Tuesday Travels. . . A Canberra attraction that is often missed by tourists

Canberra, as our nation’s capital, has many attractions for the tourists but one which is perhaps not as well known as the others is the National Archives. . . . “We are the nation’s memory – a living collection of government records illuminating our history and identity.”

It is an unprepossessing building which in its former life housed government offices and was a post office. You can read its history on the red sign shown in the photo.

The Archives building is hidden away to the back and left of old Parliament House.  It is in the Parliamentary triangle so is within easy access of the Parliament buildings, the Art Gallery, the Portrait Gallery, the High Court and Questacon – Science and Technology Centre. . . . . . .all worth a visit.

It had been a while since we had last been there so decided to pay a visit.  There was an excellent exhibition on the life of Gough Whitlam, one of our previous prime ministers.  The archives has much to commend it and I suggest you take a quick look at the National Archives of Australia website to get some idea of what to expect if you decide to visit.

I have used the online facility to research my family’s arrival in Australia.  You can get copies of documents and can make use of the reading room.  My younger daughter was able to get copies of the Defence service record of her grandpa who served on the Kokoda Track in World War 2.

 

 

Tuesday Travels. . . .National Portrait Gallery, Canberra

“Look into the eyes of over 400 people who’ve shaped the nation at the National Portrait Gallery, on the shores of Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin.”

On a recent visit to Canberra that is exactly what we did.  There was a particular part of the gallery devoted to an exhibition of Women in Focus.

This Gallery requires you to really take your time as the accompanying captions to the portraits provide so much information which furthers understanding of the particular portrait.  John Brack is one of my favourite artists so I was pleased to find portraits by him, one being in the Women in Focus exhibition.

The Portrait Gallery displays portraits in a variety of mediums and photography has become more prevalent in recent times.

After viewing Women in Focus the remainder of our time was spent in the rest of the gallery.

Various sporting identities were included with one prominent rugby union player displayed.

It has been a few years since I last visited the Portrait Gallery and it was an enjoyable visit.  Like all galleries only a fraction of the collection is on display at any time and it was with this thought that I bought this book.Now I can dip into the book and imagine I am at the Gallery. Each portrait is accompanied by the information relating to both the artist and the sitter. A potted look at Australia’s history and culture.

Do you have Shopperdocket where you live?

I have never really looked closely at the back of the dockets that you get when you pay for  your shopping, that is until recently.  I happened to look at the back of the docket and noticed that there was an ad for two nights stay at Moama/Echuca and it was at a very reasonable price.  I thought it would make an interesting trip for us to do during the week so checked with my husband and we decided to use the offer as it had been decades since we were last there.

Port of EchucaWe had two nights staying in Moama and we spent a day in Echuca.   Part of the deal was an hour river trip.

Moama is in New South Wales and Echuca is in Victoria.  The river Murray forms the border.  In the 1870s Echuca was Australia’s largest inland port and the third largest port outside Sydney and Melbourne.

The port was used as the backdrop for a very successful Australian television series in 1984 All the Rivers Run.

all-the-rivers-run

This is the boat used in the tv series for the wedding ceremony.

mission boat It was a mission boat.  You can just see the cross on the top of the cabin.  The boat used to cruise the river to do baptisms, weddings, funerals etc. but it is now privately owned.

As part of the television series the tarred street was changed to dirt and wooden street guttering was installed.  The township left it like that after the filming was finished and it adds to the historical feel of the township.

EchucaToday Echuca is a tourist attraction with the opportunity to cruise on on the river in a steam driven paddlesteamer. We chose to ride on the Canberra as a nod to our past history there.

The river appears to be low particularly when you see the height of the wharf.

Echuca wharfThere are three different levels to cater for when the river is in flood.

Part of our tour of the port was a visit to the Star Hotel.

We were able to go through the tunnel that was used by the illegal drinkers.

All the paddlesteamers on the river are boats that have been restored but there is one hull that is waiting to be restored and that is from the steamer Success.  You can see what a poor state the hull is in and it will take millions of dollars to restore it fortunately they have already restored the engine.  You can click on the pictures to get a closer view.

Echuca is certainly worth the visit to explore part of Australia’s past.