Eclectic Ainslie

Posted 2 Jun 2018

Story by CBR Canberra

There’s a place where pioneering hippies, academics and urban hipsters rub shoulders as they queue up for veggie burgers, or browse the cheese aisle of their local IGA. From humble origins Ainslie has become one of the most sought after inner city locales. Here’s why:

It’s charming streetscapes
The original weatherboard homes, once the domain of early Canberra blue-collar workers, are now mostly heritage listed, ensuring that the suburb’s history and charm is forever protected. Together with landscaped parks and avenues of established trees they make for a beautiful village environment, nestled at the foot of Mt Ainslie. Of course there are many contemporary architectural beauties sprinkled in between, but ironically it is the original worker’s cottages that tend to be the most sought-after properties.

A rich history
Corroboree Park, one of the major landscaped spaces in Ainslie, is named after the Aboriginal use of the area prior to European settlement in Canberra, the site of many corroborees. It continued to be a meeting place with the creation of the park in 1925 and Ainslie Community Hall in 1927. Today it’s still a focal community point, hosting regular yoga and dance classes along with weddings and parties.

Some of the best eating in town
There’s the local IGA that stocks everything from artisan breads to imported cheeses and local honey—even homemade meals cooked by local producers. The French inspired Bistro of Pulp Kitchen—the scene of many a romantic dinner.  The fashionable gastropub Edgars, that’s bursting at the seams most nights. The wickedly delicious French treats from Breizh Café. And the staple of the community, the local hamburger joint Theo’s Takeaway.

Home to a great Canberra landmark
There aren’t too many Canberrans that haven’t summited Mount Ainslie at least once in their lives. But locals get to enjoy it on a daily basis. On weekends it’s quite the thoroughfare as serious runners, hard-core mountain bikers and social dawdlers alike enjoy the winding trails and iconic Canberra views from the top.

A pretty cool namesake
After sustaining an injury to the head by a sabre in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, Scottish pastoralist James Ainslie arrived on Australian shores, where he was commissioned to drove 700 sheep to suitable land. After camping on what is now Corroboree Park, he decided that the Canberra district was the perfect place. Ainslie applied for a grant to farm a nearby parcel of land, that he named Duntroon Station after his family castle in Scotland.

Photo credit: Visit Canberra

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