I have just been reading a book entitled 'Canberra, The Bush Capital' by Roger Pegrum.

This is the second book I have read about Canberra. I can't recall the name of the first book. It is surprising that there are so few books written about Canberra, after all it is the Capital of Australia. As I search more, most likely many more will appear.

This book is set out well and is easier to read than the first one I read. I found the first one very interesting though. With this one, the photographs and cartoons make it. The photos of the boards with the voting results of the Referendums makes interesting reading.

The choosing of the site of Australia's capital city and the arguments for and against them... Because of the rivalry between Melbourne (capital of Australia - 27th May, 1901 - 1927)and Sydney (has not been named so Sydney doesn't have a birthday), the capital had to be at least 100 miles from Sydney.

The remarks on page 107 made me smile as for some time now most voters are very disenchanted in the political parties. These are the remarks:-

"Another correspondent blamed the poor turnout of anti-socialist voters on their greater interest in a cricket match being played that day between Australia and England, noting that until we make politics as interesting as sport it will apparently be impossible to get a thoroughly intelligent vote."

Quote from Page 137-138:

"What turned out to be the final House of Representitives ballot in the battle of the sites started at two o'clock on the afternoon of Tuesday 8th October, 1908 and was all over in a little less than three hours. The voting rules were the same as before - an open exhaustive ballot with members signing their votes. On the first round, Lake George received no support from anyone and was removed from the list. Albury and Orange went after the second ballot, and Bombala dropped off at the third ballot. Dalgety was at this point heading the count, followed only a handful of votes away by Yass-Canberra, but Canberra was struggling and was removed from the race on the fourth ballot. The next two rounds saw the end of Tumut and Armidale, so that after six ballots only Dalgety, Lyndhurst, Tooma and Yass-Canberra remained. On the seventh, Dalgety lost three of its supporters to Tooma, but Yass-Canberra gained two of the Armidale votes and for the time drew level with Dalgety on 24 votes. When Lyndhurst dropped out, more than half of its supporters transferred to Yass-Canberra, which then took over the lead. Tooma disappeared, and on the ninth and last ballot Yass-Canberra beat Dalgety by 39 votes to 33."

The site had then to be passed by the Senate. I will not bore you with the outcome as it took so long. If you are interested, read the book. No wonder people do not like politicians. Today, most politicians still cannot conduct a good debate and are not in the interest of the people. The only person I would call an elected representative of the people in today's political world is Ted Mack of Sydney, and he has since retired.

The pages 157 - 169 contains information about the competition for the layout of The Bush Capital.

Walter Burley Griffin of Chicago, U.S.A. won the first prize of One thousand, seven hundred and fifty pounds.

This in turn ended in controversy and you could say the Capital was designed by the members of The Departmental Board Plan.

A most interesting book that deserves to be read in schools to see how silly people can be. In my opinion, Australia will never be one nation with attitudes like it.

Try these links:-

Aboriginal and European Encounter in Canberra Region - 


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6th July, 2002.


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Written by Graham Vowles.

Compiled and Edited by Sandra and Timothy Vowles.