Canberra

End of August 2020 I needed a medical assessment for my visa application. In Sydney the waiting time would be at least 3 months, but in Albury at the border to Victoria I could have that assessment done the next day. The border from Victoria to NSW was still closed in that time, as this time Gladys needed to make sure to keep all Sydneysiders safe. I think you got the gist now. Thus, on a short notice I rented a car to leave drove off from Sydney at 6:00 o’clock. As you could imagine the Hume highway was pretty empty and without any traffic congestion I arrived in Albury in the early afternoon. The medical assessment went smooth and after a short coffee break I drove back to Canberra to visit a friend of my aunty, where I could stay for few nights.

My navigation opted for the shortest route which was via Tumut and Wee Jasper. Nice scenery, but as it was in mid winter, the sunset was already early and after Tumut the road turned into gravel. The wash outs are quite nice with a 2WD rental car in the darkness 😉. Nevertheless, what I could spot from the landscape, it looked quite nice. It would have been worthwhile to come back at one point, and we had actually some plans to go there in November 2022, but changed the plans last minute.

The next day I did a bit sightseeing in Canberra and stocked up on supplies for the following week. Canberra is definitely more progressive than Sydney. They’ve a quite good public transport (even built a new tram), and bicycles can be put onto their buses (same in Melbourne), but in Sydney you’re an enemy if you dare to use the street with a bicycle and take away all that space from the cars. Streets are for cars, don’t you get that!? Big, fat SUV’s and pick ups, because of all the potholes on the road, and for the boys to have some 4WD fun on the weekend.

I went to the Australian museum in . This was quite interesting as it highlighted also the other side of the story. In 1452 Pope Nicholas V sanctioned the conquest, colonisation and exploitation of all non-Christian people by signing a papal bull. This was the legal basis for the British empire to declare Terra nullius occupy Australia in 1788 (just 240 years). That ignores the settlement of Australia by Indigenous Australians in the past circa 60,000 years. Or to put it into reference, if you’re an 80 year old Australian, your lifetime already spans 1/3 of the British occupation. Terra nullius was finally overturned in 1992 by the Mabo vs. Queensland decision, which recognises for the first time pre-colonial land interests for Indigenous Australians.

On my way to Jindabyne I drove straight out of Canberra (no not on the Monaro highway) into the Namadgi National Park. The road turned gravel, but the weather was fine. You still could see all the impact from the 2019/2020 bushfires. After several km of gravel road, I popped out near Cooma and then went to straight to Jindabyne.

New Parliament house across the dammed Molonglo river
An interpretive painting of Gulaga as can be seen from Bermagui on the East coast (or Mount Dromedary as Cook named it)
The other side of the story
Burnt down Namadgi National Park

And for those who think Australian culture is only about Beer, Beach and Barbecue, you might be inclined to watch the following movie:

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