On 19 March 1960, the suburb of Hackett was announced, along with the suburbs of Downer and Watson, with the gazettal of these names under the National Memorials Ordinance 1928-1953.
Hackett is an inner north suburb of Canberra and adjacent to Watson in the north-west and Ainslie to the south. It is bound by Antill Street on the north-west side, Phillip Avenue to the south, and the Mount Majura Nature Reserve along the eastern side.
The suburb was named after Sir John Winthrop Hackett (1848-1916). Sir John was a legislator, editor of the West Australian newspaper and public benefactor and leading support for an Australian Federation. He represented Western Australia at the 1891 Constitutional Convention and 1897-98 Federal Australiasian Convention and was a member of the Constitutional Committee. He was elected to the WA State Legislative Council in 1894 and remained a Member until his death.
A more comprehensive record of Hackett is contained in the book “Hackett – 50 years plus: Story of a north Canberra suburb” published in 2018 by the Hackett Community Association (HCA). The book is out of print, but a PDF version is available here.
Hackett – an area for a north Canberra cemetery
In September 2020, the HCA submitted an application to have the Hackett Oval avenue of trees listed on the ACT Tree Register. Aerial photos from the 1950s showed that these trees were well established before this time. However, no evidence could be found as to why they were planted and precisely when. Recent research of maps and records held by the National Library of Australia, National Archives of Australia and the ACT Archives, has found some interesting information related to the trees – the area to the east was identified in the 1920s as a site for a future cemetery for an expanding Canberra. Click here to find out more.
A chronology of key events related to the suburb can be viewed by clicking here.
The streets in Hackett are mainly named after scientists. Click here for a list of the streets in Hackett and the origin of each street name.
A list of the street trees of Hackett can be accessed here.
Quick facts about Hackett
- The suburb of Hackett was gazetted on 19 March 1960 along with Downer and Watson.
- The gazettal noted Hackett would cover approximately 350 acres (141ha) with Downer and Watson each covering approximately 380 acres (154ha). Each suburb would have a population of 5,000.
- The streets are planted with 15 different species of trees including 11 exotic and four native species. The Red Oak (Quercus borealis) is the most common, planted in 11 of the streets, while the Red Box (Eucalyptus polyanthemos) is the most common native species. Click here to see the list of street trees.
- In 2016 there were 1,235 dwellings including units and single standing houses.
- There are 44 streets in Hackett with 1,125 blocks. But not all blocks have houses on them. They include the Hackett oval precinct, parks, small garden beds (e.g. on Mackenzie St, opposite the Bragg St park); walkways between streets are also allocated a block number. In some walkways there are separate blocks for power poles.
- The first area to be developed was sections 1-18, within an area bound by Antill, Maitland and Madigan Streets and Phillip Avenue.
- The first blocks were auctioned on 10 December 1962, with 50 blocks offered to building companies. The average price was £1,195 a block.
- On 13 December 1962, 67 blocks of land in Hackett, were sold at a restricted auction (open only to people who did not already own a block), at an average price of £662.
- Some of the larger blocks in Jukes St and higher parts of Rivett St were identified in the 1960s as VIP sites for possible use as diplomatic housing. These were not sold until 1972.
- In November 1962, the National Capital Development Commission (NCDC) announced that the first houses would be built in Hackett.
- The first houses for sale in Hackett were advertised in The Canberra Times on 27 July 1963.
- The houses on the north side of Grayson Street (section 37) were a ‘radical’ new type of building complex for Canberra, known as ‘patio housing’. But builders were reluctant to buy these blocks because of covenant issues – one block was first sold in 1966 for $575, then handed back in June 1968 and then resold for only $100 in November 1968.
- The park on the northern side of these Grayson St houses is a flood bed for 50-year flood cycles.
- In 1963 the population was only 156 but rapidly increased to 2,067 in 1964; 4,018 in 1966; 4,203 in 1967; 4,313 in 1969; 4,500 in 1971 and thereafter declining steadily to 3,650 in 1980. In 2016, the population was 2,991.
- Hackett Primary School opened in May 1966 and by 1974 had 573 pupils. By 1990 the numbers had declined to 148 and it closed in December 1990.
- Mt Majura is thought to have been named after a place that Robert Campbell (of Duntroon) had visited in India.
- The first shop to open was JB Young’s Value Plus food store on 9 June 1966. Over 3,000 people attended the opening day.
- The former Hackett Pharmacy was the longest continually operating business at the Hackett shops, opening in mid 1966 and closing in September 1991; a total of 24 years.
- In 2015, 29 houses were identified as containing asbestos insulation under the Loose Fill Eradication Scheme; the highest number for suburbs in north Canberra.