Pearce is a quiet little suburb in Woden, located at the foot of Mount Taylor and tucked away between the neighbouring suburbs of Chifley, Mawson and Torrens. Like many of Canberra’s suburbs, Pearce is named after a prominent politician, Sir George Pearce, who remains the longest-serving senator and longest serving minister in Australia’s federal history.
I’ve lived in Pearce for more than seven years now and for the most part, it’s a pretty quiet, peaceful place. There is a really lovely community of dog owners who I regularly see up on the nature reserve having a chat with their four-legged friends in tow. I’m also a big fan of late afternoon walks up Mount Taylor. The path on the Pearce side of the mountain is well maintained and zigzags all the way to the top. It’s a good workout and the views over the Woden Valley are definitely worth the effort.
The local shops are best known for Rama’s Fiji-Indian Restaurant, and rightly so. Rama’s is a great little restaurant owned by a vivacious Fiji-Indian woman named Minnie, who always remembers me whenever I go in there. There are two other restaurants – Ethiopia Down Under, a small Ethiopian restaurant that can be a little hit and miss, and Saigon Restaurant, a cheap and cheerful Vietnamese restaurant that serves up a pretty delicious Vietnamese selection.
The rest of Pearce shops is a topic of regular debate in my family. We are pretty convinced the BYO-nature of the three restaurants in the complex is what keeps the local supermarket open. In comparison to the supermarket just down the road at Chifley, Pearce seriously needs to up its game. One saving grace is that they are now stocking bread from Autolyse in Braddon and, if there are any chicken lovers out there, my parents also seem to enjoy their BBQ chooks.
Personally, I would love to see a cute little cafe open up in Pearce. Yes, there is Deeks Cafe and Bakery, which has a great gluten free bread selection, but it is seriously lacking in the cafe department. With A Bite To Eat in Chifley, Stand By Me in Lyons, Red Brick in Curtin and the new Fox and Bow in Farrer, it seems every Woden suburb except Pearce has jumped on the cute cafe bandwagon. The space at Pearce shops is perfect for it too – all you need is a few tables and umbrellas in the central courtyard and you’re good to go. Surely I’m not the first person to notice how perfect it would be?
Pearce is also home to three schools – Sacred Heart Primary School, Marist College Canberra and Melrose High School. Marist and Melrose are both located on Marr Street, which is a street to be thoroughly avoided at all costs during school drop off and pick up times. The days that I forget and end up stuck behind 40 station wagons dropping off more students than can logistically fit inside a car are the days that I need double the coffee.
But Pearce isn’t all friendly dog owners, vivacious restauranteurs and tired parents in their station wagons. There is an underbelly of this unassuming suburb and it’s known as the “Marr Street Challenge”, a challenge that sees newly licensed drivers speed down Marr Street to beat the fastest time. For the most part, when someone takes on the challenge it goes unnoticed by most residents, except for that one time when a car went through the wall of someone’s courtyard – it was pretty hard not to notice then.
Streets are named after: Contemporaries of Sir George Pearce
Territory Electorate: Brindabella
Average age: 41
Crime incidents (excluding traffic infringements): 141 in 2014