Hardback | Nov 2012 | NewSouth | 9781742233185 | 336pp | 178x110mm | GEN
An implicit sense of public service and ‘otherness’ has now come to permeate Canberra’s identity to a point that there is a great smugness, arrogance even, that the rest of Australia can hate us — but they’ll never know how good it is to live here.
Canberra is a city of orphans. People arrive temporarily for work, but stay on because they discover unanticipated promise and opportunity in a city that the rest of the country loathes, but can’t really do without. Daley’s Canberra begins and ends at the lake and its forgotten suburbs, traces of which can still be found on Burley Griffin’s banks. It meanders through the cultural institutions that chronicle the unsavoury early life of Canberra, the graveyard at St John’s where the pioneers rest and the mountains that surround the city. In Canberra, people don’t ask you where you went to school, as they do in Melbourne, or where your house is and how much you paid for it, as they do in Sydney. They ask you where you’ve come from. And how long you’re going to stay.