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A look around Canberra – Scullin

By Alexandra Craig - 12 June 2015 9

scullin suburb sign

A last minute change in schedule saw me off to Scullin this week for A Look Around Canberra. Located in the Belconnen region, Scullin is nestled in amongst Page, Hawker, Higgins and Florey, and has a population of 2814.

This suburb was named after the ninth Prime Minister of Australia James Scullin and was gazetted on 6 June 1968.

scullin shops

I’d only visited Scullin for the first time about a fortnight ago, for the purpose of visiting a massage clinic at the shops (which, by the way, is awesome), and I thought to myself how run down the shops were and that they were in need of a major upgrade. So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered the Scullin shops received a $1.12 million upgrade in 2012. I’m not sure if that’s an indication of how bad the shops were before the upgrade, or if the upgrade largely didn’t make that much of an aesthetic difference.

scullin playground

Driving around Scullin, it seems like a lovely neighbourhood. People walking dogs, kids out on their bikes, and visually the streets are nice enough . However, the information available online about this suburb is largely negative, lots of robberies and even an extreme animal cruelty case from 2011. I wasn’t able to find more details on this other than the accused pleading not guilty at the first court hearing. If anyone knows more, including the animal’s recovery, please leave a comment.

Scullin doesn’t have a huge amount of amenities besides the shops. However, Belconnen Westfield isn’t that far away and the nearest high school is only a suburb away in Hawker. The median house price is under $500,000 too which is a good thing for home buyers.

I think Scullin gets a bad rap. It might not be the most exciting suburb in Canberra, but the poor actions of the minority shouldn’t create a negative reputation for the rest of the Scullin-ites. I reckon it’s okay.

Quick stats
Streets are named after:  Aviators
Federal Electorate: Fraser
Federal MP: Andrew Leigh
Territory Electorate: Gininnderra 
Population: 2814
Population breakdown: 49.5 per cent male, 50.5 per cent female
Average children per family: 1.7
Crime: 118 incidents in 2014 (not including parking infringements)

What’s Your opinion?


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9 Responses to
A look around Canberra – Scullin
1
Kim F 12:00 pm
12 Jun 15
#

My parents bought in Scullin in 1969. Back then, Scullin was the terminus of the only bus route that served all of Belconnen. When the shops first openned, it had 3 mini-market type shops of which one included the greasy take away.

2
Holden Caulfield 2:57 pm
12 Jun 15
#

Some of my early years were in Scullin too, I have fond memories.

3
Kalliste 11:19 pm
12 Jun 15
#

That’s the shops after an upgrade? They’ve looked like that for as long as I can remember. Back in the early 90s there was a lot more there, I remember as a kid going to the newsagent before school and buying candy if we had some money.

I also got my ears pierced at the chemist there at the age of about 11 without parental permission. I assume that wouldn’t happen these days.

There is also the early childhood school which used to be Southern Cross Primary (which I assume at some point was just Scullin Primary before Page Primary closed its doors).

4
JC 6:43 am
14 Jun 15
#

When the government spends money upgrading shops it is only upgrading things like the car parks, seating, paving, trees etc. They, contrary to what many think do not own the buildings (except maybe some that have seperate toilet blocks). So really after an upgrade unless the owners of the buildings have also upgraded it isn’t going to look too different on the surface.

5
rubaiyat 11:09 am
14 Jun 15
#

JC said :

When the government spends money upgrading shops it is only upgrading things like the car parks, seating, paving, trees etc. They, contrary to what many think do not own the buildings (except maybe some that have seperate toilet blocks). So really after an upgrade unless the owners of the buildings have also upgraded it isn’t going to look too different on the surface.

The government “upgrades” are done with inadequate funds and talent.

The results barely look different after, and in a very short time look equally as bad, if not worse, than before.

The building owners are in a cleft stick. They have underperforming assets that need a lot of work to improve for a market that generally no-longer exists. The assets were also shabbily and cheaply built in the first place so were not going to last, but that was ignored then, and is being ignored now.

Total redevelopment is the only option and the government should not be trying to buy cheap favours by spending anything on the ‘upgrades”, unless of course for safety reasons, especially when the results are so wanting.

There are so many things wrong with what was originally planned and built in nearly every Canberra suburb that nothing short of a total new start is going to do anything. When I first came here, it took only a single glance to spot how all the suburban shopping strips, like the houses are badly built for the climate.

The shops I have visited (with a few rare exceptions) face south, into cold winter winds and shadows, and have haphazard paving levels, usually draining towards the shops. What landscaping there is, desperately clings to life and adds nothing to or works against the ambience and comfort of shoppers who seem to only have one thing in mind anyway, to park their cars as close to their destination as possible and run over any pedestrians who get in their way.

6
Onceler 12:03 pm
15 Jun 15
#

The shops face north, which is good I guess. The mini-mart is pretty woeful, and not very welcoming. Perhaps they’re in constant fear of being robbed. There is some sort of coffee roasting establishment, that appears to be just a wholesaler as they are never open to sell beans. I had high hopes for the Indian pizza cafe (an unusual combo) on the corner when it first started – the pizzas were not bad, but quality soon declined. Their Indian food might still be good though. You can sometimes get a bargain in the op shop, which has good prices and friendly staff. The hairdresser I’m told is excellent. That’s all I can tells ya!

7
rubaiyat 12:38 pm
15 Jun 15
#

Onceler said :

The shops face north, which is good I guess. The mini-mart is pretty woeful, and not very welcoming. Perhaps they’re in constant fear of being robbed. There is some sort of coffee roasting establishment, that appears to be just a wholesaler as they are never open to sell beans. I had high hopes for the Indian pizza cafe (an unusual combo) on the corner when it first started – the pizzas were not bad, but quality soon declined. Their Indian food might still be good though. You can sometimes get a bargain in the op shop, which has good prices and friendly staff. The hairdresser I’m told is excellent. That’s all I can tells ya!

They do face north but have a huge overhang that appears to prevent winter sun penetrating under. The side is even worse.

That huge flight of steps and relatively narrow landing preclude any outside tables and the typically blank shopfronts present a desolate, uninviting and repellent front to the public. As much as people love their cars, staring down on their bonnets, in the broad expanse of bitumen, and smelling them can’t do much for your appetite.

I am aware that all of that is pretty much invisible to people at a conscious level but it absolutely affects their behaviour at a subconscious level.

The courtyard between the buildings with the two trees has some potential but has nothing facing into it, probably is wind swept in winter and its star feature seems to be a transformer box. The whole layout screams “Couldn’t care less!”.

8
WxNW 2:49 pm
15 Jun 15
#

Thanks for this post – great to hear your positive rating for Scullin!

There are a few of us in Scullin who are working hard at building a strong sense of community in the area.

We’ve had a great Party at the Shops for the last three years. https://www.facebook.com/events/817357051668892/

We’re exploring the possibility of a community garden
https://scullincommunitygarden.wordpress.com/

And we’re celebrating our emerging (and as yet arguably hidden) Arts scene with the help of the BAC
http://www.belconnenartscentre.com.au./exhibitions/communityshow-information.html

In many ways, our community is what we make it, so for locals who are keen to connect and contribute positively around in the neighbourhood, join the WxNW (West by North West) neighbourhood network.
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WxNWneighbourhood/
instagram: @wxnwneighbourhood
twitter: @WxNWneighbourhd

9
eucy 7:27 am
16 Jun 15
#

The upgrade was just to the surrounding landscape of the shops, in the ‘aviation’ theme (like the streets) so there’s some interesting sculptures and information there now. But the shops still look very run down because the actual shop fronts are very run down and tired.

The whole neglected feeling at the shops is not helped by two of the shops being closed to customers – the strange coffee bean place and the (wholesale?) bakery. The mini supermarket is pretty sparse and not very inviting. I’ve not tried the Chinese, but the relatively new Indian is ok – their pizzas are good but I agree with Onceler that the quality has declined.

There is a huge and beautiful old eucalypt in the grassy area next to the shops, maybe some wooden picnic tables under there would make a nice place to sit and eat or drink a coffee, rather than in the concrete area.

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