It was a two-day ride to the capital, Canberra
We thought we’d try the coast road again. This was a mistake for two reasons; it was boring again, and it was 150 miles of solid traffic. Electronic signs up warned of 2 hour delays getting through towns. Never, ever have I seen such a traffic screw-up. We rode the shoulder, the center line, anywhere we could to keep moving and it still took us 5 hours.
The second day inland was great
No secret that BBQ’ing is the big thing in Australia and here’s how it happens at the side of the road. You pass a field and see this
Park, and go here. Rob’s Shack
Order and pay here. Really expensive, as usual. Food, motels, it’s all about twice the price of Canada. Beer is mercifully a buck or two cheaper a pint
Go talk to Rob. He’s raking it in, so happy
Go sit on a log and chat with Aussies on their Christmas holidays
OMG fantastic. White bread and meat, hold the veggies. Bad carbs and protein: perfect riding food
A big change of topic as we approach Canberra:
An anecdote: I heard that shortly after we arrived in Oz there was a fight on a beach outside Sydney. White Aussies were fighting coloured recent immigrant Aussies. To beef up the white numbers, cell phone calls were going from the fight out calling for more ‘sons of ANZAC’.
ANZAC here is as common a word as ‘Mountie’ is at home. It stand for Australia New Zealand Army Corp, the united force that has fought together for 100 years, from Gallipoli and all wars since. It matters hugely to them and they’re very proud of their fighting history.
So before we get to Canberra we see yet another photo (on a pub wall) of an ANZAC battalion posing for a shot on the Cheops pyramid in January 1915. 5 months later, on April 25, 80% of the solidiers here were slaughtered in one day
Here is a detail from the photo. A father and his three sons link arms – all 4 were killed the first day
So when Wiki says that the War Memorial Museum in Canberra is one of the best museums in the world, we shouldn’t be surprised. This is the single most attended sight or event in Australia by Australians.
It’s on a rise, so hard to get a good shot of the whole thing. It’s actually very big
Under the arches, like most nations, there’s a memorail wall. Here, the 120,000 Aussie soldiers that have been killed in the wars
To match that, here’s the Victoria Cross medal hall inside
The first 4 Victoria Crosses. Gallipoli
The last 4. Afghanistan. The guy on the left, Mark Donaldson, is an extreme badass and almost a household name here
There halls and displays that can keep you busy for days (we were there for 2), each about either an enemy or a battle, in 3 main huge areas.
Japan is maybe the most impressive area. The Japanese bombed Darwin, their subs shot up Sydney and Newcastle, they were committed, not involved. Unlike Canada they had a country under attack
Some of the stories are beyond belief. Here’s a room devoted to a Japanese march of 1787 Australian prisoners of war, where they literally walked them (and brutalized them as they walked) to death. The only survivors were 6 who escaped the death march into the jungle. These photos are enlistment pictures
There were photos of individual Australians at the hands of the Japanese
There were many displays in every media type imaginable. We took 170 photos and wouldn’t know where to start.