I love Manuka because it’s just so quiet on weekdays heading into winter.
Oddly enough, the quieter it gets the more I get to know everyone and it feels like a local suburban shopping centre that just happens to be surrounded by businesses, big government and VIPs.
It’s the local shopping centre whose local residents (to cast a net over the Inner South) include entrepreneurs with International presence, developers who are building the rest of the city, property owners with interests in many other local shopping centres, politicians who decide the fate of the country, young apartment dwellers with big futures and home owners with huge bank accounts to their name.
The more Civic expands the more the characters and personalities get lost in the crowd.
That’s not to say that Civic’s not great. Parking aside, there’s lots to love about Civic. The hustle and bustle is expanding into Braddon, producing a multi-class scene with its hip groups of musicians, restaurateurs, investors, public servants, students and so on. These many groups mix and mingle at the ultra-hip gastropubs and galleries, producing a dazzling array of boutiques and businesses that just wouldn’t work in a less populated centre, much to the disappointment of those of us who feel we deserve more unusual shops on our doorstep.
But in the suburban shopping centres, class dissolves and our neighbours are simply our community.
Step into Kingston and Manuka and they retain what was always their charm: Publicans chatting with politicians, diplomats rubbing elbows with dishwashers. Even journalists are tolerated. That foreign family on the next table could be refugees or diplomatic visitors but you can’t tell the difference until you realise they’re simply neighbours you can meet and get to know.
Most of all, I love Manuka because for the last 3 years it’s been my local shops. All the other workers and local residents have seen me around the area on a daily basis and I’ve managed not to leave for several months at a time. Canberra is so beautifully designed in that each suburb has its shops and each shops has its secret charm. It doesn’t matter whether you’re North, South, Inner or in deepest darkest suburbia.
What does your suburb offer that’s unique and makes it the best suburb in Canberra?