We're quite keen on school holidays around here - no need to be anywhere on time, no homework, time to get out and about and have some fun. And today we headed up to Mount Stromlo.
I haven't been there since before the 2003 bushfires, when most of the complex was destroyed. It's clearly back in action again, if not the same as it was. And appearances can deceive: the big reflector telescope building was looking pretty good on the outside:
... but if you peer through the locked glass doors, you can clearly see the burned remains of the massive telescope:
The Director's Residence is in bad shape, and secured behind a high chainlink fence:
... but the cafe is back in action (although not open on Mondays):
The Yale-Columbia telescope building - or at least what's left of it - has been cleaned up, and visitors are free to walk in and around it:
... and peer through doorways:
... and out through windows:
... or, children being children, play 'tips':
... and hide from each other:
On the way home, we pulled off the road into the ACT Bushfire Memorial. It's been open since 2006, but I'd never been there. Today was the day.
The plaque near the entrance reads, in part:
The entrance memorial walls are made from the community's salvaged and inscribed bricks which contain messages of grief and gratitude. Beyond the walls a site framed by a grove of casuarinas contains red glass and metal forms that refer to the force of the firestorm and the lightning strikes that sparked the main fires.
An avenue leads to an amphitheatre enclosing a pond and bubbling spring. The glass columns bordering the pond contain details from photos provided by the community which speak of memory and human resilience.