At the start of our visit we drove to the top of Dairy Farmers Hill where Richard Moffatt’s Nest III overlooks the wide view. Just the spot an eagle would choose! The Village Centre can be seen on the left, but the other building, the Margaret Whitlam Pavilion is obscured by the metal nest. If you look closely you can see that the sculpture is made from found metal objects, mostly abandoned farming equipment.
The Molonglo River was dammed to form Lake Burley Griffin, the watery heart of our National Capital. The Scrivener dam is just below the arboretum, so from these hills there are wonderful views over the whole of the lake and almost all of Canberra’s significant buildings. Molonglo is thought to come from an aboriginal word meaning ‘like the sound of thunder’ so it is just a little sad to see a placid lake where once the water thundered joyfully!
Autumn colours are starting to shine through the evergreens around Canberra! The day before this visit I had lunch with a friend in Duffy, just to the west of the Woden Valley. After lunch I drove past the arboretum in blazing sunshine, where the young Royal Couple, William and Kate were busy planting an English Oak. It was quite a change to see it cold and cloudy the next day.
Next we visited the Wide Brown Land sculpture, and the Himalayan Cedar forest, which is fairly advanced. Most of the other planting is recent, taking place after the devastating bushfires of 2001 and 2003 cleared the area of an existing Radiata Pine plantation. Duffy, quite close to the arboretum lost about 200 houses in the 2003 bushfire.
The Village Centre is a modern timber construction, making use of local stone to create a sense of space, light and solidity. Interactive displays were well used, especially this microscope and samples easily understood by children. Adults might have had more difficulty!
A rather wonderful Bonsai and Penjing collection is housed adjacent to the Centre, but I will share those images in a separate post. Let’s finish with some serious somersaulting!
There was nothing worse than a muddy knee and a bleeding nose after twenty minutes of this fun. She said “I tried to stop but the ground came up and rolled around me!”