I visited the Canberra Zoo with some of my family to celebrate my great nephew’s 3rd birthday. It was a beautiful day and everyone had a great time, especially the three year old. I was able to see several familiar Australian animals but a good selection of foreigners as well! Above is a snow leopard and below are the lions we could hear roaring from all over the park.
The wallabies and fairy penguins were cute as always.
The fur of the dingoes was surprisingly soft and a beautiful colour
The giraffe was the favourite of the birthday boy and one of the animals we were able to see up really close.
There is also a reptile area and aquarium.
When I lived in Canberra, the current Parliament House was being built. I remember touring the old parliament house as a student and as a teacher. I remember when designs were submitted for a new parliament house and when construction began. The photo below is taken from the new looking over the old towards the War Memorial and Mt Ainslie, site of cross country runs when I was in highschool.
Parliament house is now 26 years old and its modern design is very different to the old parliament house opened in 1927 and the Canadian houses of parliament rebuilt and opened in 1926. Today I walked around inside for the first time. It is an amazing building filled with beautiful wood, stone and architectural features.
Above is the members hall featuring marble pillars designed to look like gum trees.
The colours in the senate and house of representatives are the traditional red and green also seen in Britain and Canada but the Australian red is more of a red-ochre and the green a grey-green seen in the plants and rock of the Australian bush.
I didn’t take a photo of the outside but you can see several views on the education site here.
Late afternoon sun catches a little turtle wearing pond weed.
King Parrot, one of several I’ve seen in the back yard in Canberra.
A rainbow lorikeet which would have been perfectly camouflaged if he’d turned his back to me.
While the intensely coloured sky is a dramatic and beautiful sight the reason for it still a cause for concern.
We made further preparations today as hot, dry and windy weather conditions are expected tomorrow.
I am staying with my parents in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney at present and the area is in the midst of a bush fire emergency. When I returned to Australia last week I was looking forward to experiencing many of the Australian sights, sounds, tastes and smells I have missed over the thirteen years I have been in Canada. I had no idea I would encounter anything like the current bush fire crisis.
Driving home last Thursday, October 17th, I took the following photos:
When we arrived home we talked to my parent’s neighbour about the closest fire. He assured us that it was not travelling in our direction nor would it when the wind changed later that day. The damage caused by that fire and the many others still burning is extensive. Hundreds of homes have been lost. There is a constant smell of smoke in the air and the sound of sirens and helicopters close by. The view from my parents home on Thursday is below. When I looked out today it was no longer so dramatic but the threat is still serious as the temperatures and wind speeds forecast for the next few days are very high. We have spent time clearing the yard and roof of dry leaves and preparing for a possible evacuation.
There are still over 60 fires burning in New South Wales so please pray for an end to this crisis and for the safety of all those involved.
I am in Australia for a few weeks visiting my family. To help me get over my jet lag I went for a short walk in the sunshine on my first day here. As it is spring many of the gardens are looking colourful. What I am enjoying most, though is seeing plants I haven’t seen in eight years, like the bottlebrush above. I was also amused by the sign below.