Page 3426 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 18 September 2013

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MR DOSZPOT (Molonglo) (6.42): This weekend Hackett will be celebrating its 50th birthday. For those who have not had the pleasure of visiting Hackett, it is a delightful suburb nestled into the hillside of Mount Ainslie. Certainly for walkers it can be a fitness course, with some good heart-pumping stretches, but it is also a suburb full of delightful gardens, pleasant streetscapes and a great community spirit. It is one of Canberra’s smallest suburbs by population and that probably is why it has such a strong community feel.

It has tremendous community connections and some residents have lived there for the entire life of the suburb. I have met many others who have lived there nearly as long. Hackett Oval was where, as a young newcomer to Canberra in 1973, I coached Theo Moulis’s north Canberra Jets junior soccer team, and where the Canberra city Old Boys with Johnny Warren and Charlie Perkins played their early matches.

Hackett was first populated primarily by staff working at CSIRO, ANU and Defence, although I also know of Italian families who moved there after working on the Snowy Mountains scheme. It was probably why the strong sense of community first developed, with people being relocated to Canberra for work. So neighbours had much in common, and that continues through to today.

This weekend’s celebrations are being driven by the Hackett Community Association. The association’s deputy chair and birthday committee convenor, James Walker, who himself has been a resident for around 32 years but regards himself as a newcomer, rang my office early this year to ensure that the date be reserved in my diary, and he promised lots of activity. I certainly have reserved it in my diary and Mr Walker is quite correct; there are lots of activities for everyone.

There are fetes, reunions and a variety of performances. The Canberra City Band, which used to do all its rehearsals in Hackett, will be performing. Folk Dance Australia is also putting on a display and the Saturday night’s entertainment includes local bands Hit and Glide, the King Hits and Rafe Morris. These are all local to the area and it is great to see that the Hackett Community Association has resisted the temptation to import entertainment.

There is also a Hackett Primary School reunion. Former students are being encouraged to get in touch with the school, which can direct them to the reunion coordinator. There will be a reunion photo taken at 2 pm on Saturday; so all former pupils should make every effort to be there.

The weekend celebrations will officially start at 10 am on Saturday at the Hackett shopping centre. I congratulate the Hackett Community Association, its chair Greg Haughey, members Terry de Luca, Dorothy Mackenzie and, of course, James Walker for their enthusiasm and pride in their local suburb. I wish Hackett a happy 50th birthday.

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