A Look Around Canberra: McKellar

Alexandra Craig 30 July 2020

This week I thought I’d head up to the Belconnen area of Canberra, or as it’s known to some: Belco. With all the news stories on Bronwyn Bishop kicking record numbers of Labor MPs out of the House of Representatives in the last week of Parliament I thought it fitting to check out the suburb that shares the name with Madam Speaker’s electorate of McKellar.

I automatically assumed this suburb was named after Dorethea McKellar (author of the poem A Sunburnt Country), but I was soon to find out that I was completely incorrect. It’s Dorethea MACkellar, whom Ms Bishop’s electorate is named after, and this McKellar is one Gerald Colin McKellar – Senator, Deputy President of the Senate and Minister for Repatriation before his death in 1970. The suburb was gazetted on 15 January 1970.

For some unknown reason, I had it in my mind that McKellar was a really low socio-economic suburb and maybe even a bit dodgy. I was completely wrong. 98% of all the houses I saw were beautifully kept and the streets were really clean. It looks like a lovely suburb to live in and perfect for raising a family.

A whopping 95.4 per cent of McKellar consists of houses, townhouses equate for 4.2 per cent with flats and units a measly 0.4 per cent. The median property price here is $620,000, a drop from $647,000 in 2010, with the median price ten years ago being $182,000. The highest selling property at the time of this article going live was 69 Dumas Street, sold for $1,010,000. The median income here is around $154,000 (couple families).

As I was driving around aimlessly looking for the shops, I came across some bright blue netted fencing and a big hole in the ground… accompanied by an upside down, faded Foodworks sign. I guess that’s where McKellar shops used to be. I had a poke around and discovered a small Malaysian restaurant behind all the rubble. It was open but I only found it because I was looking really hard for anything resembling a shop – do people even know it’s there? I suppose regulars that have been going there for years would know that it’s still open.

Mackellar has its own preschool, but the closest primary school is Miles Franklin Primary in nearby Evatt, and Kaleen High School a couple of suburbs away.

I did notice one playground while I was zipping around, but it was on the other side of a big oval/nature reserve. Ordinarily I would have traipsed across to check it out, but the sun was going down and I was a bit chicken about wandering off in the dark.

All in all, a really nice suburb. Not a huge amount in the way of facilities now that there’s no shops, but Belconnen Westfield is only a few minutes down the road and the schools aren’t too far away either.

Quick stats

Streets are named after: Journalists
Federal Electorate: Fraser
Federal MP: Andrew Leigh
Territory Electorate: Ginninderra
Population: 2798
Population breakdown: 48.8 per cent male, 51.2 per cent female
Average children per family: 1.9
Crime: 99 incidents in 2014 to date (not including parking infringements)

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