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Why Manuka is the best part of Canberra

By 17 May 2014 28

manuka

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?

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28 Responses to
Why Manuka is the best part of Canberra
Roundhead89 5:18 pm
17 May 14
#1

Is Manuka now officially a suburb? I remember when we moved here in 1970 we were given a book called Canberra – Street Names and Suburbs. It gave details of who the streets and suburbs were named after. Under the Manuka heading it stated that although there is a Manuka post office, shopping centre, oval and pool there is no designated suburb of Manuka and that the area is part of Griffith.

davo101 9:25 pm
17 May 14
#2

Roundhead89 said :

Is Manuka now officially a suburb?

No. Source? Try finding it here.

Kalliste 10:01 pm
17 May 14
#3

Roundhead89 said :

Is Manuka now officially a suburb? I remember when we moved here in 1970 we were given a book called Canberra – Street Names and Suburbs. It gave details of who the streets and suburbs were named after. Under the Manuka heading it stated that although there is a Manuka post office, shopping centre, oval and pool there is no designated suburb of Manuka and that the area is part of Griffith.

It looks like you’re right. I always wondered where Griffith ended and Manuka began and I guess the answer is no where :P

bundah 10:33 pm
17 May 14
#4

From Wikipedia

“The precinct is named after Manuka Circle, the street which forms the northern boundary of the precinct. Manuka Circle was on Walter Burley Griffin’s original plan for Canberra and named after the New Zealand tea tree Leptospermum scoparium.”

dungfungus 8:19 am
18 May 14
#5

If you haved lived in or near Manuka you have probably been burgled at least once.
This usually cancels the euphoria about frequenting the place.

Queen_of_the_Bun 1:07 pm
18 May 14
#6

dungfungus said :

If you haved lived in or near Manuka you have probably been burgled at least once.
This usually cancels the euphoria about frequenting the place.

Really? Do you have any statistics to back that up? The only time I’ve been burgled or had my car vandalised in my 20 years in Canberra was when I lived in Rivett. I have lived happily unviolated in Narrabundah since 2008. Love the inner south and all it offers.

damien haas 2:31 pm
18 May 14
#7

I never had as much property stolen from me than when i lived BRIEFLY in Manuka. I used to just leave my car open because it was expensive to fix the car after being repeatedly broken into.

dungfungus 2:57 pm
18 May 14
#8

Queen_of_the_Bun said :

dungfungus said :

If you haved lived in or near Manuka you have probably been burgled at least once.
This usually cancels the euphoria about frequenting the place.

Really? Do you have any statistics to back that up? The only time I’ve been burgled or had my car vandalised in my 20 years in Canberra was when I lived in Rivett. I have lived happily unviolated in Narrabundah since 2008. Love the inner south and all it offers.

Every house in the cul-de-sac I lived in was burgled over the 5 years I lived there. My house wasn’t, probably because I had a couple of vicious silky terriers and I worked from home however two visitors who parked their cars in my driveway had them broken into and contents stolen.
Everyone used to blame the tenants at Gowrie Court or the Stuart Flats but I made some enquiries (police were not really interested) and concluded it was a bit more organised than that. I was glad to leave the precinct which is over-ratted and overpriced.
I note someone else on this thread has reported that he had regular car break-ins when he lived there.
What about the serial car tyre slasher who does his/her dirty work in nearby expensive Narrabundah where you live. You haven’t been a victim yet?

thatsnotme 3:11 pm
18 May 14
#9

bundah said :

From Wikipedia

“The precinct is named after Manuka Circle, the street which forms the northern boundary of the precinct. Manuka Circle was on Walter Burley Griffin’s original plan for Canberra and named after the New Zealand tea tree Leptospermum scoparium.”

Although neither likely have as interesting a background story, Kippax and Erindale are another two areas that I can think of that have their own area name, while not existing as a suburb.

scentednightgardens 5:48 pm
18 May 14
#10

thatsnotme said :

bundah said :

From Wikipedia

“The precinct is named after Manuka Circle, the street which forms the northern boundary of the precinct. Manuka Circle was on Walter Burley Griffin’s original plan for Canberra and named after the New Zealand tea tree Leptospermum scoparium.”

Although neither likely have as interesting a background story, Kippax and Erindale are another two areas that I can think of that have their own area name, while not existing as a suburb.

Yes, Kippax, Erindale – but also try plugging these into a 2010 Garmin GPS: Civic, Woden, Lanyon, Tuggeranong … etc. Entirely ephemeral, and a good way to upset non-Canberrans: “Ill meet you at the shops in Lanyon” etc etc

Maya123 8:00 pm
18 May 14
#11

dungfungus said :

Queen_of_the_Bun said :

dungfungus said :

If you haved lived in or near Manuka you have probably been burgled at least once.
This usually cancels the euphoria about frequenting the place.

Really? Do you have any statistics to back that up? The only time I’ve been burgled or had my car vandalised in my 20 years in Canberra was when I lived in Rivett. I have lived happily unviolated in Narrabundah since 2008. Love the inner south and all it offers.

Every house in the cul-de-sac I lived in was burgled over the 5 years I lived there. My house wasn’t, probably because I had a couple of vicious silky terriers and I worked from home however two visitors who parked their cars in my driveway had them broken into and contents stolen.
Everyone used to blame the tenants at Gowrie Court or the Stuart Flats but I made some enquiries (police were not really interested) and concluded it was a bit more organised than that. I was glad to leave the precinct which is over-ratted and overpriced.
I note someone else on this thread has reported that he had regular car break-ins when he lived there.
What about the serial car tyre slasher who does his/her dirty work in nearby expensive Narrabundah where you live. You haven’t been a victim yet?

Narrabundah expensive! Depends what part of Narrabundah. Houses can still be bought for less than $500,000. When I bought here many years ago the house I purchased was at that time the cheapest on the market; although prices have gone up since. I have lived in Narrabundah for over twenty five years and have had no trouble; unless you count my garbage bin being stolen. However years ago there was a local burglar living three doors down the street doing over the local houses. He worked with a teenager across the road. I did confront the teenager robbing a building site next door and he took off. Fortunately I was never robbed, but I know others who were. After the local burglar moved on robberies in our area went down. Narrabundah used to be an ‘interesting’ place to live in, but it has become more gentrified these days. But the people are slowly changing along with the suburb. Narrabundah’s past reputation probably still holds with some people.

HiddenDragon 12:11 pm
19 May 14
#12

damien haas said :

I never had as much property stolen from me than when i lived BRIEFLY in Manuka. I used to just leave my car open because it was expensive to fix the car after being repeatedly broken into.

Yes, I know a (now former) Manuka resident who stopped replacing the items stolen during burglaries, because it only encouraged the repeat offenders.

Mess 12:18 pm
19 May 14
#13

Maya123 said :

dungfungus said :

Queen_of_the_Bun said :

dungfungus said :

If you haved lived in or near Manuka you have probably been burgled at least once.
This usually cancels the euphoria about frequenting the place.

Really? Do you have any statistics to back that up? The only time I’ve been burgled or had my car vandalised in my 20 years in Canberra was when I lived in Rivett. I have lived happily unviolated in Narrabundah since 2008. Love the inner south and all it offers.

Every house in the cul-de-sac I lived in was burgled over the 5 years I lived there. My house wasn’t, probably because I had a couple of vicious silky terriers and I worked from home however two visitors who parked their cars in my driveway had them broken into and contents stolen.
Everyone used to blame the tenants at Gowrie Court or the Stuart Flats but I made some enquiries (police were not really interested) and concluded it was a bit more organised than that. I was glad to leave the precinct which is over-ratted and overpriced.
I note someone else on this thread has reported that he had regular car break-ins when he lived there.
What about the serial car tyre slasher who does his/her dirty work in nearby expensive Narrabundah where you live. You haven’t been a victim yet?

Narrabundah expensive! Depends what part of Narrabundah. Houses can still be bought for less than $500,000. When I bought here many years ago the house I purchased was at that time the cheapest on the market; although prices have gone up since. I have lived in Narrabundah for over twenty five years and have had no trouble; unless you count my garbage bin being stolen. However years ago there was a local burglar living three doors down the street doing over the local houses. He worked with a teenager across the road. I did confront the teenager robbing a building site next door and he took off. Fortunately I was never robbed, but I know others who were. After the local burglar moved on robberies in our area went down. Narrabundah used to be an ‘interesting’ place to live in, but it has become more gentrified these days. But the people are slowly changing along with the suburb. Narrabundah’s past reputation probably still holds with some people.

By ‘house’ I am guessing you mean apartment and townhouse? Because a quick glance at allhomes reveals the cheapest house in Narrabundah is currently on the market for $595,000 which is hardly cheap.

Maya123 12:43 pm
19 May 14
#14

Mess said :

Maya123 said :

dungfungus said :

Queen_of_the_Bun said :

dungfungus said :

If you haved lived in or near Manuka you have probably been burgled at least once.
This usually cancels the euphoria about frequenting the place.

Really? Do you have any statistics to back that up? The only time I’ve been burgled or had my car vandalised in my 20 years in Canberra was when I lived in Rivett. I have lived happily unviolated in Narrabundah since 2008. Love the inner south and all it offers.

Every house in the cul-de-sac I lived in was burgled over the 5 years I lived there. My house wasn’t, probably because I had a couple of vicious silky terriers and I worked from home however two visitors who parked their cars in my driveway had them broken into and contents stolen.
Everyone used to blame the tenants at Gowrie Court or the Stuart Flats but I made some enquiries (police were not really interested) and concluded it was a bit more organised than that. I was glad to leave the precinct which is over-ratted and overpriced.
I note someone else on this thread has reported that he had regular car break-ins when he lived there.
What about the serial car tyre slasher who does his/her dirty work in nearby expensive Narrabundah where you live. You haven’t been a victim yet?

Narrabundah expensive! Depends what part of Narrabundah. Houses can still be bought for less than $500,000. When I bought here many years ago the house I purchased was at that time the cheapest on the market; although prices have gone up since. I have lived in Narrabundah for over twenty five years and have had no trouble; unless you count my garbage bin being stolen. However years ago there was a local burglar living three doors down the street doing over the local houses. He worked with a teenager across the road. I did confront the teenager robbing a building site next door and he took off. Fortunately I was never robbed, but I know others who were. After the local burglar moved on robberies in our area went down. Narrabundah used to be an ‘interesting’ place to live in, but it has become more gentrified these days. But the people are slowly changing along with the suburb. Narrabundah’s past reputation probably still holds with some people.

By ‘house’ I am guessing you mean apartment and townhouse? Because a quick glance at allhomes reveals the cheapest house in Narrabundah is currently on the market for $595,000 which is hardly cheap.

I meant house. There are none listed in allhomes at present, but here is one that sold recently. Last asking price: $450,000
http://www.allhomes.com.au/ah/act/sale-residential/12-tungun-street-narrabundah-canberra/1316898271311
Similar houses in Narrabundah regularly appear on the market.

Maya123 12:46 pm
19 May 14
#15

I should have added that while that house is only two bedrooms, many of them are three bedrooms.

DaveT 2:20 pm
19 May 14
#16

I lived in Red Hill for three years and was burgled three times- once when we were away and twice while we were at home. I also suspect that while I was selling my house during the open houses belongings were stolen. Getting broken into at night while you’re at home is unnerving to say the least and not conducive to getting a good nights sleep.

Just like Manuka, Woden and Swinger Hill are not suburbs- they are part of Phillip. Glenn Eagles is not a suburb it is part of Kambah and Harcourt Hill is not a suburb it is in Nicholls.

Maya123 2:58 pm
19 May 14
#17

This might give some statistics to make a more correct statement about what suburbs get robbed.
http://www.police.act.gov.au/crime-and-safety/crime-statistics.aspx

leonnie 1:34 pm
21 May 14
#18

Well written, I’d love to write about my suburb ,where I’ve lived in , two different houses, since moving to Canberra primarily for work in 1988. Although I’ve lived in Canberra as a teenager when I first left home in the 70′s
I’d need to do a lot more research and think more than I have time for atm to write it. :)

dungfungus 1:57 pm
21 May 14
#19

Maya123 said :

This might give some statistics to make a more correct statement about what suburbs get robbed.
http://www.police.act.gov.au/crime-and-safety/crime-statistics.aspx

Actually, it will give you a less correct statement as it is only reported crime stats.

Maya123 3:05 pm
21 May 14
#20

dungfungus said :

Maya123 said :

This might give some statistics to make a more correct statement about what suburbs get robbed.
http://www.police.act.gov.au/crime-and-safety/crime-statistics.aspx

Actually, it will give you a less correct statement as it is only reported crime stats.

If I had my house burgled I would report it, as would most people. Why do you seem to infer many people don’t report crimes? Maybe not their garbage bin being stolen (using this as an example, as I didn’t report this, considering it small time), but crimes that really affect them such as their house being burgled, their car stolen, etc. I bet most people do report them. So if it’s likely most people report them, why do you infer the statistics are wrong? What evidence do you know, that is different to the crime statistics, and can you substantiate your evidence?

bigfeet 3:36 pm
21 May 14
#21

dungfungus said :

Maya123 said :

This might give some statistics to make a more correct statement about what suburbs get robbed.
http://www.police.act.gov.au/crime-and-safety/crime-statistics.aspx

Actually, it will give you a less correct statement as it is only reported crime stats.

So you believe that in both Crime Stats and Climate Change, anecdotal evidence is better than actual evidence?

bundah 7:02 pm
21 May 14
#22

Maya123 said :

I meant house. There are none listed in allhomes at present, but here is one that sold recently. Last asking price: $450,000
http://www.allhomes.com.au/ah/act/sale-residential/12-tungun-street-narrabundah-canberra/1316898271311
Similar houses in Narrabundah regularly appear on the market.

That particular house is a 2 bedroom fibro with an EER od 0.5 which makes it an icebox in winter and a furnace in summer. What’s more the block is only 464 sqm. So yeah it’s cheap but not my idea of good value.

Maya123 8:31 pm
21 May 14
#23

bundah said :

Maya123 said :

I meant house. There are none listed in allhomes at present, but here is one that sold recently. Last asking price: $450,000
http://www.allhomes.com.au/ah/act/sale-residential/12-tungun-street-narrabundah-canberra/1316898271311
Similar houses in Narrabundah regularly appear on the market.

That particular house is a 2 bedroom fibro with an EER od 0.5 which makes it an icebox in winter and a furnace in summer. What’s more the block is only 464 sqm. So yeah it’s cheap but not my idea of good value.

It’s inner suburb; what do you expect? A huge McMansion for under $500,000 on half an acre? However if one wants to live in Narrabundah it proves you can still get a house for under $500,000.
I lived in one of them for over twenty years, so I have personal experience what living in them was like. I never needed air-conditioning. An electric fan in summer was enough. In winter I heated only the room I was in. There is no need to heat the whole house. My electricity bill was lower than average, partly from my behaviour, but also because the house was not a huge McMansion and I had less to heat. The house’s insulation can be improved, which will increase the EER value. (These houses can be insulated you know! And some have been.) I have also seen brick veneer houses with 0.5 EER ratings. These houses are okay for first home buyers getting into the market, and close to amenities. I was a first home buyer when I bought it. 464 sqm was big enough; the evidence of this being we parked several cars, planted a number of fruit trees and had a large vegetable garden, and there was still spare room. The land was more highly used than most people bother to do with their (possibly bigger) blocks. But yes there is this modern fixation on a McMansion. Expectations these days for first home buyers are greater than expectations of past generations; even though households these days are smaller. At times there were three people living in my fibro house, and I bought it from a family of five.
I watched a TV program with first home buyers looking for a house and finding it difficult to afford one. One summed up the problem well when she said something like,”I don’t want much. Just a simple two storey brick house, with room for entertainment. Is that too much to ask.” That summed it up alright. It’s likely she might have been able to find a house she could afford to buy, but she was not considering them, because she thought she deserved better than that. How can one live without an entertainment area for goodness sake! Unthinkable!
I no longer live in the fibro house, but I am also no longer a first home buyer.

Walker 1:05 am
22 May 14
#24

My favourite area, although not lived in, is generally the older parts of Ainslie Braddon and Reid. Some very beautiful areas there. But I also like many areas that back onto reserves and mountains, great places to grow up or visit friends and have all that as a virtual second back yard.

That, and some time as a teenager shooting pool at the local takeaway… anyone want to name a local takeaway that ever had a pool table? Bit of Canberra trivia right there or maybe surprise me with one I didn’t know about, if there are others.

Long ago I lived near Manuka shops for a while and liked it a lot.

Maya123 10:27 am
22 May 14
#25

Walker said :

My favourite area, although not lived in, is generally the older parts of Ainslie Braddon and Reid. Some very beautiful areas there. But I also like many areas that back onto reserves and mountains, great places to grow up or visit friends and have all that as a virtual second back yard.

That, and some time as a teenager shooting pool at the local takeaway… anyone want to name a local takeaway that ever had a pool table? Bit of Canberra trivia right there or maybe surprise me with one I didn’t know about, if there are others.

Long ago I lived near Manuka shops for a while and liked it a lot.

There used to be pool tables upstairs not far from where the Blue Moon cafe used to be. I remember sometimes going there as a teenager.

lumpy 4:17 pm
22 May 14
#26

Queen_of_the_Bun said :

dungfungus said :

If you haved lived in or near Manuka you have probably been burgled at least once.
This usually cancels the euphoria about frequenting the place.

Really? Do you have any statistics to back that up?

Like some of the other comments on here, I too have had my car broken into several times whilst living a stones throw from Manuka shops. My car was always parked 10 metres from my bedroom window underneath all-night fluroescent lighting in a carport but it still didn’t deter the scumbags. Although there was never anything for them to take, they were kind enough to rip the locks out of my doors, costing me a half day’s work in taking it somewhere to be fixed. Body Corporate said it had been an issue for years, and was guaranteed the work of the Stuart Flats folk. They were so generous to even do a sting a few nights before Christmas, breaking/smashing into half of the tenants cars. Moved 3 streets over, problem solved.

I still frequent Manuka for my weekly shopping, the cinemas and cafes (and quite frankly, I find the restaurants overrated), and it’s a handy walk from home or work. However, I refuse to walk anywhere near it of a night on my own, for the reason being the weirdos that lurk around there. It can get quite scary late at night and it’s rarely policed.

bundah 5:24 pm
22 May 14
#27

Maya123 said :

Walker said :

My favourite area, although not lived in, is generally the older parts of Ainslie Braddon and Reid. Some very beautiful areas there. But I also like many areas that back onto reserves and mountains, great places to grow up or visit friends and have all that as a virtual second back yard.

That, and some time as a teenager shooting pool at the local takeaway… anyone want to name a local takeaway that ever had a pool table? Bit of Canberra trivia right there or maybe surprise me with one I didn’t know about, if there are others.

Long ago I lived near Manuka shops for a while and liked it a lot.

There used to be pool tables upstairs not far from where the Blue Moon cafe used to be. I remember sometimes going there as a teenager.

The original location for the Blue Moon Café was opposite the Hotel Civic which was demolished in 1984/85. As I recall there was a pool hall directly above the Blue Moon Café circa 70′s as well.

Walker 2:16 pm
29 May 14
#28

Maya123 said :

Walker said :

My favourite area, although not lived in, is generally the older parts of Ainslie Braddon and Reid. Some very beautiful areas there. But I also like many areas that back onto reserves and mountains, great places to grow up or visit friends and have all that as a virtual second back yard.

That, and some time as a teenager shooting pool at the local takeaway… anyone want to name a local takeaway that ever had a pool table? Bit of Canberra trivia right there or maybe surprise me with one I didn’t know about, if there are others.

Long ago I lived near Manuka shops for a while and liked it a lot.

There used to be pool tables upstairs not far from where the Blue Moon cafe used to be. I remember sometimes going there as a teenager.

Blue moon cafe, if it’s what I think it is just near the alleyway at the interchange (how does it hide so well?)… that’s got to be some sort of record holder for business in the city that hasn’t moved or changed much.

My memory refers to Cook, at the shops there, the takeaway – no idea what’s there now, haven’t been back in decades. A pool table in a greasy takeaway? Doesn’t seem right. But there it was. (It was a shoddy table, but it was fun).

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