blog 81: In which I journey to the Nation’s Capital (or What happens in Canberra doesn’t stay in Canberra!)

I’ve just returned from a very enjoyable week in CANBERRA with my wife.

There wasn’t quite enough time for me to set all the Nation’s affairs in order, but you know, I did what I could.


Here’s how it all went.

I spent the first five days visiting schools.

On Monday I went to St Edmund’s College and had great sessions with the boys from grades 4, 5 and 6. St Edmund’s was only about 800 metres down the road from our hotel, so I walked there early in the morning.

That day’s minimum temperature was -5 degrees.

It was a very refreshing and pretty walk, particularly seeing all the bare trees, fallen leaves and the grass dusted with frost. Sure, I lost the feeling in my face for two days and a few of my fingers may have to be removed, but such a small price to pay for beauty, I say!


On Tuesday I spoke with the awesome grade 5s and 7s at Burgmann Anglican School who created these lovely displays.

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Wednesday and Thursday I had a terrific time with the 4s, 5s, 6s and 9s of Marist College Jnr and Snr Colleges.

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On Wednesday night I had the pleasure of joining Tania McCartney to address a gathering of teachers and librarians at Marist Snr College on Reading.

As you can see below, they didn’t quite get my name right on the original poster advertising the event. (Sorry Tehani – just too good not to share!).

But it all turned out for the best, because they were only expecting a crowd of 50 or 60 people and over 3,000 signed up to attend! Of course it was made clear on the night, that I was in fact NOT Gerard Butler.

But many people still left unconvinced!


I finished the week of school visits at Palmerston District Primary School speaking with three groups of lovely 5/6 students in their very colourful and inviting library.


I also received some lovely letters from one of the classes. The letters said some very nice things about my books and the talks. I was particularly fond of this observation from one very perceptive and intelligent student.


After all the school visits were over, my wife and I had a few days of free time in Canberra.

We took in the sights (and I pretended to be a tree).

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We saws plenty of birdlife.


We visited the National Portrait Gallery where I was insulted by this poster …


… but was happy to find this guy lurking secretively undercover in the Portrait Gallery Bookshop!


We visited the War Memorial and experienced the amazing new high tech Gallipoli and WWW 1 displays.

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And finally, because of my services to the Nation during my visit to the Capital, I was immortalised in bronze with ex-Prime Ministers John Curtain and Ben Chifley.


Yes, it was quite a week!

A big thanks to the good folk at Booked Out Speakers Agency who organise all my visits so brilliantly and especially to all the amazing teachers, librarians and students whom I had the absolute pleasure of meeting during the week.


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