JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
Senator Kate Lundy
Minister for Sport, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister Assisting for Industry and Innovation
Andrew Barr MLA
Acting Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation
Minister for Sport and Multicultural Affairs, Senator Kate Lundy, and Acting Chief Minister Andrew Barr today praised a new exhibition at Parliament House—the first major exhibition of the Centenary year—that provides the fascinating, behind-the-scenes stories about the Commonwealth ceremonies on 12 March 1913, when Canberra officially came into being.
But Once in a History, curated by Centenary of Canberra History and Heritage Advisor Dr David Headon, focuses on the big personalities present, the controversy surrounding the international design competition, the laying of the foundation stones with golden trowels and the build-up to the selection of ‘Canberra’ as the capital’s name.
Launching the exhibition, Senator Lundy spoke in glowing terms of the co-operation between governments, institutions and the public at large that gave rise to the exhibition, and of the curator who had brought them all together. She also reserved a special ‘thank-you’ for the family of the original Lord and Lady Denman a century ago, both in England and Australia, who supported the exhibition so generously.
“There is an extraordinary variety of items on display at this amazing exhibition, a number of them the direct result of the close relationship that has rapidly developed in recent months between the exhibition curator, Dr Headon, and the family of the Governor-General a century ago, Lord Denman,” Senator Lundy said.
“The Denman family have provided a wealth of precious heirlooms, on show for the first time ever, including the jewel-in-the-crown, the actual case that Lady Denman opened on the day that contained the city’s name, as well as her beautiful silk and ivory parasol, Lord Denman’s original plumed hat worn on Canberra’s big day, his ceremonial epaulettes and a thick scrapbook of the Denmans’ Australian years compiled by Lady Denman’s lady-in-waiting.”
Senator Lundy urged Canberrans and lovers of history to come and see the exhibition in this important year of celebrating Canberra’s history.
“This exhibition, a Canberra treasure, should be seen by all Australians who value their nation’s unique history,” she said.
Minister Barr said that visitors to the exhibition would undoubtedly come away with a fresh understanding and appreciation of Canberra’s fine foundation story, and those who created it.
“The first significant national ceremonies for the capital city took place on 12 March 1913 when the Foundation Stones were laid, the city named and several visionary and prophetic speeches were delivered,” Minister Barr said.
“All Australians can reflect with immense pride on the significance of their national capital’s early history of cutting-edge design leadership.”
The exhibition also marks the 25th anniversary of the opening of Parliament House on 9 May 1988.
But Once in a History: Canberra’s Foundation Stones and Naming Ceremonies, 12 March 1913, will run from 14 January to 3 April, 2013 in the Presiding Officers Exhibition Area at Parliament House.
It is a Centenary of Canberra project and is presented with support from the ACT Government, the Commonwealth Government, Presiding Officers of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the Department of Parliamentary Services and the National Archives of Australia.