R G Menzies Evening Walk

During my trip to Australia I managed to have a couple of days in Canberra, Australia’s capital city, though many people think that it is Sydney. Canberra gets a bad deal I think, from a tourism POV, mainly because it is full of politicians and museums! But the attraction for me (apart from having a granddaughter living there), is the chance to wander around the many galleries and museums scattered around the lovely Lake Burley Griffin, named after Walter Burley Griffin, the American architect who won the competition to design the city of Canberra.

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On our arrival in the city, my son and I stretched our legs by walking a short distance around the lake and enjoying the early evening sunshine. We parked at one end of the R G Menzies Walk and set off towards the National Carillon. You can see it in the distance, situated on Aspen Island.

 ‘I cannot honestly say that I liked Canberra very much; it was to me a place of exile; but I soon began to realize that the decision had been taken, that Canberra was and would continue to be the capital of the nation, and that it was therefore imperative to make it a worthy capital; something that the Australian people would come to admire and respect; something that would be a focal point for national pride and sentiment. Once I had converted myself to this faith, I became an apostle …’

Sir Robert Menzies – Senate Select Committee Report,
‘Development of Canberra’, September 1955

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The R.G. Menzies Walk was named in acknowledgement of Sir Robert Menzies’ crucial contribution to the development of the nation’s capital, Canberra. During his second term as Prime Minister (1949–66), he committed his government to the task of creating a capital worthy of the nation.

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The Captain Cook Memorial Globe uses meridians of longitude and parallels of latitude to form an open-cage globe, with landmasses depicted in beaten bas-relief copper. The three routes of Cook’s voyages, with explanations of ports of call, are inscribed on the surrounding handrail.

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At the Nerang Pool we wandered away from the lakeside path and into the bush and marshland around the pool where we viewed wonderfully clear reflections of the white gum trees in the early evening light, found some stepping-stones leading to a ‘waterfall’, wandered past a pretty ‘Smoke Tree’ and watched a colony of rabbits nibbling at the lawns.

Looping back onto the lakeside path we came across a statue of Menzies on the foreshore and a convenient bench to sit and admire the view across the lake to the National Library, Questacon, National Gallery and the Kings Avenue Bridge.

DSCF8517 The path is used by walkers, joggers, cyclists and skateboarders, so watch out when taking photos or you might lose a limb! If you look carefully at the duck photo you will see that the female leading her chicks back to the grass is hissing at a passing cyclist. The light was truly lovely at this time of the day with lengthening shadows and golden light.

This walk is only about 5 km return and took us about an hour and a half. It is easy-going, being quite flat and most of the route is accessible by wheelchair. There are many other interesting things to see on this side of the lake including statues, sculptures and memorials and also the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection, and it is the site of the annual Floriade, a major flower festival held each spring. (And those of you who know me know how much I’d love to be here then!)

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[The lake is nine kilometres long and the lakeshore is 40.5 kilometres in length. Yass-Canberra was chosen as the site for the national capital on 8 October 1908. The city owes its origins to an international design competition won in 1912 by the American architect, Walter Burley Griffin. Today, Canberra is known as one of the world’s great planned national capitals, along with Washington DC, Ottawa and Brasilia.]

If you enjoy a walk, long or short, then have a look at Jo’s site where you are welcome to join in.

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Heyjude

I now live back in the UK, but spent several years travelling the world and then living in South Africa. I look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

42 thoughts on “R G Menzies Evening Walk”

  1. Guess what? In all my Canberra visits I have never walked this stretch. You do it proud with your words and your photos. Did you know Burley Griffin’s wife Marion also contributed to the design of Canberra? Her watercolor perspectives of Walter’s design for Canberra, were instrumental in securing first prize in the international competition for the plan of the city.

    1. I have walked this stretch several times as it was the nearest part to the city and I used to walk over when I visited in 2000. I love all the benches where you can sit and admire the views, or simply sit and read a book. My son hadn’t even realised that the Carillon plays a tune every hour and chimes on the quarter hour and he has lived in Canberra for 4 years on and off!

  2. I have lived in Australia for over 58 years but have never taken that walk. There are so many walks, even right on my doorstep . Your photos make me almost rush out and drive over to undertake that walk. Really lovely.

    1. Well as others have said, it is often our own environment that is least explored. Where in that BIG country do you reside Gerard? I am making a concentrated effort to explore every county in England, but some are more appealing than others I have to say 😀

  3. Melbourne was the capital, Sydney wanted to be, so they picked a paddock halfway between them and built the country’s capital. Geez, we’re an egalitarian lot. 😀 Canberra would be a great place if it wasn’t for the pollies. 😛

    1. It’s a lovely place for exploring the Snowy Mountains too 🙂 And to be fair the way the Parliament buildings have been designed is rather good – but then I do like symmetry 😉

    1. Beautiful in the evening and not so hot either, but boy do you have to watch out for cyclists, they race around the track as though they are on the Tour de France!

    1. Those ducks were so sweet! The family were at the lakeside feeding, then Mom started to lead them across the path with Dad behind. As she reached the path she stopped dead before crossing in safety. Then a racing cyclist came up and she stopped again, flapped her wings to warn her chicks and hissed at the guy! So funny, but I am glad they got across in safety.

  4. I didn’t visit Canberra during my visit and it looks like it would have been a beautiful stop. You take such gorgeous photos … especially that first one with those 3D clouds floating in the air 🙂

    1. It is very clean around the lakeside, and the light on this evening was fantastic – it was still very warm, though not as oppressive as during the day.

  5. A really lovely and gentle walk, Jude. The ducks crossing made me smile of course. She looks very protective with that open beak. 🙂 I think Menzies did a great job, and deserves to have his statue there on the foreshore.

    1. Apparently there are markers along the walk providing information about Menzies, but I didn’t see them, then again I always find that I see more when I walk alone 🙂

  6. I was thinking how peaceful it looked till you mentioned them tearaway cyclists 🙂 It’s quite flat but there are a few interesting ‘bumps’ in the background. VERY clean, too! I like your tryptic smoke bush 🙂
    Pommepal did some walks there so it looks just slightly familiar. Yes, Floriade’s the time! 🙂

    Thanks Jude for a lovely soothing walk in nice temperatures.

    1. There are some VERY big bumps not so far away, but you can’t see them from this POV – they are called the Snowy Mountains and absolutely fabulous 🙂

      Yes, I shall have to time my next visit there in springtime. Mik can take me.

    1. I think this is the best side to walk along as you have the view of the galleries etc across the lake. There is more to see, but we needed to head off and eat!

  7. More wonderful photos Jude. my fave of the bunch titled Telstra Tower in the background. Love how you only show part of the curving bath and then the beautiful lake.

  8. Bath? You had me worried for a moment then, how did I get one of those in the photo? But no I see you mean Path! (That’s mean of me, I could have just edited your post, but it did wake me up! ) I shall see if I have any decent photos of the lake from the Telstra tower, but it was raining quite heavily on that day so photos were taken through a rather dirty screen.

  9. Another piece of superb coverage of part of Oz ! Did you know that Burley Griffin experienced exactly what Jorn Utzon did – intolerable bureaucratic interference with his design plans ? Something about Australian bureaucrats …

  10. How beautiful and I have to admit, I didn’t know that about Canberra so thank you for the geography lesson too Jude! A gorgeous walk in gorgeous weather… *sigh*

    1. Canberra is one of those places that no-one really talks about, including the Aussies, but it is actually a lovely city to live in, very well planned and very family orientated, but unlike all the other state capital cities, is not on the coast.

  11. This is a great photoreport, Jude. Thanks for pointing Canberra so well on the map! We hope the new Year started well for you and yours. Take care.
    Love from the Four of us, Dina xo

    1. No worries Dina! I have a post coming up specially for Siri and Selma – been saving it until they came back from their holidays. Hope you all had a good time 🙂

  12. Canberra is such a lovely city to visit, but when I see the temperatures there in winter I am glad I live in Queensland! We enjoy visiting the museums when we go there and a walk around the lake is mandatory. I didn’t know about this part though so we will do that next time. Did you know that there was another site chosen first but never used? I wrote about it – would you like the link?

  13. I’ve never been to Canberra Jude (though Monsieur Le Chic has for work) and yes it does have a rather bland reputation. The walk round the lake looks lovely and yes I can see the mother duck hissing at the passing traffic! I’m not surprised it’s a bit the same down at the sea where I walk regularly – walkers, joggers and cyclists all share the same path and it can be quite dangerous especially if you have small children and dogs with you!

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