Dickson Shopping Centre Refurbishment Project

Community Consultation and Cultural Profile Report

Prepared by Susan Conroy

Cultural Planner

April 1998



In 1996, Canberra Places initiated a project for the refurbishment of public areas around the Dickson Shopping Centre. This is the eleventh in a program of shopping centre refurbishment projects across Canberra and the fifth to concentrate on a group centre rather than a local centre. The Design Brief notes that the objective of Precinct Management is to undertake a coordinated, participatory approach to public place management to reflect the differing needs and priorities of the community within allocated budget provisions.

Part of the process Canberra Places utilises includes calling for nominations from the community to establish a consultative group. The Dickson Precinct Community Group (DPCG) was formed at a public meeting in November, 1996.

A survey was distributed across the suburb of Dickson and part of Downer as well as being available in locations such as Woolworths and the Dickson Newsagency. A newsletter was published and distributed in April 1997 which advised on the outcomes of the survey. Of a total of 182 responses, 43% were Dickson residents, 38% were shoppers and 17% were people who worked in or ran businesses in the shopping centre area. The Newsletter noted in summary that traffic management, the general appearance, upkeep and amenity emerged as the major areas of concern. A number of planning issues were also identified. The Newsletter also noted that planning is the responsibility of the Department of Planning and Land Management which has established the Majura Local Area Planning Committee and that the DPCG would keep in touch with this group regarding planning issues (DPCG 1997).

The DPCG also developed a statement to the consultant and an issues paper for consideration in the development of the Design Brief by Canberra Places.

In October 1997 a Project Brief was issued by ACT Landscape, Totalcare Industries as Project Managers which included a requirement for community consultation and cultural planning to inform the development of a design including the potential for public art components in a Master Plan. A Project Brief was then let to Maunsell Pty Ltd in association with Dorrough Britz, Keris Delaney and Susan Conroy.

This report compiles the information gathered from readings as well as a range of individual and community consultations conducted in the current consultancy.

A number of activities have been undertaken in the development of the Consultation and Cultural Profile Report including:

A brief history

Dickson is named after Sir James Dickson, KCMG, a legislator, federalist and one of the founders of the Australian Constitution. The area was gazetted on the 20 September 1928 however, there was a gap of over 30 years between Dickson being named as a suburb and the commencement of housing development in the early 1960s. No theme was established for Dickson with regard to street names however, Ainslie was nominated to have the theme of pioneers and legislators, Hackett was nominated as mainly scientists, and Watson as judges (DELP, 1992). Whilst Ainslie and Dickson were gazetted in 1928, Downer, Watson and Hackett were not gazetted as Division Names until 1960.

There are no specific records available of Aboriginal occupation of the area however some of the histories report of Aboriginal camps across the Limestone Plains, especially along the Molonglo River and in winter, on Black Mountain and Mount Majura.

For much of the first part of this century the area was under pastoral activity with suburban development in the area largely not commencing until the 1960s. A small runway known as Northbourne Aviation Ground operated in an area between Antill Street and the Dickson Library. The runway was declared operational on the 4 March 1924 and remained open until 26 November 1926 at which time aircraft operations were transferred to a site on the western side of the current Canberra Airport.

Parts of Ainslie are on the ACT Heritage Places Register and include Alt Crescent, Corroboree Park, Wakefield Gardens which are nominated for their historical value as intact examples of ‘Garden City’ planning and/or sub-division. Beaufort Steel House and a bus shelter on Cowper Street are also on the Register.

Other sections of Ainslie are on the Interim Heritage Listing pending formal ratification including Fairbridge Crescent and Ainslie Avenue and All Saints Church, a converted mortuary railway station relocated from Rookwood Necropolis.

There are no designated heritage sites in the suburbs of Dickson, Watson or Hackett however the trees of the former Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research (CS&IR) experiment station at Downer are nominated on the ACT Interim Heritage Places Register including the street trees along Swinden Street and the plantings around the Downer Shops and playing fields.

In 1995, the ACT Chapter of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects honoured the work of the architect Enrico Taglietti with a 25 year award for sustained architectural excellence for the Dickson District Library.

The environment

Originally the area was part of the native grasslands which were a dominant feature of the Limestone Plains.

Rising to the east of the shopping centre are Mount Majura and Mount Ainslie, prominent physical features in the landscape which provide a backdrop to the shopping centre. The view from the walking tracks on Mount Majura present an image of mature suburbs with tree lined streets which change colour dramatically in the autumn. The trails also provide good views to Namadgi National Park in the west.

Walkers and cyclists would be aware of what is now known as “the drain” a concrete structure which runs through the suburb of Dickson and along the back of the shopping centre. The drain is part of the storm water system but it also a tributary of the Sullivans Creek Catchment system. Sullivans Creek which originates north of Gungahlin, runs through Lyneham, Turner and Acton and empties into Lake Burley Griffin in the West Basin area.

So, the Dickson we know today presents a very different environment to 40 year ago when the area was a big open paddock apart from the CS and IR experiment station at Downer. In the consultations a number of people remembered being the first houses in their street in the Dickson area, that you could see all the way to Northbourne Avenue and that Antill Street marked the area “beyond civilisation”.

The establishment of the mature trees which line the streets of the area are very much part of the suburban settlement pattern. The Yarralumla Nursery supplied every new home with 200 trees which was later reduced to 40 trees and 60 shrubs. “Ah! so that’s why I had to cut out so many trees when I first moved in”. In one of the consultations, there was a story of a guy taking to his tree allocation with a chain saw to “fit them” on the block.

The Dickson Shopping Centre

The shopping centre and the suburbs are a product of planning and design of the 1960s and 1970s. Dickson was established as a Group Centre under the ACT Territory Plan.

The shopping centre has been described through the consultation process as being in three ‘disconnected’ bits. Whilst Badham and Cowper Streets create the physical divisions in the shopping centre, each area feels quite different with a differing focus of activity occurring within each area. The three areas were variously described as the service area, the shopping centre and the recreation area.

There were some mixed reactions as to whether people saw the community, recreation and entertainment activities to the east of Cowper Street as part of the shopping centre. However, generally people expressed the need to see this area drawn back into the shopping centre.

The people working at the ANCA Studios and the Majura Community Centre reported quite high levels of day time visitation to the shopping centre for lunch, to have meetings, banking, post and for grocery shopping and then later for evening visits to the cafes and restaurants. Residents of the surrounding suburbs involved in the consultation process report a varied pattern of visitation to the area. Sometimes people might visit the shopping centre several times a day or week at least and then not go back until the weekly shopping was due. Essentially, the shopping centre is treated both as a local shop as well as being a district level shopping centre

In the consultation process, the Dickson Shopping Centre was generally perceived to provide a range of activities. There is in excess of 35 businesses involved in café, restaurant and fast food. There is a selection of banking services, the post office, newsagent, Library, Community Health Centre, financial and legal services, chemists, personal care, small department store and TAB. The area is serviced by medical and allied health services including physiotherapy, dentistry and pathology. The Dickson Tradesmans Club provides sporting, restaurant, entertainment, gambling, Bicycle Museum and an Observatory. There is a range of other local and district recreation and leisure facilities and services including tennis courts, swimming pool, the Yowani Golf Club, Putt Putt Golf, Southwell Park and the Dickson Ovals.

The daytime population is boosted by a significant public service sector grouped in Challis Street particularly, as well as the student populations of Daramalan College and High School and Dickson College. The Year 11 and 12 students of Daramalan College advised that they are regular visitors to McDonalds.

Apart from the education and public service sector, the Dickson Shopping Centre services a mixed clientele including residents from the surrounding suburbs, employees from the range of retail, trades and professional services in Dickson, people from across Canberra who visit the area for sporting or the evening restaurant trade, tourists and visitors to Canberra. It was noted that it is the first shopping centre on arrival to Canberra for people travelling on the highway from Sydney or conversely, the last as you leave Canberra.

There is a significant range of tourist and visitor accommodation in the area and a number of tourist and interstate bus services that call into Dickson for food and amenity stops. The Exhibition Park In Canberra (EPIC) supports major local and interstate festivals and events. Whilst the Summernats is perhaps the most visible EPIC event, there is a steady stream of activity on site throughout the year which provides both direct and indirect economic impacts for the Dickson Shopping Centre.

Dickson is changing

One of the strongest feelings to come through the consultation process is the sense that the Dickson Shopping Centre is changing. This is both in relation to the population base in the surrounding suburbs as well as in the retail activity. Whilst people reported that there is a perception of the shopping centre having an aged focus, the 1996 ABS data shows that the median age for the North Canberra Statistical Division as being 31.

Several shop keepers suggested that there is a change from house ownership to a rental residential base in the surrounding suburbs and an increase in the student population and group houses which in turn is changing shopping patterns. The ABS data indicates that home ownership including purchasing is generally lower in North Canberra than other Statistical Divisions however, there was slight increase in home ownership between 1991 and 1996 from 6,863 to 6,923. While there are individual suburbs in the Division with significantly higher income (Campbell, City, Majura), the median personal weekly income for the North Canberra Statistical Division is reported as $336.

The following description of the Marsden Street neighbourhood in the 1960’s provides a flavour of the changes that have gone on and which continue to occur.

“There were lots of kids when this suburb was young. There were 3 - 4 children in every house. We shared the kids. If there were visitors at your house, a neighbour would take your kids and bunk them down for the night… they all thought it was great fun! We had baby sitting clubs. You got to know your neighbours through your kids where as now we’re a bit isolated. Then, the suburb went through a period of adult/ageing but the area is changing again and there are more kids again.

One thing about the social structure was the lack of extended families. We were here on our own so you had to fall back on your own resources. If you needed help, it was most likely that you could call on your neighbours”.

In the past the Churches, affiliations associated with facilities such as the schools, tennis courts and the swimming pool and Ethos, the Dickson Pub were vital elements in providing a social life in the suburbs surrounding the shopping centre. Several intrepid residents recounted with both nostalgia and humour stories about the Dickson Pub and that you come out with a least a blood nose if you felt like a little excitement on a Friday or Saturday night! In several consultations the pub was noted to be a ‘gay haunt’ in the late 1970s and ‘80s.

There is a sense from the consultations that Dickson is less of a social focus than it has been in the past. People noted that the churches used to have meetings, there were jazz afternoons and the Daramalan Club organised lots of social functions. This perception perhaps is muted by the view of Dickson being such a good ‘meeting place’. That any time you go to the shopping centre, you can anticipate running into friends and/or neighbours and stopping for a chat. I would suggest this indicates a change from organised social interactions through clubs and affiliations to an increase in more individualised social interaction.

People regard the diversity of the population living in the suburbs around the Dickson Shopping Centre as an asset and to be encouraged. Some suggested it is what contributes to a sense of community in the area. People like the sense that you don’t have to look your best to go to the shops at Dickson and suggested it was suburban, relaxed and unpretentious. “Its not like Manuka or Kingston - you don’t have to be glamorous. You can go a bit shabby and not have to worry as to who will see you”. A lot of people were concerned that the upgrade process may lead to a sterilisation and gentrification of the area and thus loose its character.

In undertaking the consultations, I was struck by the sense of stability within the communities which surround the shopping centre. Whether as home owners or people in rental property, people enjoy living in the suburbs and want to stay.

Residents who have lived in the area since the 1960’s were able to identify that there had been a significant decline in choice and variety of shopping available in the retail core. “Where the Commonwealth Bank is was lots of different shops. There used to be Mansours, a jeweller, the Bank, mens wear, womens wear, McDonalds (the childrens wear people) and, a manchester shop to name but a few.”

A resident of Dickson described the change in Woolley Street which kicked off as a light industrial area perhaps in association with the ACT Motor Registry in Challis Street. While there are still business operating in the area which show links to this initial development, the street has intensified into a café and restaurant area with a strong Asian influence. Whilst Allens was regarded fondly by many, in one consultation it was described as “the Batemans Bay of Canberra” and no longer competitive with other places. The absence of a hardware store was frequently noted in the consultations.

The extended trading hours of Woolworths was regarded as a significant and positive change in the area in that the area is active until much later, and therefore feels safer.

Through the consultation process there is a sense that it is time to bring in new shops. There has been some growth in computer services quite recently and a number of the consultations suggested that having monthly open air markets might make the place more lively and interesting. People living around the shopping centre are concerned that there will be a detrimental impact on the shopping centre if more cafes and restaurants open.

Describing Dickson

The following is a selection of the comments people made in trying to describe the character of the place.

Its shabby. In a lot of ways its a utilitarian place and not trendy. Location, location, location - its so easy to get to and get around. A lot of Dickson is ugly - the Library is really ugly. It all faces in instead of out. Its very 60s, lots of concrete and very square. Its very grey. Its a great meeting place and its becoming more cosmopolitan. Its very cool, retro university, trendy type place for meetings; there’s lots of mobile phone. Some parts are like a waste land and very depressing. You can wear your slippers to Woolies where if you go to Belconnen or Civic you’d be going out. The Woolies seat benches are like druggies corner. Its endearlingly grotty - its just starting to develop a grotty maturity so don’t ruin it!. Its haphazard, a bit Newtowny - very unlike Canberra which I like. A lot of people we know call it the center of the universe. Reid meets Downer - from RM Williams to pierced tongues. The Dunlop factor. There is a day time factor and a night time factor. Its a sociological experience. Its open, not closed. The place is roofless and open to the elements. The small scale and the diversity are where the character come from.

We need to make cultural links in Dickson

A one day festival was suggested through the consultation process for Dickson. Such a proposal would need to be developed through a group such as the Precinct Group or a business group. The proposal could find support if an organised group in association with the businesses, restaurateurs, community services agencies, interest groups and arts groups in the area joined forces to make the day a success.

A number of comments were made about how the Chinese New Year celebrations which occur in Woolley and Cape Street are good but that the celebrations need to better organised and promoted. Members of the community involved in these events would need to decide whether they wish to widen the focus. However, the comments do indicate that the wider community are interested in these celebrations and that it is an opportunity to promote a unique element in the cultural and economic life of the shopping centre. Certainly other cities such as Sydney and Melbourne have turned cultural events and traditions of other cultures into events for the wider community with great success.

It was suggested that the community doesn’t capitalise on the diversity of the area and that maybe there could be a food festival. The closure of Woolley and Badham Streets for a day to put on the festival might strengthen the cultural life of the area. It was noted that there is a vibrant arts community in the area with Megalo Access Arts at Hackett, the Dickson District Library, the ACT Craft Gallery at Watson and the ANCA Studios and Gallery. In the consultation with artists at the ANCA Studios, a lot of ideas came up for ANCA to consider in developing and strengthening ties into the shopping centre area, especially with the Library.

Many people thought it would be a good idea to improve the Library services by encouraging the use of the spaces around the shopping centre for Library programs.

The courtyards also need to be improved. The Library is involved in organising an annual Christmas Carols event and participated in this year’s Multicultural Festival by holding story telling in the area in front of the Library. The problem for the Library is that the area directly in front of it is very hot in summer with little shade or shelter and is blasted by cold winds in winter.

A range of other agencies are involved in the cultural and community life of the area. The Majura Community Centre provides a venue for a range of activities including study circles associated with the University of the Third Age and social dances. Some of the community service providers occasionally involve their client groups in arts and cultural activity. An example of this is that during 1995, Sally Clarke a local writer and journalist worked with the Dickson Community Health Centre and published a collection of stories from the Dickson Seniors Network titled “Oh Dear! This does bring back memories”.

The colleges need to be recognised for their potential for contributing to the cultural and community life of the area. Students from Daramalan College studying art and/or graphic design expressed an interest in being involved in community arts projects. An example might be Megalo Access Arts and the College(s) working together for banner design and production as part of a festival or other local event.

There were mixed feelings about the buskers especially in relation to quality, however they were also seen as being a unique part of the cultural life of the Dickson Shopping Centre and to be encouraged in the design process.

In the consultation process, despite the difficulty people occasionally experienced in identifying it character and attributes some elements of the cultural life of the area have been identified. Dickson is a colourful place with a diverse community. There is a history associated with the airstrip, the CS and IR experiment station at Downer and the sheep paddocks which were once associated with Duntroon. In the words of a participant in the consultation process “we need to encourage awareness of the cultural ambience of the area. Dickson has become a cultural centre with the Library, ANCA, meetings and the Observatory and Planetarium but we haven’t found a way to make people aware that the area is growing as a cultural centre.”

What are the problems?

There was a high level of consistency in the issues identified across the consultation process from the very early stages of the Precinct Community Group through to the current round of consultations. I do not intend to use this report to repeat verbatim the extensive wealth of data that has been collected. In this section, I wish to elaborate on some of the issues within the context of their social and cultural implications. The issues that have been identified can be summarised as including a wide range of traffic and parking problems, toilets, maintenance and cleanliness. Many other comments were made about the Dickson Shopping Centre. The proceedings from each of the consultations will form part of the briefing for the Design Team as it enters the design and master plan stage for the refurbishment project.

Many people including young people from Daramalan said that children need to be considered in the design response too. There needs to be areas that are playful and children friendly.

The roads are acting as physical and psychological barriers to peoples desire to see the area develop a sense of integration and connectivity. A common perception is that you are risking life and limb especially as a pedestrian but also as a cyclist to make your way around the shopping center. Rather than parking in one spot and walking around, people get in their cars thus intensifying car use. Irrespective of your reason for visiting the shopping centre - students from Daramalan walking to McDonalds, a shopper crossing Badham Street at Dickson Place or outside McDonalds to go to Westpac or the liquor shop, parents getting kids from the car/paying for parking and getting onto a footpath, walkers crossing at the swimming pool or the lights on Cowper Street or cyclists crossing Challis Street, people have the sense that they are running the gauntlet.

Keris Delaney has prepared a detailed report on access issues with regard to the Dickson Shopping Centre. However, it should be noted that the consultations with service providers and older members of the community showed a level of concern in relation to access issues. Community service providers identified issues with regard to older people in terms of pedestrian safety to gain access to the Library, banking, health and other professional services.

There were a number of accounts of older people sustaining injuries including broken bones from the unevenness of pavements. The pram/wheelchair access ramps are seen to be too narrow, often steep and that there is sometimes a lack of access connection from one side of the street to the other. What this means is that people in wheel chairs may find themselves moving parallel to the road before being able to mount the footpath.

Across the consultation process, a high level of concern was also expressed about a number of safety issues. While some of the issues are discussed in more detail in this section of the report, in summary they were identified as: the toilets; the bus parking area in Cowper Street; the number of black spots and blind alleyways and corners in around the shopping centre core; the absence of pedestrian lighting as well as car and pedestrian conflicts at key points including near Woolworths; the Library; from the swimming pool and on the corner of Badham Street/Dickson Place/Woolley Street.

The lack of definable pedestrian movements through the car parks to get to the footpath system in and around the centre is an issue for many, in particular, parents with young children.

Cyclists identified safety issues with regard to clear routes into the shopping centre, the points at which the cycleway intersects with streets and car movements and the lack of lighting along the cycleway.

Pedestrian lighting through the area is almost non-existent and heavily reliant on those shops and businesses which leave some lights on in their premises. While some activity areas like Woolworths and the café/restaurant strip in Woolley Street are intensely lit, many of the car parks and surrounding areas are poorly lit and increase perceptions of lack of safety. Lighting is almost non-existent beyond the swimming pool to Rosevear Place, yet there is a significant proportion of community, arts, recreation and sporting activity which is not restricted to day time use patterns. There is no designated footpath through the area either and many of the facilities have erected high mesh fences. People want a safe corridor from Allens to the playing fields up past the swimming pool.

The toilets are presenting a major issue for most people. The café owners are reluctant to send people to the existing toilets and are embarrassed to suggest to people that they go to the Library. The Library and McDonalds are acting as the defacto public toilets. Some elderly people are unable to get down the stairs in the Library and parents with impatient young children have difficulty waiting for the key to be handed over before they can access the toilets. Many people are sympathetic with the frustration of both the Library staff and McDonalds in having to provide this service.

The toilets are perceived to be too far from the centre of the shopping area, dirty and dangerous. The sign which has been erected on the Library to direct people to the toilets in their current position is confusing, as many people end up at the service entry to the Library looking for the toilets. Placement of toilets in a more central location needs to be resolved in the development of the master plan.

There is a general lack of satisfaction with the amenity provided throughout the shopping center. It was noted that “there is an issue in the need for creativity in the design of the local shopping centres. There is nothing different, unique, attractive or places that delight”. People are concerned at the decline of green space in the area as it has grown and the lack of care and maintenance of garden areas and trees. It was suggested that the Design Team use colour and plantings to create visual links across the three segments of the shopping centre.

In discussing factors associated with amenity participants noted that the street furniture is poorly maintained, bubblers don’t work and are not accessible to people in wheelchairs. There was a plea for bubblers which smaller children can access on their own and not require parents to lift them over the bubbler. The bubblers should also be designed with consideration of community health. Rubbish bins do not contain the rubbish put in them and there is often litter blowing throughout the area. There was a request that the rubbish bins and seats not be positioned on top of each other.

It was also identified that there has been poor consideration of parking areas for cyclists so they tend to ride right into the centre of the area and will often park the cycle against a tree or seat rather than use the cycle racks which are often out of sight and subject to theft.

There are many entry points and no ‘point of arrival’ across the whole of the Dickson Shopping Centre area. There is poor visibility into the centre until you are right on the intersections of either Cowper Street or Badham Street. There were a number of references to the high brick walls of the swimming pool contributing to poor visual access through the area. The area between the Baptist Church and Allens was particularly seen as a pedestrian and cycle entry point whereas Badham Street was regarded as the main vehicular entry point. It was suggested on a number of occasions that an entry feature be considered in the refurbishment process. The entry feature would be an opportunity for the integration of art and landscape design.

A supplementary issue to this, is the poor sign posting in and through the area. Signage and information are integral to promoting the business and community life of the area. As some one said in the consultations “it lacks a wailing wall, a place to leave messages, a place to gather around”. It was noted that there is no Directory. The Library as the only ‘community service’ in the shopping centre core. Library staff are often approached by people wanting to know where a particular business is, bus timetable information or how to find the community services area beyond the swimming pool. It was also suggested that it would be good to try and initiate signage into Dickson from Northbourne Avenue.

There were a number of suggestions for looking at introducing poster boards to be located in a central area for posters to go onto. The poster silos in Garema Place were cited as being a successful example. At the Business and Community Forum it was suggested that a number of businesses needed to be reminded of their lessee obligations with regard to removal of out of date and tattered posters. While property owners were identified as being particularly responsible it was suggested that it would be good if the Department did a blitz occasionally also to enhance the amenity of the public areas.

A shopping centre needs to meet the needs of people

The final section of this report briefly discusses a number of issues that emerged from the consultation process. While the issues raised are not essential to a public place refurbishment project, they have social and economic implications and are included in this document for consideration by the business community of Dickson.

As noted previously, a number of the consultations suggested that Dickson is a shopping centre with a focus on an aged community. Young people are not seeing the Dickson Shopping Centre as an area for them and without fail they all cited that they went to Belconnen or Civic. “Dickson is boring!” There are 350 Year 11 and 12 students at Daramalan College alone and the Youth Centre is visited by 20 to 30 young people daily. There were 630 young people between the ages of 0 to 24 recorded in the 1996 census for Dickson local statistical area.

While the shopping centre may not be interested in young people, it would seem from the consultations that the 30 to 50 age group also doesn’t perceive the area as having much interest for them short of Woolies, taking their kids to “Mackers” or the video shop. “It is a very old ladies shopping area - Woolies, the chemist, Allens, the shoe shop are all oriented to the older group”.

Through the consultation process quite a strong dislike of the Dickson Shopping Centre was expressed and there are obviously people who choose to go to local shopping centres in the surrounding suburbs rather than go to the Dickson Shopping Centre.

Quite a lot of negative comment was directed at Woolworths. The aisles were seen to be deliberately cramped and crowded despite the expansion several years ago. There is a perception that Woolworths doesn’t care about its customers, public footpaths are cluttered with trolleys (which people felt should be contained within the site itself) and, that Woolworths is seen as being the reason for the decline in the variety of shopping available in the centre. Many people are unhappy with the staff smoking on the seats immediately outside Woolworths and are concerned that Woolworths does not provide a space within its building for staff to go and smoke. This point was particularly viewed as presenting a poor image to the local population and indicating a lack of care to staff and customers.

Lots of people wondered why the Dickson retailers had not formed a local business group and started working together to improve coordination and lobby for changes in the centre. “There is no sense of ownership of the business interests in the area which might assist with some things e.g. Directory, maintenance” and, “the shop keepers should get together and develop policies and control each other - it would improve traffic movements and rubbish”.

It would appear that while peoples needs are met for shopping and professional services from Dickson there is a general lack of satisfaction from residents and shoppers. There is a perception that the businesses are not really trying.

In conclusion, the cultural life and character of the Dickson Shopping Centre is formed by its location, its role as a district level commercial centre and by the residents and visitors who go there. Simultaneously there is a perception of Dickson as the ‘local shops’ and yet the consultations and research reinforce the importance of the shopping centre at a district level for North Canberra.

While a range of qualities and experiences were described throughout the consultations, no strong theme emerges from a design perspective. This is not to say that there are qualities and features of the environment and the community which cannot be utilised in artistic or landscape design. There are opportunities with regard to plantings, pavements, identity signage and street furniture for artists to be invited to reflect on the cultural and community characteristics and values in the refurbishment of the Dickson Shopping Centre.

Figure 1.0 - Dickson Group Centre Cultural Planning Regional Details
Figure 1.0 - Dickson Group Centre Cultural Planning Regional Details


ACT Heritage Council ALL SAINTS CHURCH, AINSLIE Interim Heritage Places Register 23 March, 1998
ACT Heritage Council ALT CRESCENT, AINSLIE ACT Heritage Places Register
ACT Heritage Council CORROBOREE PARK PRECINCT ACT Heritage Places Register
ACT Heritage Council WAKEFIELD GARDENS PRECINCT, AINSLIE Interim Heritage Places Register 27 June, 1997
Clarke Sally (compiler) OH DEAR! THIS DOES BRING BACK MEMORIES Stories from the Dickson Seniors’ Network February to April 1994 Claverton House ACT 1995
Cleary Ann and Geleris Pedro CIVIC REVEALED - A COMMUNITY PROFILE ACT Government Printer 1996
Dept Environment and Land Planning CANBERRA’S SUBURBS AND STREET NAMES - HISTORY ORIGINS AND MEANINGS ACT Government Printer 1992
Dickson Precinct Community Group NEWSLETTER No1 - April 1997
Gillespie Lyall CANBERRA 1820 - 1913 AGPS 1991
Powell Tony Obituary Letter to Canberra Times on the death of Latvian planner and architect Oskars Pumpurse 29 August, 1992
The Canberra Observatory History and telescope information leaflet

See also:

Comments and corrections to Tom Worthington.

Note: This information is no longer being updated but has been retained for reference.