An autumn walk around Old Parliament House in Canberra

This building, affectionately known as ”The Wedding Cake” is Old Parliament House, first opened in 1927.  It is now home to the Museum of Australian Democracy.

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Paul worked in this elegant old building when we first came to Canberra, in 1983. The building, and surrounding gardens hold many memories for Paul and our family…especially the children’s party held in the gardens every Christmas.

Today we are taking advantage of the beautiful autumn weather to walk around the building and then down to Lake Burley Griffin for coffee.

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The Oak trees on the right of the building are just turning into autumn splendour and,

….where there is an acorn, not far away are the cockatoos.

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This is a common sight on the lawns around the Parliamentary buildings

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This monument celebrates the important role of the 13th Century English Magna Carta.

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The monument is sited close to Parliament House and the High Court because the Magna Carta established the framework for the Australian legal system, Constitution and Parliament.

We walked around the building and came to the statue of two Prime Ministers who were also good friends. John Curtin (PM from 1941-1945) on the left, and Ben Chifley (PM from 1945-1949) on the right.

IMG_1894 (995x1024)I have read that Ben Chifley, in the early days of his campaigning, did so on a shoe string. He travelled by train whenever he could, and when he couldn’t, he drove himself. His wife Liz always packed him a lunchbox and he also took his billy to make some tea along the way. He loved stopping by the wayside, gathering a few twigs, and boiling his billy at any time of the day.

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During Parliamentary sitting times the two men lodged in a small hotel nearby, called the Kurrajong, not far from Parliament House, and often walked this path together.

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When Ben Chifley died there was a wonderful quote attributed to Oliver Hogue:

”He understood the human heart, the ideals, the ambitions, the follies, the passion of men and women. Chifley put tolerance amongst the highest virtues, and had it in large measure himself.”

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Walking along the paths of the Parliamentary Triangle on such a fine day, it is particularly special to see the variety of trees…the Eucalypts look very striking amongst the contrasting colours of other species.

The galahs are having an autumn feast amongst the leaves.

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Further down the path towards Lake Burley Griffin are the beautiful Claret Ash trees….and Black Mountain Tower in the distance.

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The autumn days are warm and sunny and there is usually no wind, most people are out and about as much as possible. (and yes, I know, winter cometh…)

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The Manchurian Pear trees along the edge of Lake Burley Griffin are a much loved sight in autumn.

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About a month ago we took a boat ride around the lake, unfortunately the weather was hazy and cloudy that day. However, Paul took this great photo,  of the National Library…this is undoubtedly my favourite building..

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and looking back on it, we were surprised to see that the Claret Ashes were turning red, even in mid March.

As it is time to head homeward, we walk back to the car..

…well hello, you are never alone near an Oak tree…

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I wonder if he is searching for something to eat, or, merely breaking off a few branches… just for fun….?

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Happy weekend everyone!

24 Replies to “An autumn walk around Old Parliament House in Canberra”

    1. Yes, I agree it is nice to see them free, and they don’t mind attention either! According to my ”Birds in Canberra” book they spend most of the autumn and winter here around Canberra as there is so much food for them, and then migrate to the mountain ranges to breed in spring.

  1. What a lovely walk, Gerrie! I can’t imagine seeing Cockatoos in the wild. Amazing. Ben Chifley sounds like such a down-to-earth and honest person. The world could do with more leaders like him. How he would despise the corruption and extravagant show which many of today’s politicians seem to indulge in. Happy weekend to you too. x

    1. Oh yes, I thought exactly the same about politicians when I read about Ben Chifley, and campaigning has reached a ridiculous level….wouldn’t it be good to go back to the basics. Well, we have the cockatoos here in the wild, but I’m in awe at the alligators and lizards you have! Blogging is an education!

    1. Yes, autumn is lovely, but it is good to have a reminder of spring, I have been enjoying the spring blogs from the Northern Hemisphere. Thanks for stopping by..

  2. Struth, that building really does look like a wedding cake! I did enjoy the beautiful russet canopies and the pictures of the cockatoos and galahs, and what wonderful words for Ben! xxx

    1. Thanks Dina, yes the cockatoos almost deserve a blog of their own, they are such personalities, and don’t mind a photo or two being taken! Ben Chifley lived in a much simpler age, he could be a role model for some these days!

  3. What a great man Ben Chifley was. and what a beautiful place to have parliament house. I loved going here and watching autumn slowly descend on the trees. Thanks for taking me back there

    1. Thanks Pauline, yes, autumn is definitely the best time in Canberra, very soon we will all be packing our bags and heading up to your part of the world!

    1. Yes the cockatoos look striking in the oak trees in autumn, glad I thought to take some photos of them, they are such personalities.

  4. I always love joining you on a trip around your beautiful country, but I must admit I am amazed every single time by the beauty of the birds. The only way we see a bird that beautiful is to go to a pet store where it is locked in a small cage or a zoo. It must be wonderful to see them in their natural surroundings. 🙂

    1. We always take cockatoos for granted here in Canberra they are so much a part of the landscape, so I’m glad I took up blogging and learnt to really appreciate them through the comments from people in other countries…and as you say, lovely to see them in the wild, caged would be dreadful.

  5. Thanks for the tour! I enjoy visiting Capitol buildings and their grounds. Wonderful bird life around the building. Didn’t realize you had such good fall color in Australia.

    1. Yes we do have lovely autumn colours in this part of Australia. And as for the cockatoos, I think they deserve their very own post, they are such characters, and very much a part of life in the capital.

  6. It lovely to see your fantastic autumn colours and learn more about your surroundings. It’s strange seeing these birds roaming free as we are used to seeing these varieties in cages. What a shame today’s politicians can’t follow Ben Chifley example on the campaign trail! Sarah x

    1. Thanks Sarah …. So true about Ben Chifley’s way of campaigning … Wish today’s politicians could keep it simple. It is awful to think of cockatoos being caged .. Although they are occasionally caged here as pets it is so good to see them in the wild.

  7. travelling by train and making his own tea – I wish our ‘noble leader’ spoke that language. Sigh.

    Wonderful to see cockatoos living wild and free, instead of confined to a tiny cage.

    1. Oh yes, I think taking the train and making your own tea would never happen! I agree it is great to see these wonderful birds free, able to fly, and also show their own personalities.

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