Watson Community Association

The Watson Community Association was formed in the late 1980s and incorporated in 1995 with the object of promoting the social, economic and environmental amenity of Watson residents.

After a sustained 10 year community campaign against a housing development proposed in 1992, the Watson Community Association was successful in achieving the conservation of a 18 hectare native grassy woodland at north Watson in July 2002. Less than 5 per cent of the original extent of this Yellow Box Grassy Woodland ecology remains in Australia, and less than a half a per cent is in reserves.

Members of the Association contributed significantly to the ‘Save Our City’ community action to defend the Y plan and ACT public leasehold, including through the Stein Inquiry and a subsequent Auditor General investigation of certain ACT leases including the former Starlight Drive In site at North Watson. The Association also successfully opposed high density residential redevelopment of the National Capital Village (NCV) at north Watson on environmental grounds.

Members of the Association have also been active on issues such as improvements of the Watson shops, reducing noise from EPIC (Canberra Showground), Summernats, and Canberra airport.

Papers emanating from the activities of the Association include its quarterly newsletter distributed free to all Watson households since 1990, submissions to ACT Assembly and other inquiries, and other documents and materials regarding the Watson Woodlands campaign. Records relating to the media campaign are also included in this collection.

Contact Details (as at 23 Jun 11):

Julie Smith
Telephone: (02) 6241 8861
Email: watsoncommunityassociation666@gmail.com
Postal: PO Box 64 Dickson 2602

Deputy Chair
Richard Larson
Telephone: (02) 6241 3024
Email: btdesigns@bigpond.com
Postal: PO Box 64 Dickson 2602

Gillian Helyar (02) 6255 0238

Jon Real
Telephone: (02) 6255 4046

The Watzon Newsletter Editor
Richard Larson (also Deputy Chair)

Ordinary Committee Members

Chris Bunn
Chris Stanilewicz
Christopher Nailer
Liz Grace
Matthew Needham

The Watzon Newsletter:

The Watson Community Association generally produces a community newsletter every four months. The Watzon is distributed to all Watson households and is also available to download:


For those who are relatively new to Watson, the aims of the Association are set in our Constitution and are to:

  1. promote, protect and enhance the social, cultural and physical environment of the community of Watson;
  2. promote the welfare, community spirit and quality of life of residents of Watson;
  3. raise funds and expend them in the pursuit of the other objects of the Association;
  4. inform the community about issues concerning Watson;
  5. engage in any other activity conducive to attaining these objects.

The Association has a well-deserved reputation for community activism going back to the days of early self-government, and continues to lobby the community and our politicians to protect and enhance our way of life and our environment. Without the hard work of our former committee members, and support from residents and others, we might not have much of the amenity which is now taken for granted. Examples include:

  • gazettal of the Stirling Avenue road reserve as urban open space;
  • the saving of Justice Robert Hope Park, our beautiful 18ha patch of nationally endangered Yellow Box Red Gum grassy woodland;
  • scrutiny of planning decisions made for north Watson, which has hopefully led to better outcomes.

Many of the people involved in voluntary work are still active in the Association, but they are getting older, weary and battle-hardened. It is difficult to engage politically without knowledge of the legislation and processes which drive planning in Watson and the ACT. In previous issues of the Watzon we have highlighted traffic and the continuing densification of our suburb triggering major concerns.

It is vitally important that we receive feedback and input from our community.
Please consider contributing to material for our newsletter.

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The North Canberra Community Council receives support and funding from the ACT Government


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