Originally from Canberra, I moved to Melbourne for study. You might say that my life is much like this sentence - it began with a capital. Now, having spent a few years in Melbourne, I share my experiences of each city.
Published November 28th 2013
Neither stirred nor shaken - untouched at Stirling Park
Stirling Park represents a very rare area of untouched bushland in inner south-west Canberra. Located very close to Lake Burley-Griffin and essentially separating the suburban area of Yarralumla from the Lake, Stirling Park has a sense of awe about it for those traversing across town via Alexandrina Drive.
For such a large area of bushland, consuming roughly the same amount of land as the grounds of neighbouring Parliament House, Stirling Park is not easy to find. It would not be uncommon for long time Canberrans to simply stumble upon the Park without meaning to or without knowing it was there. The surprise is a pleasant one though, because whilst Stirling Park is not designed to be anything in particular, it is precisely this lack of human intrusion which makes it such an effective escape from civilisation.
Bound in history, Stirling Park is an important site for the Ngunnawal people, the traditional owners of an area of land which includes Canberra. Past generations of the Ngunnawal are thought to have used the slightly elevated bushland as a meeting place on their journey from Black Mountain to Red Hill, all as part of preparing for traditional ceremony.
Canberra's biggest asset is the existence of areas of unkept bushland such as this. These areas bring a dose of native flora not just to built environments but to the manicured parkland common to the highly urban areas of most other major Australian cities. As such, a walk through Stirling Park has the intrinsic value of experiencing true nature as well as the instrumental value of understanding what separates Canberra from other major cities.
Stirling Park's status as untouched, undeveloped land was again brought into the spotlight in early 2013, making the urgency to pay the Park a visit greater than ever before: do it before it becomes too late.