August 30 , 2007

Canberra Red

Stories from the bush capital


'Canberra is not simply a city. It is a chosen city.' - Marion Halligan
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Dragged from the big metropolises of Sydney and Melbourne in the 1920s, a first generation of federal government workers settled into humble red brick Canberra 'govvies' on the brown paddocks of the Limestone Plains. They complained about the cold and the lack of pubs. But over time, like the first pioneers a century earlier, they embraced their new home. They grew fond of the peaceful tree-lined streets of their garden city in the bush, proud of what had been created around the muddy Molonglo River.

Canberra Red takes us beyond the elected reps and national landmarks, beyond the neat maps and ubiquitous aerial photographs that are the public face of the planned, political city. Some of Canberra's best known writers reveal what it is that makes their special city tick, and what has become of the grand vision of Walter Burley Griffin and his extraordinary partner, Marion.

Including chapters from Marion Halligan, Frank Moorhouse and Andrew Sayers, lyrics from the unforgettable P. Harness, and newly 'discovered' postcards from Walter Burley Griffin himself, Canberra Red is a thoughtful and warm evocation of a city that has come of age.
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