Quiet streets? Check. Affordable homes? Check. Views of the Brindabellas and Ginninderra Creek? Check.
Macgregor in West Belconnen could well be the suburb that has it all. Bordered by Latham, Dunlop, Holt, Charnwood and the ACT/NSW border line, one of Macgregor’s biggest strengths is that there isn’t very much going on. There isn’t even a local IGA.
The good news, however, is that living in Macgregor doesn’t mean trading convenience for tranquility. Macgregor might feel removed from the rest of Canberra, but it’s also close to Belconnen Town Centre, Kippax Fair, schools and public transport.
And if you’re on a budget, take comfort in the fact that Macgregor’s median house price is $543,000, around $200,000 below the ACT median.
Thinking about visiting or moving to Macgregor? Here’s what you need to know.
Macgregor was gazetted in 1971 and is named after former Queensland governor Sir William Macgregor. Its streets are named after Australian medical professionals.
Locals divide Macgregor into two areas: old Macgregor with houses on large, leafy blocks; and new Macgregor, which has newer housing that appeals to first home buyers, young families and investors.
Macgregor doesn’t have a local shopping centre anymore (it’s now a learn to swim school). The nearest large shopping centre is Kippax Fair in Holt, which has a Woolworths, Asian grocer, butcher and pharmacy among other retailers.
Feeling peckish? The pizza, burgers, fish, chips and fresh salads at Mama Ria’s Takeaway are enormously popular with locals, as are the laksa and salt and pepper prawns at casual Asian dining restaurant Kevin’s Place.
If it’s caffeine you seek, give Lucky Shot Espresso Bar a try. It serves up what some residents say is the best coffee in Kippax, as well as trendy burgers (think Korean fried haloumi burgers, loaded fries and Canadian poutine).
Places of interest and things to do
- Take the kids for swimming lessons at Kingswim Macgregor. Kingswim Macgregor is a dedicated learn to swim school. It’s where Macgregor shops used to be (off Osburn Drive).
- Walk to Goodwin Hill Trig Station (access from multiple points in Macgregor). If you love Canberra sunsets, the trig station at the top of Goodwin Hill offers 360-degree views and is an ideal spot for watching the sun go down. Allow 20-30 minutes to reach the top depending on route and fitness levels.
- Join in story time at Kippax Library. Kippax Library is on the other side of Southern Cross Drive in Holt. It runs story time – a session full of stories, rhymes and songs – for kids aged three to five years of age on Wednesday mornings.
Playgrounds and parks
Macgregor has several simple playgrounds, including:
- Macquarie Shops/Chalmers Place Playground (near Kingswim). This playground is very basic, but it’s a nice place for kids to recharge after a busy morning of swimming lessons.
- Beaney Street Playground. Another no-frills playground with swings, climbing equipment and a slide.
- Ginninderra Creek Playground (access via Berne Crescent). Basic play equipment surrounded by grass and large trees.
Need a larger dose of greenery? Head to Umbagong District Park to enjoy wide open spaces, a playground and more. While Umbagong District Park is one suburb over in Latham, it’s accessible from Macgregor. The park has facilities like playground equipment, picnic areas with barbeques and paths for cycling and walking.
Macgregor might be located on the edge of Canberra, but its residents are by no means isolated. If you like to travel by bus, Transport Canberra routes R2, 40 and 44 service Macgregor.
The ACT Government’s free minibus trial for Strathnairn residents, route 903, stops at Macgregor Primary School as well as at Kippax Bus Station and Kingsford Smith School.
Prefer cycling? The bike path from Macgregor to Belconnen isn’t just a comfortable ride; it also offers views of Umbagong District Park and Ginninderra Creek.
And for those who need to drive, Macgregor is bordered on one side by Ginninderra Drive, which takes you through Belconnen towards the city.
Macgregor Primary School (public school from preschool to Year 6) is the only school in Macgregor. The nearest high school is Kingsford Smith School in Holt.
Other schools near Macgregor include Charnwood’s St Thomas Aquinas Primary School (Catholic school), Florey’s St John the Apostle Primary School (Catholic school), St Francis Xavier College (Catholic high school, also in Florey), and Radford College (private co-educational school for kindergarten to Year 12) in Bruce.
Why the locals love it
“I enjoy living in Macgregor. Some people call it a ‘starter suburb’ but I think my family and I will be here for a while yet. It’s a short drive to Belconnen and Civic, while Kippax Fair is less than five minutes away by car. My neighbours are friendly, there are plenty of walking tracks to explore, and it’s super convenient having a local primary school and swim school just down the road.” – Jenna, 34.
- Median age: 32 years
- Median weekly household income: $2063
- Median weekly rent: $392
- Houses vs. apartments: 81.6% houses; 18% townhouses
- Suburb sales record (excludes land sales): $870,000 in 2015
Source: 2016 Census.
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Do you live, or have you previously lived, in Macgregor? 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.