See Charnwood Differently

31

Bernie’s from the Bay serving fresh seafood to locals in Charnwood. Photo: Daniella Jukic.

Looking to rent or buy in one of Canberra’s best value suburbs? Charnwood, in outer west Belconnen, delivers great return on investment. Affectionately known as Charny, it has easy access to a range of facilities, is close to several schools and sports fields and has a decent-sized local shopping centre that acts as a hub for the community.

Charnwood consistently appears in the rankings of the ACT’s most affordable suburbs for both buyers and renters. According to the most recent census data, it was the third-cheapest Canberra suburb to rent. Research by sellorhold.com.au predicts that investors will be better off by more than $120,000 in the next three years if they buy a property in Charnwood.

While Charnwood is popular with those entering the property market, particularly families, many residents are older people who enjoy the quiet life and proximity to services. At the top end of the suburb near the border with Fraser are mostly privately built houses, some with lovely views to the mountains. Charnwood certainly has plenty to appeal to buyers or renters aside from the affordability factor.

Thinking about visiting or moving to Charnwood? Here’s what you need to know.

History

Charnwood was established in 1971. Unlike many other suburbs in Canberra, it is not named after a Prime Minister but rather a location in England: the Forest of Charnwood in Leicestershire. Its streets are named after New South Wales pioneers.

Charnwood is also the name of a significant homestead for the district’s first residential landholder, Henry Hall, and his family. He was a pastoralist in the 1800s who was said to have imported some of the best Arab horses that came to the young colony. The olive trees and other exotic trees that mark where the homestead once stood can still be seen near Dunlop Grasslands.

Dunlop Grasslands Nature Reserve

Dunlop Grasslands. Photo: Daniella Jukic.

Charnwood was intended to be one of Canberra’s most innovative suburbs based on the Radburn design principle, where homes faced common parkland and garages were accessible from the street. But the initiative proved to be less than successful when many residents built fences between their houses and the parks, creating a network of narrow walkways.

Shops and eateries

The Charnwood Group Centre is located just off Ginninderra Drive near the junction of five suburbs: Charnwood, Flynn, Macgregor, Dunlop and Latham, and can be accessed from Lhotsky Street.

The shopping complex includes several fast food outlets, a servo, and a Woolworths.

When it comes to dining, Regal Charcoal Chicken has a reputation as the home of the best potato scallops in all of Canberra, and many locals in the know are long-term fans of Charnies Noodles and Dumplings. Charnwood Turkish Pide serves up delicious Turkish flavours while Oriental Kitchen and Crust Pizza, Subway, McDonalds and other takeaway food outlets also keep residents well-fed.

Places of interest and things to do

Here are some of our favourite activities in and around Charnwood:

  • Get involved with the community garden. The Canberra Organic Growers Society runs one of the ACT’s 12 community gardens in Charnwood. It’s been going strong since the 1980s and has 45 individual plots where you can make your dream of growing lush zucchini plants or awesome tomatoes a reality.
  • Enjoy the fun of the fair at the annual Charny Carny. It’s a great day out that promises rides, sideshow alley, food, stage, market stalls and fun for all ages. Profits from the event go back into the West Belconnen community.
  • Grab an opshop bargain at Barney’s Boutique. It’s home to a variety of high-quality second-hand clothing, books, and household items at very reasonable prices. Just be sure to check opening hours before you go.

Playgrounds and parks

When it comes to sport, Charnwood is well set up. The suburb has a large set of playing fields which are home to a Little Athletics club. There are two full size soccer fields, a combination field and two football fields, as well as a cricket wicket. At the northern end of the ground is the Belconnen Netball Centre which has hard and grass netball courts. The playing fields come to life on the weekends, especially when large carnivals and competitions take place.

Local playing fields at Charnwood. Photo: Daniella Jukic.

One of Canberra’s oldest skate bowls, constructed in the late 1970s and with a signature skate run, is in the suburb.

There are seven playgrounds for the kids to enjoy, with those in Donnison Place and Landale Place particularly popular with local youngsters and their parents. Charnwood’s design means that there’s a network of paths running through the suburb that make it easy for the local kids to get around on foot or on their bikes safely.

Getting around

Transport Canberra’s bus routes 40 and 41 run through Charnwood and take commuters to Belconnen Interchange. From there, getting a bus to the city and beyond is easy.

Charnwood is located near several major roads, so drivers often have an easy run getting where they need to. Ginninderra Drive offers a smooth commute into the city.

Schools

St Thomas Aquinas is a local primary school. Photo: Daniella Jukic.

There are three schools in Charnwood and several in the surrounding areas. Charnwood-Dunlop School in Bettington Circuit caters for students in Years K to 6. St Thomas Aquinas in Lhotsky Street also takes primary school students. Brindabella Christian College has a junior campus in Charnwood, which caters to students from Kindergarten to Year 4.

Melba Copland Secondary School in the suburb of Melba takes students from Charnwood in Years 7 to 12, while St Francis Xavier College in Florey offers a Catholic Education for Year 7 to 12 students.

Why the locals love it

“We bought a large, modern house for a very reasonable price that we could not have afforded elsewhere (and yes, we looked at plenty of suburbs both Nth and Sth). Our place is so quiet and we have lots of native birds visit – just today was watching the first kookaburras of the season playing on our back fence. There are walking/cycle paths behind most blocks which is great for our daughter as she doesn’t have to be on the footpath or road on her bike. Our neighbours are mostly older retired couples who have lived in the area for 25+ years and they all keep an eye out for each other.”

– Thailand71, via RiotACT.

The walking/cycle paths around Charnwood are a key favourite amongst locals. Photo: Daniella Jukic.

Quick facts

  • Median age: 34 years
  • Median weekly household income: $1,486
  • Median weekly rent: $300
  • Houses vs. apartments: 0.3% apartments; 11.3% semi-detached houses (i.e. townhouses/terrace house); 88.5% separate houses.
  • Suburb sales record: $985,000 in 2010.

Source: 2016 Census.

Do you live, or have you previously lived, in Charnwood? 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.

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31 Responses to See Charnwood Differently
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Felix the Cat Felix the Cat 2:07 pm 15 May 15

ozmaniac said :

Charming shopping centre. Wasn’t someone stabbed to death there recently?

http://the-riotact.com/tag/charnwood-murder

Evilomlap Evilomlap 10:25 am 15 May 15

Sad to say that though I wasn’t raised in Charny, I was present at a few of the ‘skaters’ vs ‘boonahs’ punch ups. A few clarifications: it wasn’t skaters, it was ‘bombers’ and it wasn’t boonahs, it was ‘booners’. And they didn’t wear ugh boots, the footwear of choice was steel-capped black boots or Doc Martens. Weapons of choice were usually just fists, but on one rare occasion I attended there were lengths of wood and chains involved, a knife brandished but thankfully not used. After that one the cops had had enough and I don’t recall another one happening. But yes, they were epic.

Masquara Masquara 7:41 pm 14 May 15

Oh – I thought the name must have been derived from “charnel house” somehow …

wottaway wottaway 7:41 pm 14 May 15

Radburn was first used in Curtin in the early 60’s and at the time they seemed like they were worth a try.When they were used extensively in Housing Commission areas of Campbelltown,NSW,they were a disaster and many have been bulldozed.

ozmaniac ozmaniac 4:32 pm 14 May 15

Charming shopping centre. Wasn’t someone stabbed to death there recently?

Alexandra Craig Alexandra Craig 11:22 am 11 May 15

blandone said :

Alexandra Craig said :

Settle down, why are you so defensive? I didn’t misrepresent anything.

Yes you did, and you’re contradicting your own research. The suburb is named after Charnwood – the homestead, the homestead is named after Charnwood – the forest.

Alexandra Craig said :

creative_canberran said :

It’s not named after a forest in Britain.

According to the ACT Environment and Planning Directorate it is.

http://www.planning.act.gov.au/tools_resources/place_search

“Origin: A former homestead in the Belconnen District; Henry Hall obtained a grant of 3492 acres of land which he named `Charnwood’, 1833; named after the Forest of Charnwood in England.”

Origin: A former homestead in the Belconnen District – Seems pretty clear to me.

What I mean was that I didn’t intentionally misrepresent anything. The original commenter is acting as if the Forest of Charnwood has nothing to do with anything when it does. I know the suburb was named after a homestead which was named after a forest (and yes, I made a mistake when I submitted the article), but my point still stands – if the forest was irrelevant to the story it wouldn’t be included on the Directorate’s website.

blandone blandone 9:29 am 11 May 15

Alexandra Craig said :

Settle down, why are you so defensive? I didn’t misrepresent anything.

Yes you did, and you’re contradicting your own research. The suburb is named after Charnwood – the homestead, the homestead is named after Charnwood – the forest.

Alexandra Craig said :

creative_canberran said :

It’s not named after a forest in Britain.

According to the ACT Environment and Planning Directorate it is.

http://www.planning.act.gov.au/tools_resources/place_search

“Origin: A former homestead in the Belconnen District; Henry Hall obtained a grant of 3492 acres of land which he named `Charnwood’, 1833; named after the Forest of Charnwood in England.”

Origin: A former homestead in the Belconnen District – Seems pretty clear to me.

Bennop Bennop 9:05 am 11 May 15

Alexandra Craig said :

creative_canberran said :

Alexandra Craig said :

creative_canberran said :

It’s not named after a forest in Britain.

According to the ACT Environment and Planning Directorate it is.

http://www.planning.act.gov.au/tools_resources/place_search

“Origin: A former homestead in the Belconnen District; Henry Hall obtained a grant of 3492 acres of land which he named `Charnwood’, 1833; named after the Forest of Charnwood in England.”

I’m glad you linked to that, because it confirms what I said, thank you.

Charnwood was named after the property belonging to one of the pioneers of the Canberra region. That the pioneer is believed to have taken the name from a British forest over a century earlier is irrelevent and by writing what you did, you misrepresented what the suburb was named to honour.

Settle down, why are you so defensive? I didn’t misrepresent anything.

If the fact that the name was taken from a British forest was irrelevant, why would it be on the Directorate’s website? It’s part of the story. It’s origin is relevant. If you have a problem with it, contact the Directorate and tell them you want it to say ‘Charnwood was named after someone’s property’

I love it when people don’t understand what they are arguing about 🙂

Alexandra Craig Alexandra Craig 10:13 pm 10 May 15

creative_canberran said :

Alexandra Craig said :

creative_canberran said :

It’s not named after a forest in Britain.

According to the ACT Environment and Planning Directorate it is.

http://www.planning.act.gov.au/tools_resources/place_search

“Origin: A former homestead in the Belconnen District; Henry Hall obtained a grant of 3492 acres of land which he named `Charnwood’, 1833; named after the Forest of Charnwood in England.”

I’m glad you linked to that, because it confirms what I said, thank you.

Charnwood was named after the property belonging to one of the pioneers of the Canberra region. That the pioneer is believed to have taken the name from a British forest over a century earlier is irrelevent and by writing what you did, you misrepresented what the suburb was named to honour.

Settle down, why are you so defensive? I didn’t misrepresent anything.

If the fact that the name was taken from a British forest was irrelevant, why would it be on the Directorate’s website? It’s part of the story. It’s origin is relevant. If you have a problem with it, contact the Directorate and tell them you want it to say ‘Charnwood was named after someone’s property’

JC JC 9:04 pm 10 May 15

Kippax said :

One of the most interesting things you could write about, is “what is Charnwood missing?” What needs doing in the area, by the ACT government? Sometimes areas are neglected by governments, and other areas are given priority. What does Charnwood need? What does West Belconnen need? How about an analytical study of what is missing? And who will get it done- which MLA/Politician will do anything for this are?. There’s a challenge for your site. Good luck.

As someone who has lived in west Belconnen most of my life (save for few years in Sydney and overseas) I would say west Belconnen doesn’t really lack much at all really. Cannot think of what other have that we don’t or would need.

Good roads, good shops. Schools maybe not the best but the population has aged from the time I went to school (when they were great) so just reflecting the democratic.

Your not by any chance the person that hijacks Canberra times articles rabbiting on about pools and doctors are you? If so please don’t start here. There is a perfectly good pool in the town centre where it belongs and there are doctors all around. If your not that person pleas ignore.

creative_canberran creative_canberran 12:34 am 10 May 15

Alexandra Craig said :

creative_canberran said :

It’s not named after a forest in Britain.

According to the ACT Environment and Planning Directorate it is.

http://www.planning.act.gov.au/tools_resources/place_search

“Origin: A former homestead in the Belconnen District; Henry Hall obtained a grant of 3492 acres of land which he named `Charnwood’, 1833; named after the Forest of Charnwood in England.”

I’m glad you linked to that, because it confirms what I said, thank you.

Charnwood was named after the property belonging to one of the pioneers of the Canberra region. That the pioneer is believed to have taken the name from a British forest over a century earlier is irrelevent and by writing what you did, you misrepresented what the suburb was named to honour.

JC JC 7:58 pm 09 May 15

scarecrow said :

JC said :

Just two thee things Charny carny is a church carnival (think related to Hill Song so not exactly mainstream Christianity)

Ah no, the Carny is run by the 2 local schools (1 government & 1 private religious) and 1 local scout group with the aim of raising money for the 3 associations. The only link to a local church is the use of the grounds.

If you’re going to bag it out, at least do it accurately.

Wasn’t bagging it, but stand corrected.

RB78 RB78 7:31 pm 09 May 15

The shops are pretty decent, especially now that the Woolies was extended and refurbished into a proper store. A couple of years ago it was a dingy little ex-IGA. The Turkish Pide place does a great Pide – huge for the price and delicious. I notice Red Rooster is opening soon behind Maccas (because evidently Maccas, Subway, Crust, Turkish, Thai, Charcoal Chicken, Malaysian etc isn’t enough for the one centre)

Alexandra Craig said :

creative_canberran said :

It’s not named after a forest in Britain.

According to the ACT Environment and Planning Directorate it is.

http://www.planning.act.gov.au/tools_resources/place_search

“Origin: A former homestead in the Belconnen District; Henry Hall obtained a grant of 3492 acres of land which he named `Charnwood’, 1833; named after the Forest of Charnwood in England.”

I’d say that creative_canberran’s post was referring to to the fact that the suburb is named for the homestead, not the forest that the homestead was named after.

Alexandra Craig Alexandra Craig 7:18 pm 09 May 15

creative_canberran said :

It’s not named after a forest in Britain.

According to the ACT Environment and Planning Directorate it is.

http://www.planning.act.gov.au/tools_resources/place_search

“Origin: A former homestead in the Belconnen District; Henry Hall obtained a grant of 3492 acres of land which he named `Charnwood’, 1833; named after the Forest of Charnwood in England.”

Darkfalz Darkfalz 12:55 pm 09 May 15

Oh and who could forget the video game arcade on top of the “new” development building run by some guy (Al?) – spent many weekend and school holiday mornings waiting there for it to open!

bearlikesbeer bearlikesbeer 12:53 pm 09 May 15

According to “Canberra’s Suburb And Street Names – History, Origins and Meanings” produced in 1992 by the Dept of Environment, Land and Planning, Charnwood is “the name of a former Homestead in the Belconnen District. In 1833 Henry Hall obtained a grant of 3492 acres of land which he named ‘Charnwood'”.

Henry Hall may have named his homestead after a forest in England, but it appears the suburb of Charnwood is named after Henry Hall’s homestead.

Darkfalz Darkfalz 12:51 pm 09 May 15

I grew up in Charnwood, in public housing. I’m glad I got out. It’s interesting though – I remember having neighbours who were “rich” (poor kid code ultimately for an in-tact family with one or more parents employed) and in some ways I feel bad for them that they had to live right next door to public housing. There was a house across that road from us that a nice man lived in for many years with his dogs – he eventually moved up north, the house was purchased by DHCS, and given to a family of Aborigines to live in. The house was unlivable within 6 months (smashed windows, gaping holes in walls etc.) and I suppose the “tenants” were evicted. The places in “Struggle Street” had nothing on the condition of that place. I’m glad he never got to see what became of it. Speaking of Regal, I remember when they first arrived, causing much rivalry at the previous existing takeaway. I think Regal put them under. Must have been the videogames in the back. But we were patrons of the other takeaway. Other fond memories were the $1 fresh bread of the Vietnamese bakery, and the old Chinese restaurant near the Video Ezy that we only got to have once or twice a year as Chinese food was “expensive” compared to our standard fare of chicken and chips. I took a stroll around Charnwood a few years ago and it’s funny how distances and scale have changed as I left while I was still a young teen. What seemed like a journey “down the shops” is a mere four blocks away now. I suppose there’s still a lot of Charnwood in me, despite living in a million dollar house and not having a criminal record. I wouldn’t want to raise kids there though.

Southmouth Southmouth 12:27 pm 09 May 15

I moved to Canberra when i was 19 and rented a house in Rouse pl behind the (then) high school. Private rental, best land lady of my life. My street was great. The one to the west had a street party at Christmas and shared out all their church/charity food hampers i recall. They had lots of advice on how to score the best ones. Never any problems in the time i was there.

Kippax Kippax 12:11 pm 09 May 15

One of the most interesting things you could write about, is “what is Charnwood missing?” What needs doing in the area, by the ACT government? Sometimes areas are neglected by governments, and other areas are given priority. What does Charnwood need? What does West Belconnen need? How about an analytical study of what is missing? And who will get it done- which MLA/Politician will do anything for this are?. There’s a challenge for your site. Good luck.

dazzab dazzab 9:37 am 09 May 15

Regal Chicken has to be the friendliest place I’ve ever been too. Angelo and the staff there are fantastic! Sometimes I think they must feed half of Charnwood as it’s incredibly popular and always busy. The food is fresh and they have a wide variety of salads that I just love.

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