Archive for the ‘Canberra Events’ Category

Last Man on the Moon   Leave a comment

Thursday, 02 June, 2016

In late December 1972 after spending three days on the surface of the moon, Capt. Gene Cernan of the US Navy climbed up the ladder of the lunar module of Apollo 17 to become the last man to ever walk on the moon.

Tonight I went along to the Canberra Theatre to spend an evening in the company of a real life astronaut in order to watch a fantastic film about his life during and after the massive US space exploration program of the 60s and 70s. Later, the man himself came on stage and spoke at length about various aspects of this remarkable period. Clearly a skilled communicator, he held the whole audience in the palm of his hand as he regaled story after story about the highs and lows of the space race, the relationships between the astronauts themselves and loss he felt when some of them died in tragic accidents along the way.

So, if you’re interested in anything to do with the early space exploration programs (Gemini, Apollo etc.), do yourself a favor and get along to a showing of the doco film ‘the Last man on the Moon’.


Posted June 3, 2016 by yermandownunder in Canberra Events, Out and about

Balloons over Wright   Leave a comment

Saturday, 19 March, 2016

There I was in bed, telling myself off for not getting up before 6am in order to drive down the parliamentary triangle to watch the balloonist taking part in the annual Canberra balloon spectacular, prepare and launch their creations into the early morning light. ‘Only one more day to do it’ telling myself, as tomorrow morning is the last time the forty to fifty balloons would be partaking in the mass lift-off from the lawns in front of the Old Parliament House.

Waking up in time wasn’t the problem, just the act of getting out of bed was my trouble this morning, especially as I’ve been getting up early all week to go into work because we’re extremely busy at the moment. Anyway, I had just resigned myself to the fact that I was staying in bed, when I heard the unmistakable sound of a large gas burning letting rip! Surely not, I thought as I jumped out of bed to check outside. Sure enough, just clearing the apartment block opposite mine was a massive hot air balloon.

I got dressed as quick as I could, grabbed the camera went out onto my balcony to be greeted by the sight of twenty or so balloons taking off from the Mt Stromlo nature reserve just across the road. After taking photographs of these, I noticed that the Royal Australian Air Force balloon was still on the ground preparing for take-off, so I decided to take a walk over that way to see if I could get some decent close-ups of it. As I approached it, I was delighted to see that the ‘new’ RAAF balloon, in the shape of a pilots helmet, was also be readied for take-off.

As they both ‘took off’ at the same time, I got some great shots of them clearing the trees and flying straight over the top of me towards my apartment block. Rushing back that way, I managed to catch up them in time to get some decent shots of the ‘Helmet’ with the apartments in the foreground.

I wonder if we could arrange for them to launch from Mt Stromlo at least once during the next few balloon spectaculars, mmm I feel an email coming on…

Posted March 19, 2016 by yermandownunder in Canberra Events, Observations

AWM by Night   Leave a comment

Saturday, 30 January, 2016

All through January, The Australian War Memorial, at the top of ANZAC Parade, has been staging special late night openings to enable the general public to view the Commemorative Area, which includes the Pool of Reflection, the Eternal Flame, the Hall of Memory containing the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier Volunteer and the Roll of Honour which list the name of every single Australian service person who has died in the line of duty since 1850.

As this was the final night, I was expecting hordes of people to turn up, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that as I was the first to arrive this evening. Therefore, I  had my own personal guide, Julie, who spent an hour or so taking me around the above exhibits reciting countless stories about various aspects and people commemorated within the AWM.

Posted January 30, 2016 by yermandownunder in Canberra Events, Out and about

Windows to the World   Leave a comment

Saturday 26/Sunday 27 September, 2015

Every couple of years or so the ACT government arrange the Windows to the World series of tours and open days at the many Embassies and High Commissions in Canberra.

On Saturday afternoon I took a trip over to the South African High Commission to take a look at what they had to offer. IMHO the SA High Commission building is probably the best looking of multitude of embassies in town, however they don’t seem to know how to organise an open day, as there was very little South African culture, heritage, food or drink on offer.

Just around the corner from the South African High Commission was the Open day at Philippine Embassy. I was sure I was going to be allowed into the compound as this was quoted as being a ticketed event, but fear not, a bit of smooth talking at the gate and I was in, just in time to catch the start of the organised events.

The added bonus to this one was that there was free food laid on for the guest and we were treated to a spring roll type starter, bowl of chicken and rice for the main and a three favoured sorbet on a cone for desert, very nice.

The music and dancing on show was pretty interesting with the many cultural influences that make up the Philippines on show, from Spanish type songs serenading young ladies below their bedroom windows, through to the traditional and intricate set dancing of other regions to a spectacular display of pole dancing (no not that type of pole dancing, take a look at the pictures).

On Sunday! probably the most popular embassy open day was staged at the Thai embassy. I was looking forward to this one, as I knew they would have some Thai massage on offer and seeing as my shoulder has been giving me some gip over the past few weeks, I was hoping that a 10/15 minute massage might sort me out.

By the time I arrived at around 11am, the place was already packed with the food stalls down one side of the embassy compound doing a roaring trade and the main lawn covered in people listening to the live band playing under the trees. First things first, I found the massage section and seeing as it was $1 a minute, I paid for a ten minute slot. Jesus! I thought I had made a big mistake as the masseur attacked my neck and shoulders with gusto and I was in agony for the first five minutes or so. However, once the pain had subsided I began to feel the benefit…

I hang around for an hour or so watching some of the cultural displays from around the various parts of the country and left around two o’clock to take a ride around the lake, which was much needed after all the food I’ve eaten over this weekend.

Big Things in Store   1 comment

Saturday, 5 September, 2015

For anyone visiting Canberra, the Australian War Memorial is a must see. It sits majestically at the top of ANZAC Parade at the foot of Mt. Ainslie and is full of fascinating exhibits from Australia’s military history.

But there’s more, not all the of the thousands of pieces of military kit from around the world can be shown within the War Memorial itself at any one time, so out in the industrial suburb of Mitchell they have a massive warehouse where they restore, repair, conservative and store all of the stuff that is not on show in the AWM.

Every couple of years or so they throw open the doors of the Treloar Technology Centre for their ‘Big Things in Store’ event, where the public can take a walk around the massive warehouse to view tanks, planes, trucks, helicopters, artillery and much more besides from down the years.

Spring has finally arrived in Canberra and it seemed a shame to disappear inside the warehouses for a couple of hours, but it was fascinating to see so much of this stuff in one place and chat with the knowledgeable staff and volunteers on hand to describe the source of many of the pieces as well as its restoration history.

Posted September 5, 2015 by yermandownunder in Canberra Events, Observations, Out and about

Raiders Last Stand   Leave a comment

Monday, 31 August, 2015

On Monday night Barry and I went along to our first and last Raiders RL match of the season!

It’s been another season of disappointments for the Canberra Raiders with a bright start rising the expectations of the fans, only to see their hopes dashed with some careless losses in the middle of the season, resulting in them needing to win this game to avoid the wooden spoon!

You could tell that both teams had nothing to play for and at times it looked as though they were already on the beach. Anyway, the Raiders raced into a big lead at half time, 22-6, which they never looked like losing in the second, running out 34-18 winners by the final hooter.

Only 6,700 odd spectators could be bothered to turn out on another cold ACT night with the biggest cheer going up for us all scoring a 2 for 1 offer from MacDonald’s for the home side getting a try in the allotted 5 minute time window, result!

CBR100 – That wasn’t so easy!   Leave a comment

Saturday, 21 March, 2015

Today, after three months of training, I and about 300 other people completed a 56km hike as part of the inaugural Canberra 100 Challenge (CBR100). It was supposed to be 50km, but I think the organisers cocked up on the route somewhere and we all ended up doing around 56km. Mind you it could have been worse, there were a few number of runners and walkers doing a 100km route! It’s the furthest I’m ever hiked (maybe I did more back in my scouting days!), but thanks to all the training and preparation work I felt pretty strong at the end, not that I couldn’t have gone any further!

The day started at 4am when the alarm went off and I dragged my arse out of bed to start the task of preparing myself and equipment for a long day. First up to make porridge with yogurt and honey throw in for good measure, next was to tape my toes and feet up with Fixamol, this stuff is great at preventing blisters and the like. Finally, recheck the contents of my pack and throw in the flapjack pieces I had made earlier in the week (thankyou Carole for the recipe, delicious!), nuts/raisins, Christmas cake, and a couple of tubes of Gu along with two water bottles.

Parked up at the venue without any problems and after rechecking that I had everything, made my way to the start line where I saw off the first wave of participants who were taking on the 100km solo run/walk, bloody idiots. The best of them would take around 9:30 Hours to cover the distance, but most of them were looking at least 20 hours out on the course, with some of them coming in at around the 28 hour mark. Then it was our turn to be sent off and at 06:10 we were off. Of course it was still dark at this time, but the first few kms were along the lake and up ANZAC Parade, which are both well lit.

Then bam! Just behind the War Memorial we hit Mt. Ainslie, the first (and biggest) hill on the course. At the top of this there was a water station and toilet both of which I used. Walking down the other side of the mountain, we could see Mt Majura in the distance, luckily the 50km course didn’t go over the top of this hill, instead taking us around it and on a broad sweep of the northern suburbs of Canberra. In the middle of this 20km stretch was the first of the two Transition Areas we were to pass through today, here the organisers had laid on fresh fruit, hot cross buns (well it is nearly Easter!), jellied snakes as well as the usual water containers and toilets. It was here that we said goodbye the 100km people, who headed north to edge of the ACT for a jaunt around One Tree Hill and Hall.

For most of the time on this section we could see the Telstra Tower in the distance sitting on the top of Black Mountain and it was with a sense of foreboding that we approached the foot of climb after entering the nature park that it sits in. Thankfully, there was a water station located at the top of the climb and most people took the opportunity to take a break here, although mine was a bit longer than expected, as I had to wait ages to use the single porta-loo set up there (Question, why do women take so long in the toilet?). The first part of the descent was a bit tricky as the path down had been closed off for some reason and we were sent down a steep embankment which had obviously been cut up a fair bit with those walker/runners who had got there first.

The next 10km or so were spent walking through the lower slopes of Black Mountain and then onto the National Arboretum (unscheduled break for coffee and flapjacks in the café, cheeky!), before heading down to lake Burley Griffin and a walk around its western loop that I know so well from my many rides around the lake. It was at around this stage that everybody started to realise that something was wrong with the distance we were supposed to be doing, as the GPS tracker on my iPhone was telling that we had already covered 45km and knowing this area so well, I knew that there was at least another 10km to walk over Red Hill and down the other side to the lake and the finish line.

Sure enough the 50km mark was passed near the summit of Red Hill and feeling a bit aggrieved, the final 6km or so felt like a punishment more than the triumphant push for the finishing line that it should have been. To compound my misery, it was getting dark when crossing Commonwealth Bridge (although I did get a great shot of the setting sun over the National Museum of Australia) and to top it all, there was hardly anybody there to witness the crossing of the line. I got the impression that those volunteers who were manning the finishing line overnight were settling in a long haul and everything that had been setup for the majority of people who were doing the 25km course (and had long finished) had been packed away.

Ah well, time for another pee (I don’t think I’ve been to the toilet so much in my life) and a stretch before heading home and nice long shower and bed.

Click here to follow link to see a Strava GSP Track of my 56km hike


A Blog about Mario's life down under!