Woden Town Centre

Woden Town Centre
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Location of the Woden Town Centre
Established 1966
Postcode(s) 2606
District Woden Valley
Territory electorate(s) Molonglo
Federal Division(s) Canberra
"Sculptured Form" by Margel Hinder (1970)

Woden Town Centre is the main commercial centre of the district of Woden Valley in Canberra, Australia. It is located in the Canberra suburb of Phillip. The town centre has a variety of shops and amenities, including office blocks that house Australian departments, and shopping centres like Westfield Woden. The Woden Valley itself was the first satellite city, separate from the Canberra Central district.

Like Phillip, the town centre was established in 1966 and the suburb it is located in was named after Arthur Phillip, who was the first Governor of New South Wales. In 1971, a flash flood caused the deaths of seven people, which occurred right near the Woden Town Centre. The centre is the location of the tallest building in Canberra, the Lovett Tower (formerly known as the MLC Tower).


The Woden Town Centre was established in 1966, following when Phillip was gazetted on 12 May 1966.[1] Like Phillip, except for Swinger Hill, street names in the Woden Town Centre are associated with the First, Second and Third Fleets.[2] Construction began around 1968, when the Fishburn and Sirius buildings, along with the Alexander and Albemarle Buildings were among the first buildings to be built at the centre.[3] On 26 January 1971, a flash flood occurred near the Woden Town Centre, where 95 mm of rain fell in one hour and killed seven people.[4] The Woden Plaza was opened on 18 September 1972 by former Prime Minister of Australia, William McMahon.[5]


Juliana House, now refurbished as a new apartment hotel

Refurbishments for Scarborough House were considered in the 1990s,[6] which were eventually done several years later.[7] The existing Fishburn and Sirius Buildings were demolished in 2007-08 to make way for a new $67 million development housing some of the offices of the Department of Health and Ageing.[8] The old Penrhyn House located at 2-6 Bowes Street was sold for $14 million in June 2012.[9] The building, purchased by the boutique property fund manager went through a revamp, treated with a $10 million upgrade, which is expected to bring back 900 public servants to the Woden Town Centre, due to its sustainable space of 12,622 metres square.[10] In 2014, the Juliana House was reopened by Abode Hotels as a hotel, where the office tower, which once housed the Commonwealth Health and Ageing offices, was closed down and left vacant in 2010.[11][12][13] The conversion of the building resulted in the withdraw of 8,500 square metres of space from the ACT property market.[13] The Alexander and Albemarle buildings are set for demolition to make way for a new development plan.[14]

In 2013, a new bus layover has been proposed at the locations of Phillip Oval and the corner of Launceston and Callam Street.[15] This is to improve the flow and efficiency of transportation in the town centre. "Block 13" mentioned in this plan is a desirable site for a new bus layover in the Woden Town Centre.[15] This brings opportunity for the Phillip Oval, for future use and its increase of importance for second tier ground for Cricket and AFL.[15]

An Estate Development Plan was approved for the Woden Town Centre in November 2013.[16] The Woden Town Centre revamp is similar to what happened with the redevelopment at the Belconnen Town Centre, which the redevelopment there resulted in significant urban design improvements.[17] A redevelopment on the Woden Bus Interchange had been considered since 2004, where plans introduced Westfield Woden's development team and its co-owners proposals to upgrade.[18] In 2014, work has been confirmed to begin as early as September, where the former police station next to the interchange is expected to be demolished to make way for new redevelopment. The redevelopment also includes demolishing the existing Woden Bus Interchange in replacement for a new building.[19] However, department store chain, Myer has stated they will not have an outlet located in Woden, resulting in some doubts of revitalisation.[20][21]

Geology and location

The rocks underneath Phillip are from the Silurian period and are from 417 to 414 million years old. Deakin Volcanics green-grey purple coloured rhyodacite can be found in the west half and south east corner of Phillip. Deakin Volcanics purple and green tuff has been observed around Hindmarsh Drive.[22]

The Woden Town Centre is located in Phillip which is in the district of the Woden Valley. The postcode is 2606. The Woden Town Centre neighbours the suburbs of Lyons from the north west, Chifley directly from the west and Pearce from south west, Curtin from north, Hughes from the north east, Garran directly from the east and O'Malley from south east, while Mawson borders from the south.

Urban structure

Westfield Woden from the southeast

The main shopping centre of Woden Town Centre is Westfield Woden, formerly called 'Woden Plaza' and 'Woden Shopping Square'. Westfield Woden includes major supermarkets (Woolworths and Coles), department stores such as David Jones and Big W, Hoyts cinemas and many other stores on several levels. Separate buildings house multi-storey car parks. Westfield Woden is intended to increase in size due to a redevelopment plan to improve the town centre.[16]

The Woden Town Centre is home to Headquarters for the Department of Veterans Affairs and IP Australia , located at the Discovery House, and the Department of Health is located in the new Sirius Building and Scarborough House building (14 stories and the second tallest office building in Canberra), both are located on Furzer and Atlantic Street.[23] A police station is located in the town centre, but moved from an older station next to the bus interchange, which is scheduled for demolition in September 2014.[19]

The tallest commercial building in Canberra, the 26 story 93 metre (305 ft) high Lovett Tower is located on Keltie Street. The tower was formerly known as the MLC Tower, but it was renamed in 2000 to honour the Lovett family.[24] It has been the tallest building in Canberra since its completion in 1973. The Tower is currently occupied by the Department of Veterans' Affairs, the Department of the Environment and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.[25] The Alexander and Albemarle Buildings once housed the Department of Health and Ageing as its central office until its closure in 2010, where they are now scheduled for demolition.[26]

Aviation House in Woden

The Woden Town Park is located across Callam street, although infrequently used because of its location away from the major shopping areas. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has its headquarters based at the Aviation House, which is adjacent to the Sirius Building. The Juliana House now serves as an apartment of hotel, after four years of being vacant. The Bonner House in Neptune street headquarters the Indigenous Business Australia.[27] The town centre has a postal office and a health centre. A Medibank branch is headquartered in Woden, which is next to the bus interchange. SkyPlaza is located in Woden, and is one of the tallest residential buildings in Canberra, where it is 60 m (197 ft) in height, 20 floors, and was completed in 2005.[28] The Woden Bus Interchange provides transport for people from one place to another, but the interchange has been scheduled for demolition, and the area also surrounding the interchange has been planned for new redevelopments to improve the town centre. A redevelopment master plan for this was first considered back in 2004, but actual development will be taking place in September 2014.[18][19] The Phillip Ice Skating Centre was the home arena for the Canberra Knights, until 2014.[29]


Just outside the Woden Town Centre is the Phillip campus of the Canberra College, a secondary school catering to years 11 and 12 (16 – 18 years old). The town centre also has a local library which is located on Corinna Street.[30]


  1. "Districts Ordinance 1966 No. 5 (Cth)". Australian Capital Territory Numbered Ordinances. AustLII. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  2. "Suburb Name search results". ACT Planning & Land Authority. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  3. "Construction of government offices at Woden; Sirius Building completed at left, Alexander and Albemarle Buildings at top". ACT Heritage Library Images ACT. 1968. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  4. Bureau of Meteorology "Facts on Flash Floods in NSW"
  5. "Chronology of the ACT". Canberra & District Historical Society. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  6. Australia. Parliament. Standing Committee on Public Works: Parliamentary paper (Australia. Parliament) ; no. 48 (1995). Report relating to the refurbishment of Scarborough House and construction of Commonwealth offices Phillip, ACT / Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Worlks. Canberra. ISBN 0644452218. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  7. Guida Moseley Brown Architects. "Scarborough House Woden - Extension and Refurbishment". Australian Institute of Architects. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  8. "Joint Standing Committee on Public Works - Report on the Fit-out of New Leased Premises for the Department of Health and Ageing in the Sirius Building, Woden Town Centre, ACT.". Government of Australia - House of Representatives Committees. 15 August 2007. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  9. Thistleton, John (17 July 2012). "Perfect storm in property forecast". Canberra Times. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  10. Cilsby, Meredith; Thomson, Phillip (27 August 2014). "Penrhyn House revamp could bring 900 public servants to Woden". smh.com.au. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  11. "Bold new life in Woden". Canberra Times. 20 October 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  12. "Abode Woden". Abode - the Apartment Hotel. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  13. 1 2 Thistleton, John (13 March 2014). "Woden offices take on second life as hotel". Canberra Times. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  14. Thistleton, John (12 March 2012). "Woden to reach for the heights". Canberra Times. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  15. 1 2 3 "Information Sheet Proposed Territory Plan Variation" (PDF). ACT Government Economic Development. 17 October 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  16. 1 2 ACT Government Economic Development. "Woden Town Centre Improvements". Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  17. "Design concept for Belconnen Town Centre Public transport improvements and transit oriented development" (PDF). ACT Planning and Land Authority. March 2008. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  18. 1 2 "Woden Town Centre improvements including the bus interchange" (PDF). Woden Valley Community Council. June 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  19. 1 2 3 Peake, Ross (22 August 2014). "Hopes for hipster precinct in revamp of Woden town centre". Canberra Times. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  20. Riordan, Primrose (16 September 2014). "Revitalisation doubts as Myer abandons Westfield Woden plans". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  21. Willis, Louise; Thorpe, Clarissa (17 September 2014). "Woden retailers raise concerns over shopping centre after Myer decides not to open new store". 666 ABC Canberra. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  22. Gardner, D.E. ( 1974 ): Geological observations at several construction sites, at Canberra (Northside) and Phillip, ACT 1967-68. Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology and Geophysics.
  23. "Contact us". Department of Health. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  24. "A fighting spirit". The Age. 24 April 2006. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  25. Towell, Noel; Clisby, Meredith; Page, Fleta (5 March 2014). "Welcome to Woden: tallest tower to empty as public service job cuts hit hub hard". The Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 5 March 2014.
  26. "Department of Health and Ageing Contact Details". Department of Health and Ageing. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  27. "Indigenous Business Australia". Australian Government. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  28. "Buildings of Canberra". Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  29. Gaskin, Lee (26 February 2014). "Canberra Knights on thin ice after 33 years in existence". Canberra Times. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  30. "Branches and opening hours". ACT Government - Libraries. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
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Coordinates: 35°20′46″S 149°05′10″E / 35.34611°S 149.08611°E / -35.34611; 149.08611

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