Newsletter June 2021

HCA Newsletter June 2021


HCA members

Welcome to the Hackett Community Association’s (HCA) June 2021 newsletter. Lots to report on since we did not have a meeting in May, especially some very interesting information about the avenue of trees along the eastern side of the oval.

Feel free to forward this email onto Hackett residents and people who would like to know more about our great suburb. 

Hackett book

We have sold all copies of the HCA book “Hackett – 50 years plus: Story of a North Canberra suburb”. A PDF copy of the book is available on the HCA website. 

Improvements to carpark, Kellaway St

The ACT Government put in new concrete edging in the carpark on Kellaway Street.  They also removed the broken treated logs and put in some plants adjacent to the new edging. Looks far better.

Hackett shops upgrade

In the ACT Government’s “Our CBR” update 19 February 2021, there was a note about a refresh of Hackett shops to “improve access and provide a new picnic table”.  The pathways on the north side of IGA and Mills St have been either repaved or new ones created, and a table has been recently provided on the lawns adjacent to Tarquine Hair Salon. The HCA welcomes these improvements.

ACT Government grants

The HCA administers a number of grants from the ACT Government to groups in Hackett.

Adopt-a-Park program – Hackett shops gardens

The Hackett Collective received a grant under the 2019-20 Adopt-A-Park Community Grants Program to develop a plan to improve the gardens at the Hackett shops. These funds are managed by the HCA. The grant will be used to conduct a community consultation event to seek the views of residents. A landscape designer will then prepare a plan for consideration by the ACT Government by the end of October this year.  Details on the consultation event will be released in the coming months.

Adopt-a-Park program – Gilruth St Park

The Gilruth Park Supporters Group is continuing to work on the park. The group has now spent most of the 2019-20 grant, including on landscaping and plants, and is now concentrating on weeding and maintenance. In addition it was successful in its bid to be part of the Floriade Community for 2021 and has been planting a substantial number of new bulbs and annuals. A key aim is to continue to hold community events in the park, particularly when it gets warmer.

Nature in the City program – Bragg Street park swales

The Bragg Street Park Volunteers Group received a grant under the 2020-21 Nature in the City Program.  These funds will be used to construct seven swales. Swales are mounds of soil (approx. 1m high, 20m long and 1.5m wide) built across the contour with the aim of capturing water and directing it into the sub-soil rather than letting it run across the surface.

Much of the park has very poor grass cover, with some areas just hard, bare earth. During heavy rain events, water rushes down through the park taking with it soil and vegetation.  There is a stormwater drain that runs through the middle of the park from Mackenzie St, to the back of 31 Bragg St.  From there the drain goes below the backyards of houses in Bragg and Brennan Streets. Several times over the past decade this stormwater drain has blocked and overflowed.  This resulted in several gardens and garages in these streets getting flooded. While the ACT Government has flushed out this drain several times in recent years, it would appear that the pipe may not be large enough to handle large amounts of water.  Capturing water in the swales will reduce the amount of water entering the drain, but increase the ground water in the park which will benefit the plants. This work has been approved by the ACT Government and should be done in late June or early July, subject to weather.

Hackett compost

In late 2019, Capital Scraps Composting (formerly the Hackett Compost Collective) received a Community Zero Emissions grant from the ACT Government. The grant paid for the Hackett composter that lives behind the Hackett shops on Mills St, as well as management of the composter so that it could process as much local food waste as possible. In 10 months of operation the Hackett composter processed an impressive volume of food waste – more than 4 tonnes and it was still hungry!

The assistance from the grant program allowed Capital Scraps to fine tune their kerbside food scraps pick-up service and spread the word that community composting is a great way to reduce emissions. Thanks to this successful demonstration, Capital Scraps continues to rescue scraps from Hackett, Watson and other suburbs. Capital Scraps now has five urban composting hubs spread throughout nearby suburbs and is always looking for more households to get involved with their local climate action. Go to for more information.

2021-22 ACT Budget submission

The ACT Government invites individuals and organisations to provide input into the annual Territory Budget.  In 2019, the HCA provided a submission requesting provision of tables in the five parks in Hackett. During 2020, tables were provided for the Gilruth and Bragg St parks. The HCA has now submitted a request to have tables provided at the Stanley, Harris and Tryon St parks and at the northern end of the Hackett oval.

Hackett Oval trees – 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. In compiling information about these trees for the book about Hackett, aerial photos from the 1950s, showed that these trees were well established before then. However, no evidence could be found as to why they were planted and precisely when. The ACT Government had no records.

In April 2021, Chris Mobbs was in contact with Jane Goffman, Chair of the Dickson Residents Group.  Jane mentioned that she had seen an early plan of Canberra which indicated that this area was considered as a future site for a cemetery. This suggestion led to additional research being undertaken and compiled in a report that has been submitted to the ACT Tree Register to support the nomination – the report will be placed on the HCA website. A summary of the findings follows.

In the late 1920s, the agencies and departments responsible for the development of early Canberra, considered the need for future cemeteries for the city. This task fell mainly with the Federal Capital Commission who took advice from its Federal Capital Development Committee (FCDC). A search of records held by ACT Archives and the National Archives of Australia revealed that in 1928, this committee decided that the city would be best served by having one cemetery on the south side of the city and one on the north side.  The site for a north side “cemetery reserve” was on the lower slopes of Mount Majura, to the north-east of a future expanded suburb of Ainslie. It would cover approximately 24 ha (60 acres) in an area now covered by the south-east part of Hackett (an area approximately bounded by Grayson, Madigan, Mackenzie Streets and Phillip Avenue).  The FCDC also recommended the establishment of a “plantation screen fronting the City development for a width of some chains.”  A review of maps on the National Library of Australian Trove, identified several maps indicating the location of this proposed cemetery and reference to a plantation on the western side of the site. Copies of these maps are in the full report.

Due to the Depression, in 1930, the Federal Capital Commission and its Committee were replaced by the ACT Advisory Council (ACTAC), which operated from 1930-74. Unfortunately, only one document in 1931 included a reference to the north cemetery. Files for ACTAC for the period 1930-54 are not currently available at ACT Archives. While no specific records could be found to confirm the actual date of establishment of the plantation, the recommendations by the FCDC in the late 1920s and 1931 suggest that the plantation was established in the 1930s.  This date could be supported by aerial photos of the area taken in the 1950s which show the trees to be well established.

It is possible that there are some Canberrans who may have some information about why the cemetery did not eventuate and when the trees were planted.  If you have any information that could help fill in these gaps please send an email to

Welcome leaflet for new residents of Hackett

The HCA is preparing a four page leaflet aimed at people who have recently bought a house or unit, or are renting in Hackett. It will be provided to real estate agents for distribution at open days and to purchasers and renters.  It will include information such as interesting facts about the suburb, links to community organisations, schools, shops, Hackett-based businesses, churches, government services and a map of the adjacent Mt Majura Reserve. HCA Committee members will also have copies to give to new residents. If you know any new residents let us know (email to and we can drop a leaflet in their letterbox.

HCA funds for enhancing our community  

The HCA has accumulated a small pool of money (approx. $5,000).  The Committee has agreed that we could use some of these funds towards improving our suburb.  For example, provision of a map with information about the suburb at the shops. We would welcome suggestions from residents on possible things we could fund – please send your suggestions via email to

Equipment for use by community groups

The HCA has the following items for its use and for lending to Hackett community groups and residents:

  • Gazebo 3mx3m
  • Two power leads each 20m long
  • Wheelable esky
  • Electric 8 litre urn
  • 70 metres of garden hoses
  • Collapsible table
  • A-frame poster board and a blackboard

If you would like to borrow any of these, please send an email to

Social media intern

The HCA has a website and a Facebook page. We are interested in engaging a person for a few hours a week to help manage these sites, preferably someone who lives in Hackett. If you have skills and would like to develop them further, please send an email with your details to

Next meeting

Tuesday 11 July 2021, 7.30-8.30pm via Zoom. If you would like to participate, please send an email to and we can provide Zoom details.


Hackett Community Association

June 2021


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