Belconnen

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This article is about the district of the Australian Capital Territory. For the suburb, see Belconnen, Australian Capital Territory. For the town centre, see Belconnen Town Centre.
Belconnen
CanberraAustralian Capital Territory
Aranda playing fields tablet.jpg
Tablet at Aranda playing fields marks the beginning of the development of Belconnen in 1966.
Canberra Map Belconnen-MJC.png
Location of Belconnen, shaded.
Coordinates 35°14′19″S 149°03′58″E / 35.2386°S 149.0661°E / -35.2386; 149.0661Coordinates: 35°14′19″S 149°03′58″E / 35.2386°S 149.0661°E / -35.2386; 149.0661
Population 92,444 (2011)[1]
 • Density 1,201/km2 (3,109/sq mi)
Gazetted 12 May 1966[2]
Area 77 km2 (29.7 sq mi)[3]
Location 7 km (4 mi) NW of Canberra City
Territory electorate(s) Ginninderra
Federal Division(s) Fraser
Localities around Belconnen:
New South Wales Hall Gungahlin
Coree / New South Wales Belconnen Canberra Central
Stromlo Molonglo Valley Canberra Central

The District of Belconnen is one of the original eighteen districts of the Australian Capital Territory used in land administration. The district is subdivided into 25 divisions (suburbs), sections and blocks. The district of Belconnen lies entirely within the bounds of the city of Canberra, the capital city of Australia.

As at the 2011 census, the district had a population of 92,444 people;[1] and was the most populous district within the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

Belconnen is situated approximately 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) to the north-west of the central business district of Canberra, and surrounds an artificially created, ornamental lake, Lake Ginninderra. Lake Ginninderra was made possible by building a dam at an elbow of Ginninderra Creek. Exiting the lake, via a simple overflow, Ginninderra Creek continues, and runs north-west to its confluence with the Murrumbidgee River just beyond the north-western ACT border.

Establishment and governance[edit]

The traditional custodians of the district are the indigenous people of the Ngunawal tribe.[4]

Following the transfer of land from the Government of New South Wales to the Commonwealth Government in 1911, the district was established in 1966 by the Commonwealth via the gazettal of the Districts Ordinance 1966 No. 5 (Cth) which, after the enactment of the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988 (Cth), became the Districts Act 1966 No. 5 (ACT). This Act was subsequently repealed by the ACT Government and the district is now administered subject to the Districts Act 2002 (ACT).[5]

History[edit]

Belconnen was previously occupied by Ginninderra, the former agricultural lands that corresponds with the watershed of Ginninderra Creek. The Belconnen district is named after one of the earliest land grants made in the district during colonial times. Belconnen a land grant totalling 800 hectares (2,000 acres) was made to explorer Charles Sturt who eventually sold the property to Robert Campbell who owned the nearby Duntroon Estate.[6]

A stone plaque located at the sport fields in Aranda, Belconnen's first suburb, commemorates the commencement of urban development of the Belconnen district, inscribed:

"This tablet marks the inauguration of development of the district of Belconnen by the Minister of State for the Interior The Honourable J. D. Anthony, M.P. 23rd June 1966"

The nearby Jamison Centre, the first commercial centre in the district, opened in 1969. The Belconnen Town Centre located on the shore of Lake Ginninderra opened in the late 1970s.

Political representation[edit]

For the purposes of Australian federal elections for the House of Representatives, the District of Belconnen is contained within the Division of Fraser.[7]

For the purposes of Australian Capital Territory elections for the ACT Legislative Assembly, the District of Belconnen is within the Ginninderra electorate.[8]

Location and urban structure[edit]

The Belconnen district is a set of 25 contiguous residential suburbs that surround the Belconnen Town Centre, set on the western shore of the artificially established Lake Ginninderra. In additional to the residential development, the district contains some pastoral leasees on its western and south-western boundaries with the districts of Molonglo Valley and Stromlo, its north-western boundary with the state of New South Wales, and its northern and north-eastern boundaries with the districts of Hall and Gungahlin. The natural features of the district are constrained to the east and to the south-east by the Bruce Ridge and the northern slopes of Black Mountain, much of which has been preserved as nature reserves.

Residential and industrial development[edit]

The majority of the residential suburbs are predominantly characterised by detached single family homes on suburban blocks, with pockets of medium density housing units or town houses. This is most pronounced in the suburbs of Belconnen, Bruce, Cook, Hawker, Holt, Kaleen, Macquarie, Melba, Page and Scullin. Within the suburb of Belcoonen, a medium density estate, often mistaken as a suburb, called Emu Ridge consists entirely of town house and unit developments, such as UniGardens, Belconnen accommodation for University of Canberra students (run by UniGardens Pty[9]). The most recent suburb to be gazetted is Lawson in 1986,[10] where infrastructure works have commenced and residential development is in progress.

Within the district of Belconnen, there is almost no 'heavy' industry; however there is some light industry and manufacturing, including automotive repair, plumbing, electrical, building, and similar services as well as small arts and crafts manufacturing and sales outlets. A variety of medical practitioners and veterinarians also service the region. There is an established artistic community which includes aspiring performing musicians, theatre groups and visual artists. A recycling industry, involving organic as well as plastic and metals collection takes place at the Parkwood Road Recycling Estate, on the outermost western boundary of the district, within the suburb of Holt.[11] A poultry farm is situated nearby and is a significant primary industry producer providing eggs to Canberra and the surrounding region.

Retail and commercial development[edit]

The predominant shopping centre of the district is Westfield Belconnen, located within the Belconnen Town Centre. Additional local commerce activity includes with large and smaller department stores, clothes retailers, car dealerships, homeware, supermarkets, and specialist grocery outlets. There are numerous restaurants and a variety of licenced premises within the Belconnen Town Centre, many close to the shores of Lake Ginninderra. The Belconnen Markets are a fresh food market area within this commercial district operating from Tuesday to Sunday during business hours. Smaller retail shopping centres are located at the Jamison Centre in the suburb of Macquarie; the Kippax Centre in the suburb of Holt; and shppoing centres in the suburbs of Charnwood, Hawker, and Kaleen. The surrounding suburbs were designed each to have their own smaller shopping areas, with small supermarkets, chemists, hairdressers etc., and these continue to perform well in many suburbs, however, have failed in a number, this has been presumed to be due largely to competition of the growing town centre and oversupply of services.

Within the Belconnen Town Centre is a number of Australian Government departnment head offices including the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Australian Broadcasting Authority and the Australian Communications and Media Authority. The Australian Taxation Office had offices located in the Belconnen Town Centre in the Cameron Offices.

The Calvary Hospital is a privately operated public hospital, located in the suburb of Bruce. Also in the suburb of Bruce are a number of sporting and education facilities including the University of Canberra (UC), the Canberra Institute of Technology (or CIT), the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), and Canberra Stadium.

Demographics[edit]

At the 2011 census, there were 92,444 people in the Belconnen district, of these 49.4 per cent were male and 50.6 per cent were female. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 1.3 per cent of the population, which was lower than the national and territory averages. The median age of people in the Belconnen district was 34 years, which was lower than the national median of 37 years. Children aged 0 – 14 years made up 18.4 per cent of the population and people aged 65 years and over made up 11.1 per cent of the population. Of people in the area aged 15 years and over, 47.8 per cent were married and 10.4 per cent were either divorced or separated.[1]

Population growth in the Belconnen district between the 2001 census and the 2006 census was 0.85 per cent; and in the subsequent five years to the 2011 census, the population grew by 9.55 per cent. When compared with total population growth of Australia for the same periods, being 5.78 per cent and 8.32 per cent respectively, population growth in Belconnen district was slightly higher than the national average.[12][13] The median weekly income for residents within the Belconnen district was significantly higher than the national average, and slightly lower than the territory average.[1]

At the 2011 census, the proportion of residents in the Belconnen district who stated their ancestry as Australian or Anglo-Saxon exceeded 67 per cent of all residents (national average was 65.2 per cent). In excess of 43 per cent of all residents in the Belconnen district nominated a religious affiliation with Christianity at the 2011 census, which was lower than the national average of 50.2 per cent. Meanwhile, as at the census date, compared to the national average, households in the Belconnen district had a marginally higher than average proportion (21.4 per cent) where two or more languages are spoken (national average was 20.4 per cent); and a relatively average proportion (77.0 per cent) where English only was spoken at home (national average was 76.8 per cent).[1]

Selected historical census data for the Belconnen district
Census year 2001[12] 2006[13] 2011[1]
Population Estimated residents on census night 81,701 84,382 92,444
District rank in terms of size within the Australian Capital Territory 2nd Steady 2nd Increase 1st
Percentage of the Australian Capital Territory population 25.9%
Percentage of the Australian population 0.44% Decrease 0.42% Increase 0.43%
Cultural and language diversity
Ancestry,
top responses
Australian 26.9%
English 24.0%
Irish 9.1%
Scottish 7.0%
Chinese 3.3%
Language,
top responses
(other than English)
Mandarin n/c Increase 1.4% Increase 2.2%
Vietnamese 1.1% Increase 1.2% Increase 1.3%
Spanish 1.0% Steady 1.0% Steady 1.0%
Italian 1.4% Decrease 1.2% Decrease 1.0%
Cantonese n/c Steady n/c Increase 0.9%
Religious affiliation
Religious affiliation,
top responses
No Religion 19.2% Increase 23.3% Increase 28.9%
Catholic 28.8% Decrease 27.6% Decrease 25.3%
Anglican 18.0% Decrease 16.3% Decrease 14.3%
Uniting Church 4.9% Decrease 4.4% Decrease 3.7%
Buddhism n/c Steady n/c Increase 2.4%
Median weekly incomes
Personal income Median weekly personal income A$680 A$858
Percentage of Australian median income 145.9% Increase 148.7%
Family income Median weekly family income A$1,662 A$2,120
Percentage of Australian median income 141.9% Increase 143.1%
Household income Median weekly household income A$1,440 A$1,802
Percentage of Australian median income 140.2% Increase 146.0%

List of suburbs[edit]

  • Emu Ridge, often considered a suburb, has not been gazetted, and is a housing estate, within the suburb of Belconnen.

Transport[edit]

The primary mode of transport within the District is by private vehicle. The District of Belconnen was planned in the 1960s and was guided by a philosophy of reliance on private personal transport and an abundance of roads. Public buses serve the district and a bus interchange that used to exist in the Town Centre, in its place is a bus station that services all suburbs, City/ South Canberra as a way point for passengers exiting the nearby Westfield shopping town at Benjamin Way.

Roads[edit]

Belconnen is well served by a network of near-freeway-quality roads located between suburbs and intersecting the district. The main roads between suburbs are typically landscaped with mounds of earth and vegetation to form ‘parkways’.

The main roads connecting the district with North Canberra and the city centre are Belconnen Way and Ginninderra Drive. These roads are 6 lane parkways for the majority of their length and run in an east–west direction. Belconnen is situated south of the Barton Highway which leads to Yass, where it connects with the Hume Highway to Sydney and Melbourne. To the south of the district is William Hovell Drive which connects the southern and western suburbs of Belconnen with Parkes Way and the Tuggeranong Parkway which lead to the city centre and Canberra’s southern districts respectively.

Public Transport[edit]

Belconnen Community Bus Station, located on the former site of the original bus interchange

The ACTION bus service which provides public transport throughout Canberra is the only form of regularly scheduled public transport in Belconnen. Services from the various suburbs generally pass through a bus interchange at Belconnen Town Centre from where they continue to Civic and the other town centres to Canberra’s south. Some services travel to Gungahlin. There are also express services which connect directly with Tuggeranong.

The bus interchange is spread across the Belconnen town centre in three different locations. The previous interchange, which is now one of those locations, was connected by footbridge to large shopping centre and to office buildings occupied by major Government departments. It was an ageing facility which was criticised for being unsafe, particularly at night, and for being dirty and prone to vandalism. For these reasons it was subject to major renovations.

The ACT Government plans to construct a busway to connect the Belconnen Town centre with the hospital and CIT precinct in Bruce and the city centre.

Gungahlin Drive Extension[edit]

In November 2004 construction commenced on the Gungahlin Drive Extension (GDE). This road is to connect Gungahlin Drive in Gungahlin with Parkes Way and the Tuggeranong Parkway at the Glenloch Interchange at the south eastern corner of the Belconnen district. The proposed road will run north south passing through forest and woodlands within the Canberra Nature Park, including parts of the Black Mountain Reserve. It will also pass beside the Australian Institute of Sport. The project had been a major political issue across Canberra from the mid-1990s until construction was so far commenced that all damage to the environment which had been objected to was done. The 'Save the Ridge' group had campaigned against the proposed road since that time and took legal action which stalled the project until October 2005. The ACT Government had legislated to prevent further legal delays from community groups however this did not affect Save the Ridge continuing action which they had commenced in the Federal Court. After several cases before the ACT Supreme Court and the Federal Court, the Federal Court ruled in favour of the road construction project going ahead. On 15 October 2005 Save the Ridge announced that they would not be appealing the decision to the High Court and would not be further opposing the construction of the road.

Places of note and interest[edit]

Albert is a metal frame sculpture of a carp (fish). Created for Floriade 1996, it was erected at Belconnen Fresh Food Markets in 1998.
The central and eastern towers at Belconnen Naval Transmitting Station being felled, at 4.07 pm, 20 December 2006. The western tower fell at 3.24 pm; visible lying on foreground rise.

Education[edit]

The University of Canberra is located in the suburb of Bruce and has a student population of approximately 10,000. A Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) campus is also in Bruce.

The Australian Capital Territory Government operates 23 Preschools, 19 Primary Schools, 5 High Schools and 3 Colleges (Senior Secondary Schools) within the District of Belconnen. There are also 8 religious schools and one Government special school for students with disabilities. Prominent High schools include Radford College and Canberra High. Belconnen is also the home to the ACT's only government operated Year 7-12 school, with the dual campus Melba Copland Secondary School located in the North-Eastern suburb of Melba.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Belconnen (SA3)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  2. ^ "Districts Ordinance 1966 No. 5 (Cth)". Australian Capital Territory Numbered Ordinances. AustLII. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  3. ^ "3218.0 - Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2012". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  4. ^ "Aboriginal Heritage in the ACT". Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate. ACT Government. 17 March 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "Districts Act 1966 Notes". Australian Capital Territory Repealed Acts. AustLII. 2002. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  6. ^ J. Kay McDonald (1985). Exploring the ACT and Southeast New South Wales. Sydney: Kangaroo Press. ISBN 0-86417-049-1. 
  7. ^ "Profile of the electoral division of Fraser (ACT)". Current federal electoral divisions. Australian Electoral Commission. 26 September 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "Electorates 2012 election". Electorates. ACT Electoral Commission. 5 July 2012. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  9. ^ UniGardens Canberra University student accommodation, official website
  10. ^ "Search for street and suburb names: Lawson". Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate. ACT Government. 4 December 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  11. ^ "Parkwood Road Recycling Estate West Belconnen". Territory and Municipal Services Directorate. ACT Government. 15 May 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (9 March 2006). "Belconnen (SSD)". 2001 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  13. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Belconnen (SSD)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  14. ^ Chronology of the ACT, Canberra & District Historical Society, archived from the original on 12 September 2013 
  15. ^ "Giant Mushroom, The". Australian Capital Tourism. Archived from the original on 25 March 2012. 
  16. ^ a b Jo Laverty (21 May 2009). "The Belconnen Remand Centre". 666 ABC Canberra. Archived from the original on 13 May 2013. 
  17. ^ Nicholas Kittel (26 November 2008). "ACT prison built to meet human rights obligations". 666 ABC Canberra. Archived from the original on 1 May 2013. 

External links[edit]

  • ACTMAPi - the ACT Government’s interactive mapping service
  • Brian Rhynehart (27 February 2008). "Belconnen's History". Belconnen Community Services. Archived from the original on 17 August 2013. 
  • Video of Belconnen Naval Transmitting Towers being felled (20 December 2006):
    • Tower 1 (72s) [1]
    • Towers 2&3 (63s) [2]