Wright is the first of 13 suburbs to be built in the Molonglo Valley, a massive development project that will eventually connect Weston Creek to Belconnen and house 55,000 residents.
There are a few things I like about Wright, which is named after Australian poet and writer Judith Wright McKinney.
The first is that it is possible to build a new, reasonably affordable home without moving to Canberra’s extreme north or south. (As one reader pointed out, there are plenty of homes available around the $950k mark, but I know several families who’ve built in the suburb for much cheaper – I guess it depends on what’s available when you’re looking.) From Wright, it’s a ten minute drive to the city and a 15 minute drive to Belconnen and Tuggeranong.
The second is that Wright seems to have learned from what (in my opinion) hasn’t worked so well in Gungahlin and other newer suburbs. Where other suburbs cram as many houses as possible onto tiny blocks at the expense of open spaces and wide streets, Wright does the opposite – as the Land Development Agency explains:
“The master plan for Wright embraces the natural environment, with wide tree-lined streets and recreational and cycle paths connecting the suburb to surrounding amenities such as Stromlo Forest Park, the Molonglo River corridor, the planned Coombs local shops and school, the National Arboretum Canberra and Civic Centre.”
Wright will also eventually have five open spaces and play areas, and most homes are within 800 metres of public transport. After a short time without a bus route, Wright now has the population to support public transport and ACTION buses pass through the suburb regularly.
Third is a tie between getting fibre to the premises, which makes my internet seem painfully slow in comparison, and the fact that Wright experiences some rather spectacular sunsets over Mount Stromlo, particularly around this time of year.
Wright is also a popular choice for first home buyers. With one bedroom apartments available off the plan for just $285,000, it isn’t hard to see why. Apartment developments include Panorama on Uriarra Road, Observatory Living on John Gorton Drive and Cotter Road, and Ambiente, also on John Gorton Drive.
The median unit price is $515,000, while the median non-unit price is $810,000. In the development map below, the red indicates areas of high density units, while the orange indicates single residential blocks.
Even though the first home to be built in Wright was finished in mid-2012, the suburb has a long way to go before it is complete. Most of the open spaces and play areas are still being built (as in the photograph below), and there are many homes under construction. On the other hand, you can easily spend a morning getting design inspiration from Wright’s display homes, of which there are plenty.
If you take a drive around Wright, you may notice that some of the landscaped front gardens, which probably looked presentable some months ago, are now overgrown with weeds. I’m told that one reason for this is that the government offered grants of up to $5000 to homeowners who landscaped their front yards and submitted a plan and photograph of the finished product. Some residents spent a few hundred dollars on mulch and plants, pocketed the cash and haven’t touched their front yards since. A good initiative in theory, but perhaps it needs to be better executed in the future?
Streets are named after: Environment, poets and butterflies
Federal MP: Gai Brodtmann
Territory Electorate: Molonglo
Average age: 32
Crime incidents (excluding traffic infringements): 47 in 2014