Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (12 March) . . Page.. 973 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
national media, with a few exceptions, such as the silly Paddy McGuinness, and I think it is fair to say that the people of Canberra were seen by the people of Australia in a much fairer light and our situation was responded to positively.
I hope that we are approaching a time when we, the Canberra community, will be seen and will see ourselves as a mature and positive self-governing community which, while always very much influenced by Canberra's function as the seat of federal government, nonetheless forges its own directions and develops its own community spirit, and does not depend so heavily on the whim of federal governments to determine its future.
I think that the now sadly diminished Canberra Festival, the somewhat confused National Multicultural Festival, and the now abandoned theatre and contemporary arts festivals are all evidence of the fact that we are still fairly unclear about who we are. It seems to me, however, that the Canberra community's activism on war, its sympathy towards the plight of refugees, even its enthusiasm for the ABC, are indicators of an independent spirit which is reflective of the interests and perspectives of Canberra people.
MS MacDONALD (5.38): On 12 March 1913 the wife of the then Governor-General, Lady Denman, declared, "I name the capital of Australia, Canberra,"at an official ceremony on Capital Hill. This followed years of arguments about where Australia's capital should be-Sydney, Melbourne, Albury, Tumut and Bombala were some of the options. I can say that I have been to all of those places, even lived in one of them, and I think they would have been a poor choice over the actual location of Canberra as the capital.
At the ceremony exactly 90 years ago today, Governor-General Sir Thomas Denman said:
Here a city may arise where those responsible for the government of this country in the future may seek and find inspiration in its noble buildings, its broad avenues, its shadowed parks and sheltered gardens-a city bearing perhaps some resemblance to the city beautiful of our dreams.
Since its creation, Canberra has battled through the Great Depression, which brought a stop to construction of the new city, and World War II, when its population was just 10,000. Large-scale growth began in the 1960s. As Ms Tucker alluded to, that was in large part due to a conservative government at the time.
I am not sure whether all of our buildings, such as the one I am standing in, could be described as noble, and some of our shaded parks and sheltered gardens took a scorching when fire rained from the sky in January. But overall, Sir Thomas Denman's dreams of a garden-rich city seem quite accurate.
In fact, a travel writer, Bill Bryson, recently described Canberra as "an extremely large park with a city hidden in it". As Bryson discovered the hard way, if you come into Canberra from the Federal Highway down Northbourne Avenue it is easy to drive right past the city without noticing it is there. That is Canberra's charm.
More than 300,000 people live here, but you would never know it. Drive to Woden, Tuggeranong or Belconnen from the city and, on stretches, you will see only trees and