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 have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now 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 😉

  4. Looks like a nice place for a walk indeed. Lovely views, and some unusual architecture. All the better in good weather too!
    Regards as always, Pete. x

    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!

  5. Nice! Canberra has a lot of great walks and cycling paths. We visit regularly and always find so much to do. Love the ducks!

    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.

  6. 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. Canberra has some fantastic museums and art galleries too Jo. And it is good for walking and cycling. Thank you for the lovely compliment 🙂

  7. It all looks tranquil and so clean and nicely maintained. If your pictures are this wonderful, I can’t imagine physically being there without a sensation of awe and near reverence. ❤ ❤

    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.

  8. 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 🙂

  9. What a beautiful place to take a walk, it looks peaceful. I Love these photos, Jude. Those ducks are so cute!

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