De-mystifying Dickson

Posted 14 Jul 2018

Story by CBR Canberra

Think you know all there is to know about Dickson? Think again. From aeroplanes to spaceships, this suburb at the entrance to Canberra packs quite a few surprises…

Canberra’s first airfield!
Between 1924 and 1928 a paddock (located where the Dickson Library and playing fields are now) was the designated airfield for Canberra, known as the Northbourne Aviation Ground. However, as Canberra was not actually a scheduled destination, it was mostly used for emergency landings for aircraft on domestic routes such as Sydney to Adelaide. In the lead up to the opening of Parliament House, a Royal Australian Airforce flying display was planned, but the Dickson airfield was considered unsuitable. The display was held in a paddock in the Majura Valley, marking the final boarding call for the Northbourne Aviation Ground.

Eat around the world
Almost half of the people that live in Dickson weren’t born in Australia, making Dickson a fantastic melting pot of different cultures and cuisines. There is no better place to exemplify this than in Canberra’s version of Chinatown which has several Chinese restaurants, grocery stores and video outlets. In true Aussie multicultural fashion, you’ll also find Indian, Vietnamese, Thai, Ethiopian, Lao, Korean, Japanese, Greek, Turkish and Chilean restaurants along with a vegan restaurant, some great pubs, a wine bar and the Tradie’s Club. Not to mention late-night karaoke! 

Back to the Futuro
It looks like a flying saucer from a corny sci-fi movie, but despite appearances, the Futuro is not a crash-landed UFO. It is actually one of a few hundred houses that were designed in the late 1960s to be a portable holiday home. The only one destined for Australia arrived in Canberra in 1972 where it ended up at the Canberra Space Dome (Planetarium) and Observatory in Dickson in 1997. Here it was used as a meeting room and for educational classes until the facility was closed in 2007. A fire on the site in 2010 badly damaged many of the surrounding buildings, but the Futuro escaped mostly unscathed. It’s now ‘landed’ at the University of Canberra campus where it’s been lovingly restored and is available as a study, meeting or tutorial space—complete with Wi-Fi.

Local swimming hole
Built in the 1960s, the Dickson Aquatic Centre has been a favourite with many of Canberra’s mums, dads, children, teenagers, schools and swimming clubs for several generations. Featuring large, shady trees and covers, a water-play park and a café, it’s even hosted live bands, sausage sizzles, Zumba lessons, jugglers and other entertainers. No wonder’s it’s the hottest Dickson hangout in summer!

Frog Spotting
If you’re interested in spotting frogs, turtles, water bugs, yabbies and water birds, a stroll through the Dickson Wetlands is a must. Constructed around Dickson’s Sullivan’s Creek catchment area, it features a pond area, shared paths and pedestrian footbridges – where you can often spot the local human species on weekday morning runs or weekend picnics.

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