But since I decided to accept this job and move to Canberra, I’ve had a lot of people say to me - almost as a confession - that they actually like the place - that they enjoy visiting its institutions and restaurants, and have some good friends there.
Canberra supposedly has a crap nightlife, meaning that there are no night clubs or venues worth visiting. I don’t know whether this is true or not, and I don’t really care. I’ve already discovered some good restaurants and bars in Canberra - in Civic, Dickson, Kingston and Manuka. I don’t like night clubs anyway, but enjoy being able to walk around on a Saturday night without being worried about drunken louts, which is an improvement from Sydney.
I like that the Australian Capital Territory is mostly national park, and that the beautiful Namadgi National Park is only a short drive from where I’m living, and that I have another nature reserve just across the street where I’m living. I like that Canberra is full of trees and bike tracks. I visited Canberra a few times when I was growing up, usually in the hot and dry (but not humid) summer or in the chilly winter - chilly by Australian standards. But unlike a lot of places in Australia, Canberra has four distinct seasons. I’m really enjoying the autumn here, the cooler evenings, and the leaves of the deciduous trees turning to gold and red.
It’s different in Sydney. The leaves of deciduous trees tend to stay green well into the autumn, even into the winter, then one day they turn brown and drop all at once. For someone who fell in love with the beautiful and gradual fall colours in Minnesota, this seems so wrong.
But this post isn’t about saying good riddance to Sydney. Sydney is only a shortish drive away (I should know, I’ve done that drive a lot lately), and I know I’ll be back there often - for family reasons as well as to see national and international acts which would never make it to Canberra. I’ll definitely miss the Blue Mountains, a unique place which I won’t be able to visit so often any more. On the other hand, I look forward to exploring some of places surrounding Canberra - Batemans Bay and the South Coast of New South Wales aren’t very far away, not to mention Cooma and Jindabyne and the Snowy Mountains.
One last thing I’ll say about Canberra is that it’s a good place to be a law librarian. There seem to be many opportunities for librarians with legal or business research skills, both in the public sector and private sector. There are some amazing places to aspire to work at if you’re a librarian in Canberra: the National Library of Australia, the Parliament of Australia, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Treasury Department, the High Court Library, to name only a few. If you’re a new librarian and want this to be your focus, you could do a lot worse than move to Canberra. The process for entering the Commonwealth Public Service can be intimidating, but it seems that the placement agencies are having a hard time filling positions, and temping is a good a way of getting experience and getting your foot in the door.