site on Constitution Avenue opposite the new ASIO building, where there are now apartments and restaurants," recalls shutterbug Dean Johnson who captured the moment on camera.
"The shelter was only on its for side for a day or two so we were lucky to come across it when we did," reports Dean. "One of the best parts of street skating is exploring the city and finding hidden gems like this."
And for all the skater enthusiasts out there, according to Dean, "Todd is doing a trick called a "Smith Stall" where his back wheels/trucks stall over the edge of the shelter window."
"The transition was very tight which made it quite tricky to skate", explains Dean. I bet it was.
Meanwhile, one Canberra couple are so smitten by the indestructible concrete shelters they recently requested their wedding photos be taken in one.
"I love them so much, I think they are so iconic," reports Tammy-Lee Purssell who posed with her husband Corey O'Driscoll on their wedding day last October at a shelter on Schlich Street, Yarralumla.
"Being a Saturday afternoon thankfully we didn't disturb anyone waiting in the shelter while we were there," recalls Tammy. "But a few passing cars did honk and wish us well."
Backed by parkland and Black Mountain Tower, the retro bus shelter is perfectly situated for that iconic Canberra snap.
Last stone standing
One Canberran particularly miffed that many of Cranleigh Homestead's foundation stones which were removed from the historic site and scattered around some Belconnen suburbs in 1986, have since been pilfered (Commander to Recluse, the story of Major General Legge, May 9), is Justin Bush of Bruce.
"Cranleigh and its stones occupy a special place in my mind, a place where my father and I enjoyed ... time exploring and speculating as a child," explains Justin, adding, "and now as a father myself, a place where my love of Belconnen history and spending time with my own boys is consolidated in one place".
Justin would like the ACT government "to consider returning some of the remaining stones to the historic property, to ensure history is best represented by more than a simple plaque".
Several other readers also believe Major General Legge, the original owner of Cranleigh, ought to be better recognised at the site of his former homestead on the corner of Southern Cross and Kingsford Smith Drives.
"The area should at least be named after him" attests Ken Eynon while Charlie Watson of Latham laments, "the current (small) monument is a pretty miserable effort".
Too much of a good thing
More examples of novel ways readers are recycling Canberra red bricks continue to fill my inbox.
"By now, you must have enough to write a book about," muses Cherelle and Mark Power of Higgins, who, after recently acquiring an antique 'Canberra' wood stove, went on the search for something appropriate to raise it off their back deck.
"For authenticity, we had no choice, we just had to put the stove on genuine Canberra red bricks," reports the duo.
Meanwhile, David Salt from Ainslie is one of several readers artistically hoarding the sought-after bricks.
"I love them," he says. "Besides the fact that they form the base of my home (built in the late 1930s), they are my landscaping material of choice.
"They are quite expensive to buy these days," explains David, who, whenever he gets a delivery of the prized bricks, "for fear of getting them pinched" immediately moves them inside his locked yard.
Not having an immediate use for his first few deliveries, David placed the bricks "in small piles resembling ziggurats so they were stable and weren't likely to topple over". So happy with the effect of the mini towers that lined his back path (made of Canberra reds, of course) David decided to leave them in situ.
"They aren't concreted in but have stayed exactly as I placed them 17 years ago," reports David, who confesses to having "many other ziggurats around the garden waiting to be used in some future gardening project".
However, for some readers, it seems you can have too many Canberra reds. David Moncrieff of Ngunnawal, reports "when we were looking at houses to buy in 2002, we saw a house in Macgregor that was built from Canberra reds, many of which were left exposed on the internal walls".
"The real estate agent claimed they'd been recycled from the old Queanbeyan Court House," recalls David, adding "just about every room had raw brick facings and, while it was attractive, it was a just a bit too much to bear".
Further to this column's recent exposé on the lone stobie pole spotted lurking on the lower slopes of Red Hill (On the hunt for suburban oddities, May 16) John Maxwell, a South Australian expat, reports there is a cluster of the 'far from home' power poles on the Cotter Road and Eucumbene Drive. "They run all the way down to, and over, the Cotter River," reports John, who, like your akubra-clad columnist, would like to know why the South Australian icons ended up in the ACT.
Over the last few weeks, many Canberrans, including David Osmond of Dickson, have reported increased numbers of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos (YTBC) in our suburbs.
David has spotted several of the vociferous birds stripping tree trunks in search of food at Mt Stromlo as well as squawking in trees near the corner of the Federal Highway and Horse Park Drive in Canberra's north.
Geoffrey Dabb, this column's resident ornithologist, explains: "YTBCs are being reported quite frequently in recent months excavating larvae from tree trunks for food. This is a seasonal thing, although some people wonder if there might be more this year because of the fires". According to Geoffrey, "the roosting strongholds of the species are Kowen Forest and the Molonglo River valley below Scrivener Dam, but they often need to go further afield to find trees with hollows large enough for them to nest in".
Meanwhile, avian-snapper David Flannery captured this spectacular shot of a "YTBC ceremonial flypast at Mt Taylor". What a ripper.
Super sleuth David Wade of Holt may have identified the two towns referred to on the out-of-place historic road marker hidden in bushes in Macgregor with 'M 22' written on one side, and 'Y 20' on the other (Spotted, May 9).
"If travelling from M to Y, the Y would have been facing you, while the M would have been facing travellers going in the opposite direction," reports David, who after studying local maps in search of towns 42 miles (about 68km) apart, believes the likely suspects are Yass and Murrumburrah.
What's more, Dave believes he may have narrowed down the location of the marker before it was likely moved (for reasons unknown) to Macgregor. "I'd hazard a guess the marker originally came from Binalong," which is about mid-way between Yass and Murrumbateman, he explains.
WHERE IN CANBERRA?
Clue: Near the wiggly bridge
Degree of difficulty: Hard
Last week: Congratulations to Bob Hall of Kambah who was first to correctly identify the location of last week's photo as the crusher at the long-closed original quarry at Mt Mugga. Bob just beat Richard Robinson of Mawson, Janet O'Dell-Teys of Fadden and Ian Peterson, who recalls working, in the 1960s, at Mt Mugga # 2 quarry "in the very noisy, dusty rock crushing area". "It was the worst job in my life," he attests.
Bob reports "the original Mugga quarry opened some time in the 1920s and closed in 1930, and due mainly to the hard nature of the stone, which was transported to the crusher by a cableway, caused unacceptable wear on the crusher". According to Bob, the stone quarried also had a high silica content in the dust, which resulted in health problems among the workers".
Bob believes the crusher from Mugga may have been moved to a new site on Mt Ainslie, which remained in operation until 1939, when it was decided that it was cheaper to source supplies from larger operators in Sydney.
"Whilst there are some remnants of the Mugga site, they are locked off to the public, but the Mt Ainslie site is readily accessible (if you know where to look) and provides a fascinating insight into a small part of Canberra's history", reports Bob.
How to enter: Email your guess along with your name and suburb to firstname.lastname@example.org. The first email sent after 10am, Saturday May 23, 2020, wins bragging rights. Tickets to Dendy Cinemas will once again be given as a prize when the cinemas reopen.
"On a recent walk to a favourite gully on Black Mountain my kids spotted a number of 'dragon heads', formed by the junction of the butt of the tree and any low forks in the trunk," reports Chris Howard of Kaleen.
This particular 'dragon' looks like it's had a crash landing. "Its nose is submerged in the ground," muses Chris. For anyone wanting to check it out, it's just over the Caswell Drive stile at the start of the Callitris Track.