If you’re looking for a home in Canberra’s inner north where the streets are shaded by lush trees, the blocks are big enough for a game of backyard cricket and heritage-listed properties abound, O’Connor could be the suburb for you. Characterised by established gardens, a high ratio of detached single dwelling houses to high-density housing (increasingly rare in the inner north) and proximity to Civic, ANU and Dickson, it’s no surprise that O’Connor’s median house price is a cool $1.005 million.
Thinking about visiting or moving to O’Connor? Here’s what you need to know.
Gazetted in 1928, O’Connor is named after legislator and federalist Richard Edward O’Connor. Its streets are named after Australian flora, legislators, pioneers and explorers.
Many people aren’t aware that O’Connor’s 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 in Bruce.
And of course, you can’t talk about O’Connor without mentioning the Tocumwal Housing Precinct, which spans across eight of the suburb’s cul-de-sacs. The precinct is a cluster of distinctive, pre-fabricated homes that were originally built for the US Army Corps during World War II at Tocumwal air force base in New South Wales.
Transported to Canberra in the late 1940s to address a critical housing shortage, they’re now heritage listed and recognised as an important part of the capital’s past.
Shops and eateries
O’Connor’s small shopping centre has all the basics you could want: a supermarket, a hairdresser, post office, pharmacy and physiotherapist.
Food-wise, The Duxton bar and restaurant is something of a local institution, famous for its trivia nights and top-notch pub food. Takeaway joint Flatheads serves up crispy fish and chips, pizza and burgers, and Vietnamese restaurant Tu Do has been delighting locals with cheap and cheerful dishes like spicy beef noodle soup since the 1990s.
Places of interest and things to do
- Explore O’Connor Ridge.The O’Connor Ridge Nature Reserve is an extensive strip of land 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.
- 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 40 new and classic French films to a growing Canberra audience.
- Visit the Banksia Street Wetland. Built in 2010, the Banksia Street Wetland improves water quality of the Sullivan’s Creek catchment. For information about wetland meetups, which usually consist of weeding, mulching, pruning, rubbish removal and coffee drinking, follow the wetlands on Facebook.
Playgrounds and parks
Popular parks and playgrounds in O’Connor include:
- O’Connor Dog Park. This dog park is also known as the Inner North Dog Park. 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 groovy looking human-dog drinking fountains.
- Finn Street Park. Designed by architects as a toddler-friendly nature play space back in 2017, Finn Street Park mimics a bush environment – think plenty of rocks, sticks and logs to play with. It also has an outdoor amphitheatre with rock seating, dry river bed and a grassy maze.
- Tennis Court Playground (Boronia Drive). Tucked away next to the O’Connor Tennis Club with parkland on one side, this classic suburban playground has a swing set (including a baby swing) and climbing frame with a slide.
O’Connor’s central location makes getting around easy. It’s a ten-minute bike ride to Civic and the ANU, while also being close to the light rail line. There are light rail stops along Northbourne Avenue, including at the Macarthur Street intersection.
There are three schools in O’Connor: O’Connor Cooperative School is a public school on Macpherson Street, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School is on Boronia Drive, and Black Mountain School on Cockle Street, which provides education for children with additional needs.
Why the locals love it
As an older ‘garden’ suburb, residents say that one of the biggest perks of living in O’Connor is the feeling of being surrounded by nature. Bushland, including O’Connor Ridge, is easy to access, while many blocks have large trees and gardens that attract wildlife.
It’s a popular suburb for people from all walks of life who appreciate living close to Northbourne Avenue, Civic, Dickson and the Australian National University.
- 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.
Want to find the latest real estate listings for sale and rent in O'Connor? Zango can help you find them:
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.