Our final day on this little jaunt saw us driving from Jindabyne to Canberra where we spent the better part of two days. The country side around Breadalbane and then through Cooma is quite scenic – undulating and a bit reminiscent of the topography of the high plains areas. It was a nice sunny day and that helped to provide a bright atmosphere.
We reached Canberra well in time for lunch and first had a look around the relatively new glass works centre which is in the old Power Station building in Kingston. It is an interesting use of an old industrial site and the glassware is very nice. The cafe there was very busy and all the seats in the shade were taken (it was over 30 degrees on that day) so we decided to drive to the National Botanic Gardens for lunch and a walk.
Lunch at the cafe was very pleasant and we then had a stroll along the main loop walk for 1.2 kilometres which took us through many parts of the gardens. They seem to be laid in sections according to species so one section would contain grevillias, another had wattles and another had many species of calistemon. We saw many of the wild flowers that we had spotted on our recent trip around Western Australia. There is a brand new section in which they have plants from the ‘Red Centre’ of Australia and when that is fully established it will be magnificent.
Our last stop for the day was at St Johns Anglican Church where Jil’s grandparents are buried in the little graveyard around the church. We had another quiet meal at our hotel. Again, it was not very busy so the restaurant was closed, but they still served bar meals.
On our last day, we had an easy and late start. I would have liked to visit the old Parliament House to see some of the political cartoons that were on display, but we couldn’t find anywhere to park within cooee of the place. Instead, we went off to the National Library where we planned to meet up with John & Janine Snare for lunch.
There was a wonderful exhibition of maps at the library. It was easy to pick out a couple of themes. The first was to see how the understanding of the known world developed over time. Some of the early maps such as a Phoenician pewter plate marked with local points, or an aboriginal dreaming map showed the way to very local points. Later, maps of the 14th & 15th centuries began to include broader areas of Europe and early discoveries of SE Asia. One giant map from the early 1400’s from Venice was on display for the very first time outside its original home. Another map that was made around the early 1500’s was the first to show the coastline off North America.
The second theme that I identified was to see the change in perspective over time. Early maps were made without being able to make precise measurements of longitude. Therefore, they appeared stretched out from left to right, although they were correct vertically. It wasn’t until Harrison invented a clock that could accurately keep time at sea that this problem was solved. They had a replica of two of his clocks in the display. Later era maps showed charts made by Captain Cook and maps made by Bass and Flinders in their first circumnavigation of Australia. Overall, it was a fascinating display and one well worth visiting. It will be open until March next year.
After lunch, it was time to head to the airport for our flight home.