5 October 2022

What's on in Canberra this October

| Evelyn Karatzas
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Painting called Seven sisters song by Kaylene Whiskey

Seven sisters song by Kaylene Whiskey. Photo: NPG.

Floriade might steal the spotlight every spring, but plenty is happening over October to warrant a trip to the Nation’s Capital.

Our national museums and galleries are bringing it in a big way with some must-see exhibitions wrapping up, launching or running all month.

Between a raft of festivals you’ll encounter a circus, an ice show, intellectually-stimulating discussions and plenty of live music. And, of course, it would be a trip to Canberra without some foodie-focused fun.

You’re always spoiled for choice in the big city, but don’t fret – we’ve compiled the best on offer for October here.

Photograph of Dallas Harold by Naomi Hobson

Dallas Harold, 2018 by Naomi Hobson. Photo: NPG.

Who are you: Australian portraiture

When: Saturday 1 October to Sunday 29 January, daily 10 am – 5 pm
Where: National Portrait Gallery, King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Cost: Free.

The NPGA has combined forces with the National Gallery of Victoria to curate this spectacle showcase of 130 works set to shake up preconceptions of the portrait genre. Across mediums of painting, film, photography, screen printing and sculpture it explores our inner worlds, outer selves, intimacy, isolation, celebrity and more. Expect works from the likes of Patricia Piccinini, Atong Atem, Howard Arkley, Vincent Namatjira, John Nixon and Tracey Moffatt featuring superstar sitters like Albert Namatjira, Cate Blanchett, Queen Elizabeth II, David Gulpilil and Jeff the Wiggle. But also: lesser know subjects accompanied by stories that will surprise and move.

Mosaic of political faces of democracy

Hear from some of the voices that shaped our democracy at this fascinating exhibition. Photo: MOAD.

Democracy DNA: the People, the Prime Ministers and the World

When: Throughout October, daily 9 am to 5 pm
Where: Museum of Australian Democracy, 8 King George Terrace, Parkes
Cost: Free.

Curious about the world we live in today? Why is it the way it is? MOAD’s new exhibit will shed some light, turning the spotlight onto Australia’s notable political persons and prime ministers from 1901 to today. Explore the events that shaped the nation and the stories of the people who created our democracy. Hear from some of the voices that shaped our democracy as they charted their way through the events, the debates and the challenges of their day.

Immersive digital Indigenous art at the National Museum of Australia

Connection is an immersive experience from the creators of Van Gogh Alive in partnership with the NMA. Photo: NMA.

Connection: Songlines from Australia’s First Peoples

When: Until Sunday 9 October, daily 9 am – 5 pm
Where: National Museum of Australia, Lawson Cres, Acton
Cost: From $14, book here.

Creators and producers of Van Gogh Alive, Grande Experiences, have partnered with the National Museum of Australia to take audiences on a journey through Indigenous art and culture in Connection – a spectacular immersive experience not to be missed.

Painting of Japanese Hydrangeas

Cressida Campbell’s Japanese Hydrangeas (2005). Image: Cressida Campbell.

Cressida Campbell

When: Until Sunday 19 February 2023, daily 10 am to 5 pm
Where: National Gallery of Australia, Parkes Pl E, Parkes
Cost: From $20, book here.

Cressida Campbell is among Australia’s most significant contemporary artists working with painting and printmaking. Directly inspired by her surroundings, for more than 40 years the Gadigal artist has transformed commonplace experiences from her life into single edition prints and painted woodblocks. Combining keen observation with a delicacy of line, Campbell’s woodblock paintings and prints capture the overlooked beauty of the everyday. This survey exhibition will present the depth and virtuosity of her work, extending from intimate interior views to panoramic coastal landscapes. It will be accompanied by an exhibition catalogue that features writing from curators, artists, poets and other voices.

Person doing stunt in air on skateboard

Photo by Dave Tacon of Aussie world champion skateboarder Renton Millar in the air above a half pipe ramp before a crowd of young onlookers at Prahran, Victoria, in 2009. Photo: Dave Tacon.

Viewfinder: Photography from the 1970s to Now

When: Until Monday 13 March 2023, daily 9 am – 5 pm
Where: Exhibition Gallery, National Library of Australia, Parkes Pl W, Canberra
Cost: Free.

This exhibition takes a unique look at the journey of Australian documentary photography over the past five decades, from black and white images to the vibrant high-definition images of today. Drawing exclusively from the vast photography collection at the National Library of Australia, the 125 images in this exhibition reveal a changing Australia. Images showcase everything from shearers, dancers, diggers and knitters to sporting heroes, bronzed bodies on the beach, winged angels at Mardi Gras and more.

Painted mural for flower festival Floriade in Canberra

What is Spring without Floriade? Photo: Michelle Kroll.


When: Until Sunday 16 October, daily 9 am – 5:30 pm (NightFest until 2 October, 6:30 pm – 10:30 pm)
Where: Commonwealth Park, Regatta Point, Canberra
Cost: Free (costs for NightFest vary, book here).

It’s hardly a Canberra spring without Floriade. The flower show dates back to 1988 as a one-off celebration of Canberra’s 75th anniversary. But it was such a success it came back the next year and the year after that. Now, 35 years later, it (and the after-dark spinoff NightFest) are firmly established in the local calendar. It took a different form during COVID, with the 300,000 flowers that normally spring up in Commonwealth Park distributed over 130 different sites to create a Tulip Trail through Canberra’s suburbs. This year marks its triumphant return.

Installation view, Emile Bourdelle’s Maternité (Maternity), 1893 and Gustave Courbet’s Study for Les Demoiselles des bords de la Seine (Été) (Girls on the banks of the Seine [Summer]). Photo: NGA.


When: Throughout October, daily 10 am – 5 pm
Where: National Gallery of Australia, Parkes Pl E, Parkes
Cost: Free.

Taking place at the National Gallery is a major display that’s inspired by the National Gallery’s founding history. The Gallery’s vision was to be a “centre of art for the whole world”. The collection reflects this ambition, drawing together some of the greatest achievements of artists from Australia, Asia, the Pacific, the Americas and Europe. Worldwide is structured around pivotal works in the collection, the heart of which is The Aboriginal Memorial of 200 dupun (hollow log coffins) from 1987 to 1988. Working across time, place and media, the display charts aspects of modern art, the cultural traditions of Australia, Asia and the Pacific, the centrality of First Nations art to understanding place, and the radical experimentation of each era. The collection also celebrates the diversity of art and cultures across the globe.

bush tucker

The National Museum is hosting tours to learn about Indigenous foods this October. Photo: NMA.

Tasting Australia with Adam Shipp

When: Thursday 6 October, 12:30 pm and 3 pm, Saturday 8 October, 9:30 am and 12 pm
Where: National Museum of Australia, Lawson Cres, Acton
Cost: From $17.50, book here.

The Christina and Trevor Kennedy Garden is described as “a living museum of Indigenous food and medicine plants from across Australia”. Let Wiradjuri man Adam Shipp from Yurbay Consultancies walk you through as he shares his passion for native plants. Each tour finishes with the opportunity to sample some of the flavours found in the Kennedy Garden and around the Canberra region.

Flyer for food event A Divine Degustation

A Divine Degustation is on at the CSCC this October. Photo: CSCC.

Divine Degustation

When: Friday 7 October, 6:30 pm
Where: Canberra Southern Cross Club Tuggeranong, cnr Pitman and Holwell sts, Greenway
Cost: $65 pp, book here.

Head chef Alex Kimmorley presents a variety of delicious vegan dishes for this degustation. Indulge in a six-course menu featuring a twist on their popular surf and turf and a fruity finale. Add to the experience with a wine package for $30 more. Dishes range from “bacon” wrapped “scallops” to potato and leek soup, zucchini carpaccio, Cashew based “Camembert” and caramel pineapple.

woman with rainbow fabric fans

The Celebrate Gungahlin Festival will be held over three weekends. Photo: Drew Sikorski.

Celebrate Gungahlin Festival

When: Saturday 8 October, Saturday 15 October and Saturday 22 October, 11 am – 3 pm
Where: Various locations
Cost: Free entry.

After two years of lockdowns and isolation, Gungahlin Arts has pulled together three events over three weekends to showcase everything that makes this district so special. The Celebrate Gungahlin Sports and Wellbeing Expo on 8 October will feature 30 stallholders representing a range of local clubs and organisations. Presented by Communities at Work, the Celebrate Gungahlin Cultural Showcase on 15 October will feature 40 community stall holders, a range of food vendors, and live music and roving performances throughout the day. Finally, presented by Suburban Land Agency on 22 October is the Celebrate Gungahlin Community Picnic at Yerrabi Pond District Park.

Flyer for Fairytales on Ice show

Fairytales On Ice will enchant your little ones. Image: Canberra Theatre Centre.

Fairytales on Ice

When: Sunday 9 October 2022, 4 pm
Where: Canberra Theatre Centre, Civic Square London Circuit, Canberra
Cost: From $42.90 to $89.90, book here.

Coming directly from its sell-out tour in the US comes ice skating spectacular Fairytales on Ice. This incredible showcase will bring your favourite fairytale characters to life in a unique showcase on ice with singing, skating and music. It will feature stories and characters from childhood favourites including The Little Mermaid, The Pirate Adventures, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Little Red Riding Hood and more.

Circus performers balancing on each other

Backbone is a spectacle of human ability that you won’t want to miss. Photo: Canberra Theatre Centre.


When: Thursday 13, Friday 14 and Saturday 15 October, 7 pm
Where: Canberra Theatre Centre, Civic Square London Circuit, Canberra
Cost: $72.00, book here.

Backbone examines the various perceptions of strength, where it comes from, and how it is measured. This frenetic celebration of human interconnectedness will test the limits of strength: physical, emotional, individual and collective.

Flyer for Stonefest

Stonefest Festival is back and better than ever at The University of Canberra. Photo: Supplied.


When: Saturday 15 October, from 3:30 pm
Where: Concourse Lawns, University of Canberra, 11 Kirinari St, Bruce
Cost: From $44.21 to $86.07, book here.

After three years of stops, starts, isolations, cancellations and everything in-between, Stonefest is finally back. As one of the Capital’s favourite recurring music festivals, this year’s incredible lineup will feature artists such as Vera Blue, RUBY FIELDS, Luca Brasi, Archie, Arno Faraji, Hope D and Miroji.

Flyer for TedXCanberra event Impact

TEDxCanberra will be hosting a special event mid October. Photo: Supplied.

TEDxCanberra 2022: Impact

When: Sunday 16 October, 10 am – 5 pm
Where: Cultural Centre Kambri, ANU, Tangney Road, Acton
Cost: From $45 to $110, book here.

What does it mean to “create impact” and “have impact”? What does “good” impact for the future look like, and what guides it? How should we balance the ambition to create impact with other ingredients of a happy, meaningful life? TEDxCanberra is set to host a special event to tie together thousands of Canberrans and celebrate great ideas in science, technology, arts, culture and humanities. The unique lineup of 11 guest speakers includes Tim Hollo, Timothy Lo Surdo, Harry Hatch, Nazia Ahmed, Christina Ryan and Wayne Herbert, so book in quick cause you won’t want to miss out on this inspirational and motivational event.

Canberra author Marion Halligan and journalist Alex Sloan

Canberra author Marion Halligan and journalist Alex Sloan. Photo: Supplied.

Meet the Author: Marion Halligan in conversation with Alex Sloan

When: Thursday 20 October, from 6 pm
Where: The National Library of Australia, National Library of Australia, Parkes Pl W, Canberra (live-streamed via Zoom)
Cost: Members $15, non-members $20, Zoom livestream ticket $15, book here.

Join Canberra writer Marion Halligan and local journalist Alex Sloan as they discuss Marion’s latest work Words for Lucy – a story of love, loss and a celebration of life at the National Library. It’s a memoir that tells the story of a mother surviving the aftershocks of death and it celebrates Lucy’s life and her most treasured memories. If you can’t make it to the actual event, a zoom link will also be available to stream the session. To order your copy of Words for Lucy, visit the National Library Bookshop.

Composite of three Elvis tribute performers

Canberra Southern Cross Club, Woden presents Elvis – An American Trilogy. Photo: Canberra Southern Cross Club.

Elvis – An American Trilogy

When: Friday 21 October, dinner from 6 pm and show from 8 pm
Where: Canberra Southern Cross Club Woden, 92-96 Corinna Street, Phillip
Cost: Dinner and show $94.75, show only $57.75, book here.

Three world-leading Elvis performers, Vic Trevino Junior, Ben Thompson and Justin Steve Michaels, will take audiences on a spellbinding journey through the eras of the one and only king of rock and roll, Elvis. This Elvis experience invites guests to feast on a two-course meal and watch as the trio amaze the crowd with their talent.

Flyer for grass is greener festival

The Grass is Greener Festival is coming to Canberra on 23 October. Image: Supplied.

The Grass is Greener Festival

When: Sunday 23 October
Where: Patrick White Lawns, Canberra
Cost: Tickets from $159 and can be purchased here.

A star-studded festival line-up of local and international artists is coming to Canberra for the first time this October. After launching in Cairns in 2016, The Grass is Greener has become one of the most in-demand music festivals showcasing a highly anticipated line-up and plenty of art, food and drinks. Now in its sixth year, the festival welcomes people of all ages to come along and attend. As one of the biggest music festivals to ever hit the stage in Canberra, people will not want to miss out on this rare opportunity to see a range of global superstars perform, including Ty Dolla $ign, YG, ZHU, PNAU, Sticky Fingers, OneFour, Maya Jane Coles and many more.

Musician on stage with guitar and microphone

Tim Rogers’ career in music, films, television and stage spans nearly 30 years. Photo: Johnny D Photography Facebook.

Tim Rogers at Tallagandra Hill

When: Saturday 23 October, from 6:30 pm
Where: Tallagandra Hill Winery,1692 Murrumbateman Road, Gundaroo
Cost: $73.88, book here.

This October, as part of Tallagandra Hill Winery’s We Love Local Festival, local artist Tim Rogers is set to perform. His career in music, films, television, stage and literature spans nearly 30 years. An Australian icon best known as the frontman from the Australian rock band You Am I, he has released 12 albums with his band and has also recorded and released five solo albums since 2013. Catch hits from his most popular albums while you sip a range of Tallagandra Hill wines and local beers and enjoy delicious food.

Flyer for The Wharf Revue

Catch this special performance from Satirists Sans Frontiers, Professor Forsythe, Doctor Bishop, Mr Biggins and Nurse Scott. Photo: Canberra Theatre Centre.

The Wharf Revue

When: From Saturday 24 October to 5 November, 7:30 pm
Where: Canberra Theatre Centre, Civic Square London Circuit, Canberra
Cost: $89.00, book here.

The new variant of The Wharf Revue (the antidote to everything) is about to be unleashed. It’s time for Canberra audiences to receive their satirical booster shots from those Satirists Sans Frontiers, Professor Forsythe, Doctor Bishop, Mr Biggins and Nurse Scott. They will administer the most effective sharp jabs available to help build resistance to any post-election euphoria and/or depression. Side effects may include uncontrolled laughter, spontaneous applause and occasional nausea. But be quick – tickets will sell out faster than toilet paper.

High tea

Scones with lashings of jam and cream, anyone? Photo: Canberra Southern Cross Club.

Canberra Southern Cross Club High Tea

When: Saturday 29 October, Jamison 2:30 pm and Tuggeranong 10 am and 2 pm
Where: CSCC Tuggeranong, cnr Pitman and Holwell sts, Greenway and CSCC Jamison, cnr Catchpole and Bowman sts, Macquarie
Cost: $45, book here.

The perfect way to catch up with friends and enjoy the finer things in life, this high tea for three to four people offers a delicious array of traditional finger sandwiches, house-made sweets, fresh scones, house-made strawberry jam and cream. The finger sandwiches include classic English cucumber, Tasmanian smoked salmon and cream cheese, watercress and egg salad, free-range ham and aged cheddar cheese and smoked chicken and mayo. The house-made sweet treats include lemon tarts, carrot and walnut slice, strawberry cheesecake, chocolate cake (gluten free), dark chocolate and pecan tart. There will also be a wide variety of teas with sugar and milk.

Original Article published by Evelyn Karatzas on About Regional.

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