Is there a worse city than this?

Edmund Barton Building, Canberra. For unknown reasons, Heritage Listed.

Edmund Barton Building, Canberra. Heritage Listed. Seriously.

We at Dodgy Perth have used not a little ink in the past criticising WA architecture. So, for once, we turn our attention to a different city.

Colin Ednie-Brown, one of Perth’s most famous architects, had the misfortune to visit Australia’s new capital in 1927. ‘Designed’ by Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin, Canberra has been described as many things, but good is not one of them.

Ednie-Brown certainly did not mince has words:

From an architectural standpoint the place disgusted me.

Everything has come out of the same mould, whether it be a residence or a hotel. The money wasted and thrown away on such a type of buildings is appalling.

Most of the buildings are jerry-built, and of a poor quality of workmanship. The thing that struck me most was the obvious lack of expert supervision throughout the whole of the work.

It is hardly believable that such a scandal should ever have been allowed.

Okay, so Canberra was not exactly to Colin’s taste. Surely he liked something?

Just one building, really. The GG’s residence. But that was only because it was an adaptation of an old homestead.

Just in case you suspect that this is just one WA architect’s opinion. It wasn’t. Famously, Robert Menzies despised Canberra and was embarrassed to be seen there.

So whenever you need cheering up, just remember there are worse places you could live. Like Canberra.

Turn me kangaroo round, sport


Is something happening over there?

Dodgy Perth went to Forrest Place and noticed the two coats of arms on the Post Office had been removed. Both the Australian arms (above) and the British royal coat of arms. They’re gone because of yoof who decided it would be funny to smash them up.


Where’s me kangaroo gone, sport?

Anyway, the office got thinking. We’ve heard various stories about why the kangaroo on the GPO’s Commonwealth coat of arms faces the wrong direction. On all the other coats of arms, the two delicious animals face each other.


Burger time

Or to go all heraldic about it: why does the GPO have a sinister kangaroo regardant?

The best theory says because of swastikas, aliens, Masons, the illuminati and witchcraft. We don’t pretend to follow the argument, but we are convinced. Maybe.

Alternatively, the most popular tale concerns a sculptor who never got paid for his work, so the kangaroo looks back at the treasury as a rebuke.

We thought about this for a while.

So… the sculptor cast the coat of arms knowing in advance they wouldn’t get paid. And then no one noticed the sculpture was wrong when they put it up.

We back the illuminati story now.

But… Dodgy Perth is going can be the first to reveal the real, genuine, slightly mundane truth.

Take a look at the Commonwealth arms below:


Are you looking at me, mate?

This is the Old Parliament building in Canberra. It may look ordinary now. That’s because someone cut the head off the kangaroo and turned it round.

That’s right. The coat of arms on the national parliament once had a sinister kangaroo regardant. You were allowed creative licence in your interpretation in those days.

The reason was simple: both animals were looking at the royal coat of arms, which also adorned every Commonwealth building. It would have been rude for either kangaroo or emu to turn its back on the monarch.


God save our unicorn, long live our unicorn

Same reason goes for the GPO.

But the more observant among you will have noticed a tiny problem with this explanation. In Forrest Place, both bird and marsupial face away from the royal arms, which were on the GPO’s right.

Best explanation: the contractors who put them up weren’t told which one went where, and no one noticed on the day. If anyone commented later, it was too late to do anything about it. So for nine decades, kangaroo and emu have been studiously ignoring a succession of kings and queens of England.

Perhaps, now both coats of arms are in for repair, this is the ideal moment to put things back the way they were intended. Or make a republican statement and put them back the way they were.

One way or the other.