30 July 2006

60 years of ANU

We happen to be visiting ANU when they are celebrating their "historical" 60th anniversary. Mind you, 60 years is pretty old for anything here in Canberra. To mark the day, the uni had arranged a range of Sunday activities, including free food, a football (soccer) match, some exhibitions and a nice variety of concerts. Mostly, though, it seemed as if people had turned up for the food, and since in Australia the default menu is always some sort of barbie, people ended up waiting in 20 min queues for the meat to be cooked. Here's the snapshots we got from the day.

Here on Fellows Oval was where the bulk of the celebrations took place. By the time we got there the vice chancellor had alrady wrapped up his speech and everybody was queueing for a lump of something from the only 3 barbies. Soon after, the ANU folks indulged in their newly discovered pation for the sport of Football (i.e. soccer). The pation is so widespread that the organisers managed to organise two teams making an actual match possible. Staff memembers played agains students, with the staff winning a 1-0 victory.

And here we're at the final event of the anniversary celebrations, a concert with the ANU virtuosi, which is a symphony orchestra manned by the most talented of the students at the Shool of Music. This was a really pleaseant performance featuring two suites from Edvard Grieg's "Per Gynt", a Jazz-inspired piece called "Creation du Monde" by Darius Milhaud and finaly Malcolm Arnold's "Grand Grand Overture Opus 57", which was originally played at the Proms in Royal Albert Hall. This last peace was special since, as the picture reveals, it featured the vice chancellor, pro-vice chancellor, the dean of the Faculty of Arts, and the head of the School of Music "playing" three vacuum cleaners and a floor polisher! Haven't seen that before...

23 July 2006

Parliament House

Finally, we managed to get to the other bank of the lake to get a close up view of the Australian Parliament House. This is a fairly new building, which was completed in 1988. It's also really huge and consequently very expensive. The parliament is located on the top of a hill, and when seen from a distance it looks as if the building is dug into the hill. So here are the pics

Us at the front face of the parliament building, with the white facade and the giant flagpole.

A view from the side. This is why the whole building seems to be burried under a hill.

And here's the object that at a distance makes the parliament look like a giant satelite dish. The flag is supposed to have the dimensions of a London double-decker bus.

The Senate (upper house) meeting room. The House of representatives (lower house) has a similar meeting hall but coloured green.

The lobby with a forrest of green marble pillars. It doesn't really appeal to my taste.

06 July 2006

National Museum of Australia

A few hundred metres away from our place is one of Canberras most interesting museums, The National Museum of Australia. The museum is about documenting Australias history defining what the Australian nation is. Architecturaly the museum is also very different, with loads of Aboriginal symbolism embedded in the structure. Here's a couple of snapshots of the museum.

The entrance to the museum is at the end of this red-coloured indent into the bulding.

The main hall of the museum, with a striking absence of straight angles. The windows towards the lake and in the roof are shaped as a leaves.