Canberra Confidential: Dignity in the face of fire

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WHILE the election protagonists try to outbid each other with public service scalps, it is heartwarming to see the dignified way the APS is getting behind its Centenary of Canberra Initiative, a celebration of the service, its people and their contribution to the development of Canberra.

The Initiative features a website, which invites the Canberra community and all APS staff, past and present, to post a picture and add their story to the history of the nation’s capital.

Another major part of their Initiative is the Walk and Play charity event at Kings Park, near the Carillon, 7.15am, on Friday, August 30, when departmental secretaries and agency heads will lead off public servants for a 5km bridge-to-bridge walk. All money raised at the event will go to Boundless Canberra, the first all-abilities playground.

More information on the Initiative at and walk registrations to

 Bloomin’ traffic blues

WHY does it take a month to condition traffic on Commonwealth Avenue to the presence of temporary lights at the Floriade crossing and yet we need nary 24 hours for the Australia Day celebrations in Commonwealth Park?

This is a bureaucratic mystery that confounds CC every year.

With still weeks to go until the darling flower show opens on September 14, random walkers and cyclists eschew the perfectly safe passage under Commonwealth Bridge for the thrill of bringing peak-hour traffic to and from the city to a standstill.

But beyond the month of this purgatory, and an acceptable further month of Floriade crowds, there’s still another fortnight of lights before they snuff them out at 5pm on Monday, October 28, when CC starts counting the sleeps to next September.

Centenary cheers

IMG_1004NEW Manuka bar Polit has created a Centenary cocktail, which is selling like crazy as patriotic Canberrans clamber for the concoction made from a fine Tasmanian sparkling as the base (Able’s Tempest). Before they pour the bubbles they dissolve a sugar cube in a combination of select bitters (the exact concoction a secret, of course). Then they add sparkling cranberry juice and top it with more Tassie bubbles.

Owner Mary-Jane Liddicoat, clearly tired and possibly emotional about her new drink, colourfully describes it as “pretty”, “yummy” and, curiously, “a delicious, easy-to-quaff celebration of where we have come from and where we are going.” Right.


Sad ‘Times’…

SNIGGERING has turned to sympathy as CC exposes the latest circulation numbers the clearly embarrassed “Canberra Times” is reluctant to share with its advertisers. Our city’s daily paper appears helpless to resist the drag of the drain as its flagship Saturday edition goes down the gurgler by 13.7 per cent to an unthinkable low of 40,475. The weekday edition is down 8.4 per cent to 26,153 and the Sunday, by 10.28 per cent to 26,138. Maybe there’s some relief in the digital numbers, but unlike its other Fairfax stablemates, “The Times” has been coy sharing them to date.

Silly ‘Times’…

POPPING up on Facebook was a paid ad from “The Canberra Times” querying if CC had entered its “fast approaching” fun run and that we should challenge ourselves on “Saturday, August 8”. Given we noticed it on August 16 and that August 8 is a Thursday, some dullard clearly doesn’t know that the paper’s laudable fun run is, this year, on Sunday, September 8. Thank you, Mr CityNews, we can hear them chorusing in Fyshwick!

And free ‘Times’

Free “Canberra Times” watch: bundles of Saturday’s edition at the weekly Farmer’s Market, Epic.

Pages of history

Un Zeste de TelopeaTELOPEA Park School appears to have made publishing history with its “stunning” new cookbook called “Un Zeste de Telopea” with editor Valerie Cretegny promising a “very colourful 143-page cookbook with lots of recipes from the chefs of restaurants, parents and children”. Having overcome the impossibility of printing a book that isn’t an even number, the principal and someone from the French embassy will launch the fundraising publication at the bilingual school on September 11. Needless to say, the school’s cool P&C will be proffering champagne.


 A guy thing

HELP, at last, for the fashion-challenged male… The Canberra Centre is offering men the chance to “achieve your fashion aspirations in a 30-minute personal one-on-one style session with useful tips and advice from our personal stylists”, though half an hour doesn’t seem long enough to realign the inner slob.

It costs 50 coconuts and includes a $50 Canberra Centre Gift Card. Bookings for Saturday, August 24 and Sunday, August 25 to the customer service lounge on Level 1 or email

Done and dusted

THE ad-deprived local monthly sports magazine “Play” has curiously devoted its premium back page to what appears to be an advertisement for Canberra Stadium’s “2013 Kick Off Schedule”, a handsome (largely historical) list of footy matches from February, with barely four of the 22 games listed yet to be played at the time of publication (two by now). Is this really the best use of taxpayers’ money?

 Coupla blokes

ConTheFruitererCON the Fruiterer (aka actor Mark Mitchell) is here for a “coupla hours” to launch the Crace Community Garden with “Better Homes and Gardens” personality Jason Hodges on Saturday, August 31.

 Cheeky Andrew

GREAT line: Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr accused Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson of showing “more cheek than a sumo wrestler”.


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