See Dickson Differently

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The Source Bulk Foods

Dickson is home to The Source – Bulk Foods, among many other fantastic shops. Photo: Daniella Jukic.

It’s no surprise that Dickson ticks all the boxes for so many prospective buyers and renters. From leafy, tree-lined streets to easy access to public transport and a fabulous Eat Street, there’s a lot to love about the inner north suburb – especially for those fond of Chinese food.

Far from a sleepy, older suburb, Dickson is changing quickly. Multiple apartment developments are being sold off the plan, and a new shopping complex with a Coles and Aldi is also in the works. All of this means that soon, Dickson will have even more to offer residents.

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

History

See Dickson Differently

Did you know Canberra’s original airport was in Dickson? Photo: Region Media.

Were you aware that Canberra Airport hasn’t always been on the other side of Pialligo and Campbell? In the early 1920s, long before the days of international departures from Canberra, or even flights to Sydney, Canberra’s original airport was in Dickson. The airport, which wasn’t much more than a paddock, was mostly used for emergency landings for aircraft on domestic routes.

The actual suburb of Dickson was gazetted in 1928. As one of Canberra’s older suburbs, it is well established, has plenty of greenery, and many homes are on substantial blocks.

Shops and eateries

Dickson Shopping Centre is the commercial hub of the inner north, and it’s even home to the Woolworths with the highest turnover in Australia. But there’s much more to Dickson than just a monster Woolies:

Shopping

  • If you like buying food in bulk for economical or environmental reasons, you can stock up on everything from nuts and dried beans to spices at zero waste whole foods store The Source. Its aisles are brimming with bulk wholefoods, healthy snacks and organic goodies.
  • Need a gift for a loved one? Try Centrepiece Creol, which stocks a unique collection of semi-precious and fashion jewellery, handbags, scarves, accessories, and homewares.
  • For those in the market for Asian ingredients, SaiGon Asian Grocery and A Buy Asian Grocery Store have you covered.

Food and coffee

Highroad offers delicious food, like this waffle with paper-thin shavings of asparagus, soft pillows of herbed ricotta, and a perfectly fried egg. Photo: Michelle Taylor.

Dickson is perhaps best known as Canberra’s Chinatown. While it does have numerous Asian restaurants and grocery stores in Woolley Street, there are several other restaurants and fast food establishments in the area too.

  • Some of Dickson’s best-known restaurants include Dickson Asian Noodle House, Pho Phu Quoc (which serves up what is arguably some of the best pho in Canberra), and Vietnamese-inspired vegan joint Au Lac.
  • On the hunt for a decent coffee? Trevs @ Dickson and Ona Coffee’s Highroad are popular choices.
  • For something a little different, try an Indian spiced lentil or tempeh burger from My Rainbow Dreams, a vegetarian eatery owned and operated by students of Sri Chinmoy. Or treat yourself to a fried chicken ‘baoger’ from the fun and modern Super Bao.

Places of interest and things to do

Dickson Aquatic Centre, Dickson pool

Dickson Aquatic Centre is a great place to cool off during the hot days of summer. Photo: Dickson Aquatic Centre.

With a light rail interchange and several bus stops throughout the suburb, getting to work, school or wherever you need to go is easy. But there’s plenty to explore within the suburb itself as well.

  • Make a splash at Dickson Pool. Dickson Aquatic Centre‘s pools are set amongst beautiful shady trees, with beach volleyball courts, and a café as well as a kids’ water slide and much more.
  • Take a stroll down Dickson’s Eat Street. Despite its name, Canberra’s Chinatown is very multicultural. As well as Chinese restaurants and businesses, there are South-East Asian, Japanese, Ethiopian, Italian, Korean, Thai, Greek, Malaysian, Turkish and Indian eateries where you can treat your tastebuds as well. Start at Woolley Street and keep walking until you’re full!
  • Visit the only local garden centre in Canberra’s inner north. Nearing 45 years in business, The Garden (on Dickson Place opposite the pool), has earned its reputation for stocking high quality native plants, hardy flowering shrubs, seasonal trees and giftware, as well as providing expert gardening advice tailored to the local climate.

The Garden is a favourite with locals, offering beautiful plants and lovely gifts. Photo: Daniella Jukic.

Playgrounds and parks

Dickson Wetlands are arguably the biggest nature drawcard in Dickson. Completed in 2011, the suburban oasis has seating, informal play areas, viewing spots, pedestrian paths, artwork and shade.

As one of the largest grounds in Canberra, Dickson District Playing Fields also has plenty of room to run around and kick a ball when not in use by local sporting teams.

There are small, basic playgrounds on Hope Street and Dutton Street.

Dickson wetlands

Dickson Wetlands is a suburban oasis, and perfect place to sit and relax. Photo: File.

Getting around

With a light rail station and recently opened bus interchange near Dickson shops, Dickson residents are spoiled for public transport options. Transport Canberra bus routes R1, R9, 30, 31, 50, 51 and 53 service Dickson, while the light rail will take you into the City or Gungahlin.

If you enjoy cycling, Dickson is a great starting point for a 33km one-way ride to Gundaroo using the Federal Highway’s on-road bike lane. Dickson also has a network of bike paths and on-road cycling connecting to nearby suburbs.

Fresh vegetables on offer from the local Asian groceries store. Photo: Daniella Jukic.

Schools

Dickson is home to Dickson College for Year 11 and 12 students, Daramalan College for Years 7 to 12, and Emmaus Christian School, which covers primary and high school. North Ainslie Primary School is just outside Dickson.

Why the locals love it

“Dickson is a food lover’s paradise, especially if you like cheap Asian cuisine, so it suits me just fine. My kids love spending most of the summer at Dickson Pool and exploring the local wetlands (we’ve even spotted a turtle or two!), while my youngest enjoys story time at Dickson Library.” – Jenna, 34.

Quick facts

  • Median age: 31 years
  • Median weekly household income: $1,375
  • Median weekly rent: $368
  • Houses vs. apartments: 48.6% houses; 27.8% apartments
  • Suburb sales record (excludes land sales): $1,360,000 in 2017

Source: 2016 Census.

Want to find the latest real estate listings for sale and rent in Dickson? Zango can help you find them:

Do you live, or have you previously lived, in Dickson? 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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Alexandra Craig1:54 pm 31 Aug 15

Evilomlap said :

You must have taken that photo of Woolley St early in the morning, it’s not like that of an evening. Total bubbling cauldron of road rage, especially on a Friday night.

Yep, first thing in the morning! That place is an absolute nightmare at night.

astrojax said :

There’s Dickson Dumpling House, The Scholar, Ruby Chinese, Jimmy’s Place, Four Rivers,

but no mention of the tak kee, canberra’s first, and still best, chinese roast… and i’d add sfoglia to good cafes in dickson. still don’t get your beef with woolies, either.

I can’t mention every single restaurant in Dickson in the article. I just selected a few names at random.

madelini said :

Trinity Bar used to be one of my favourite places too, but I don’t know if it’s still as much fun.

Probably not, seeing as it’s closed – the interior is gutted.

Holden Caulfield said :

I think you forgot to pine over the parklands.

If you take a walk through the parklands just after sunrise you may be lucky enough to spot the Curmudgeon in its natural habitat.

astrojax said :

There’s Dickson Dumpling House, The Scholar, Ruby Chinese, Jimmy’s Place, Four Rivers,

but no mention of the tak kee, canberra’s first, and still best, chinese roast… and i’d add sfoglia to good cafes in dickson. still don’t get your beef with woolies, either.

The Dickson Woolies is the worst in Canberra. I once waited 20mins at the deli because one poor guy was left to serve by himself. There is always a line at the checkout. It can be hard to find a park (not that it was an issue for me, I lived in walking distance when I used to go there) and don’t even get me started on what it is like during Summernats weekend..

There’s Dickson Dumpling House, The Scholar, Ruby Chinese, Jimmy’s Place, Four Rivers,

but no mention of the tak kee, canberra’s first, and still best, chinese roast… and i’d add sfoglia to good cafes in dickson. still don’t get your beef with woolies, either.

Evilomlap said :

Is that a bullet hole in the ‘O’ on the Dickson sign?

I believe (although I haven’t walked down there in a while) that it is an Abyss607 sticker, my favourite graffiti artist who, alas, moved to Melbourne. Speaking of which, a few pieces of his can be found around Dickson. One of which is near the little fruit shop on the roof.

Holden Caulfield1:30 pm 28 Aug 15

I think you forgot to pine over the parklands.

There are also some great cafes in Dickson – Bean & Grain and Good Brother both do really good coffee and brunch. Trinity Bar used to be one of my favourite places too, but I don’t know if it’s still as much fun.

Is that a bullet hole in the ‘O’ on the Dickson sign?

You must have taken that photo of Woolley St early in the morning, it’s not like that of an evening. Total bubbling cauldron of road rage, especially on a Friday night.

I’ve never had a problem with Dickson Woolies. Maybe it’s the times I choose to go, but I’m always in and out pretty quickly. Plus there’s the cashier who is like a monkey on amphetamines, he’s awesome. Sometimes I’ll cue up just to be served by him. Seriously this guy needs to be seen to be believed, watching him pack your bags is like when you hit fast forward on a dvd.

There’s also a new discount chemist opened on the side near the pool. I want to give it a shout out because the lady that owns it is really nice and she’s had two other chemists at Hackett and Griffith that have failed so I’m sure she’d appreciate the business.

One last point is hopefully a temporary one – the roadworks on Antill St. WTF. Seriously, whoever planned and is currently executing this one needs a slap upside the head. If you want to test your driving skills with a nerve-wracking slalom of near-misses try driving through there on a rainy evening. I’ve done two advanced driving courses and I still had to peel my hands from the steering wheel when I got to my house.

Dame Canberra10:55 am 28 Aug 15

Bennop said :

Don’t forget the great pool, multiple gyms, numerous medical centers and library. Dickson rocks.

Dickson Library is one of my favourites in Canberra. I also love My Rainbow Dreams, which does great food even if they’re never in a great rush to get your food out. Oh, and the (relatively) new wetlands are lovely too.

Don’t forget the great pool, multiple gyms, numerous medical centers and library. Dickson rocks.

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