T Editor’s letter
he first time I visited Canberra I thought it was the most exciting and cosmopolitan place I’d ever been to. I was seven years old at the time and it was also the first trip I had taken in an aeroplane — a fact that may have influenced my impressions.
I’ve been back many times since and, although the city is not without its charms, I’ve always found it wanting. I’m happy to declare my bias here: I’m not a big fan of small to medium-sized cities anywhere. I like big bustling metropolises and I like small little villages and towns; but for me small cities always feel like they are trapped between a rock and a hard place. They’re too big to be considered charming and too small to be taken seriously as a major centre.
The history of Canberra doesn’t help matters either — just imagine what Sydney or Melbourne could have been if one of them was made the capital. Then again, imagine what Canberra could be if there was a highspeed rail link connecting it to the two state capitals.
But before our Canberra readers start an angry email to me, I’ll get to the point: Canberra has suddenly become cool, and I don’t mean in the climate sense. There is a newfound energy in Canberra that has seen restaurants, hotels and cafes open all over the city. Milanda Rout, our senior writer and former Canberrabased political reporter for The Australian, travelled to her old stomping ground for this issue to find out what’s happened in Canberra that led The New York Times to label it Australia’s “decidedly hipster underbelly”. Her story starts on page 34.
One of the most successful mixed-use developments in any Australian city has been the New Acton precinct in Canberra by the Molonglo Group, which is home to, among other businesses, the acclaimed Hotel Hotel. Codirector of Molonglo, Nectar Efkarpidis, told Milanda: “What we wanted to do was inject a bit of messiness. It’s what we have in the big cities as they layer over time. You cannot have the good and the interesting without the grit and the messiness.” We also sent a video crew to Canberra and you can view that on our website.
Speaking of metropolises ... for our fashion and cover shoot this month our fashion team travelled to New York for an exclsuive shoot with Tiffany & Co.’s incredible Blue Book collection of high jewellery.
I hope you enjoy the issue.
Grilled salmon at Lonsdale Street Roasters, the acclaimed Hotel Hotel, and breakfast at A. Baker are a few of Canberra’s newfound delights