Pretty much everyone in Canberra has been to Watson before, whether they realised or not, as Watson is one of the first suburbs on the ACT/NSW border as you return on the Federal Highway.
Named after Australia’s third Prime Minister, John Watson, the suburb was gazetted on 7 April 1960.
While Watson seems mostly residential, it is home to a university, a school, one hotel, one motel, the Prime 7 and Southern Cross News studios. Watson also has its own local shops – probably a bit fancier than other suburbs given that it has a Supabarn and a post office.
Until a long time after I moved to Canberra I had no idea there was a third university here. The Australian Catholic University (ACU) campus in Watson is relatively small compared to UC and ANU, but it has over 1000 students enrolled.
The median age of residents in Watson is 33. This was younger than I would expect, however I imagine due to the university and the number of students living on campus the median age is brought down a bit. The average annual income is just over $162,000 which again, I thought would be higher, but is probably lower for the same reasons as the median age.
The Starlight drive-in cinema used to be in Watson, a huge apartment complex (cleverly named Starlight Apartments) now stands in its place. In recent years there was some successful lobbying by a group of citizens for the government to reinstate the old Starlight sign. As I wrote last year, I think this is a huge waste of money with no real value other than providing a few people with a trip down memory lane.
Earlier this year, the government said that while they will restore the sign, it will have a few changes including the back part of the sign not being lit to prevent light spill into the nearby apartments. Presumably the sign will be up before the end of the year. Watch this space.
Streets are named after: Judges and members of the legal profession
Federal Electorate: Fraser
Federal MP: Andrew Leigh
Territory Electorate: Molonglo
Population breakdown: 49.5 per cent male, 50.5 per cent female
Average children per family: 1.7
Crime: 69 incidents in 2014 (not including parking infringements)