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?