Moving to Canberra – advice…?

RenH 5 November 2010 32

Dear Canberrans,

As I am soon to be one of you I was hoping for some logistical advice.

I’m moving over in Jan 2011 and am going to be working in civic.

I have three kids – 2 in high school & 1 in primary school.

Which suburb would be a good one to live where there’s a high school close to a primary school so my older kids could pick up our youngest from primary school of an afternoon if I’m at work?

Would also like to be fairly close to the city/work so I can drop them all at school on way to work in the mornings. Will be renting at first and don’t want to live in an area with expensive rents. e.g (over $550 pw)

If anyone has any advice it would be appreciated – am currently in Perth so it’s a big move. Have looked at the Dept. of education and I’ve received the “Living in Canberra” pack from the LIC website and it’s been really helpful but would like a local’s personal perspective for my relocation research.

Cheers,

Renee.


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32 Responses to Moving to Canberra – advice…?
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Feathergirl Feathergirl 11:55 am 08 Nov 10

Kambah is getting a brand new high school and primary school next year. They are on the same campus which would be handy for you. The kids could start fresh with a whole lot of other kids that are starting fresh in brand new classes, with new computers, new books and sports equipment.

Okay, now let the Kambah bashing begin…

Snarky Snarky 9:47 am 08 Nov 10

M Rose said :

.. Stromlo High is a NO GO zone, I don’t know one kid who has not had problems at Stromlo, and many who have had to leave because of it. The fact is, the vast majority of high-school age kids in Weston Creek go to Catholic schools.

Bit harsh M Rose? All my kids have gone or are going through Stromlo over the last 6 years and haven’t experienced any earth-shattering problems that can’t be blamed on hormonal imbalances. They all appear to have received a pretty good education, and my own experiences in dealing with the school have all been positive.

I know there are some kids with problems there – I’d be surprised to find any school that doesn’t have some. They don’t seem to cause any ongoing grief to most of the population though.

And where does your data on where kids attend school come from? I’d be interested to have a look.

M Rose M Rose 12:27 am 08 Nov 10

I guess the question here is which of those things do you put first? The school, the transport or the rent?

Personally I would place the schools first on the list. Canberra, like anywhere, has good and bad public schools. Primary schools are generally less problematic than highschools. Pairing the two up is even more problematic. A public primary school like Farrer is great, but the nearby feeder highschool, Melrose, is hopeless.

Weston Creek, as mentioned above, is a great place to live property and rent wise, and it’s primary schools are fine, but Stromlo High is a NO GO zone, I don’t know one kid who has not had problems at Stromlo, and many who have had to leave because of it. The fact is, the vast majority of high-school age kids in Weston Creek go to Catholic schools.

I would heartily endorse the Forrest/Red Hill Primary -> Telopea School -> Narrabundah College combination. They are all great public schools, without many problem kids, which is the one big factor in Canberra. However, real estate is very high in the area, and $550 is quite low for the area.

Lynaham Highschool, with Telopea, is probably the other best public highschool, but once again, rents for decent houses in the area are high.

It’s a tricky situation. Rents in Canberra are sky high and where the good schools are, particularly public, so is the money unfortunately.

RenH RenH 5:36 pm 07 Nov 10

Thanks guys,

Your posts have been really helpful (well mostly e.g Pork Hunt and Ian – huh???). It’s good to have more of an idea now especially in regards to suburb and school info – it’s great. It’s all pretty abstract when you’re just looking at school websites and maps. I have to get my head around the fact that even the suburbs that look like they’re out of the city are still really close. I’ve been used to a 45min (if I’m lucky) train commute. Thanks so much I will be using all this info in my research. The allhomes website has been really good too. I’m looking forward to a move back to the east coast and Canberra is just far enough away from my parents in Brisbane.. I like the buffer zone but Perth was a bit extreme…

Cheers and thanks again,

Renee.

WalkTheTalk said :

I’m not sure if you’re after public or private schools…I’m not sure if you’ve been to Canberra before (presume you have before your move?). !

I’ve been to Canberra a few times, but not for about 10yrs, I have family in the Snowy and my aunty lives in Yarralumla. I’m looking forward to moving back to the east coast and I know what I’m in for climate wise. Brrrr the thermometer was in minus territory last time I was there. It’ll be nice to have mountains and a bit of greenery around again. The kids are in the public system.

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

Are houses close to schools and the city cheap in Perth?

Being close to the CBD is on par to the inner Canberra suburbs (over $700pw for 3bdm+).
Fremantle’s a great place to live and it’s a bit cheaper, around $500, it’s on the water and you can catch a train into the city – about 10-15 mins.
I’m in Secret harbour which is still in the metro area but 55km south of CBD on the beach and you pay around $350 – $400 pw so it’s cheaper but it’s 45 mins to the city. The schools are really good in this suburb though – my kids go to public schools. You can catch the train into the CBD for work.

Rage said :

Please Renee,
Dont move to Canberra. Think of the kids. The poor kids. Do you want them to grow up and become pathetic inane public servants that go on contiki tours for holidays???
Give them a life of creativity and substance. Stay in Perth or try Melbourne or Sydney. Children are the future Renee.

Thanks for your heartfelt consideration for the children Rage. Now all I can think about are my kids becoming the bureaucratic Vogons out of the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy 🙂

WalkTheTalk WalkTheTalk 2:59 pm 07 Nov 10

‘Jethro’ at #27 – matter of perspective really. By no means disagree with your experience of them, because it’s exactly that, yours.

Just trying to give Renee some further info for the move and points to consider.

Jethro Jethro 10:07 am 07 Nov 10

WalkTheTalk said :

G’day Renee,

Big move. Good on you for doing a bit of homework. Concur with a lot of the sincere advice delivered here.

Don’t discount suburbs that are further away from the city. ACTION (ACT Internal Omnibus Network) has decent services depending on the suburb.

Which Canberra are you living in? ACTION buses are absolutely appalling.

Rage Rage 10:07 pm 06 Nov 10

Please Renee,

Dont move to Canberra. Think of the kids. The poor kids. Do you want them to grow up and become pathetic inane public servants that go on contiki tours for holidays???
Give them a life of creativity and substance. Stay in Perth or try Melbourne or Sydney. Children are the future Renee.

WalkTheTalk WalkTheTalk 9:52 pm 06 Nov 10

G’day Renee,

Big move. Good on you for doing a bit of homework. Concur with a lot of the sincere advice delivered here.

Don’t discount suburbs that are further away from the city. ACTION (ACT Internal Omnibus Network) has decent services depending on the suburb. It’s worth checking their timetables in conjunction with your house hunting – http://www.action.act.gov.au if this appeals / suits. They often have express services to the outermost suburbs. Bear in mind that they do revise these timetables though, so don’t rely solely on this.

I’m not sure if you’re after public or private schools. As mentioned earlier – there are many schools (public and private) that are situated close together. There’s also underpasses near some schools to keep the kids safe from busy roads.

I’m not sure if you’ve been to Canberra before (presume you have before your move?). It’s pretty well planned with good cycle and foot paths for the most part. Westfield (or equivalent) malls in the bigger of the town centres, ranging down to shopping hubs like Kippax Fair, Cooleman Court etc – right down to local shopping centres (supermarket, chemist etc). Not every suburb has shops, but they’re generally not far away. Commercial/industrial sites (Mitchell, Fyshwick and Hume) are grouped together near homes, but not right amongst them like in many other cities. I can’t speak for Gungahlin, but you’ll find almost anything what you need somewhere around the town centre (Belconnen, City, Woden, Tuggeranong). Speciality retailers / traders are located at the afore mentioned Mitchell, Fyshwick and Hume.

I’m not sure what rents are nowadays, but you’ve got plenty of options with services listed above (ie. cycle or bus to work to save on fuel / parking etc).

Good luck with it!

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 6:59 pm 06 Nov 10

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

Are houses close to schools and the city cheap in Perth?

Compared with major Australian cities, our price/location compromise is actually pretty reasonable, I think. It seems expensive because 10 years ago it was really cheap (significantly below long term trend) and now it’s at the top of the cycle (significantly above the long term trend).

Deref Deref 4:58 pm 06 Nov 10

Prices are probably better than Perth, and the climate’s wonderful.

Anywhere around Lyneham’s good – best high school in Canberra, and Dickson College is just up the road.

I should explain that in Canberra, high school goes from year 7 to 10, the secondary college is years 11 and 12. It’s a good system.

astrojax astrojax 2:32 pm 06 Nov 10

downer, dickson, outer areas of ainslie – good access to all ranges of schools, civic, amenities; but as per advice above, start looking soon and consider paying a few weeks rent in advance to secure something good now before the student/graduate public service tide descends in january… also concur with campbell.

sepi sepi 11:32 am 06 Nov 10

Moving in January will not be so good in real estate terms. In Jan and Feb (even worse) are full of students arriving, new APS workers and APS graduates coming to Canberra to live and work. Real estate is impossible to find in any budget.

If you can rent a place in December you will have more choice.

And if you get a choice of places, pick one with gas heating. heating bills are a killer in Canberra, and electric heating costs more.

The inner south would be a good choice if you can find an affordable rental. Red hill or forrest primary, telopea high and narrabundah college are all great schools.

Not all suburbs do have primary schools – and high schools are much further apart.

allhomes.com.au does show distance to nearest school, but they include private schools on this.

Dr Strange Dr Strange 10:16 am 06 Nov 10

Be prepared for a real estate shock, especially in January (RE Agents first to wall with the revolution). $550 will get you something reasonable.

I’d concur with Campbell (close to town, local primary school, couple of high schools near by), Weston Creek, Narrabunda, Curtin possibly or down around Torrens. Gungahlin is newer and more McMansion territory (roads into town can be #$%$# in the morning).

Whatever you do give the place a bit of time. I’ve lived here a long time now, been away for work and am happy to stay here. Best kept secret in Australia this place.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 9:05 am 06 Nov 10

Are houses close to schools and the city cheap in Perth?

trevar trevar 8:16 am 06 Nov 10

Frustrated said :

Remember Christmas day 2009!

I do. I was in Wellington where it was even rainier than Canberra, and we were lamenting the fact that we weren’t getting so much back home!

I am one of the rare breed who moved back to Canberra a second time for the climate. The weather in this place is absolutely reliable for about 8 months of the year. January and February are hot every day; March through mid June are reliably mild, late June to August are always cold. Unfortunately, the cost of this reliability is that Spring is a bastard, and if I ever get myself a second house and the freedom to leave for a season, it will be Spring, which lasts from September to December and is mostly unpredictable (though you usually get one or two perfect 21° sunny days a week).

The other advantage of our climate is that very few people have cold houses in Winter, and no public building goes unheated. I can’t stand going to Sydney in Winter, because the indoors is as cold as the outdoors! Seriously, why do they bother building at all if they’re not going to heat it? In Canberra, the only cold place is the space in between the buildings and the cars.

Renh, just make sure you find a house with built in heating. It’s very common, so it shouldn’t be too hard, but you will feel it if you think you can heat a house the way you do in Perth.

As for suburbs, they’re pretty much all the same. When I first moved to Canberra I noticed that the locals even navigate by time and distance rather than landmarks because there are no landmarks! The only thing that might make one suburb better than another is distance to your workplace. And the suburbs south of the lake suffer fewer traffic snarls (but the others’ snarls aren’t too bad anyway).

As others have said, schools are close together, but they seem to be a little further apart in Gungahlin. If you want your older kids to pick up your younger kids, you might want to aim for a suburb with a K-10 school. These are in Holt, Wanniassa (that one’s got a bad rep), Gold Creek, and there’s a new one opening in Kambah next year (I might have missed one?). Senior secondary (years 11 & 12) are in separate institutions in the ACT, called colleges.

Whatever you decide, I hope you enjoy the place. I know I’ve said it, but I’ve come from elsewhere and moved away, then moved back again because I really can’t find a better place to live. If only we could evict the politicians it would be perfect!

majorLazer majorLazer 12:01 am 06 Nov 10

IMO Narrabundah or griffith, Narrabundah College , Forrest Primary School and Telopea High School, thats a winning combination and all are less than 2 km away. Even if you want to go the private way, St Benedict’s Primary School, St Clare’s College(7-12)and St. Edmund’s College(4-12) are all pretty good.

caf caf 11:08 pm 05 Nov 10

Kaleen / Giralang seems to fit the bill.

MJay MJay 10:27 pm 05 Nov 10

Canberra and Belconnen high schools are both close to a range of primary schools.

Belconnen high is also close to Hawker college.

There is also Kingsford Smith School which caters from preschool upwards, though I am not sure if it will suit (depends what grade your older kids are in) they are progressively expanding up to year 10, not sure exactly what year they cater up to at the moment. It’s a very new school so at least they facilities (in theory) should be half decent.

Anyway thats a few to think about in the Belconnen region (the best part of town)

Not to far to the city either.

Frustrated Frustrated 10:24 pm 05 Nov 10

MWF said :

You sure?

It’s 10°C at the moment in NOVEMBER!

I just returned from a UK holiday this week, was hoping the weather would be much warmer than when I left in September.

The fact it’s Canberra I live in, I should have known better.

Canberrans can’t knock Melbourne weather for example, it can shocking in the ACT.

Remember Christmas day 2009!

Pandy Pandy 9:46 pm 05 Nov 10

O.Conner. Really noice

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