“Democracy” has a price

From the brochures that we obtained from the Canberra Information Centre the only museum to charge entry seems to be the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House. Rather peculiar I thought.PA050001

Our stay in Canberra coincided with the annual Floriade Festival, a display of flowers (mainly bulbs) that draws people from far and wide. It was certainly colourful. Each display was planted in the shape of something or represented something – or so the signs said. There must have been many thousand tulip bulbs. Entry was free but the car parking certainly wasn’t. We spent several hours wandering around it (the flower show not the car park).

The highlight of our Canberra stay was the Australian War Museum, we spent two PA050012 days there. It is not only the exhibits that make this museum so interesting, it is also the way they are presented. For instance there is G for George a second world war Lancaster Bomber on display. Every hour this exhibit comes alive as the story of a bombing raid over Germany is told using film on a curved screen behind the plane, visual effects on the plane, radio traffic between the bomber and command, intercom traffic between the planes crew and a lot of loud noise.

As you approach the museum you see the bridge from the destroyer HMAS Brisbane, from inside the museum you can actually enter the bridge and watch and hear a recreation of firing on a target during the Vietnam War. You see on the bridge windows what the crew would have seen but also there is a reflection of the actual people who would have been on the bridge. It is extraordinarily well done.

Every afternoon at 17:00 the museum has a closing ceremony. Each day they honour a fallen service person and read some facts about his life, on all except two days a month a lone piper then plays The Lament. However on the first and third Wednesday of every month there is a full armed services catafalque honour guard with a bugler playing The Last Post. It is very moving and we felt privileged to see it.

If you are going to Canberra then whatever else you do don’t miss The Australian War Memorial.

Whilst we barely scratched the surface of what Canberra has to offer we felt it was time to move on so today, Thursday 7th October, we headed south towards Cooma. We are overnighting about 20 kilometres north of Cooma in an unofficial camp site. Actually it is where the gravel for road maintenance is stored but it makes a fair camp.

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