Category Archives: Travel

Skate in Canberra

The ice skating rink that’s up in Canberra’s city centre for the winter. (Another session was about to begin, hence no people on the ice!)

Skate in the City Winter Canberra Australia Sonya Natalia Heaney July 2018

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Cartier: The Exhibition

Cartier The Exhibition National Gallery of Australia Canberra

Just a little bit too much?!

Australia’s National Gallery, which is here in Canberra, has had some pretty amazing “blockbusters” recently (however I’m worried about the new director coming in soon).

The last big one I went to see was the Versailles exhibition, where So Much stuff from the Palace of Versailles, and so many historically significant pieces, were brought out from France for a few months.

Now, we have the Cartier exhibition – which is ending in a few days. We went to see it on Saturday.

And – wow. For starters I can’t believe that there was no security of any sort when there were billions of dollars of diamonds and other precious jewels on display.

They weren’t just any diamonds either; these were pieces from Britain’s royal collection, things the Queen wears, tiaras from royal weddings (e.g. the one Kate Middleton wore for hers), and crowns worn by Queen Victoria’s daughters. And these were pieces from Hollywood: jewels that belonged to Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly etc. There was even a clock belonging to a US President.

These heiresses were seriously rich!

It was also fascinating to see how much money was coming from Gilded Age New York. So many obscenely enormous sets of jewels belonged to the American heiresses who married into the British aristocracy – just like in shows like Downton Abbey, and in all those books I read.

There were also other things, like costumes from the Ballet Russes (the NGA bought most of the world-famous company’s costumes many years ago, before anybody else thought to), and pieces belonging to Victorian/Edwardian opera star Dame Nellie Melba.

I was told that two hours wasn’t long enough to see everything, and I thought that was ridiculous: after all how many diamonds could there possibly be?

It turns out two hours was nowhere near long enough.

DIamond Tiara Cartier The Exhibition National Gallery of Australia Canberra

I’ve seen crown jewel collections in a number of countries in Europe. I’ve been whisked past a handful of crowns at the Tower of London on a travellator a few times. Nothing I’ve seen anywhere else is close to what is on display in Canberra at the moment.

This is how close we got to things – even with a weekend crowd. This is Kate Middleton’s wedding tiara:

I’m really hoping the new director realises what an amazing gallery we have here. His “vision” for the gallery’s future sounds, frankly, like garbage. I want more Versailles and Cartier and Impressionists exhibitions, please. Not “homegrown modern art”!

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End of the Day in Canberra

End of the Day Winter Sun Sunset Sonya Heaney Canberra Australia 4th July 2018 Nature

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04/07/2018 · 6:01 pm

Winter in Canberra

Big skies in Canberra as we drove past Parliament House on the weekend.

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Saturday in Canberra

Parliament House from the bridge this afternoon. We were on our way home from the amazing Cartier exhibition at the National Gallery and lunch at Canberra’s oldest Italian restaurant.

Parliament House Cockatoo Canberra Australia Dusk Sonya Heaney 30th June 2018

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Evening Cockatoo

Its friend flew off, and I asked this one to turn around and look at me before it left, too.

It did.

Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo Canberra Australia Dusk Sonya Heaney 30th June 2018 Nature 1

Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo Canberra Australia Dusk Sonya Heaney 30th June 2018 Nature 2

Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo Canberra Australia Dusk Sonya Heaney 30th June 2018 Nature 3

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Winter Light

Sunshine at the end of the day in Canberra.

Winter Evening Light Eucalyptus Tree Gum Tree Sonya Oksana Heaney 28th June 2018 Canberra Australia Nature

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