Dac had had a late night and wasn’t up, so I chose one of the walks he’d expressed a lack of interest in. The Garran walk basically circumnavigates the hospital – The Canberra Hospital, as it is known, or TCH. Tch, tch. It used to be Woden Valley Hospital until they blew up the real Canberra Hospital.
This walk is one of the few Canberra Community Walks that goes back over the same ground: the others are circles. Marked in purple is my variation to the route: I only duplicated 0.55km instead of 0.90.
As instructed by the leaflet, I parked at the shops, and set off down Gilmore Crescent. Pretty soon I had to stop and take some photos.
Above we have, clockwise:
- the first distance marker on the route (distance markers are shown on the map);
- a house with a pirate flag (my purple arrow isn’t as bright as it should be);
- wattle, out! and
- a box.
I was pleased with these sights, and I was pleased with myself as I trotted along. My right leg has a knee made of chromium and titanium, and my left leg has gone numb along the sciatic nerve and doesn’t respond well to requests to move. If I think very hard while I’m walking, I can just about avoid hobbling. Walking evenly hurts less at the time and also afterwards. I got in some reasonable practice before I got too tired.
In 1976, when I returned to Canberra after four years away, I lived in Wright Place, a Garran street which no longer exists. After walking downhill to the underpass on Gilmore Crescent, then uphill past the start of the large estate of townhouses which have replaced the university flats where I used to live, then downhill past more of the townhouses towards Garran Primary School and the hospital, I reached the spot where Wright Place used to be, and took my next photo.
- approximately where my 1976 abode was, at 7 Wright Place Garran;
- bird sculptures (storks? brolgas?) above the main entrance of TCH;
- the excellent Pain Management Unit; and
- one of the signs around the hospital – the printing seems to have melted, so that the sign now appears to be in kanji.
Late addition: I now have a photo of the ANU flats at Garran. It can also be seen on Flickr. It was taken by Martin aka canberra house on 7 November 2007 in Parliament House, Canberra and is copyright. I am grateful to Martin for permission to reproduce his photo in my blog.
I sat down in the hospital grounds and had a little rest at just about the 1.15km distance marker. Blurry photos were deleted. The map was consulted. I wasn’t at all sure I was going to make it around the hospital. My next turn was downhill onto Bateson Road, where I didn’t know if building works would allow me to get through to Kitchener Street.
I decided not to go downhill, only to struggle uphill again through the hospital grounds. It was terribly quiet in there and I wasn’t happy thinking about the people shut up inside, so I struck out along Palmer Street – and when I say “struck out”, by this time, I was trudging.
Palmer Street started to dip so I fished the map out again and decided to risk a digression along Dennis Street, looking for a laneway to Gilmore Crescent that I’d spotted on the outward journey.
Left to right, top to bottom:
- one of many magpies along the way (soon they’ll be dive-bombing everyone);
- a house with election posters – I couldn’t get close enough to see what they were, but they look like GetUp! colours to me;
- a sudden open space with lichen-covered boulders (L) and trees (R); and
- also a seat, where I was joined by a bold (and, despite appearances, two-legged) magpie, who sang in my ear. 🙂
The top edge of the open space was the lane through to Gilmore Crescent. I stayed on the sunny side of the street, and got back to the carpark about an hour after I’d left. The brochure describes the walk as “a 3.5km loop, mainly flat with moderate gradients”, taking approximately 35 minutes at a moderate pace. I probably knocked a kilometre off the distance. Evidently a moderate pace is still a way off for me.
Above the Garran shops there was a sculpture I hadn’t seen before, so I staggered up to it. I was too tired for the access ramp – it was quicker to use the stairs! Here’s what I found:
While I was admiring the literate possums, and the metal books that looked like paper, and wondering why there wasn’t a plaque, a man walked past saying, “I think John Stanhope’s been here”. Many Canberrans are cranky about our Chief Minister’s provision of public art; I’m not one of them.
When I got home and looked on the web for information about the sculpture, I found out (from the website of John Stanhope, Chief Minister) that it was pretty new:
New artwork completes Garran shops revamp
“The 2.3m bronze sculpture, Tree of Knowledge, by well-known sculptor Peter Latona, comprises a twisted and precariously balanced stack of books, featuring lines of poetry by Mary Gilmore, on a base carved out of local stone. The stack of books makes reference to the streets of the suburb, many of which are named after Australian writers. “
It was news to me that Garran was a writer-themed suburb, and that Gilmore Crescent was named after Dame Mary Gilmore. Live and learn! Tonight (Monday 9 August) I’ve learnt that it takes much longer to blog the walk than to walk it.
[The original photos are at Garran walk – a set on Flickr]