Canberra: the once and future great city

When asked which city serves as Australia’s capital, most of the world will believe Sydney to be the answer (probably has something to do with the iconic opera house). That is wrong. Canberra is not only Australia’s capital but also the world’s greatest city. No, seriously, it is. You may remember how the Lonely Planet picked Canberra last year as the 3rd Best city in Travel for 2018. But little do people know that we’ve also maintained our position as the city with the highest quality of life index for five years running now.  

 

Canberra has a population of 400,000. Once upon a time, this was my main reason for choosing Canberra over Sydney or Melbourne for university, as I wanted a “campus uni” setting over an urban city. Like many people I had my initial difficulties settling in and desperately wanted an out. But having spent three years here during my formative adult years, and having finally settled down again in this place after a seven-month absence (due to going on exchange), I’ve finally come to fully appreciate the world’s greatest city. In fact, one of my favourite activities to do in Melbourne lately is to catch a bus back to Canberra.

 

Canberra is a beautiful outdoor city with traces of urban planning surrounding the area.  This makes it such that seeing a kangaroo in my backyard never gets old. A well-planned city within a developed country, you’ll generally never have problems with electricity, water or Internet supply. The people of Canberra are a wholesome bunch. Not only that but there are constant cultural events and things to do. Floriade, the annual flower festival, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year!

 

I strongly look toward Canberra’s potential as the new Hollywood. As recent projects Secret City and Blue World Order were shot in Canberra, this is a clear demonstration of Canberra’s booming media industry. With Canberran Cate Shortland being due to direct the upcoming Black Widow movie, I believe we’ll soon finally get the recognition we deserve.

 

Canberra is a place of change. I remember the time when Supabarn was still the main supermarket in Civic, and Union Court was a mainstay I thought would last forever. It’s been a pleasure to see Canberra slowly evolve throughout the years. From the time we briefly had the Patissez milkshake store at Civic and international flights to Singapore, many things that seemed like permanent fixtures turned out not to be. Although the promise of a swimming pool at ANU once seemed like a dream to come, it’s quite easy to forget that it’ll literally be here next year.

 

2019 will be a year that demonstrates our patience finally paying off. With the light rail estimated to be finishing in December 2018, people from Gungahlin will be able to get to Civic much faster. Let us not forget ANU’s own Kambri court, as not only will ANU’s construction days come to an end, but there will be a bold new campus experience for all. It’s also the year I graduate (if all goes well), and I think it will be a poetic way to end my university life.

 

I suppose it’s fitting it all comes back to Canberra. I remember how we’re defined by how we choose to react to being challenged. And in a place like Canberra, there will always be someone or something to challenge you.