Saturday 13 August 2011 – Bowen Park and Telopea Park

Bowen Park

Parks are nice and flat. Having only ever been to Telopea Park once, for a work picnic about 30 years ago, and never having been over the road to Bowen Park, I mapped a route of about the right length through both of them. I always admire Bowen Park as I hoon along Bowen Drive. Nowhere else in Canberra are there so many swans!

We parked near the swans, for whom we had forgotten to bring food. Others hadn’t. Swan-admiring took up the first part of the walk.

Bowen Park swans

Weimaraner-admiring took up the next part. This group of dogs was saying its hellos. The baby Weimaraner on the right had amazing blue eyes. Its owner said no one knew whether they’d stay blue.

Three dogs meet in Bowen Park

Some remarks on the following photo (top to bottom, left to right):

  1. Dac spotted the buds on the willows. Spring is coming!
  2. In Telopea Park, incipient blossoms, towered over by one of the highrise apartment blocks that are, for some reason, considered appropriate for Kingston, and
  3. in one case, actual blossoms.
  4. More actual blossoms on a big tree in Bowen Park.

I thought the big tree was an apple tree, but Dac was doubtful. Territory & Municipal Services seem to suggest that it might be a crabapple. Now I come to think of it, there was a crabapple tree like that in my back yard for a while. It got so heavy with blossoms and fruit that it snapped off near the ground.


Musical interlude

Signs of spring always bring to mind Rustle of Spring (Frühlingsrauschen), an agitated piano solo composed in 1896 by the Norwegian composer Christian Sinding. It was played regularly on ABC radio in the 1950s. At the age of five, I decided it was my favourite piece of music. Probably one of the main reasons I endured my first piano teacher and her terrible lessons and the dreadful quantity of practice that resulted was that I hoped one day to play Rustle of Spring. I was permitted to buy the sheet music when I was 11, but it was so black with notes and had so many flats in the key signature that I never got beyond the first couple of bars. (YouTube boasts numerous performances – I listened to this one by Amaral Vieira.)

Radiating in all directions

There was a sign for Bowen Park, but we missed it. Territory and Municipal Services fills in the gaps:

The origins of this park can be traced back to Walter Burley Griffin’s 1918 plan for Canberra in which he planned a small ‘Grevillea Place’ terminating Brisbane Avenue, one of the ten avenues planned to radiate from the centre of Capital Hill. Most of the other state capital city avenues planned by Griffin were terminated similarly with a park named after the generic botanical name for a native plant from that particular state.

TAMS page on Bowen Park

Reading this of course sent me off in ten radiating directions! Hunting for more information (and then losing a couple of days’ work to some kind of WordPress malfunction) has put me a long way behind with the blog. Never mind – the mystery of the avenues and their termini is expounded in a separate post, Naming names.

Standard poodle in Bowen Park

Telopea Park

I’ve transcribed on two separate pages the seven (!) informative signs we passed in Telopea Park (Recreational Signage 1 and Recreational Signage 2). The Welcome sign, for example, contains a map, a great deal of information, some possible impertinence concerning what to do in a park, and some beautiful photos.

Photo by H Fallow of Gang-gangs (from the Telopea Park Welcome sign )

I was interested to see the stormwater drain represented on the map of the park, and to read later that it was “a concrete open stormwater channel, where Spring Creek once ran” (National Trust brochure), and “originally a natural stream draining from Mount Mugga Mugga to the Molonglo River” (on one of the historical signs). Mount Mugga Mugga is quite a way from Telopea Park!

Could this be the same creek we walked past in Manuka? No, apparently that one originates on Red Hill – not that Red Hill and Mount Mugga Mugga are very far apart, according to online maps (which don’t even mention Mount Mugga Mugga, and give Red Hill only as a suburb).

Magnificent eucalypt in Telopea Park

In amongst the beautiful trees, Dac stopped for a rest. I ploughed on till I was in sight of Manuka Pool, a pretty place.

Manuka Swimming Pool

The Pool was opened in 1931. Prior to this, the only ‘pool’ was a swimming hole in the nearby Molonglo River. A factor in the location of the Manuka Pool was access to schoolchildren from the nearby Telopea Park School. An elegant Art Deco style entrance building leads to a walled, ceramic-tiled pool of approximately 31 metres by 12.5 metres and change rooms with terracotta-tiled roofs.

National Trust, A heritage tour of Barton: Manuka side
[Barton 2 on their Local Walks page]

I returned past a bunch of people who could have been packing up after a children’s party, except that the compressor for the bouncy castle was still running. The castle was lying flat beside it. Compressors are loud, and these people had boomboxes as well. I’m pretty resigned to the fact that noise pollution is thought to be trivial. My desire to poke an umbrella through Muzak speakers in lifts has been defeated by my inability to carry stuff. I would have liked to yell “Shut up!” at these people, but that would have been nearly as rude as the noise pollution they were generating.

Mucking things up because they can

I feel, probably wrongly, that people who impose excessive noise on others are the same type of people who deface signs. They’re probably tailgaters as well, and I don’t doubt they park their trolleys diagonally across supermarket aisles.

It was possible to take a different route back to where Dac was waiting, so I did. There was a young woman practically sitting in the stormwater drain and I peered at her as unobtrusively as I could. She was taking photos of the water. It didn’t look too bad, in fact.

Bowen Park again

Bowen Park was full of seagulls, going and coming.

Dac has an affinity for seagulls

It was also full of Brodburger customers when we returned. Really full. The carpark was packed and there were dozens of young people milling around. Apparently there’s a long wait for a Brodburger.

Two dogs waiting for Brodburgers in Bowen Park

I learnt about the fight over the Brodburger food caravan only recently through The RiotACT. Not reading newspapers or watching television news, I miss local controversies. I listen to radio news several times a day and read The RiotACT once a week: that’s all the exposure I can bear. The National Capital Authority wanted to close Brodburger down because it’s breaking the rules on national land. Food caravans that operate out of carparks that aren’t beside the lake are safe.

It seems to me that something that started in 2009 is hardly a fixture, but 5000 Canberrans petitioned the NCA to leave Brodburger alone.  As a compromise, the operation will move to the cafe at the Glassworks, 500 metres down the foreshore, by the end of this year.

We fought our way back to the car and took off: for once we were going to be in time for the Kingston Grind. Breakfast for lunch, a nice big pot of tea, and the start of another game of Words with Friends. One day we might even finish one.

Dac found this walk rather cold, but I enjoyed it. I’ve enjoyed finding out about the radiating avenues even more. 🙂

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3 Responses to Saturday 13 August 2011 – Bowen Park and Telopea Park

  1. helkyrie says:

    What a wry and rockin’ post, Mum. Lovely photies, too, and the caption re: Dac and seagulls made me LOL 😀

  2. Antoinette Lautenbach says:

    I pulled out my old map of Canberra (it was sculling around among old Christmas cards) to locate Bowen Park – it was new to me. Then I remembered a rubbish dump had been located there, back in the fifties. I remembered the family driving to Kingston and my father pointing at a derelict shed in the middle of that rubbish dump and saying, “That’s where your mother works.” Very funny, though perhaps not to Mum.

    Lovely walk Val.

    • valkyrie1 says:

      Where did she work, Antoinette?

      You realise you can move around on the Google maps in these posts – drag them up and down to see what’s nearby? Not as good as flattening out a proper map for an overview – I wish I had my old maps of Canberra now!

      Horrid to think of a rubbish dump in such a central place! Apparently there were trees planted in the area in 1922 in anticipation of the lake.

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