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Northside vs southside – is one really better than the other?

By Alexandra Craig - 5 May 2015 72

canberra

Northside versus southside. It’s pretty much the greatest rivalry since Springfield versus Shelbyville.

I’ve never really understood it. I currently live in Canberra’s north, and while I probably prefer the southside, I’m not about to argue that one is better than the other. I notice this more in people who grew up in Canberra, they were born and bred on one side and have no idea where to find anything on the other side and don’t have an interest in venturing there.

I’ve also noticed an unwillingness to travel from one side of Canberra to the other. I often see people asking for recommendations for doctor, restaurants, tutors and social activities, but they’re only interested in northside recommendations, or don’t want to travel further than Canberra’s south.

Sure, I understand that people who live in Gordon might not want to travel to Gungahlin during peak hour, but it’s puzzling when someone asks for a specialist doctor that they desperately need to see but won’t venture to the other side of Lake Burley Griffin for it. Canberra’s not that big. It doesn’t take that long to get from place to place.

Is it laziness or is it because people don’t know their way around the other side of town? Or is it actually a case of rivalry between the two areas? Everyone thinks their side is the best, but I wonder if we put it to the test with some non-Canberrans whether there would be much of a difference.

As far as tourist attractions go, most of the notable ones are southside, but only just. On the south there is Parliament House, Old Parliament House, Questacon, the galleries and the National Library. A bit further down you’ve got the National Zoo and Aquarium, the Royal Australian Mint, and Tidbinbilla. Northside has the War Memorial Black Mountain Tower, the AIS, the Botanic Gardens, the Dinosaur Museum and Cockington Green a bit further north.

As far as cafes, shopping malls, parks and recreation, and general standard of living go, it’s a pretty even playing field in my opinion. I’ve lived on both sides and I don’t see a huge difference. As I said, I prefer the south but that’s simply because I really like a few suburbs there. I don’t despise living in the north.

Interestingly, I have only really noticed this debate between southsiders that live in the Tuggeranong region and northsiders that live in Belconnen and Gungahlin. I never see the rivalry between inner north and inner south, or hear that Kingston Foreshore is way better than Braddon. People seem to like both. Same goes for the Dickson and Woden areas.

Is anyone else as confused as I am about this strange rivalry? Is it a born and bred Canberran thing only or are some newish Canberrans in on the North versus South debate too?

What’s Your opinion?


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72 Responses to
Northside vs southside – is one really better than the other?
farnarkler 7:41 pm 05 May 15

vintage123 is isn’t just about the dwelling it’s the whole package. Everything revolves around Civic so the closer the better. I’m a 15 minute drive from there so I don’t pay exorbitant cab fares on a Saturday night and when I need to get to the ice rink in Woden for hockey, it’s a quick hop to the parkway. From the rubbish shops at the hyperdome and belconnen mall it’s not hard to see that Civic is the only place to go shopping, particularly for clothing.

JC 7:06 pm 05 May 15

rubaiyat said :

Rollersk8r said :

I’m not convinced there is a rivalry – but if there is it’s because people simply don’t need to leave their immediate district for 99% of stuff. I have absolutely no time or need to drive all the way down one end of Canberra just for a look.

However, a more serious issue is some areas do feel neglected – as all the new facilities and infrastructure (hello light rail and NBN) seems focussed on Gungahlin. There’s no tram or fast internets for us across the road in Belconnen.

There would be if there wasn’t the insane objections to the first sign of (different) progress.

Politicians like to take their battles, one at a time.

Belconnen would have to be worst planned township in Canberra. All its problems stem from that, not any particular singling out for neglect.

You want better transport/trams go demand it off your local members. You want better Internet don’t vote for the Troglodytes who got confused and thought the Internet is two cans connect with a string.

See interesting I reckon Belconnen is the best laid out township in Canberra. Town centre more or less in the middle 3 east west main roads that run basically parallel to each other. Tuggeranong town centre off to the side makes no sense and Gungahlin wouldn’t know where to start.

JC 7:04 pm 05 May 15

Rollersk8r said :

I’m not convinced there is a rivalry – but if there is it’s because people simply don’t need to leave their immediate district for 99% of stuff. I have absolutely no time or need to drive all the way down one end of Canberra just for a look.

However, a more serious issue is some areas do feel neglected – as all the new facilities and infrastructure (hello light rail and NBN) seems focussed on Gungahlin. There’s no tram or fast internets for us across the road in Belconnen.

Might have something to do with the simple fact that Gungahlin is where the main developments have been the past 20 years. Just like in the 80’s Tuggeranong was getting all the shiny new stuff and the 70’s and early 80’s it was Belconnen. Just follows the growth rather than any rivalry.

Masquara 6:32 pm 05 May 15

farnarkler said :

Once you get past Kaleen on the Northside and Mawson on the South, you’re in sh*tsville. As for Gungahlin, don’t make me laugh. Oh and I’ve been here since 1976 so have seen it all.

Past Kaleen? Past Lyneham. Inner.

MonarchRepublic 4:50 pm 05 May 15

Alexandra Craig said :

SR1985 said :

And just to point out that National Zoo and Aquarium is on the north side of the lake not the south.

But the address is Weston Creek? I just looked it up on google maps and I reckon it is only *just* south of the middle.

It’s north of the Molonglo River, which feeds into/from LBG. North/South of the lake is how many people define the border.

vintage123 4:47 pm 05 May 15

farnarkler said :

Once you get past Kaleen on the Northside and Mawson on the South, you’re in sh*tsville. As for Gungahlin, don’t make me laugh. Oh and I’ve been here since 1976 so have seen it all.

I live in Red Hill so its a moot point, however i have some friends who live in Nicholls and Amaroo and where they live it is definately not sh*tsville, in fact its actually just as nice as my place.

Holden Caulfield 4:35 pm 05 May 15

Alexandra Craig said :

SR1985 said :

And just to point out that National Zoo and Aquarium is on the north side of the lake not the south.

But the address is Weston Creek? I just looked it up on google maps and I reckon it is only *just* south of the middle.

Who cares what the address says, which side of the lake is it on? The lake is the definitive border.

This is only an issue because the south are unwilling to accept the fact that Northside is best.

And, yes, this whole “debate” is tongue in cheek, a bit of a laugh and all that. It’s definitely not to be taken seriously. I currently live in Kingston, but I still know Northside is best.

Alexandra Craig 4:03 pm 05 May 15

SR1985 said :

And just to point out that National Zoo and Aquarium is on the north side of the lake not the south.

But the address is Weston Creek? I just looked it up on google maps and I reckon it is only *just* south of the middle.

farnarkler 3:40 pm 05 May 15

Once you get past Kaleen on the Northside and Mawson on the South, you’re in sh*tsville. As for Gungahlin, don’t make me laugh. Oh and I’ve been here since 1976 so have seen it all.

Postalgeek 2:32 pm 05 May 15

It’s all south of Murrambateman and north of Tharwa. In all the years I’ve lived in Canberra I don’t ever recall having a discussion about which point on the compass is better in regards to Canberra. Guess I’ve chosen my company well.

Rollersk8r 1:23 pm 05 May 15

I have dual citizenship – born and raised in the South, live in the North. Good thing I keep my Southern passport valid with all the trips to Stromlo Forest Park, the Arboretum, the Cotter, Manuka for the footy, Kingston markets, various fun runs…

rubaiyat 1:03 pm 05 May 15

Rollersk8r said :

I’m not convinced there is a rivalry – but if there is it’s because people simply don’t need to leave their immediate district for 99% of stuff. I have absolutely no time or need to drive all the way down one end of Canberra just for a look.

However, a more serious issue is some areas do feel neglected – as all the new facilities and infrastructure (hello light rail and NBN) seems focussed on Gungahlin. There’s no tram or fast internets for us across the road in Belconnen.

There would be if there wasn’t the insane objections to the first sign of (different) progress.

Politicians like to take their battles, one at a time.

Belconnen would have to be worst planned township in Canberra. All its problems stem from that, not any particular singling out for neglect.

You want better transport/trams go demand it off your local members. You want better Internet don’t vote for the Troglodytes who got confused and thought the Internet is two cans connect with a string.

SR1985 1:00 pm 05 May 15

Oh the riveraly is real, and in some way validated by the two federal electrol divisions in Canberra, with lake Burley Griffin (and Molonglo river) diving the two (Fraser to the north and Canberra to the south).

My partner laughs every time I moan about having to go south of the lake, but having grown up on the northside it just feel like my side is better. This was reinforced back when I was going out to civic, the southsiders would try and claim that civic was neutral which every northsider opposed completely, as it is clearly on the north side of the lake. – Just a southside land grab attempt.

And just to point out that National Zoo and Aquarium is on the north side of the lake not the south.

Rollersk8r 11:27 am 05 May 15

I’m not convinced there is a rivalry – but if there is it’s because people simply don’t need to leave their immediate district for 99% of stuff. I have absolutely no time or need to drive all the way down one end of Canberra just for a look.

However, a more serious issue is some areas do feel neglected – as all the new facilities and infrastructure (hello light rail and NBN) seems focussed on Gungahlin. There’s no tram or fast internets for us across the road in Belconnen.

Dame Canberra 11:08 am 05 May 15

I grew up in the deep south, and the rivalry between Canberra’s north and south was definitely a point of contention, but it was always friendly and tongue in cheek. We’d joke about the dodgy suburbs in north Canberra, completely ignoring the fact that there were notoriously dodgy suburbs just across the road from us too.

That said, I’ve also always lived on the southside (even when I was buying property I didn’t bother looking northside); have to look up directions for Kippax, Jamison and Amaroo on Google Maps; and grumble about travelling 15 minutes from my place in the inner south to my work in Belconnen. Once a southsider, always a southsider, I guess 😉

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