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A look around Canberra – Latham

By Alexandra Craig - 13 March 2015 8

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This week I was in and out of Latham a handful of times because one of the cat rescue groups I help out with occasionally is located there (Pickles Playmates Animal Rescue, for those wondering). Since I felt like an honorary resident I thought I’d do a piece on their lovely suburb for the next instalment of A look around Canberra.

Located on the west side of Canberra, Latham shares borders with a lot of suburbs including Holt, Higgins, Macgregor, Charnwood and Florey. The suburb earns its name from John Latham, Chief Justice of the High Court from 1935-1952. Not Mark Latham as some might assume!

IMG_4562I spent some time driving around this suburb trying to find the local shops. Or shop, rather. The single shop in Latham looks like a house! Apparently there used to be a whole set of shops in Latham back in the ‘70s, but things started drawing to a close after a fire destroyed a fair bit of the shops in 1996. I’m unsure of the original location of the Latham shops – perhaps a Rioter can fill in some blanks here.

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I came across one playground in this suburb. It’s quite basic, but it does have swings and that’s always a winner with me. While I was traipsing around the park, I came across a concrete slab with a round, browny coloured slab above. It has the words WOMBAT STEW marked on the side, with footprints on the top. I’m not sure what its purpose is or why it’s there. It took me on a little trip down memory lane though; Wombat Stew was one of my favourite books as a young’un.

Latham is houses, houses, and more houses. 92.5 per cent of properties here are houses. Townhouses make up 4.6 per cent, and a teeny 2.8 per cent make up apartments.

The average income is around 133,000 for families without children and $138,000 for families with children.

Latham has its own primary school (cleverly named Latham Primary) but no high school. However, Kingsford Smith School is located in Holt, one suburb away.

Latham seems like a great suburb for a peaceful lifestyle and equally for raising children. Much like its close neighbour Macgregor, the streets are very quiet. You almost feel like you’re a little isolated it’s that quiet, but in a good way. Lots of trees and bushland, I always enjoy visiting it.

Quick stats
Streets are named after:  Australian judges
Federal Electorate: Fraser
Federal MP: Andrew Leigh
Territory Electorate: Ginninderra
Population: 2603
Population breakdown: 49.7 per cent male, 50.3 per cent female
Average children per family: 1.8
Crime: 113 incidents in 2014 (not including parking infringements)

What’s Your opinion?


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8 Responses to
A look around Canberra – Latham
Weaselburger 6:06 pm 16 Mar 15

When I was growing up Latham used to be quite a lively place with lots of schools the shops had a post office but unfortunately just like Higgins shops Jon Stanhope’s superschools program forced them to close down because of lack of business…..ahhhhh memories.

lumnock 1:59 pm 15 Mar 15

not_the_chef said :

One of the great things of Latham is the Ginninderra Creek and Umbagong District Park that runs through the middle of the suburb, and cuts the suburb in two. I believe that the original intention was to connect the two parts of the suburb, but that the decision was changed on the basis of environmental protection.

(Glad that it was!)

The north west part of Latham is incredibly quiet – very much in a good way

Absolutely, I was going to reply with something similar. It’s a terrific walking area, and there aren’t many suburbs that have a such a feature. There’s a bunch of volunteers that get together on the weekends and plant new trees and keep it all looking lovely. A significant part of our reasoning to buy here.

JC 11:43 pm 14 Mar 15

reiant said :

Oh, and the high school zoning used to include Melba High and Saint Francis Xavier (Florey). Used to have to catch a bus connection in the afternoon from Belconnen Mall to get home, even though the walk from Melba to Latham is only 15/20mins.

If you went to Melba high you would have been an out of zone student. Latham feed Ginninderra High. The same was true in Macgregor. I lived closer to Charnwood high than most people, but my feeder school was Gininderra High, to go to Charnwood I needed a reason for an out of area enrolement.

Also St Francis, being a Catholic High School isn’t really part of the feeder system.

not_the_chef 7:01 pm 14 Mar 15

One of the great things of Latham is the Ginninderra Creek and Umbagong District Park that runs through the middle of the suburb, and cuts the suburb in two. I believe that the original intention was to connect the two parts of the suburb, but that the decision was changed on the basis of environmental protection. (Glad that it was!) The north west part of Latham is incredibly quiet – very much in a good way

reiant 4:11 am 14 Mar 15

Oh, and the high school zoning used to include Melba High and Saint Francis Xavier (Florey). Used to have to catch a bus connection in the afternoon from Belconnen Mall to get home, even though the walk from Melba to Latham is only 15/20mins.

reiant 4:04 am 14 Mar 15

The old shops were still active when my family moved to Latham in 1999. I think they had finished by 2004/5. The old post office/party shop/lolly stop on the way home from school that was in the old petrol station across from the school only shut down a couple years ago. There are actually quite a lot of small playgrounds inbetween the housing blocks, something I’ve never seen with any other suburbs. I’ve never noticed the Wombat Stew slab before, is that at the playground near the pre-school, perhaps? Very family friendly suburb.

Heavs 11:13 am 13 Mar 15

The best part of Latham is the site of the former Cranleigh Homestead on the corner of Kingsford Smith and Southern Cross Drive. Big old open space where you can find the remnants of the footings of some of the existing homestead plus all the old orchards and garden plantings.

palndrumm 9:44 am 13 Mar 15

The Latham Shops were on the same site as where that one shop is now – they used to take up the entire area of that unit complex on the corner of Daley Cr and Onslow St. But they were so run down and derelict even before the fire in the mid-90s that it really was a massive improvement when they bulldozed the lot and built the units. With Kippax, Florey, Hawker and even Belconnen just a couple of minutes drive away, the little kwik-e-mart style shop is all the area needs.

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