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A look around Canberra – Chapman

By Alexandra Craig - 3 July 2015 9

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The suburb of Chapman in Weston Creek is named after Austin Chapman, a former minister who held the portfolios of defence, health, trade, and customs, at various points during the early 1900s. He served in public roles until 1924 when he resigned due to ill health, passing away just two years later.

Chapman is one of those suburbs where I think you have to live there, or be really clued in to the area, to be able to enjoy it. In the time I spent there for the purpose of this article, I couldn’t really find anything that was of interest. It’s a lovely suburb, incredibly well kept, with lots of very nice houses but it was lacking something. There doesn’t seem to be a lot to do there except perhaps hike in the nearby bushland.

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The Chapman shops are quite good. There is an IGA, pharmacy, hairdresser and a medical surgery. Plans for an upgrade to the shops were released a few years back. I can’t tell if the upgrades have gone ahead or not, because I don’t know what the shops looked like in 2013. They look like they’re in pretty good shape now though.

The 2003 bushfires hit parts of Chapman pretty hard. I wasn’t a Canberra resident when the bushfires occurred but looking at photos from that time is simply terrifying, I can’t even begin to imagine what locals went through. All but a few houses in Chauvel Circle, Lincoln Close, and Hertz Place were completely destroyed.

Chapman unfortunately also has almost 25 Mr Fluffy homes, many of which are found on Darwinia Terrace. Suburbs like Chapman will look so different over the next five years when these homes are demolished. It is a very sad series of events.

One thing I’ve heard about Chapman is that it’s the only suburb in Canberra that doesn’t have any public housing at all. It’s hard to verify this, I didn’t see any of the typical public housing flats while I was there, however, obviously not all public housing is flats and lots just look like regular houses. I’d be interested to know if Chapman is the only suburb without, and if so, why it ended up this way.

If there are any Chapman-ites (or is it Chapman-folk?) who can answer the question regarding public housing, or can shed some light on what kind of recreational activities take place in this suburb, please leave a comment! Chapman is a lovely area and I really don’t want it to be boring.

Quick stats
Street theme:  Australian Film Industry
Federal Electorate: Canberra
Federal MP: Gai Brodtmann
Territory Electorate: Molonglo
Population: 2723
Population breakdown: 49.5 per cent male, 50.5 per cent female
Average children per family: 1.9
Crime: 78 incidents in 2014 (not including parking infringements)

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9 Responses to
A look around Canberra – Chapman
1
Rollersk8r 9:25 am
03 Jul 15
#

Ha! I’m not sure there’s much to do in any one suburb alone Alex!

Chapman’s arguably the best suburb in Weston Creek. Partly due to the bushfires, it has some of the best houses and best views.

I spent half my life carting my sisters out to the Chapman horse paddocks, in the early 90s. I assume they’re still there?

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2
Dame Canberra 9:29 am
03 Jul 15
#

Oh you should have gone to the cake shop! Next time you’re in the area, it’s definitely worth a visit.

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3
Ezy 9:54 am
03 Jul 15
#

The upper parts of Chapman are brilliant – and possibly why this suburb is known as the best in Weston Creek. If you walk or ride the Cooleman ridge fire trail (highly recommend this) you will see views down the valley leading to Black Mountain and beyond. If you walk up and over Cooleman Ridge you will see brilliant views over to the Brindabellas.

As far as the shops go – yes they have recently undergone a face lift. Nothing too significant though – just an update. On the rear side of the shops is a new townhouse complex (http://theclifford.com.au) going up in the old site of the petrol station.

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4
Alexandra Craig 10:39 am
03 Jul 15
#

Rollersk8r said :

Chapman’s arguably the best suburb in Weston Creek. Partly due to the bushfires, it has some of the best houses and best views.

The houses there are huge and super nice. The median house price is over $800k too!

Dame Canberra said :

Oh you should have gone to the cake shop! Next time you’re in the area, it’s definitely worth a visit.

Yes! I didn’t notice it when I was at the shops but when I was googling Chapman afterwards I found the website and was instantly disappointed I hadn’t seen it earlier.. :(

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5
Amy Birchall 11:27 am
03 Jul 15
#

Ezy said :

The upper parts of Chapman are brilliant – and possibly why this suburb is known as the best in Weston Creek. If you walk or ride the Cooleman ridge fire trail (highly recommend this) you will see views down the valley leading to Black Mountain and beyond. If you walk up and over Cooleman Ridge you will see brilliant views over to the Brindabellas.

Agreed. Cooleman Ridge is one of my favourite trails in Canberra. It’s also one of the most well-maintained. The local park care group does a great job.

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6
Spiral 12:35 pm
03 Jul 15
#

Spiral said :

One thing I’ve heard about Chapman is that it’s the only suburb in Canberra that doesn’t have any public housing at all

According to the map in this article http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/1500-public-housing-tenants-to-move-across-canberra-by-2019-20150624-ghw5vr.html

Between 2% and 5% of Chapman residences are public housing. That is a similar proportion to many other Canberra suburbs.

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7
Maya123 2:17 pm
03 Jul 15
#

Spiral said :

Maya123 said :

One thing I’ve heard about Chapman is that it’s the only suburb in Canberra that doesn’t have any public housing at all

According to the map in this article http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/1500-public-housing-tenants-to-move-across-canberra-by-2019-20150624-ghw5vr.html

Between 2% and 5% of Chapman residences are public housing. That is a similar proportion to many other Canberra suburbs.

That’s very low. It is 15-20% in Narrabundah where I live, and I would hazard a guess a high proportion of that is in ‘lower’ Narrabundah (the part I live in), making that figure much higher.

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8
Jiralea 6:50 pm
03 Jul 15
#

Love Chapman, hubby grew up in Chapman and we were always told that there was no Govt houses when the suburb was established, but since then units have been built off Streeton Drive for older persons to move them from the larger government owned homes in the surrounding suburbs this might be the 2-5% represented now.

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9
Lazy I 11:53 pm
03 Jul 15
#

Spiral said :

Lazy I said :

One thing I’ve heard about Chapman is that it’s the only suburb in Canberra that doesn’t have any public housing at all

According to the map in this article http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/1500-public-housing-tenants-to-move-across-canberra-by-2019-20150624-ghw5vr.html

Between 2% and 5% of Chapman residences are public housing. That is a similar proportion to many other Canberra suburbs.

It is an often repeated myth that Chapman has no government housing. The number that AllHomes shows for ‘rents from government’ is 1.7% which is low in itself, but increased in the last five years with the addition of townhouses on the ‘community land’ behind the church, adjacent to the primary school ovals.

O’Malley on the other hand has no public housing to my knowledge (AllHomes also shows 0.0% rent from government).

As for the shops, they have recently completed works to refresh the facade but little else changed. The major driver for the update was that the existing wheelchair ramp was too steep for current standards so was replaced by the newly installed ramp. I am surprised you couldn’t tell that parts of the facade were new, including a new sign which is to the left as you drive in to the shops.

The IGA at Chapman is arguably one of the best in Canberra and management was taken over some years ago from the original owner. Michael and Andrew that now run it completely revamped the internals of the store. It is now extremely well stocked and a preferred watering hole for many over the Cooleman Court supermarket that has retired 99.5% of its checkout staff.

The shops used to consist of (from top to bottom) the Pool Shop, Takeaway, Chinese Restaurant, Butcher, Shop Rite, Newsagent, Chemist, French Bakery, Doctor’s Surgery, Video Store and a Hairdresser downstairs. The original Takeaway moved to Fisher and I believe is still there run by the same family. The Butcher initially merged into Shop Rite (the entire front of the shops were once painted red and yellow) and was then completely integrated (now IGA). The Newsagent was where Bertram Ellis now is, and the Chemist and Doctor’s surgery haven’t changed. The Charity Shop is now where the original Video Store used to be.

The Chinese restaurant has a very loyal customer base and has only recently changed the front facade. The French bakery was run by a French couple (for a very long time) when it was there, and the shops always smelled like fresh croissants in the morning, this is now Pastries on Perry.

As has been mentioned, the petrol station has been demolished out and will make way for the Clifford townhouses/apartments (Can anyone confirm that Clifford was the name of the owner of the petrol station/garage?).

The Primary School in Chapman has a very good reputation and stories of families moving into the suburb to access the school aren’t uncommon. With the gentrification of Chapman in full swing, the numbers at the school (and house prices) have increased steadily.

I’ve been told that when Chapman was originally established a lot of the blocks were purchased by builders who were building in and around the suburb which is is one of the reasons you find such large houses in the area.

It’s a very family and community oriented suburb and it’s a shame you couldn’t find anything of interest there.. it’s not really a suburb that caters to the activated almond crowd (thankfully).

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