Centenary a time to talk about the future

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THE year-long celebration of Canberra’s 2013 Centenary was an opportunity to look back on a fascinating first century and will also be, for Canberrans, a time of conversation about, and planning for, our second century, Chief Minister Katy Gallagher told a Canberra Day celebration at the Museum of Australian Democracy this morning. 

“As the national capital, Canberra is the place many turn to for leadership, ideas, action and democratic endeavour; the place where many have come to express and implement the best thoughts in Australia,” she said.

“We are, and always will be, a city born out of an idea, a place where the work of imagining a modern democratic nation takes place, a place for the ceremonial acting out of what it means to be a federation.

“But Canberra is also our home. We are a 21st-century city of 360,000-more than five times the population envisaged by Walter Burley Griffin – a hybrid city-state with a strong economy, a growing private sector and an identity all our own.

“Canberra has fast become the economic, industrial and service capital of the south-east. A destination for education, health care, cultural life, clean industry, and that’s why our second century will see our city really come into its own.”

In launching the program, which provides a glimpse of the many activities planned for 2013, the Chief Minister thanked the Federal Government – and in particular the support of Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the Minister for Regional Australia, Simon Crean “for those aspects of the program that will reach out beyond our Territory borders, to involve Australians around the country in the celebration of their capital’s Centenary”.

Centenary of Canberra Creative Director Robyn Archer said the schedule of activities had been deliberately developed to include new and exciting programs, but equally, it had been shaped to showcase the best of what happened in Canberra each year to a national and international audience.

“We have been working closely with local and national cultural institutions and community organisations which have been overwhelmingly supportive of the Centenary in developing fresh and high quality programs and exhibitions to celebrate this important year,” Ms Archer said.

“For us, the program needs to communicate not only that the Centenary is taking place and that it’s a great occasion for celebration, but to bust some myths as well, to explain why Canberra is such a significant part of our Australian story and why we should care very much about its history and its future

“Our greatest wish is that the Centenary encourages debate, discussion, passionate opinions and big ideas, and that it results in a lasting legacy of national pride that will benefit all Canberrans-and all Australians-for many years to come.”

Some of the program features revealed today included a world premiere of the Centenary Symphony composed by Andrew Schultz, as well highlighting that Canberra would host to the ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open Golf Championship for the first time.

All adults will have the opportunity to toast Canberra’s birthday at The World’s Longest Bubbly Bar, while SPIN will be a multi-site festival for all ages, honouring Canberra’s love affair with cars, motorbikes, bicycles and everything on wheels.

The launch of the Portrait of a Nation interactive website offers the chance to explore the lives and stories of the people behind the names of Canberra’s streets, parks and places.

The preview booklet is available for download now from the Centenary website, and the full program for 2013 will be released in September this year.

More information at http://www.canberra100.com.au/ or call 1300 554 114.

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