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See O’Connor Differently

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See O'Connor Differently

The Duxton bar and restaurant is a popular venue amongst locals. Photo: Region Media.

If you’re looking for a home in an established inner suburb that offers leafy streets, big blocks and heritage-listed properties, then O’Connor could be for you.

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

Background and history

The suburb of O’Connor is in Canberra’s inner north, between Turner and Lyneham. It was named after Richard Edward O’Connor, a legislator, federalist, and one of the founders of the Constitution.

O’Connor was gazetted in 1928. Its boundary includes the Bruce/O’Connor ridge nature reserve. This elevated area lies between houses in O’Connor and the nearby Australian Institute of Sport.

The suburb is characterised by shaded streets with established gardens and predominantly detached single dwelling houses. In the central part of O’Connor is a series of cul de sacs which contain homes known as Tocumwal Houses: heritage-listed ex-government housing which was transported to Canberra after World War 2 because there was a housing shortage in the 1950s.

Shops

O’Connor has a small shopping centre which includes a grocery store, a couple of restaurants, a hairdresser and a pharmacy. The Duxton bar and restaurant is something of a local institution, famous for its trivia nights and top-notch pub food. The Australian Croatian Club and Polish White Eagle Club are just down the road from the shops.

See O'Connor Differently

O’Connor’s shopping centre has all you need. Photo: Region Media.

Places of interest and things to do

  • Explore O’Connor Ridge.The O’Connor Ridge Nature Reserve is an extensive strip of land that is popular with bushwalkers and mountain bike riders because of its extensive network of trails. Part of Canberra Nature Park, access to the reserve is from Dryandra Street.
  • Take your pooch for a play. In the parkland just off Fairfax Street, dog owners can enjoy some playtime with their furry friends. There are two good-sized segregated enclosures for large and smaller dogs, a well-gravelled carpark and very groovy looking human-dog drinking fountains.
  • Immerse yourself in everything French at Alliance Francaise in McCaughey Street. Brush up on your French, take a class, or learn more about Francophonie Cultures. Events and activities include French music, art exhibitions, open days and café style discussions on science, history, literature and the regions of France. Each year the Alliance Française French Film Festival showcases around forty new and classic French films to a growing Canberra audience.
See O'Connor Differently

There’s also a park next to the local tennis club. Photo: Region Media.

Schools

O’Connor Cooperative School is a public school in Macpherson Street, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School is in Boronia Drive and Black Mountain School in Cockle Street provides education for children with additional needs.

Lyneham High School is in the next suburb, while Dickson College is a short drive away and caters to Year 11 and 12 students.

Quick facts

  • Median age: 34 years
  • Median weekly household income: $2,129
  • Median weekly rent: $380
  • Houses vs. apartments: 65.8% houses; 19.3% apartments
  • Suburb sales record (excludes land sales): $2,440,000 in 2018

Source: 2016 Census.

Do you live, or have you previously lived, in O’Connor? 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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10 Responses to See O’Connor Differently
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Fairs Fairs 6:27 pm 12 Nov 16

Holden Caulfield said :

As a former resident I always used to think the O’Connor Shops were (and still are) ripe for redevelopment, or new opportunities is perhaps a better term. The Duxton (and All Bar Nun before it) are all fine and dandy, but it’d be nice to have more diverse food options there.

39 Steps was pretty average when it first opened and TBH I’m surprised it’s still open.

I’m still pining for Delicateating, which paved the way (in Canberra at least) in the late 1990s for contemporary casual dining in the burbs. Prior to Duxton taking over that whole corner, there were a few decent options.

Now it’s just one big pub. A good one for the most part, but give me a shops with a Flatheads at its prime, Delicateating and the old Vietnamese on the corner (which is now the Griffith Vietnamese) over one pub any day.

That aside O’Connor was a great place to live.

The Duxton have not only taken over the corner, with their outdoor seating and forcing pedestrians to funnel through the drunks on either side of the pavement (a few of us nicknamed this “The Duxton Drunken Alley”) to get to the shops but are now trying to drive residents out with their new outdoor terraced area for DJ’s and bands and their continual push for 2am opening hours! Bring back “Delicateatting”, bring back the Vietnamese Restaurant… bring back decent pub owners who didn’t try to take over the area!

Kalliste Kalliste 7:28 pm 07 Aug 15

Zan said :

When I moved to O’Connor I was about 8 years old. We lived in the last street of O’Connor then which was the corner of Wonga Street and Coolibah Crescent. We played in the drain opposite. The Govie houses were not quite finished as drainage and fencing was not completed. I trod on a nail on a fence post that had not been put up. We used to walk up the hill (where Banskia Drive/Brigalow Street is) and stood on the top and away in the far distance was a little stone church. I would say that would have been the early 1950s.

When I moved to O’Connor I was about 4 and we lived in Way street in that government housing I imagine was going up when you lived there, based on minimal research it looks like they were part of the Tocumwal Precinct which I never knew about O’Connor.
We would play in the long strip of grassed area between the cul de sac and I remember losing a kite there one day. That was back in the late 80’s/early 90’s.

Zan Zan 7:24 pm 07 Aug 15

Yes, St Ninian’s Church. It was so far away from O’Connor across the sheep paddocks.

Nilrem Nilrem 4:32 pm 07 Aug 15

Zan said :

When I moved to O’Connor I was about 8 years old. We lived in the last street of O’Connor then which was the corner of Wonga Street and Coolibah Crescent. We played in the drain opposite. The Govie houses were not quite finished as drainage and fencing was not completed. I trod on a nail on a fence post that had not been put up. We used to walk up the hill (where Banskia Drive/Brigalow Street is) and stood on the top and away in the far distance was a little stone church. I would say that would have been the early 1950s.

Cool! Was that the little stone church in Lyneham near Mouat Street?

Zan Zan 3:40 pm 07 Aug 15

When I moved to O’Connor I was about 8 years old. We lived in the last street of O’Connor then which was the corner of Wonga Street and Coolibah Crescent. We played in the drain opposite. The Govie houses were not quite finished as drainage and fencing was not completed. I trod on a nail on a fence post that had not been put up. We used to walk up the hill (where Banskia Drive/Brigalow Street is) and stood on the top and away in the far distance was a little stone church. I would say that would have been the early 1950s.

MERC600 MERC600 1:46 pm 07 Aug 15

Alexandra I enjoy reading your ‘Look Around’ articles. Even after 36 years in this joint there are suburbs I’ve not been to, and you certainly do dig out interesting facts..

Doesn’t seem to have any statues in the park. Perhaps one of Todd Carney would fill the void. He helped put O’Connor on the map.

Nilrem Nilrem 1:22 pm 07 Aug 15

Actually with Northbourne Avenue and Barry/Gungahlin Drives on each side. Gungahlin Drive is disliked by O’Connorites because it cut through the lovely native bushland on Bruce and O’Connor Ridges.

Agree with the previous rioters on the perils of the megapub taking over the shops. They recently closed down a perfectly good fish and chip shop (Flatheads) for their own …. private dining room. I just don’t know how we survived without one of those!

The Polo (Polish Club) is a great venue, and pokie free (hooray), but technically in Turner, because it is on the other side of David Street from the shops.

Antagonist Antagonist 11:26 am 07 Aug 15

It is interesting to look back at the area to see how it has changed since I lived there in the 80s. I have many fond memories, but O’Connor has moved on and evolved somewhat these days. I would not say it is more busy (it has always been so), but the area definitely has a different ‘feel’ or ‘vibe’ these days. I recall an earlier attempt to rejuvenate the Shops in the 80s. The old and run down Shop-Rite was given a face lift and replaced with a flash looking Food Master (which remained remained dingy and unchanged inside). Meanwhile, the newsagent changed owners and I scored my first job delivering newspapers to all of the units on Northbourne Ave from Macarthur Ave down to Barry Drive for $5 a day. And boy did I pump some money into the ‘Ghosts n Goblins’ game machine in the old take away.

These shops were also the place I first fell in love – when I first saw Tony Brown’s 1981 XD ESP, which I would own many years later. And I fell in love a second time a few years later when the owners of the Food Master pulled up in their 1983 XE ESP. Sweet memories.

And I often wonder whatever became of Dr Harris. Not only was he the family doctor, but he delivered quite a few people from our family at the Canberra Hospital. I heard rumours that he was still working in the late 90s, but have heard nothing since.

astrojax astrojax 10:53 am 07 Aug 15

Holden Caulfield said :

As a former resident I always used to think the O’Connor Shops were (and still are) ripe for redevelopment, or new opportunities is perhaps a better term. The Duxton (and All Bar Nun before it) are all fine and dandy, but it’d be nice to have more diverse food options there.

39 Steps was pretty average when it first opened and TBH I’m surprised it’s still open.

I’m still pining for Delicateating, which paved the way (in Canberra at least) in the late 1990s for contemporary casual dining in the burbs. Prior to Duxton taking over that whole corner, there were a few decent options.

Now it’s just one big pub. A good one for the most part, but give me a shops with a Flatheads at its prime, Delicateating and the old Vietnamese on the corner (which is now the Griffith Vietnamese) over one pub any day.

That aside O’Connor was a great place to live.

delicateating, yes, but the vietnamese [village?] used to be in duxton’s corner location was brilliant, with tudo down the block – awesome. bernadettes started in the old post office space now long swallowed by delicateating et al. there was quite a good traditional mexican in the same spot after her. and marinetti’s was an institution. yes, bring it back, the cosmopolitan choice it once was!

Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 10:41 am 07 Aug 15

As a former resident I always used to think the O’Connor Shops were (and still are) ripe for redevelopment, or new opportunities is perhaps a better term. The Duxton (and All Bar Nun before it) are all fine and dandy, but it’d be nice to have more diverse food options there.

39 Steps was pretty average when it first opened and TBH I’m surprised it’s still open.

I’m still pining for Delicateating, which paved the way (in Canberra at least) in the late 1990s for contemporary casual dining in the burbs. Prior to Duxton taking over that whole corner, there were a few decent options.

Now it’s just one big pub. A good one for the most part, but give me a shops with a Flatheads at its prime, Delicateating and the old Vietnamese on the corner (which is now the Griffith Vietnamese) over one pub any day.

That aside O’Connor was a great place to live.

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