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Saturday, December 12, 2020

Glebe II.

The huge downfall of rain in and around Canberra over the last few months has unbelievably changed the landscape, from a dry-barron brown to a luscious green. A scene I can only recall a handful of times over the last three decades. In fact, it’s the first time I’ve ever seen the mountainside boarding the northern suburbs of Canberra - One Tree Hill - any other colour than brown.
Planned as a Garden City, the term ‘bush capital’ emerged as a much more suitable way to describe Canberra, with most of the ‘green spaces’ filled with Australian natives - suited to the dry conditions and able to withstand frosty, cold winters - consisting of dull-green canopies and at one’s line of sight: shades of brown, grey and the odd speckle of green. Shades of deep, luscious greens segregated to the odd well-maintained garden, golf course, the few sporting fields and the Parliamentary Triangle. Except, of course, for one ‘green space’ just south of the city: Glebe Park.
In the 1840s when Australian Federalism was not even a concept and the land now consisting of Canberra mere grazing fields, Joseph Campbell of Duntroon Estate (Portion 58, County of Murray) gifted a hundred acres to the Anglican Church for the establishment of St John the Baptist Church (Reid) and an adjoining Glebe (an allotment of land used to support a church). The first occupant, reverend Pierce Galliard, had a passion for trees and surrounded the rectory with Poplars, Elms, Willows and Hawthorns. Today, Glebe Park, maintained as a public green space, exists as just a fraction of the allotment, at 4.7 hectares (11.6 acres), and is adorned with the survivors and descendants of said trees. Making for luscious deep-green canopies that tower over well maintained lawns and gardens.