Following the success of Centenary historian Dr David Headon’s Devotion, Daring and a Sense of Destiny exhibition (celebrating the surveyors of the ACT) that ran in the Presiding Officers Gallery Parliament House in 2011, this exhibition will explore the fascinating stories surrounding Canberra’s Naming and the Foundation Stones ceremonies that symbolically began Australia’s national capital a century ago, on 12 March 1913.
While due recognition will be given to the specifics of the two public events that comprised such a memorable day of celebration for the young Australian nation (children with posies, stray dogs, heat, horses, cannon fire and much, much more), the primary focus will be on those narratives behind‑the‑scenes that confirmed the day as one of genuine historical and cultural significance: the big personalities present such as the ‘legendary' King O’Malley, the irrepressible Lady Denman, stoic Lord Denman and purposeful Prime Minister Andrew Fisher. Surrounded by competition controversy, the build up around the bizarre list of suggested names, and the bitter-sweet role played by the entrenched local population, made for a day rich in passion.
This timely exhibition, promoting a day a century ago that King O’Malley proudly noted comes to few nations, and but once in a history, will carve out new ground and set the scene, from 14 January, for many centenary exhibitions in Canberra around the 12 March period.
Parliament Drive, Canberra ACT, Australia