Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Mystique of the Captain James Cook Memorial and National Carillon

The Mystique of the Captain James Cook Memorial and National Carillon

By Satsuki Ranjou
Spirit News
September 1, 2073

The Captain James Cook Memorial was built by the Commonwealth Government to commemorate the Bicentenary of Captain James Cook's first sighting of the east coast of Australia. The memorial includes a water jet located in the central basin and a skeleton globe sculpture at Regatta Point of Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra, showing the paths of Cook's expeditions. On 25 April 1970, Queen Elizabeth II officially inaugurated the memorial.

The water jet is powered by two 560 kilowatt electric motors driving four stage centrifugal pumps capable of pumping up to 250 litres per second against a head of 183 metres. The water velocity at the water nozzle is 260 km/h. While running both pumps simultaneously the main jet throws approximately six tons of water into the air at any instant, reaching a maximum height of 147 metres. Alternatively the jet can be run on a single pump reaching a lower height of 110 metres. During special occasions it can be illuminated, often with coloured lights.

The water jet operates from 10–11.45 a.m. and 2–3.45 p.m.. During summer it operates for an extra period from 7-9 p.m.. In periods of high wind the jet is automatically disabled as water landing on the nearby Commonwealth Avenue Bridge can be a hazard to traffic. The water jet must also be occasionally shut down when drought lowers the water level of the lake.

The National Carillon, situated on Aspen Island in central Canberra, Australia is a large carillon managed and maintained by the National Capital Authority on behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia. The carillon was a gift from the British government to the people of Australia to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the National Capital, Canberra. Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the National Carillon on 26 April 1970. The 50 metre tall National Carillon tower was designed by Western Australian architects Cameron, Chisholm Nicol. The concept initially came from an architect Mr Don Ho working in Cameron Chisholm Nicol in 1968. In 2004 the carillon underwent refurbishment including renovations of interior function facilities and the addition of two extra bells. Consultants were CCN, Sydney office.

Carillons must have at least 23 bells to be considered as such, and the National Carillon has 55 (increased from 53 during refurbishments in 2003). Each bell weighs between seven kilograms and six tonnes. The bells span four and a half octaves chromatically.The carillon features moderate-size function facilities for small gatherings offering wonderful views over Lake Burley Griffin and central Canberra.

The carillon is in regular use, chiming every quarter hour and playing a short tune on the hour along with tours and recitals on many days. For example, there is usually a recital of carols on Christmas Eve each year with music being played for around an hour at dusk. The best place to listen to the carillon is suggested to be within 100 metres of the building though the sound can usually be heard much further away in the Parliamentary Triangle, Kingston and Civic. The adjacent National Workers Memorial was constructed with the idea that people attending would hear the sound of bells from the carillon, which would assist them in remembering their loved ones.