Canberra

19-20 May 2016

We took Friday as a holiday and drove to Canberra to visit Elder and Sister Clark and see more of Australia’s capital. We stopped at the same rest stop about halfway there. But this time, the “Beware of Snakes” sign on the sidewalk did not even concern me. I have not seen any snakes in the bush here. The terrain is much dryer as you get close to Canberra.

The Clarks first took us to Parliament House, which is stunning. This is the entrance courtyard. We were able to join a 2:00 pm tour that took us through the building and into the various main rooms.

Here is another view of the entrance from the marble staircase. Right is a huge mural that includes Haley’s comet and hangs on an entire wall of the ballroom.

This history of Australia is fabric and thread and stretches across the wall along the ballroom balcony!

These pictures are taken from the roof of the Parliament building. The flag is centered right over the Parliament building and can be seen well from the distance all over Canberra. Behind Sister and Elder Clark you can see the old parliament building and all the way to the War Memorial, all lined up.

We saw beautiful Autumn colors from the breezeway to the House of Representatives Chamber. It was very interesting to see the house of representatives room and also the senate.  They have a system of government that is mainly like Britain’s but has a few elements of ours.  The building was built about 40 years ago and it designed to accommodate growth for 200 years.  Their old parliament building was used for about 60 years till they grew out of it.  There is a general election going on right now.  It lasts for 8 weeks and the vote will be on July 2.  Usually they elect all of their representatives and a third of their senators every three years.  This time they are electing all of their representatives and all of their senators as well.  There is a special reason for this that involves there being a sort of deadlock between the two houses so that matters can’t be dealt with constructively. It is quite rare here and it is called a “double dissolution” when both the upper and lower houses of parliament are dissolved and all must run for reelection.

We went to the national war memorial next and looked at the exhibits about Australia’s involvement in wars starting with WW I. It is an excellent museum with iPads that allowed us to choose which story we would like to hear.  At the end of our visit we attended the “last post” ceremony that honored an individual soldier that had lost his life for his country.  They do this every day at 5 pm in the courtyard you see above just as they close the museum.  It was a touching tribute that included the individual story of the soldier’s service and how he lost his life.  It also included laying wreaths by the family of the soldier and playing bagpipes and the bugle.

On the right you can see poppies placed next to the fallen servicemen’s names. It was a really cold winter evening with a biting wind.
We enjoyed a delicious dinner of ribs and wings together at Outback Jacks and a nice visit on Friday night.

We stayed with the Clarks overnight and went to the Australian National Museum on Saturday morning. Left, Elder and Sister Clark and Sister Kinghorn in front of  the museum. Right is the entrance foyer.

The main floor of the museum is so open it fits this airplane and truck.

Meat pies, left, and pasties , right, in Australia are SO delicious. The popular little shop where we bought these could not cook them fast enough. Mine was chicken, gravy and vegetables. We enjoyed them sitting outside on a beautiful fall day.

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It was so nice to see Elder Brown from England and Elder Soon from Malaysia. Before their transfer to Canberra, they both served with us in the Chinese Branch. We met them at the Lyneham chapel for a good visit and a few pictures. The chapels have these nice benches outside of the main entrance. We headed home around 2:00 pm so I could play my violin at a 7 pm baptism.

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This picture was taken right after Ivin’s baptism. From left, Ivin’s Mom (I think), Yantze’s Mom, President Back, Yantze, Ivin, Elder Tingey, Elder Chen and Elder Miller. President Back let Elder Miller come from Wollongong to Ivin’s baptism. Yantze learned about the church from her Mom who was converted in her home in China, which is not far from Mongolia. She went to Hong Kong to be baptized. She told Yantze about her baptism and really encouraged her to contact the missionaries. But it was her boyfriend, Ivin, that was interested. They were married Saturday morning, and Yantze’s Mom came for the wedding and baptism. She gets to stay for a month. A large group from our Branch came and Sister Lam decorated the Relief Society room and brought a lot of food. Ivan was so happy!

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