IFFR Australia – A Capital IFFR Weekend

On the weekend of 17 to 19 November, members of IFFR Australia got together in the nation’s capital, Canberra, for a great weekend of flying fellowship. We’ve received the report on it below from IFFR Australia Secretary Lynne Duckham.

Starting the weekend on Friday night with the very special visit to Mt Stromlo Observatory, we were privileged to have PhD Astronomy students walk and talk us through  the current research, and  tell us about Australian indigenous astronomy, and laugh while some of us tried unsuccessfully  to pick up a small part of a meteorite.   Not only do we get to understand the impact of the 2003 devastating ACT fires, but we also learnt about the ongoing research and the constellations through the indigenous Australian “lens”. We saw other galaxies, Saturn, moons, and constellations through the telescopes!  Plus seeing a replica of the very special 2011 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to immediate past Vice Chancellor and President of the Australian National University Professor Brian Schmidt.

Saturday morning started with a visit to the National Museum of Australia to see the amazing displays of curated historical items, and a visit to the Vision Theatre where we donned virtual reality goggles and visited Davis Station; Antarctica was an amazing experience even for those who had actually been to the Antarctic in real life.

Following lunch looking out over Lake Burley Griffin, we visited the Canberra history and development display at Regatta Point and then headed to either the War Memorial or the National Gallery for the rest of the afternoon

Saturday night dinner and paper plane making and landing competition, was held in the Glasshouse at the Pavilion on Northbourne, and we were joined by our host club the Rotary Club of Canberra Sundowners, other Rotarians from D9705.  Our amazing guest speaker, Caitlin Figueiredo, the 2024 ACT Young Australian of the Year, fascinated us with her down to earth attitude and successful approach to “service above self” despite invitations to meet with the USA First Lady and Queen Elizabeth II, and to address the United Nations on the Sustainable Development Goals; and her work establishing youth structures on gender equality.

Sunday morning was a relaxing start with a 2 hour sightseeing cruise on “the Lake” (Lake Burley Griffin) followed by tourist stops at Red Hill Lookout and a drive by the various Embassies on our way to lunch at Dionysus Vineyard near Murrumbateman NSW.  After a leisurely and scrumptious lunch, we headed back to Canberra and the National Arboretum, with a quick visit to the various displays including the bonsai gardens.

Travelling via Mt Ainslie, for a look at Canberra and its growth, we headed to Ruby’s Chinese restaurant in Dickson for a casual dinner, after which most strolled back to their accommodation.

It was another great weekend of fun and fellowship being the third IFFR Fly-in in Canberra since 2011. It was wonderful to have everybody come to share our amazing nation’s capital with those from outside of the area.

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