Canberra Confidential / Hard times for the fountain

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A zip tie holding part of the neglected Canberra Times Fountain together in Civic. Photo by John Griffiths
A zip tie holding part of the neglected Canberra Times Fountain together in Civic. Photo by John Griffiths
THE smooth symmetry of the City Walk’s iconic Canberra Times Fountain appears to be another victim of poor maintenance.

Dogged observer of Civic and CC colleague John Griffiths has reported on how ragged and tired the paper’s 1979 gift to the city has become.

Donated to mark the inky icon’s 50th birthday, it appears to be falling apart after only 36 years and looks likely to predecease its wobbly benefactor.

Griffiths has photographed parts of it being outrageously held together by zip ties, wayward wires coming dangerously adrift from the sculpture, raggedy water flow and something the fountain’s sculptor Robert Woodward hadn’t foreseen, the sensitive use of guy ropes to keep it upright!

Is our city so impoverished it can’t maintain a fountain any more? Perhaps CBD Ltd could direct cash from the Christmas camels to save it.

Siri, speak to me

IT’S National Reconnection Month and, as before, here comes some new research that will want to make you stamp on your smartphone for the beastly things it’s apparently doing to you.

It would seem that, according to the “Connectivity Report” (improbably commissioned by a national coffee chain), devices designed to connect us instantly are actually diminishing the quality of our relationships.

Sadly, we discover that almost a third of the nation hasn’t made a new friend in a year or more. And another 17 per cent can’t remember the last time they formed a new friendship.

More than a quarter of us get annoyed when loved ones use a phone when we’re with them and another 11 per cent feel hurt by this behaviour.

Despite this, 30 per cent of people admit to “always” using their phones when spending time with loved ones, and a fifth confess to interrupting face-to-face time with family and friends to use social media. All of which seems to support the old adage you can choose your friends but not your relatives.

Captain Planet crashes to earth

THE Redistribution Committee responsible for mapping out the boundaries and names for the expanded number of electorates for the next ACT election seem to be home and hosed on their decisions.

The period for public objection ended with nary a voice raised in anger.

Of those precious-few precious few who did have a grumble, CC was drawn to an objection by Joel Dignam to the proposed Aboriginal-inspired names for the five electorates.

Something of a recidivist, Joel bemoaned that while his previous submission has been “disregarded, I take some solace in the historical precedent surrounding such iconoclastic thinkers as Copernicus, Galileo, and Taylor Swift. And thus I again rally my spirits to write in favour of Captain Planet-inspired electorate names.”

And that’s where CC started to glaze over, comforted in the thought that the committee will let Joel’s tyres down with more courtesy than ever CC could muster.

  • Hmmms….
  • CC was bumbling up Northbourne Avenue the other afternoon to be shocked by what looked like a heraldic crest emblazoned on the car in front. There was a U and beneath that FU framed by two cross axes. However, a closer look revealed it was a vehicle of the United Firefighters Union (“United we bargain, divided we beg,” said the bumper bar).
  • THE National Zoo & Aquarium’s swanky new Jamala Wildlife Lodge drew a mixed celebrity bag to its grand opening when its neighbour,  the GG Sir Peter Cosgrove, came over the back fence to cut the ribbon. Invited personalities included Kevin Sheedy, Michael Milton, Naomi Simpson, Bianca Rinehart, Leo Sayer, Mal Meninga, Ricky Stuart, Mark Donaldson VC and Daniel Keighran VC.
  • CANBERRA Spinners & Weavers have crossed the border to stage its annual members’ exhibition and sale, Warped & Twisted, showing at the Q Exhibition Space and Foyer, in Queanbeyan until May 16.
  • THEY’RE bopping at the Hughes shops, 10am-1pm, on Saturday, May 9, as the inner-south suburb celebrates its 51st birthday, the day when Dame Enid Lyons, the first woman in the House of Representatives, opened the suburb in 1964. There will be a display of the suburb’s history recalling the time when its remoteness earned it the title “North Cooma”.


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  1. S. Rattenbury’s priority is to Kill ACT’s Kangas not to up keep historical fountains. RIP Canberra’s Kangaroos. ACT, the Housing Estate Territory, just watch. If you complained about Kangaroos you won’t know what hit you when thousands of human’s invade your homes and privacy. Good on ya Shane !!!!!

    • Ben do you *seriously* think Shane Rattenbury wakes up in the morning lusting over dead kangaroos?

      This isn’t a policy that anyone has enthusiasm for. It’s clearly the result of weighing up the options and arriving at a least worst result.

  2. Is this another case of strategic neglect? Do they hope to build apartments there? That’s the only serious priority of this government after all…

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