To fit in with the exigencies of my existence (the need to continue decorating my waistcoat for clogging at Floriade, and an Art Song concert to go to on Sunday afternoon) and the fact that Dac had been up all night, this was a morning walk. I chose Monash because the leaflet promised views of the Brindabella Mountains. I was pretty sure there’d be snow on them. Spring is definitely coming, but I don’t want to think about rising temperatures.
From the Wikipedia entry on Monash:
…a suburb in the district of Tuggeranong, Canberra, Australia. The suburb is named after General Sir John Monash (1865-1931) who commanded the Australian Army in France in the First World War. It was first settled in 1978. … Streets are named after engineers and the suburb consists primarily of detached houses on suburban blocks.
The fact that it was settled as early as 1978 surprises me. That was the year I moved into my first house, in the brand-new Belconnen suburb of Kaleen. My memory of Tuggeranong back then: driving visitors out there to show them all the fully-laid-out streets, with signs and gutters and footpaths, and no houses at all. It was a Twilight Zone sort of place.
I wonder how old the statement above about detached houses on suburban blocks is. Goodwin Retirement Village, where the walk starts, seems to have grown to make up a fair swathe of the suburb. Medium density housing stretches as far as the eye can see, on the south side of the road at least.
This was the first community walk which didn’t start off at a shopping centre, so I was concerned about where we’d park. I turned in to a place marked Goodwin Retirement Village, where I could see what appeared to be public parking near some building work. I fully expected to get back to the car and find one of those capital-letter notes telling me a thing or two.
We hadn’t gone far when I realised I’d parked at the wrong bit of Goodwin, causing us to anticipate the start of the walk. Never mind! There definitely wasn’t any parking at the place indicated by the map.
Before we get too carried away with what a funny name it is for a street, this is who it commemorates:
Cockcroft, John OM KCB CBE (1897-1965) Engineer; Chancellor, Australian National University, 1961-65; awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics, 1951; associated with the first splitting of the atom, 1932.
(I started at ANU in 1968 yet I’d never heard this name. Lord Florey was Chancellor then, and I hadn’t heard much about him either at that stage. I was aware of the Vice-Chancellor Sir John Crawford and the Chancellor Dr H C Coombs, because they used to turn up at SCUNA concerts. Sir John always wrote thanking us for sending him complimentary tickets, and enclosing a cheque for the price of admission.)
The walk was only two kilometres, and advertised itself as flat. Well, it wasn’t. Fortunately for me, the slopes were gentle. It was a cold but sunny day – lovely for walking.
Monash had plenty of trees, not all with leaves yet:
Down in one of the walkways, a wattle bird flew bravely around us. I know it was brave because I had time to use both the zoom buttons on the camera:
Down one of the walkways, also, I saw a name with what I thought was a spelling mistake – Nicolle Place – but no. ACTPLA again:
Nicolle, Eugene Dominique (1823-1909) Born in France; studied engineering in Paris and London before arriving in Australia in 1853; in 1861 he patented a process to liquify ammonia for use in ice-making; went into partnership with Sydney merchant Thomas Sutcliffe Mort in 1866; Nicolle’s work contributed greatly to the development of refrigeration.
Good on him! It’s a long way from splitting in the atom, but I know which makes me happier.
Mountain views were definitely a feature of Monash. I haven’t been able to establish exactly which mountains some of them were. There is quite possibly something I don’t know about online maps, when it comes to finding out the names of mountains.
As we reached the end of the walk, we stopped off at Monash shops for some diet Coke for Dac. Like most of Canberra’s local shopping centres, this one had seen better days, but it still boasted a large supermarket, a grog shop, a hairdresser and a vet. And a very large and strange hump in the footpath, which I should have taken a photo of but didn’t, as I was busy not falling down it into the parking lot.
Monash seemed a very quiet suburb indeed. The only noise the whole hour we were wandering about came from a single hoon car. We passed various other people on foot, and all but one said hello, which is unusually friendly for Canberra! I wouldn’t mind living in Monash, in a little semi-detached house mostly surrounded by paving so I didn’t have to worry about the garden, with mountain views and decorous neighbours.
Although we approached this bridge from both sides, we never quite reached it. It wouldn’t have been built when The Walk was formulated. I will go across it another time.
There was no capital-letter note (and no parking ticket) when we got back to the car. 🙂