See Charnwood Differently


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 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.


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.


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
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.

“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.

“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.

nomes707 nomes707 4:25 am 09 May 15

The Charny Carny isn’t at all related to the church – it is the joint fete for the St Thomas Aquinas Primary, Charnwood Dunlop Primary and Mt Rogers Scout group!

Hope7776 Hope7776 11:25 pm 08 May 15

I have lived in Canberra for over 30 years and used to think the worst of Charnwood due to the reputation it once had. However, I bought my first house there and it was the most beautiful little house, I had no trouble and only happy memories. My boys now attend the Christian School in Charnwood which is full of wonderful people. There is also a Catholic Primary School in Charnwood which has one of the best principals in Canberra and the most dedicated bunch of teachers. The bad reputation that once was has long gone.

Pork Hunt Pork Hunt 11:07 pm 08 May 15

Some time ago I worked in the water meter exchange program and as a meter reader for the same company. As a result, I worked in almost all Canberra suburbs at one time or another.
My recollections of Charnwood are that the wealthy residents had not one but two broken down cars in the front yard and that they had the angriest dogs in Canberra.

scarecrow scarecrow 10:19 pm 08 May 15

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.

creative_canberran creative_canberran 7:37 pm 08 May 15

It’s not named after a forest in Britain.

JaseM JaseM 6:11 pm 08 May 15

Lived in the area as a child through to late teens. Was in the second year of Charny High (we used to do school exchanges with Mount Druitt!), went on to Copeland. My mum taught at the Primary school for 20 years. I’ve done OK.

I think part of that is that I learned to related to a broad range of people (although I still have a problem with entitled toff’s 😉 ).. I understood that circumstance and character are usually two different things (and what the SBS is trying to show with it’s current StruggleStreet)…

I used to be embarrassed where I came from – but now I wear it loud and proud.

Basilbrush Basilbrush 3:29 pm 08 May 15

I remember when Hall was called struggle village. Charnwood is still tainted as the poor suburb and over the years, it has changed.

I have lived in Belconnen for over 10 years and utilise Charnwood shops. Yes, it attracts a diverse range of people – but so does every shopping centre in Canberra.

I think changing the tavern to the club has helped. The vet has moved there. A gym. It IS changing and people will always make jokes about Charnwood but its up there with all the other suburbs.

Matt Watts Matt Watts 2:42 pm 08 May 15

I love Charnwood. I can’t talk of what it was like to live there years ago, or what it was like to grow up there, but right now I have no problems at all with it.

There was a young bloke waking up on some playground equipment last weekend as I walked past around 10am Sunday, but that can happen anywhere 🙂

JC JC 1:50 pm 08 May 15

A talk about Charnwood and not one mention of the Radburn design principle that Charnwood was famous for and which many believe led to the disproportionate level of crime Charnwood experienced in the past. Radburb was extensively used in the public houses estates south of the primary school.

Just two thee things Charny carny is a church carnival (think related to Hill Song so not exactly mainstream Christianity) and as for regal chicken who can forget the time they closed due to maggots in the chickens. Yeah so guess that makes them special. Years ago now but I still remember and would never rich one ever. Much prefer Bernies but not for BBQ chicken.

Did I grow up in Charnwood no, but I did grow up in Macgregor in a place that backs onto the reserve that separated Charnwood and Macgregor until Gininderra Drive went in. So the charnie shops were my local and the old Charnie tavern where I sunk my first schooner when I turned 18.

Weatherman Weatherman 10:56 am 08 May 15

Weatherman said :

Gininderra Drive

Correction: Ginninderra Drive

Weatherman Weatherman 10:25 am 08 May 15

The suburb of Charnwood had a reputation for being a less affluent part of Canberra in the past, however, Charnwood is still more affluent than many other suburbs and towns in Australia, as it is located in closer proximity to major centres, such as Belconnen and Canberra city. Charnwood is known to be one of the leading group centres in the West Belconnen area. Charnwood is located nearby one of the major regional traffic thoroughfares in the Belconnen and West Belconnen area, which is Gininderra Drive. Charnwood is known to be a goods and services town situated in the Belconnen area. The Charnwood community is also associated with the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity initiative.

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