Harrison, like many of Canberra’s newer suburbs, cops a certain amount of flack for what critics say are seemingly endless streets of bland, uninspiring and ticky-tacky homes.
But while Harrison has some particularly vocal detractors, there’s no denying that people want to buy and rent there. It’s a high-demand market, especially for young and active families that want to live close to schools, playgrounds, public transport and local amenities.
The fact that the light rail line from Civic to Gungahlin runs past Harrison has both added to the suburb’s appeal and driven up property values.
Thinking about visiting or moving to Harrison? Here’s what you need to know.
Harrison is named after city planner Peter Harrison, who played an important role in reviving Walter Burley Griffin’s plans for Canberra.
Harrison is also a suburb of historical significance. Built in the 19th century, Gungaderra rural homestead and parts of Well Station Road are examples of what life was like for early European settlers before modern transport.
Shops and eateries
While Harrison doesn’t have a dedicated local shops, there are a few retailers and restaurants on the ground floor of the apartment developments on the Harrison side of Flemington Road.
Walk across to the Franklin side of Flemington Road for shops like Woolworths and The Meadows Original Frozen Custard. And of course, Gungahlin Town Centre is just a short drive away if you need to do more than a basic supermarket run.
Places of interest and things to do
If you’re a local history buff, hiking enthusiast or just someone interested in relaxing at a day spa, Harrison has plenty to offer.
Popular activities in Harrison include:
- Treat yourself to a massage or facial at Urban Fusion Massage & Day Spa. Located on Flemington Road in the Fusion apartment complex, Urban Fusion’s massages come highly rated by Harrison locals and tourists alike.
- Walk the Well Station Track. Accessible from Nullarbor Avenue, Well Station Track is an old pastoral road that connected farms in the area in the late 1800s. Today, it’s a popular walking track and a great way to soak up some of Canberra’s lesser-known history.
- Visit Gungaderra Homestead. As its website explains, “Gungaderra Estate forms part of an early collection of rural properties in the Gungahlin region which have rejuvenated and preserved to be enjoyed by future generations.” The homestead, which has landscaped grounds and gardens, has been refurbished as a community facility with an on-site Men’s Shed.
Playgrounds and parks
As you might expect from a family-friendly suburb, Harrison has several parks and playgrounds. The most popular include:
- Mullion Park (between Tanami Street and Encounter Street). Mullion Park is a toddler-friendly playground with swings, climbing equipment and green spaces for kids to play.
- Well Station Park (Eric Mawson Street – next to the historic Well Station farm). Another toddler-friendly play space, Well Station Park has a basic swing set and climbing equipment. It’s surrounded by large, shady trees, which makes it a good choice for hot or sunny days.
- Carrick Park (Moonlight Avenue). Suitable for kids of all ages, Carrick Park has shaded play equipment – just be careful of swooping magpies in the spring.
Harrison is along the Gungahlin to City light rail corridor, so getting to either centre is easy. There are light rail stops along Flemington Road at the Nullabor Avenue and Well Station Drive intersections.
Why the locals love it
Many families choose to live in Harrison because it is close to light rail, Gungahlin Town Centre and local schools. Houses are also generally more affordable than buying further south.
Interestingly, both high- and low-income earners see Harrison as an appealing place to live. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, over 75 percent of residents in Harrison’s most advantaged area (Osprey Street, Sapling Street, Haven Street and parts of Moonlight Avenue, Danjera Lane, Parsley Street and Felix Lane) are in the upper quartile of advantage.
Just down the road, on Kings Canyon Street, just less than 15 percent of residents are in the top quartile of advantage.
- Median age: 29 years
- Median weekly household income: $2270
- Median weekly rent: $367
- Houses vs. apartments: 26.6% apartments; 21.8% semi-detached houses (i.e. townhouses/terrace house); 51.6% separate houses.
- Suburb sales record (excludes land sales): $1.3 million in 2017 for a five-bedroom, three-bathroom house
Source: 2016 Census.
Do you live, or have you previously lived, in Harrison? 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.