See Narrabundah Differently

15

Owner and Chef Damien has years of experience and loves to serve a variety of European dishes to his regulars at D’Browes in Narrabundah. Photo: Daniella Jukic.

Narrabundah may have once seemed out of place in Canberra’s manicured and image-conscious inner south. But it’s come a long way in recent years, thanks in large part to an influx of families and professionals.

Today, it’s better known as an established suburb with wide, leafy streets, open spaces, parks and gardens. The tree-lined streets promise colourful spring blossoms and spectacular autumn foliage, and there’s even a local wild peacock population.

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

The local community garden at Narrabundah is well looked after. Photo: Daniella Jukic.

Background and history

Narrabundah, located in Canberra’s inner south, was gazetted in 1928. It has two distinct areas: Old Narrabundah and Upper Narrabundah.

Old Narrabundah

The area near the Narrabundah shops is often referred to as Old Narrabundah. It’s where you’ll find the suburb’s original pre-fab fibro cottages, erected in the late 1940s for government printing workers and construction workers. The nearby full-brick duplexes and cottages were built soon afterwards, with many still standing today.

Kita is a popular cafe in Narrabundah, with friendly staff. Photo: Daniella Jukic.

Upper Narrabundah

Upper Narrabundah rises towards the west where the suburb borders Red Hill. From here, there are panoramic views across the city, Lake Burley Griffin and parts of south-eastern Canberra.

Upper Narrabundah has small resident population of roaming urban peacocks, thought to have originated from a wildlife park in Symonston that closed in the 1980s.

Shops and eateries

If you like fine dining, Narrabundah shops is the local shopping centre for you. Make a booking at La Cantina, where you can enjoy classic and modern Italian dishes crafted in a chic, brick-lined dining room adorned with art, or head to XO and taste innovative, modern South-East Asian Cuisine. You can find both restaurants at the shops in Iluka Street.

More of a night owl? Kita Kafe on Boolimba Street is Canberra’s only after hours cafe, serving up coffee and Indonesian-inspired cuisine (try the pandan waffles) from 6pm to 6am on weekdays, and 6pm to 12pm on weekends.

Long-standing, family-run Danny’s Bakery has earned local renown for its hot cross buns, as well as its sourdough.

Local regulars enjoying a lovely wine and Saturday lunch at D’Browes. Photo: Daniella Jukic.

Shopping-wise, Narrabundah shops has a supermarket, newsagent and two hair salons. There’s a general practice across the road on Anembo Street.

Narrabundah is also close to Kingston and Manuka‘s large and vibrant local shopping centres.

Places of interest and things to do

From a picturesque golf course to a friendly German club, there are plenty of activities on offer in Narrabundah.

See Narrabundah Differently

Go support your Canberra Cavalry at MIT Ballpark on Goyder Street. Photo: Peter Norton.

  • Catch a game of baseball. Narrabundah is home to the Canberra Cavalry, a professional baseball team in the Australian Baseball League, so grab your friends and family and head to the ballpark off Goyder Street for some live baseball action.
  • Play a round of golf. Capital Public Golf Course isn’t just for golfers looking to play 18 holes. It also offers mini golf, pitch and putt and a driving range so you can work on perfecting your swing.
  • Enjoy live music at the Harmonie German Club. If you’re into blues, there’s always plenty on offer at Harmonie German Club, which the Canberra Blues Society calls home. But it also hosts weekly live music events featuring a diverse range of local, interstate and international acts – keep an eye on its events page for updates.

Playgrounds and parks

Visit the colourful Narrabundah reservoir mural by Geoff Filmer. Photo: Supplied.

Parks are widespread in Narrabundah, with Rocky Knoll (sometimes known as Rocky Knob) in Upper Narrabundah a particular favourite for panoramic city views. Keep an eye out in the area for:

  • Devil’s Seat. Devil’s seat is a naturally occurring rock formation that looks like a throne. And yes, you can even sit on it.
  • Secret cubby house. Built from stones and branches, Rocky Knoll’s secret cubby house is a favourite of adventurous young locals.

Other parks include Sprent Street Park, and the park that runs parallel to Matina Street near the Narrabundah Primary School. There’s also a corridor of open space along Jerrabomberra Creek, which is known as Mill Creek Oval.

Getting around

Narrabundah 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.

Transport Canberra bus routes R2, R6, 56 and the AMC Shuttle Service service Narrabundah.

Schools

Narrabundah has two primary schools: Narrabundah Early Childhood School and St. Benedict’s Primary School.

Narrabundah College caters to local Year 11 and 12 students, with curriculum offerings that sit under the ACT ATAR System, the International Baccalaureate and the French Baccalauréat. The college has a reputation for strong academic results, as well as for being the former school of notable Australians like comedian and TV presenter Tim Ferguson, writer Helen Razer, politician Bill Stefaniak and musician and dancer Timomatic.

Narrabundah is also close to St Clare’s College and St Edmund’s College, both Catholic schools located in Griffith, as well as Red Hill’s Canberra Grammar School and Telopea Park School in Barton.

See Narrabundah Differently

Narrabundah College is one of three schools in the suburb. Photo: Region Media.

Why the locals love it

As the only suburb in Canberra’s inner south with a median house price under $1 million, Narrabundah is a popular choice for people who want the amenities and location of a suburb like Griffith or Forrest, without the associated price tag.

It’s close to some of the ACT’s highest performing schools, green spaces like Lake Burley Griffin, and there are plenty of shopping and dining opportunities at both the local shops and nearby Manuka precinct.

Quick facts

  • Median age: 41 years
  • Median weekly household income: $2045
  • Median weekly rent: $380
  • Houses vs. apartments: 70.1% houses; 20.9% apartments
  • Suburb sales record (excludes land sales): $2.2 million in 2018

Source: 2016 Census.

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

Do you live, or have you previously lived, in Narrabundah? 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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15 Responses to See Narrabundah Differently
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TaraP16 TaraP16 4:46 pm 03 Sep 16

I love Narrabundah too! Awesome about DAAS debuting there. Any idea which shop / restaurant it is now?

Old Narrabundah isn’t all flat – try exploring the streets near the end of Boolimba into Kootara. Warramoo, Tallara, for starters have some definite slopes. It’s only the areas immediately around the Sturt end of Matina and the Jerrabomberra end of Goyder that are truly close to being flat.

vintage123 vintage123 5:18 pm 29 Jun 15

Maya123 said :

The peacocks can still be seen in ‘upper’ Narrabundah.

The suburb could actually be divided up into different areas. Up the hill it might as well be Red Hill; it’s a different character than that down the hill, and even the lower area could be further split up. Either side of Kootara Crescent for instance, which side it is of Stuart Avenue. It reminds me of the right and wrong side of the tracks expression, although in recent years the ‘wrong’ side of the track is more and more joining the ‘right’ side of the tracks.
I moved to Narrabundah about thirty years ago and lived most of that time in one of the fibro houses. (I bought it from a family of five; showing how the perception of what size is a family house has changed.) At the time it was the cheapest house for sale in all Canberra. Some people attempted to talk me out of buying in Narrabundah, because they wouldn’t dream of living there. They thought it would be better to buy a NEW house on the then edge of Canberra (Tuggeranong basically) than live in ‘that’ slum. I ignored them, as I wanted to be within cycling distance of work. They might have looked down on Narrabundah, but I looked down on living way out in the suburbs, and besides, my income was not high and the Narrabundah house was the cheapest. Obviously lots of people then felt about Narrabundah as my friends did; making (lower) Narrabundah very cheap then. I have never regretted not moving to the sticks, and I suspect my land value went up more. Yes, in the first years, two houses across the road were selling heroin, a thief lived in another house, an empty house was being used to store stolen goods and maybe the worse of all, was the paedophile down the road. Better I don’t say here what he was up to. I was never worried by any of them; in fact it was a friendly street. Even the paedophile liked to stop for a chat and was very friendly to everyone. I didn’t know all this about him initially of course. But I did as time went on, because the old Narrabundah also liked to gossip and I soon slotted in as a local. It’s a different place now.

My little house had three bedrooms, so I rented out two to help pay the mortgage, and with this extra income, frugal living, growing my own vegetables, etc and paying everything I could into my mortgage, I paid off my house in five years. I bought a new car; otherwise I would have paid the house off quicker. Remember 17% interest! Many of my tenants stayed for years; showing they liked living in Narrabundah too, and, grin, I couldn’t have been too bad a landlady.
In the housing slump when Howard was in I bought another Narrabundah house (this time the other side of Kootara Crescent) and rented it out. I saw potential in Narrabundah, and I was correct. If not for the slump, on my income I would not have been able to afford the second house. Then I worked to pay off that house and save to build the house I wanted, which I now have. The old wooden rental Narrabundah house was ‘recycled’. I had over thirty inquires wanting it. There’s a demand for these old wooden houses. The house went off on the back of a truck to Crookwell; a friend dismantled and took the old garage (hardwood frame), I cleaned the old bricks left from the chimney to reuse and off cut wood was kept to burn for heating in my new house stove. The clothesline and garden shed were reused. The old concrete walking paths were piled up to be reused. Only the old driveway, some concrete bricks and a few clay bricks under the front porch, which we couldn’t break up by hand, or by bobcat, were dumped. Many of the chimney bricks I cleaned appeared second hand already (so now third hand). The old driveway was made of a lot of recycled material also, I was told by the men who broke it up and removed it. Hard to break up apparently. The concrete had been under-layered with old bricks and slabs from a monecrete house. I doubt many modern builders these days would be so frugal as to reuse materials.

Narrabundah is increasing in price, but it is still sometimes possible to get a house for under half a million, if the modern ‘needs’ of ensuite, entertainment room, theatrette, etc, are less important than position, and the outer suburbs aren’t your thing. There are also apartments available. I imagine in time most of the old houses will go and be replaced with MacMansions, which is a bit of a shame, as the old vegetable gardens out the back and the gardens in the front, tended by the original inhabitants were a nice homely feature; much better than concrete out the back, and the bland so called low maintenance gardens out the front so popular now.

I do hope you declared that income from renting those two rooms to pay your mortgage down, and when you sold the place I do hope you returned 66% of the capital growth back to the treasurey. Renting two of three makes 66% of the home income assessed as taxable. But I am sure you followed the rules on your way to real estate heaven.

Maya123 Maya123 11:42 am 29 Jun 15

Kim F said :

War also the tragic scene of the crash of the old warbird MIG back in the 80’s

I saw part of that. It flew really low above me, went over some trees and then a huge plume of smoke rose. Tragic.
It was on an election day.

Maya123 Maya123 11:40 am 29 Jun 15

Masquara said :

The Doug Anthony Allstars made their debut at the Narrabundah Shops, in a cabaret cafe called “Cafe Boom Boom”, run by John & Olwyn Smout.

I remember that restaurant. A shame it closed. I only went once, but the night I was there a magician was performing. First class performance, and I think the magician went on to win some international prize.

Kim F Kim F 6:41 pm 28 Jun 15

War also the tragic scene of the crash of the old warbird MIG back in the 80’s

Masquara Masquara 4:04 pm 28 Jun 15

The Doug Anthony Allstars made their debut at the Narrabundah Shops, in a cabaret cafe called “Cafe Boom Boom”, run by John & Olwyn Smout.

rossau rossau 9:50 pm 27 Jun 15

Danny’s Bakery at Narrabundah shops makes terrific ‘matchsticks’ but only on Tuesdays (? confirm) and they sell out quickly every week.
I reminisce, again, of Chez Moustache, the restaurant that ensured I returned to the suburb.

tea7 tea7 2:27 pm 26 Jun 15

aussielyn said :

Some people may relate to the late Rod Campbell article on my website: http://narrabundah.org.au/?page_id=143

The aerial shots of the prefabs on your website are fantastic!

Maya123 Maya123 2:22 pm 26 Jun 15

The peacocks can still be seen in ‘upper’ Narrabundah.

The suburb could actually be divided up into different areas. Up the hill it might as well be Red Hill; it’s a different character than that down the hill, and even the lower area could be further split up. Either side of Kootara Crescent for instance, which side it is of Stuart Avenue. It reminds me of the right and wrong side of the tracks expression, although in recent years the ‘wrong’ side of the track is more and more joining the ‘right’ side of the tracks.
I moved to Narrabundah about thirty years ago and lived most of that time in one of the fibro houses. (I bought it from a family of five; showing how the perception of what size is a family house has changed.) At the time it was the cheapest house for sale in all Canberra. Some people attempted to talk me out of buying in Narrabundah, because they wouldn’t dream of living there. They thought it would be better to buy a NEW house on the then edge of Canberra (Tuggeranong basically) than live in ‘that’ slum. I ignored them, as I wanted to be within cycling distance of work. They might have looked down on Narrabundah, but I looked down on living way out in the suburbs, and besides, my income was not high and the Narrabundah house was the cheapest. Obviously lots of people then felt about Narrabundah as my friends did; making (lower) Narrabundah very cheap then. I have never regretted not moving to the sticks, and I suspect my land value went up more. Yes, in the first years, two houses across the road were selling heroin, a thief lived in another house, an empty house was being used to store stolen goods and maybe the worse of all, was the paedophile down the road. Better I don’t say here what he was up to. I was never worried by any of them; in fact it was a friendly street. Even the paedophile liked to stop for a chat and was very friendly to everyone. I didn’t know all this about him initially of course. But I did as time went on, because the old Narrabundah also liked to gossip and I soon slotted in as a local. It’s a different place now.

My little house had three bedrooms, so I rented out two to help pay the mortgage, and with this extra income, frugal living, growing my own vegetables, etc and paying everything I could into my mortgage, I paid off my house in five years. I bought a new car; otherwise I would have paid the house off quicker. Remember 17% interest! Many of my tenants stayed for years; showing they liked living in Narrabundah too, and, grin, I couldn’t have been too bad a landlady.
In the housing slump when Howard was in I bought another Narrabundah house (this time the other side of Kootara Crescent) and rented it out. I saw potential in Narrabundah, and I was correct. If not for the slump, on my income I would not have been able to afford the second house. Then I worked to pay off that house and save to build the house I wanted, which I now have. The old wooden rental Narrabundah house was ‘recycled’. I had over thirty inquires wanting it. There’s a demand for these old wooden houses. The house went off on the back of a truck to Crookwell; a friend dismantled and took the old garage (hardwood frame), I cleaned the old bricks left from the chimney to reuse and off cut wood was kept to burn for heating in my new house stove. The clothesline and garden shed were reused. The old concrete walking paths were piled up to be reused. Only the old driveway, some concrete bricks and a few clay bricks under the front porch, which we couldn’t break up by hand, or by bobcat, were dumped. Many of the chimney bricks I cleaned appeared second hand already (so now third hand). The old driveway was made of a lot of recycled material also, I was told by the men who broke it up and removed it. Hard to break up apparently. The concrete had been under-layered with old bricks and slabs from a monecrete house. I doubt many modern builders these days would be so frugal as to reuse materials.

Narrabundah is increasing in price, but it is still sometimes possible to get a house for under half a million, if the modern ‘needs’ of ensuite, entertainment room, theatrette, etc, are less important than position, and the outer suburbs aren’t your thing. There are also apartments available. I imagine in time most of the old houses will go and be replaced with MacMansions, which is a bit of a shame, as the old vegetable gardens out the back and the gardens in the front, tended by the original inhabitants were a nice homely feature; much better than concrete out the back, and the bland so called low maintenance gardens out the front so popular now.

aussielyn aussielyn 1:59 pm 26 Jun 15

Thanks Alexandra

Some people may relate to the late Rod Campbell article on my website: http://narrabundah.org.au/?page_id=143

Please contact me if you have some old photos of streetscapes , I will acknowledge you as the owner

Narrabundah is gentrifying now and unfortunately some people ignore you when you say good-day

Affirmative Action Man Affirmative Action Man 1:28 pm 26 Jun 15

There are actually 2 Narrabundahs. The Narrabundah flatlands on one side of Sturt Ave & then the rest of the Bundah.

Best thing about living there in the 90’s was on Saturday mornings I had the choice of Silo, Danny’s, Bruno’s or O’Delly to go & get oven fresh bread for brekky.

antemite antemite 1:10 pm 26 Jun 15

I am Bundah born and bred – 57 years ago. I saw some peacocks about a fortnight ago up near La Perouse – they were jumping fences into backyards.

Dame Canberra Dame Canberra 1:00 pm 26 Jun 15

Danny’s Bakery at Narrabundah Shops makes the most amazing hot cross buns at Easter time.

Postalgeek Postalgeek 12:46 pm 26 Jun 15

Lived in Narrabundah for years and enjoyed it. My wife and I have enjoyed several meals at La Cantina. It’s easy and good food with a nice ambience. Enjoyed going for a jog around Narrabundah and running the tree-lined track alongside Canberra avenue.

I remember seeing someone housing down the brick walls of their house on Boolimba Cres during the 2003 fires.

tea7 tea7 12:07 pm 26 Jun 15

The sentiment expressed in the last sentence rings true for me (in spite of the grammatical issues).
I’ve lived (rented) in Narrabundah for a couple of years, and am very fond of the suburb – even though visitors have had their number plates stolen, I’ve had my car ransacked, and I scared off a would-be robber when I was at home with my newborn baby. Shortly after I moved in, I also had someone knock on the door at about midnight, looking for the previous resident who apparently owed him money…
Nevertheless, I love the flat, tree-lined streets, the diversity and unpretentiousness, decent public transport access, and the proximity to the real inner south, the lake, the big cultural institutions, good schools, Griffith shops, Red Hill for walking, Fyshwick markets and the Australia Post BC (random yes, but I do appreciate the convenience).
I think the shops have potential. The IGA is a little sad but serviceable. The sale of the fabulous Artisan broke my heart. I like Mint Rd cafe for coffee, but a weekend brunch spot would be a great addition.
The price of a very modest house in Narrabundah does my head in (and brings to mind the palatial mansion I could buy for the same amount in my regional hometown).

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