Saturday 23 July 2011 – Lennox Gardens

After a couple of weeks of barely being able to walk because of back pain, I needed a slow start. Our last walk had featured Lennox Crossing at the university, so I wanted to visit what I thought of as the other end: across the lake at Lennox Gardens, where I’d never been. The gardens lie between the Hyatt Hotel and Lake Burley Griffin, so I knew the walk would be flat!

Black Mountain Tower across the lake

Lennox Gardens is a small part of the original Royal Canberra Golf Course established, in the 1920s, on the Molonglo River floodplain downstream of Lennox Crossing. Lennox Crossing was a low level bridge linking Acton with South Canberra.

With the filling of Lake Burley Griffin in the 1960s, the golf course and the crossing were submerged. …

The name of the low level bridge was transferred to the park in 1963. David Lennox (1788-1873) was a noted Scottish-born bridge builder in New South Wales and Victoria, many of his bridges are still standing to the present day.

Territory and Municipal Services

I’ve tried to show, superimposing an old map on a current one, what they’re talking about:

What's under the lake

Lennox Crossing (slightly lighter blue rectangle just right of centre) turns out to be further north than Lennox Gardens. The old map wasn’t drawn to scale, so the two don’t line up perfectly. I like being able to see the Molonglo River winding through, and where all the greens on the old golf course were! (The golf course had its own bridge.)

Perhaps this 1924 aerial photo (National Archives of Australia Image no. A3560, 1160) makes the relationship between the Crossing and the Gardens clearer:

Aerial view of Acton looking east, Lennox Crossing on left, Hotel Canberra at the rear. 1924

The Gardens would be to the right of the Hotel Canberra, now the Hyatt.

Sights in the park

Much of Lennox Gardens is taken up by the Canberra Nara Peace Park.

Top: Gate with no explanation that I could find (The inscription reads Canberra-Nara Kōen/Park, yūkō no kado/Amity Gate)

Middle: Subsequent research reveals that this Star of David is a memorial –

Dedicated by the Jewish National Fund / Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel to the People of Australia in commemoration of two historic milestones – The Centenary of Australian Federation and the Centenary of the Jewish National Fund / Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel 22 August, 2001

Bottom: Entrance sign to Canberra Nara Peace Park, two different kasuga stone lanterns

To work out what the Japanese says, I had to reach back 40+ years and attempt to resurrect an almost-unused language. Thanks to revision during my 24 hours in Narita in 2009, I could read the katakana for Kyanbera. Wikipedia gave me the kanji for Nara. Everything else was guesswork and Google.

Once I found the first character of the title, yū/friendship, I went looking for my Nelson (character dictionary). I was confident I could count the number of brush strokes in both characters and, if pressed, identify their radicals. That meant I had enough information to look them up. I couldn’t think how this could be done on the WWW, but I’ve since found an online character dictionary.

I was bereft to find that Nelson is not with my other dictionaries. I’ve probably opened it half a dozen times since I graduated, but I expected it to be there on the computer room shelf waiting for me. Now I’m left wondering where exactly I’ve put it. Is it languishing in the garage, where many of our books have been since I had the house painted in 2008? I was out there the other day looking for my copy of Canberra: Planning and Development but, not being able to lift boxes of books, I didn’t get far with my search.

Lantern stone

I couldn’t find a translation of the front of the stone at the top of this photo, and it’s “handwritten”, giving me less than no chance of guessing what it says, but the back reads:

The people of Nara City present these kasuga stone lanterns to the people of Canberra as a symbol of the friendship that exists between our two cities and between the peoples of Australia and Japan. This gift was donated by the citizens of Nara City in the spirit of world peace.
April 1997
Yasunori Ohkawa
Mayor of Nara Japan

Actually, to backtrack, the first part of Lennox Gardens we looked at was “a small English style formal garden with rose beds and climbers on a central pergola” – Territory and Municipal Services again. They reckon:

The design for the gardens, which are bounded by Flynn Drive and the lakeshore, envisages a formal exotic character reminiscent of the gardens, created in the 1920s, of the Hotel Canberra and Albert Hall. Charles Weston’s original planting of the golf course has been integrated into the design.

We then stumbled across the Spanish Civil War memorial. After wandering around some of the elements of the Nara Peace Park, we found our way to the “lakeshore boulevard”.

Sights by the lake

A lovely wide path, like the Menzies walk, with various interesting sights. Clockwise:

  • National Museum of Australia,
  • doggos,
  • segways, and
  • some rather ordinary trees which at the time were enlivened by gleaming reflections from the lake.

I made a small movie which is over on Flickr. Not recommended if you get seasick: it’s not straight, and I can never work out – short of switching off the camera – how to end a movie, so there’s a dreadful tilt at the end. On my computer, the movie shows in the right dimension (having been tinkered with via software) but for some reason the upload is still sideways.

Dac says it would be wrong to hire segways to go round the lake, and I dare say he is right. It was just that the sight of these people whizzing silently along was eerie and appealing. Having whizzed silently through Holland and Denmark on an electric scooter, I can relate. (Segway hire, according to the news this very morning, has been stopped. It seems that segways contravene the road rules.)

I would like to try hiring one of Mr Spokes‘s “famous nostalgic pedal cars” one day, though. Once again Dac is dubious, mentioning the zillions of times we’d have to pedal but, as with the walks, we could always turn back!

It was a beautiful afternoon, cold and clear, and the Captain Cook Memorial Water Jet was spouting away: a classic Canberra scene. I missed a shot of it because we walked past and I didn’t feel up to backtracking. Furthermore I wanted to see this ziggurat, which we kept glimpsing through the trees. It turns out to be a sculpture called Toku.

Pagoda

Plaque transcription:

Shinki Kato
Born 1955
Toku 2010

Toku was commissioned to celebrate the 1300th anniversary of Japan’s ancient capital, Nara. The sculpture has three main elements: a five-storied [sic] pagoda form which represents Canberra; a floating stone representing Nara; and the form of a small bird symbolising peace. The bird resembles a Latham’s Snipe, a species which migrates annually between Japan and Canberra. The artist has created Toku to express the amicable relationship and mutual understanding shared by Canberra and Nara as sister cities.

 Launched on 18 September 2010 by Jon Stanhope MLA, Chief Minister and Minister for the Arts and Heritage.

Please regard the small diagonal shadow in the top section of the pagoda: that’s the bird! Dac is walking in front of the floating stone.

Commemorative rock

I liked this rock and wondered, as I do now whenever I see greenish rock, whether it came from Mount Mugga. Plaque transcription:

[Kangaroo & Deer]
CANBERRA NARA – CANBERRA BUSHFIRE RECOVERY APPEAL

This plaque commemorates the gratitude of the people of Canberra and the ACT Government for the generous donations by the Nara City Government, Council and its citizens to the January 2003 Canberra Bushfire Recovery Appeal

On the occasion of the visit by the Mayor of Nara, Yasunori Ohkawa to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Canberra Nara sister relationship

November 2003

Lennox Gardens wasn’t well-attended, but it was attended. People were starting to pack up because of the cold, but there had been picnics.

This was a short walk full of Japanese nostalgia, followed by a circumnavigation (at least as long again) of the Kingston shops, looking for somewhere to buy a cuppa after 4 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon. There was one (1) place open: the quaintly-named Kingston National Bakery. Their cuppas were fine.

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3 Responses to Saturday 23 July 2011 – Lennox Gardens

  1. dac says:

    As I remember, it was a damn sight warmer than today”s trek through Telopea Park.

    The Segways would completely counteract the benefit of going on a =walk=.

  2. Antoinette Lautenbach says:

    So glad you are walking again. The segways are amazing – I seem to remember that its creator killed himself on one of them. The pedal cars are fun though. Go Dac!

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