There’s a lot to love about Kingston in Canberra’s inner south: a rich history, leafy residential streets, proximity to Lake Burley Griffin, countless dining and shopping experiences and the fact that the city and major cultural institutions are just a stone’s throw away.
Like the rest of Canberra’s inner south, Kingston attracts people from all walks of life – from young public servants who appreciate living close to government offices in Barton, Russell and Civic, through to retirees looking to downsize without compromising on lifestyle or location.
Thinking about visiting or moving to Kingston? Here’s what you need to know.
Kingston is one of Canberra’s oldest suburbs, with a history dating back to 1913. Back then it was an industrial hub home to the Kingston Power House, bus depot, fitter’s workshop, and wooden cottages for the workers building Canberra.
Originally known as Eastlake, Kingston was renamed in 1928 after South Australian politician Charles Kingston.
While Kingston is today renowned for its eateries, nightlife and apartment-style living, it has retained much of its industrial history. The Canberra Glassworks, for example, is in the old historic Kingston Power House building.
Shops and eateries
Whether your preferred indulgence is food or shopping, Kingston has both in spades.
Kingston Shops, which is bordered by Kennedy Street, Giles Street and Jardine Street, is where you’ll find Canberra institutions like Kingston National Bakery (famed for its Saigon rolls and black forest cake), Portia’s Place (the preferred dining venue for federal politicians during sitting weeks) and Silo Bakery + Cafe.
There’s also an IGA that stocks fancy products like Pialligo Estate bacon and good quality fruit and veg; Canadian ice hockey sports bar Caribou; fine dining restaurant Pomegranate and gourmet cooking and kitchenware hub Essential Ingredient.
Food aside, Kingston Shops is home to Extra Cosmetic Clinic, Botanics on Jardine (florist), giftware shop Creative Aura, a Bikram yoga studio, a CrossFit gym, and high-end lingerie store Stephanie’s Boutique Lingerie.
Just up the road from Kingston Shops is Agostinis at East Hotel, which serves up authentic regional Italian cuisine, and the Kingston Hotel (affectionately called “the Kingo”), whose beer garden is particularly popular on weekends.
Places of interest and things to do
It’s hard to get bored in Kingston, especially in the warmer months. Here are some of our favourite activities in and around Kingston:
- Hire a GoBoat and enjoy the sights of Lake Burley Griffin. Captain your own electric picnic boat for an hour or three. All GoBoats depart from Kingston Foreshore.
- Take a dip at Manuka Pool. While not technically in Kingston, art deco Manuka Pool is close enough that Kingston residents often claim it as their own.
- Create your own glass masterpiece at Canberra Glassworks. Canberra Glassworks runs one-on-one glass blowing workshops with highly skilled teaching artists.
- Pick up a one-of-a-kind creation at the Old Bus Depot Markets. Perhaps Canberra’s most famous Sunday market, the Old Bus Depot Markets are a great opportunity to buy hand-crafted wares, clothing and jewellery.
- Peruse the landscape photography on display at Scott Leggo Gallery. Scott Leggo is one of best-known landscape photographers in the nation’s capital, and his works are ready for you to admire (or buy) at his Jardine Street gallery.
Playgrounds and parks
Kingston combines the benefits of inner city living with easy access to the great outdoors. Lake Burley Griffin is a short and achievable walk from most parts of Kingston (even shorter if you’re on the Foreshore!).
Parks in Kingston include:
- Norgrove Park (Printers Way): Ideal for picnics, shaded barbecues and group activities like exercise, Norgrove Park’s landscaped open space and wetlands have also hosted events like the Canberra International Music Festival.
- Jack Ross Park (Eastlake Parade): If you just want to sit back and enjoy the serenity, take a seat at Jack Ross Park on the water’s edge of Kingston Foreshore. It’s a picturesque setting with calming views of Lake Burley Griffin and Mount Ainslie.
Telopea Park in Barton is just over the road from Kingston shops and is a great place to take the kids. It has an urban nature playground, as well as picnic areas, public toilets, bike paths and barbecues.
Kingston is close to public transport and well-maintained bike paths, so getting around without a car (or at least into the city) is relatively easy.
And if your preferred mode of interstate transport is train, you’re in luck. Canberra Railway Station is conveniently located on Kingston’s Wentworth Avenue.
Kingston’s closest primary schools are Forrest Primary School, Red Hill Primary School and St Bede’s Primary School in Red Hill.
Barton’s Telopea Park School is the nearest public combined primary and secondary school Opened in 1923, it’s also the oldest school in Canberra.
St Clare’s College and St Edmund’s College, both in Griffith, are the nearest Catholic high schools. Narrabundah College is the closest public college (years 11 and 12).
Why the locals love it
“I love the proximity to the lake and Jerrabomberra Wetlands, local shops that have everything we need and the fresh food on offer at Fyshwick Markets. We’re so lucky in Kingston to have beautiful green spaces on our doorstep as well as the amazing food, coffee and shops that come with inner city living.” – Laura B, 27.
- Median age: 33 years
- Median weekly household income: $2328
- Median weekly rent: $450
- Houses vs. apartments:3% apartments; 8.3% semi-detached houses (i.e. townhouses/terrace house); 3.5% separate houses.
- Suburb sales record: $3.93 million in 2015
Source: 2016 Census.
Do you live, or have you previously lived, in Kingston? 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.