75 Years – The Fall of Singapore

Singapore was promoted as a fortress, an icon of British influence and prestige in the far east, and a point from which the empire could exercise power over its dominions in the Pacific. The reality of Singapore was quite different. Far from being an icon of British power and prestige, it typified an empire that…

Killer Story – A Savage Wombat Tale

In the country of killer crocs, killer snakes, spiders under every toilet seat, and drop bears in every tree, nothing makes for as potent click-bait as a tale of animal versus human. Just look at the NT News. So one can imagine the relish of Canberra Times’ editors when given the opportunity to write this headline:…

Curious Canberra

Why are Canberra’s fire appliances yellow? Emergency vehicles are called on in all conditions night and day, to respond as quickly as possible to incidents. Safety and speed make the visibility of these vehicles vital. Vehicle colour, eye-catching liveries and flashing lights (also called “beacons”) work in conjunction with sound devices like sirens, to make…

Cause and Effect: The Legacy of Mr Fluffy

  On a winter day, the roar of a motor and rushing air disturbs the cool calm of suburban Canberra. A man on the back of a truck cuts open a hessian sack and plunges his hand in, taking out a clump of loose, grey, fibrous material; dropping it into the beating metal blades of…

Telling Our Story: History, Orthodoxy and Ideology

On an autumn day, in a church in The Rocks, an Aboriginal farmhand from the Shoalhaven married the daughter of a Yorkshireman. Such a union is hardly controversial by today’s standards, but in 1864, a time when prejudice relegated Aboriginal people to a status afforded little recognition and few rights, it was enough to attract…

The Ghosts of Bush Weeks Past

Bush week is a relatively timid affair nowadays, but there was a time when it was something more. A time when it was an infamous part of Canberra’s cultural calendar, when ANU students could shut down city streets and, for better or worse, their exploits were front page news. For a time, it served as…