China & ANU: Diplomats, Adventurers and ScholarsShare Event on Facebook Share Event on Twitter Share Event on LinkedIn
The campus of the Australian National University is home to a mixed bag of buildings, not what I would call an eclectic mix, definitely ad hoc and many a reminder of the cream brick blocks built by Karl Schreiner most notably the original John Curtin School of Medical Research. So to find at the end of Fellows Lane the new building that is The Australian Centre on China in the World with inside the Bamboo Hall and outside a garden of oriental charm and discipline and a view through the hall to the green space that is one of those treasured lush ovals of the ANU was a pleasant surprise.
The occasion was the opening of an exhibition, China & ANU: Diplomats, Adventurers and Scholars which is a carefully researched, curated and displayed collection of all manner of documents, photos and films with some rare archival items among the collection acknowledging the important connection between diplomat-scholars and adventurers who established new relationships with China and the region post-war.
Jack Waterford, dubbed our new ‘eminence gris’ and ‘living Canberra treasure’, by Acting Director of the centre Benjamin Penny, was the official opener of the exhibition and in his own inimitable way of story- telling had us off to the central province of Uganda to learn about the Kabaka of Buganda, that’s the king of this influential little piece of Uganda. And no I’d never heard of him either. Then it was on to England with tales of the London Missionary Society, a divergence for consideration of an Aboriginal Institute of Australian Studies on the campus and somewhere in between a story of the original demountable that sat on this spot as the ‘departure lounge’ for those soon to depart the university to enjoy the company and chatting of others hoping for an upgrade before departure.
It’s a beautiful building, a centre for excellence as an institution for Chinese Studies and a place to exhibit these Australian stories of our diplomatic and scholarly China connections. Exhibition time is Wednesdays 9-5.