Canberra is a city of orphans. People arrive temporarily for work, but stay on because they discover unanticipated promise and opportunity in a city that the rest of the country loathes but can’t really do without. Daley’s Canberra begins and ends at the lake and its forgotten suburbs, traces of which can still be found on Burley Griffin’s banks. It meanders through the cultural institutions that chronicle the unsavoury early life of Canberra, the graveyard at St John’s where the pioneers rest and the mountains that surround the city. In Canberra people don’t ask you where you went to school, as they do in Melbourne, or where your house is and how much you paid for it, as they do in Sydney. They ask you where you’ve come from. And how long you’re going to stay.
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