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Some things in Canberra, like those at Cockington Green above, may appear small but the importance of others seems magnified beyond reasonable proportion.
Consider the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, whose verbal jousting in the House of Representatives chamber can be observed from the gallery by visitors -- check the website for sitting days and tour details.
One of the most striking things to see is the Parliament House Art Collection, comprising paintings of Prime Ministers from Edmund Barton through a succession of figures like Menzies, Curtin and Fraser.
Other uniquely Australian highlights are the Great Hall tapestry, based on Arthur Boyd’s painting of eucalypt forests in the Shoalhaven River valley, and the forecourt mosaic designed by indigenous artist Michael Nelson Jagamara.
National Museum of Australia
At the National Museum, there’s a 1950s pink caravan and an FJ Holden car, the interactive Eternity exhibition, where visitors examine the lives of ordinary and extraordinary Australians, and the Landmarks and Australian Journeys galleries, all of which evoke pride and nostalgia.
But it’s in the Sport area that some among us may see greatness.
For cricket fans there’s the Swan Richards collection of gear from some of the Aussie stars, like Bill O'Reilly's blue blazer, Wally Grout's gloves and Greg Chappell's baggy green cap.
Horse racing is represented too, with Peter Pan’s 1934 Melbourne Cup trophy and the legendary Phar Lap’s heart, unusually large at 6.35 kilos, both on display.
Questacon: The National Science and Technology Centre
Too many questions and not enough answers? Like “Why is the sky blue?” Q Lab at Questacon aims to have visitors (from pre-teen to adult) find their own answers. To help, there are microscopes, slow-motion film footage and live scientific demonstrations.
In the Awesome Earth exhibit see lightning strike, experience a tornado in action and feel an earthquake rumble, all without the risks of real life. It’s more exciting than any textbook.
There are also shows by the center’s theater troupe, known as The Excited Particles, about dinosaurs, tsunamis, explosions and balloons, where volunteers get the chance to participate.
National Zoo and Aquarium
Don’t you hate pointing out a creature in the undergrowth at a zoo, only to have your companion ask, “Where?”
Well there’s no pointing in Canberra, as the 11-year-old Sumatran tiger paces back and forth at the fence. Berani is his name, which is Indonesian for “brave.”
As the big boy stands 2.5 meters tall grasping the fence I wonder how “berani” I’d feel without that security between us. He’s on his best behavior as we each offer him a morsel of beef.
Then Shelley, our guide on this ZooVenture tour, picks up the bucket to go. A child’s tantrum could describe Berani’s changed demeanor once he realizes there’s no more, growling and shaking the mesh fencing.