It’s a stone’s throw from Parliament House and accommodates several government departments, but there’s more to the centrally-located suburb of Barton than just politics. Those in the know will tell you that the tightly-held area near Lake Burley Griffin is also a fabulous place to live.
Set in tree-lined surrounds with easy access to restaurants, nightlife and nature, it’s no surprise that Barton is a popular suburb with public servants, politicians and political staffers, as well as those who enjoy the good things in life.
Thinking about visiting or moving to Barton? Here’s what you need to know.
Barton’s first residents moved in around 1922. The suburb, which is mostly made up of government departments, national institutions and hotels, is named after Australia’s first prime minister, Sir Edmund Barton.
With fewer than 1500 residents, Barton has a smaller population than most other suburbs in Canberra. It’s also one of the most advantaged, ranking among the ACT’s top 10 most affluent suburbs in the 2016 Census.
While most of Barton – including the residential area – is in Canberra’s inner south, one part of Barton is technically in the inner north. This small section is directly across Lake Burley Griffin and takes in Clare Holland House and picturesque dining venue The Boat House.
Shops and eateries
The Barton Grocer on Macquarie Street is a small supermarket with a cool and contemporary vibe. As you might expect from its hip location, the grocer sells a wide range of unique products, including locally-sourced, healthy and whole foods options – including gourmet ready-to-eat meals. There’s also an on-site bottle shop, flower bar and café.
Manuka and Kingston shopping precincts are a short walk, ride or drive away. There’s a Coles at Manuka and a well-stocked IGA at Kingston, among other retailers.
If fine dining is your thing, Barton is a great suburb to live. Residents have their pick of upmarket bars and restaurants including Ottoman Cuisine, Vincent, Buvette Bistro & Wine Bar, Japanese restaurant Lilotang and Ostani.
Places of interest and things to do
Barton may be small but there’s plenty to do, see and savour amongst its tree-lined streets.
- Head to the Realm Precinct. The five-star Realm Precinct is where you’ll find trendy cafes, restaurants serving a range of cuisines, and the Burbury Hotel, where you can indulge in a decadent high tea on the rooftop terrace.
- Check out some world-class national attractions. With the Parliamentary Triangle right nearby, there is no shortage of places to visit, including Parliament House. The National Gallery of Australia, the National Library, the National Portrait Gallery and Questacon are a short stroll away.
- Enjoy some of Canberra’s best street food at The Forage. Running three times a year, The Forage showcases street food and other food products from Canberra cafes, food trucks, wineries and breweries.
- Soak up a bit of history at Hotel Kurrajong. Built in 1926 and designed by the same architect as Old Parliament House, Hotel Kurrajong is one of Canberra’s oldest hotels. It’s also where former Prime Minister Ben Chifley lived throughout his parliamentary career. You can spend a night, or just enjoy a steak at Chifley’s Bar and Grill.
Playgrounds and parks
There’s one park absolutely worth visiting in Barton, and that’s Telopea Park.
This beautiful shaded park has abundant green space, tall trees, picnic areas and an urban playground for kids. In autumn, the colours of the changing leaves put on a superb show.
Bowen Park on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin is popular with fitness enthusiasts, picnickers and those who enjoy a spot of recreational fishing.
Given its proximity to Civic, Manuka and Lake Burley Griffin, Barton is one of those Canberra suburbs where you might just be able to get away with not owning a car. Close to public transport and well-maintained bike paths, getting around is easy.
And if your preferred mode of interstate transport is train, you’re in luck. Canberra Railway Station is just up the road on Kingston’s Wentworth Avenue.
Barton is home to Canberra’s oldest school, Telopea Park School, which was founded in 1923 and caters to students from primary school to Year 10. Telopea Park School is also the only school in the nation’s capital to offer English/French bilingual education.
Some of Canberra’s best-performing schools can be found in Barton’s neighbouring suburbs including Forrest Primary School, Narrabundah College, Canberra Grammar School and Canberra Girls Grammar School.
Why the locals love it
“I work in Barton and live in Kingston, but I’d move to Barton in a heartbeat. It’s green, it’s leafy, you’re surrounded by great Canberra venues like the National Press Club and the whole Realm Precinct (not to mention having Parliament House right on your doorstep), and there are so many great places to eat and drink – from waffles at Maple + Clove to high-end Turkish feasts at Ottoman Restaurant.” – Lauren, 27.
- Median age: 38 years
- Median weekly household income: $2,356
- Median weekly rent: $480
- Houses vs. apartments: 7.7% houses; 89% apartments
- Suburb sales record (excludes land sales): $4,492,500 in 2005
Source: 2016 Census.
Want to find the latest real estate listings for sale and rent in Barton? Zango can help you find them:
Do you live, or have you previously lived, in Barton? What are your favourite things about the suburb? What advice would you give to people considering moving there? Share your thoughts in the comments below.