Did you know that the Woden town centre was established in the suburb of Phillip in 1966 and its street names are associated with the First, Second and Third Fleets? Or that the area was named after the rural property, Woden, that was christened by Dr James Murray in October 1837 as a possible nod to the Norse god of war and patron of learning? Over the years, the town centre has established itself as an employment, retail and community gateway for the 35,000 people who live in the Woden Valley, and now offers everyone across Canberra plenty to see and do.

As well as a public service employment hub and large shopping centre, the town centre has its own library, youth choir, significant pieces of public art and a 14-hectare park that reflects on the area’s history. It also has its own farmers’ market. In fact, look closely, and there are quite a few things to discover in Woden. For starters, here’s our first five.

  1. Work in Woden? Take your lunch to Eddison Park. Fourteen hectares on the eastern edge of the town centre on Launceston Street, it’s named after the Eddison family who owned and ran the property, Yamba, from the 1920s to 1953. As well as a skate park, play and fitness equipment and picnic areas, you’ll discover two memorials to the Eddisons’ three sons who died during WW2.
  2. Margel Hinder’s 1970 work in Woden Town Square, Sculptured Form, was the winner of a competition that invited artists to represent the ‘metamorphosis of a typical natural Australian environment into complex development for urban use’. The commanding, beautifully fluid, plump sculpture belies its polished aluminium material and resembles a large soft heart of several chambers but is actually one vital whole.
  3. Overdose on fresh and delicious! Organic rice, pastured chickens, oysters and free-range pork, fresh cannoli, strawberries, garlic and vegan treats are just some of the delights for sale at Southside Farmers’ Market in Woden on Sundays.
  4. To really wind down at lunchtime, head to Foot & Thai which opened its new premises in Phillip late last year. Their 30-minute sessions include a Thai head, shoulders and back massage, foot reflexology and Swedish and remedial massage. If you’re counting down the days to taking maternity leave, try the 30-minute prenatal massage. Longer, more indulgent sessions and products are also available. You can pop in and try your luck but it’s best to book.
  5. Give the kids a laugh or take a trip back in time with a visit to Phillip Ice Skating Centre. Next door to Geocon’s WOVA development, it puts on a disco for all ages every Friday from 8.30 to 10.30pm and has sessions on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 12pm and from 1.30 to 3.30pm. Saturday also has an evening session. The $17 entry fee includes skate hire – and the new skates are great!

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