Woden Valley

This article is about the district of the Australian Capital Territory. For the town centre, see Woden Town Centre.
Woden Valley
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Woden Valley from Red Hill looking across the suburb of Garran in the foreground to the Brindabella Ranges. The Canberra Hospital is to the left and the Woden Town Centre is to the right in the middle distance.

Location of Woden Valley, shaded.
Coordinates 35°20′43″S 149°05′42″E / 35.3452°S 149.095°E / -35.3452; 149.095Coordinates: 35°20′43″S 149°05′42″E / 35.3452°S 149.095°E / -35.3452; 149.095
Population 32,958 (2011 census)[1]
 • Density 1,152.4/km2 (2,985/sq mi)
Gazetted 12 May 1966[2]
Area 28.6 km2 (11.0 sq mi)
Location 7 km (4 mi) S of Canberra City
Territory electorate(s) Murrumbidgee
Federal Division(s) Canberra
Localities around Woden Valley:
Molonglo Valley Canberra Central Canberra Central
Weston Creek Woden Valley Jerrabomberra
Tuggeranong Tuggeranong Jerrabomberra

The District of Woden Valley is one of the original eighteen districts of the Australian Capital Territory used in land administration. The district is subdivided into divisions (suburbs), sections and blocks. The district of Woden Valley lies entirely within the bounds of the city of Canberra, the capital city of Australia.

The name of Woden Valley is taken from the name of a nearby homestead owned by Dr James Murray who named the homestead in October 1837 after the Old English god of wisdom, Woden.[3] He named it this as he was to spend his life in the pursuit of wisdom.

In 1964 it was the first satellite city to be built, separate from the Canberra Central district. It has its own shopping centre, employment opportunities and accommodation with twelve suburbs arranged around the Woden Town Centre. At the 2011 census, the population of the district was 32,958.[1]

Establishment and governance

The traditional custodians of the district are the indigenous people of the Ngunnawal tribe.[4]

Following the transfer of land from the Government of New South Wales to the Commonwealth Government in 1911, the district was established in 1966 by the Commonwealth via the gazettal of the Districts Ordinance 1966 No. 5 (Cth) which, after the enactment of the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988 (Cth), became the Districts Act 1966 No. 5 (ACT). This Act was subsequently repealed by the ACT Government and the district is now administered subject to the Districts Act 2002 (ACT).[5]

Location and urban structure

The district is a set of contiguous residential suburbs that surround the Woden Town Centre, which includes a major shopping centre, called Westfield Woden, or more commonly known as Woden Plaza. Woden is also home to the tallest building in Canberra, Lovett Tower, which stands at 22 stories.[6] Lovett Tower and a number of other buildings host staff from Australian Government agencies; there is also some light industrial development in the town centre.

Within the district are a number of community facilities including the Phillip campus of the Canberra College, a secondary school catering to years 11 and 12 (16 – 18 years old); a library, the Woden Youth Centre, and the Canberra Hospital, which is located in the north of the district.


Historical population
2000 32,350    
2001 census 31,336−3.1%
2002 32,250+2.9%
2003 32,400+0.5%
2004 32,700+0.9%
2005 32,850+0.5%
2006 census 31,992−2.6%
2007 32,450+1.4%
2008 32,150−0.9%
2009 32,000−0.5%
2010 31,950−0.2%
2011 census 32,958+3.2%

At the 2011 census, there were 32,958 people in the Woden Valley district, of these 48.8 per cent were male and 51.2 per cent were female. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 1.1 per cent of the population, which was lower than the national and territory averages. The median age of people in the Woden Valley district was 40 years, which was slightly higher than the national median of 37 years. Children aged 0 – 14 years made up 17.0 per cent of the population and people aged 65 years and over made up 17.9 per cent of the population. Of people in the area aged 15 years and over, 50.0 per cent were married and 10.3 per cent were either divorced or separated.[1]

Population growth in the Woden Valley district between the 2001 census and the 2006 census was 2.1 per cent; and in the subsequent five years to the 2011 census, population growth was 3.0 per cent. When compared with total population growth of Australia for the same periods, being 5.78 per cent and 8.32 per cent respectively, population growth in Woden Valley district was significantly lower than the national average.[7][8] The median weekly income for residents within the Woden Valley district was significantly higher than the national average, and slightly lower than the territory average.[1]

At the 2011 census, the proportion of residents in the Woden Valley district who stated their ancestry as Australian or Anglo-Saxon exceeded 72 per cent of all residents (national average was 65.2 per cent). In excess of 45 per cent of all residents in the Woden Valley district nominated a religious affiliation with Christianity at the 2011 census, which was lower than the national average of 50.2 per cent. Meanwhile, as at the census date, compared to the national average, households in the Woden Valley district had a slightly higher than average proportion (23.0 per cent) where two or more languages are spoken (national average was 20.4 per cent); and a relatively equal proportion (76.7 per cent) where English only was spoken at home (national average was 76.8 per cent).[1]

Selected historical census data for the Woden Valley district
Census year 2001[7]2006[8]2011[1]
Population Estimated residents on census night 31,336 31,992 32,958
District rank in terms of size within the Australian Capital Territory 4th Steady 4th Decrease 5th
Percentage of the Australian Capital Territory population 9.23%
Percentage of the Australian population 0.17% Increase 0.16% Decrease 0.15%
Cultural and language diversity
top responses
Australian 24.6%
English 24.1%
Irish 10.0%
Scottish 7.6%
German 3.2%
top responses
(other than English)
Mandarin0.9% Increase 1.2% Increase 1.4%
Italian1.4% Decrease 1.3% Decrease 1.2%
Greek1.1% Steady 1.1% Steady 1.1%
Cantonese0.8% Decrease 0.9% Increase 1.0%
Malayalamn/c n/c Increase 0.9%
Religious affiliation
Religious affiliation,
top responses
No Religion19.5% Increase 23.0% Increase 27.7%
Catholic28.2% Decrease 27.9% Decrease 27.5%
Anglican18.7% Decrease 16.2% Decrease 14.0%
Uniting Church4.6% Steady 4.2% Decrease 3.4%
Hinduismn/c n/c Increase 2.6%
Median weekly incomes
Personal income Median weekly personal income A$769 A$948
Percentage of Australian median income 165.0% Decrease 164.3%
Family income Median weekly family income A$1,884 A$2,390
Percentage of Australian median income 160.9% Increase 161.4%
Household income Median weekly household income A$1,471 A$1,824
Percentage of Australian median income 143.2% Increase 147.8%

List of suburbs

Places of note and interest

The Sirius building, head office of the Department of Health, located in the Woden Town Centre.



Woden Valley is a vital area when it comes to sport in the Territory. Its football (soccer) club, Woden Valley FC (Woden Rival), is very popular amongst juniors. Woden Valley also has a rugby league team Woden Rams and an Australian rules football team (Woden Blues). It also has a tenpin bowling centre and produced NSW champion and award-winning sports journalist Reagan Murphy, who lived in Garran and attended Woden Valley High School in the 1970s.

Natural disasters


While the majority of the destruction caused by the 2003 Canberra bushfires occurred in the Weston Creek district, in the Woden Valley suburbs of Curtin, three houses were destroyed; in Lyons, four houses; and in Torrens, two houses.[10] Curtin, in particular, has been threatened by bushfires several times since its construction.


Main article: 1971 Canberra flood

On Australia Day in 1971 a flash flood at Yarra Glen killed seven people. The drains and roads in the area have since been redesigned to avoid future flood casualties.[11]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Woden (SA3)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
  2. "Districts Ordinance 1966 No. 5 (Cth)". Australian Capital Territory Numbered Ordinances. AustLII. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  3. Wilson, Gwendoline. Murray of Yarralumla. p. 81.
  4. "Aboriginal Heritage in the ACT". Heritage. Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate. 17 March 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  5. "Districts Act 1966 Notes". Australian Capital Territory Repealed Acts. AustLII. 2002. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  6. 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.
  7. 1 2 3 Australian Bureau of Statistics (9 March 2006). "Woden Valley (SSD)". 2001 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
  8. 1 2 3 Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Woden Valley (SSD)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
  9. "Graffiti sites". Territory and Municipal Services. ACT Government. 18 November 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
  10. "Canberra Bushfires Fieldwork" (PDF). Geoscience Australia. 19 November 2009. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
  11. EMA Disasters Database Archived 24 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
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