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Canberra celebrates centenary

Performers PrepareCanberra, Australia’s national capital and symbol of democratic freedom, is in celebration mode. On Tuesday, March 12, the city commemorated 100 years since it was officially named, but the party is going all year – and you are invited! Says ACT’s Chief Minister, Katy Gallagher.

While commemorating a centenary is a perfect reason to produce exhibitions,  festivals, performances and more under a celebratory banner, Canberra is doing more. Centenary 100 creative director Robyn Archer AO has curated a yearlong program of events to highlight the city’s colourful history and its more recent achievements in the areas of sport, music, science and innovation, art and culture.

The Centenary of Canberra is a chance to re-imagine and redefine the national capital,” Robyn says. “It celebrates the physical and human city the media so often ignores.

“The big things happening include sports, theatre from every corner of Australia, music every day in unusual places, a lecture series covering a huge range of issues. “A theme is Canberra as the design capital – CAPITheticAL, exhibitions at 100 Signthe National Archives, National Library, National Museum and the Gallery of Australian Design.

The Centenary of Canberra celebrates the history and heritage of one of the most enduring planned cities in the world and at the same time highlights its lively present and bright future.

The goals of 100 Canberra are far greater than parties and self-promotion, They are to increase the pride  and  ownerships of Australians in their capital and to create impetus for future development of the national capital.

“By the end of 2013 no one will look at Canberra the same way again,” Robyn says.

Like Canberra Campaign

Part of the process of engaging locals and visitors alike in the Centenary celebrations has been the Like Canberra Campaign, which was launched in October last year to find the top 100 reasons why locals like living in the ACT.

ACT Minister for the Arts, Joy Burch, said: “The aim of the ‘Like Canberra’ campaign was to get people talking about what a great city we share, and to ultimately put together a list of the 100 things we like most about Canberra.

“After two months of polling, where almost 135,000 votes were received, we have finally arrived at our ‘Top100’. “The list includes an amazing variety of people’s favourite places, activities and experiences – a real indication that there is so much to do and see in our city.”

CANBERRA’S ‘TOP TEN’ FAVOURITE THINGS, IN ORDER FROM 1 TO TEN ARE:

  1. FLORIADE/NIGHT FEST
  2. FANTASTIC VIEWS OF THE MOUNTAINS
  3. SCOTTY & NIGE FROM 104.7
  4. SKYFIRE
  5. SUMMERNATS
  6. AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL
  7. QUESTACON
  8. NATIONAL ZOO AND AQUARIUM
  9. OLD BUS DEPOT MARKETS
  10. BRODBURGER

You can see the full list of the Like Canberra Top 100 at www.likecanberra.com.au.

“By the end of 2013 no one will look at Canberra the same way again,” Robyn says.

CANBERRA FACTS

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THE BASICS

Canberra is a young and modern inland city with a population of 363,000.

Australia’s modern culture, history, and way of life are reflected in the many museums, galleries and outdoor activities that Canberra offers.

This year Canberra is celebrating its 100 birthday with a year-long program of amazing events and activities. All of the Centenary of Canberra events can be found at canberra100.com.au

Located on the ancient lands of the Indigenous Ngunnawal people, Canberra’s name is thought to mean ‘meeting place’, derived from the Aboriginal word Kamberra.

SO MUCH TO SEE AND DO

There’s so much to see and do in Canberra. At the National Gallery of Australia, you can see the country’s national art collection and the world’s largest collection of Australian Indigenous art. The Gallery is currently drawing big crowds with its summer blockbuster, Toulouse-Lautrec: Paris & The Moulin Rouge, a retrospective of artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Commemorate, reflect and remember at the Australian War Memorial. It’s currently showing an exhibition Remember Me: The Lost Diggers of Vignacourt. On display are prints of unknown Australian First World War soldiers, following the discovery of a trunk of glass plate negatives in a French farmhouse in 2011. The War Memorial is currently calling on Australians with relatives who served in France during that war to help it identify the soldiers.

Canberra’s newest attraction, the National Arboretum Canberra, openedon 2 February 2013. It features 100 forests  and 100 gardens and includes different types of threatened and symbolic trees from around Australia and the world. It’s set on 250 hectares of parkland just 6km from the city centre and has spectacular views of the city, Lake Burley Griffin, and surrounding forests.

The Australian National Botanic Gardens is one of the city’s must-see gems and home to 70,000 native plants – a third of all plant species found in Australia.

You can discover the characters and stories that have shaped our nation at the National Museum of Australia. 

Be inspired by the strength, skill and commitment needed by elite athletes to succeed in their chosen fields at the Australian Institute of Sport. The Institute runs athlete-guided tours of the facility, which offer visitors the chance to test their sporting skills.

See the country through the eyes of artists at the National Portrait Gallery, and uncover the events that have shaped our nation at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House.

Inspire the kids with science at the family-friendly Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre. Its newest gallery, Deep Oceans, looks at the creatures living deep below the earth’s surface.

At the National Zoo & Aquarium you can Meet-a-cheetah, see white lions and a Bengal tiger, and much more

ON YOUR BIKE!
Family friendly, Canberra has a great network of parks and reserves with walking trails and cycle ways. It is the perfect way to explore the city or stop for a picnic. You can hire a bike at the lake and enjoy Canberra’s extensive network of cycle paths, or grab your mountain bike for a thrilling ride down Mount Stromlo at the multi-use sporting facility at Stromlo Forest Park.

GREAT RESTAURANTS & CAFES

Canberra has a fantastic selection of restaurants and cafes. You’ll find many of them in precincts such as Manuka, Kingston, the city, Braddon and Dickson.

AROUND CANBERRA

Just outside Canberra is Tidbinbilla. It offers outstanding wildlife viewing, the Sanctuary wetlands, bushwalking, great BBQ spots and fun for kids at the Discovery Playground.

The surrounding Canberra district wine region is home to 140 vineyards that create excellent cool climate wines. Riesling is seen as the standout white variety here, and Shiraz the standout red. More than 33 wineries are within 35 minutes drive of Canberra, ideal for spending an afternoon visiting cellar doors and sampling award-winning wines. Many wineries have cafes or restaurants. Festivals and events are held at the wineries throughout the year.

Canberra is a great base to explore the nearby pristine Snowy Mountains and sparkling South Coast – both are just over a two-hour drive from the city centre.

MORE INFORMATION

If you are planning a visit to Canberra, you can find plenty of information on what’s on as well as check out accommodation available, at visitcanberra.com.au or by calling 1300 554 114.

To find out about the exciting events planned for Canberra’s Centenary, visit canberra100.com.au.