Travelling Australia
Wayne & Pam BENTLEY

Sunday 25th April 2004 to Tuesday 27th April 2004

Sunday 25th April 2004 ANZAC DAY

I'm not sure who's idea it was, but 'one of us' slept on soundly while the 'other one', along with Travis and Lana bounded (or maybe fell) out of bed at about 4:15am when the temperature was only reading 2 degrees on the thermometer outside. We managed to drive out of the caravan park by about 4:45am on the way to the ANZAC Day Dawn Service.


Parking wasn't the problem we thought it may have been so we were able to be in place almost half an hour before the commencement of the service, which was relatively simple and only lasted for about thirty minutes. It was almost Movietone Newsreel stuff... We stood in front of the National War Memorial as the sky started to pale slowly, we were looking down ANZAC Parade, over Lake Burley Griffin to the new Parliament House that was highlighted with lighting. The Southern Cross hung low, directly above Parliament House while a couple of Kookaburras burst into laughs near bye. The service was not too long, well presented and appropriate. Allowing us to return to the caravan park where 'one of us' was still sound asleep.


After a cooked breakfast of bacon, eggs, hash browns, baked beans and muffins, we all set out for the ANZAC Parade at 9:15am to be ready for the 10:15 form up for the march. Once again, parking was not really a problem and we found ourselves ready well before the form up time, so we managed a bit of a look around before the march started. Then it was time for 'one of us', along with Travis and Lana to find a spot to watch from whilst the 'other one' formed up behind the 'Royal Australian Regiment' banner with other veterans who were in active serve with Infantry Regiments. The march itself was reasonably short and much to our surprise, at the end of it we were provided with seating for us to sit on during the service. This service was also well presented and as it was in front of the National War Memorial, the setting was extremely appropriate.

After the parade and service we returned to the caravan park for lunch before returning to ANZAC Parade in the afternoon to visit several of the memorials that are specific to particular wars or conflicts. The Vietnam Memorial, particularly with its reflections (or memories) printed on the walls bringing a lot of memories back for the 'other one'. No one should ever glorify war, but to understand and reflect on what so many of our young soldiers went through in any one of the past conflicts is something that we should all remember and appreciate.


Now 'one of us' is cooking a roast for dinner, the 'other one' is enjoying a quiet ale and the others must be having a nap!

National War Memorial at night (Morning)

The Anzac Parade

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Monday 26th April 2004

Today was a more planned and structured day as far as sight seeing went. As we have all the time to do what we want after Travis and Land leave, the next few days are activities of their choice.

This morning we were away from the caravan park just after 9:pm and our first stop was due to a missed turn, however it was on the edge of Lake Burley Griffin where the fountain or water spout was in full flow.

After the navigator read the street directory we were on our way again and finally ended up at the National Zoo and Aquarium. For the next three hours we wandered through the aquarium viewing the range of fish domiciled there and then around all the enclosures that held a wide range of animals. Although quite good, the ultimate verdict was the the South Perth Zoo in Western Australia is one that we should be proud of.

'One of us', after viewing the carnivores, was reminded of food and how hungry she was so we then left the zoo and headed for the Dixon Road shops where we knew we could find some fast food outlets. We were directed to the KFC store where a chicken or two was devoured and a smile appeared on one particular face.

It was then time for the second part of the day which was a visit to the National War Memorial. We arrived at about 1:10pm and started our tour at the Eternal Flame and the walls of names of service men and women that died during the wars Australia has been active in. We located the name of Arthur Lindsay Stirk (an uncle who was on the HMAS Perth when it was sunk), also a Grundy H. and a Thorbjornsen C. G. (Lana's family name) Then it was into the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier', which is housed in domed part of the building behind the eternal flame.

From there we entered the main part of the museum and started to work our way through the almost endless galleries containing static and video displays as well as text boards and an endless array of weapons of war. We had only managed to get a very short way through through the galleries when it was time to move to the 'light and sound' show at the rear of the museum complex. This involved the bomber 'G' For George and many other items of significance, along with a video, sound and lights whilst telling the story. After this was over we continued to view the memorabilia in that area until realizing that we were running out of time and hadn't seem very much of what the museum has to show so we started to move through the displays a bit faster. Unfortunately we ran out of time and can only say we saw about a third of what is on offer.

At 5:pm the museum closed and we had to depart, with a vow that we will be back to see more of it before we leave Canberra. At this time we have not seen the new Vietnam War display, in fact don't even know where it is housed in the museum.

After returning to the caravan park, Travis and Lana spruced themselves up and headed back into Canberra for a romantic dinner. Us oldies will stay home and enjoy a quiet night in preparation for more tourist activities tomorrow.

Fountain in Lake Burley Griffin

Eternal Flame
Canberra War Memorial

Tuesday 27th April 2004

The Romantic Rovers returned from their dinner date at about 11:30pm last night after dining and playing the pokies at the Anslie Football Club. They had smiles on their faces when they returned, but we are not sure if it was because of the romantic dinner or the fact that they won $40 on the pokies (or there could be other reasons I guess!).

This morning we woke up to a fine sunny day that had promise of being another great day in Canberra, although it broke that promise and the clouds did gather around 9:am. From then on it gradually cleared until late afternoon when there were only a few clouds remaining, however the conditions were still quite pleasant.

First up came the visit to the Botanical Gardens which we headed out to at about 10:00am. We found it to be quite interesting, however as it was all native bush land, including rain forest areas, there was not any great array of colourfull flowers. We wandered the gardens and kept ourselves occupied until about 12:15pm before visiting the gift shop conveniently located near the exit.

After the gardens, once again there was a ground swell of urgency rising up to direct us to the City Shopping Centre where there was a need to refuel with a good dose of food. After another missed turn or two we ended up in a car park in the city centre and found our way to the food hall in the shopping complex. This visit satisfied the hunger pangs of all present, so it was then time to think of our next move.

The next activity was to walk through the City Centre and browse through the shops, "not to buy anything of course!". It is not necessary to provide details of which two of our group suggested this activity, but it was an interesting experience for all of us. After visiting a jewellery store, Myers store, a jewellery store, a book store, a jewellery store a gift shop and a jewellery store we finally called it a day and headed back to the car, however Travis became parted from us and found his own way back to the vehicle. As it turns out he came via a jewellery store and Lana is now the happy owner of a beautiful gold butterfly brooch. (Lana just loves butterflies!)

On the way back to the caravan we called in to the 'Dickson Shopping Centre' to stock up on a few items of food we were in need of before settling down for the afternoon at about 3:30pm. Then Travis and Lana went off in search of an internet cafe to check their e-mail.

Tonight we have plans of visiting the local observatory and Planetarium at about 8pm for a couple of hours. Tomorrows plans have already been made by Travis and Lana, so we will wait to see what they are in the morning.

Canberra Botanical Gardens

A Girls Best Friend (Diamonds)