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Route 45 Belconnen to Kippax

Wall at Belconnen Bus Interchange

Date: 17 April 2023

Route: 45 Belconnon to Kippax

Sights: Brindabellas

Weather: 10 C - 20 C warm and sunny

Time taken: 4.5 hour round trip

Monday is not my normal day to take a bus trip. (Although it was the previous week too) This is not a normal week. Last weekend was spent packing up our kitchen and covering everything in plastic to avoid the avalanche of dust. This week we are having our kitchen replaced. The lovely looking but impractical kitchen has now gone, and today is to see a new organised and workable kitchen replace it. This week has been full of waiting (for tradies) crochet (to keep me busy while I wait) and dust, so much dust. Oh! And noise complaints from people in our apartment block, and who could blame them.

When we first started on this journey we did not foresee the jackhammering that would be used to lift the soundproofing under the tiled floor. Yes! I can see the irony of removal of soundproofing making the most noise. Not only did the neighbours comment but the cat is now traumatised for life. She has been hiding and will only come out to feed then a quick sniff around all the strange things in the flat then back to hiding place. It is hard to explain to a cat that things will go back to a normal, but not the same normal.

This was the background to why Monday was the day for the trip. I just had to take the opportunity when I could. It seemed easier to me to take a trip that would start and end at Dickson, but I have done all of those so the number 45 was chosen as I can get to Belconnen, the start of the route, with a bus from Dickson.

I was the only person at the Belconnen interchange platform 5. It is school holidays here and the week following Easter. Many people go away this week as the weather is still good for the beach (2-3 hours away), the kids are on holidays (across the country) and there are many activities and events in the City. I was not expecting many people around but I was surprised to be the only person there mid afternoon on a Monday.

This changed when the bus turned up and we travelled to the Westfield Belconnen shopping centre. Many people boarded and we all headed to Kippax, a place I have never been to; driven through and been on a bus that stopped there, but never got around to explore.

The 45 heads south towards Weetangera, through the suburbs of Hawker, Higgins and Holt before making its final destination at Kippax. The suburbs are filled with single storey three bedroom houses typical of the 1970s; three bedrooms, one bathroom, kitchen, loungeroom and a large garden. Some have been extended upwards or outwards to accommodate a second bathroom and more bedrooms, and more space for bigger TVs and teenage children, but mostly they are as they were built back in the day when three bedrooms was enough for most families.

There are a variety of styles, all variations on brick veneer with two garages to the side or underneath. Most have concreted or brick driveways, nature strips out the front and established native trees. Many have an extra hard surface on the nature strip to allow more cars to be parked; a real nod to the Y Plan. (See post Route 182)

As we head down Murranji Street past Hawker College I notice the pathways that go under the roads. These suburbs have green paths and walkways between and behind the houses; an intricate system of paths that keep pedestrians and cyclists from the roads. These suburbs are part of the Y plan (see previous blog) and while the car was king, thought was given to those who go to school locally, shop locally or just like to walk. Many of the suburbs built around this time have pocket parks, green spaces and extended nature strips. The bus winds its way through the smaller streets to enable those without a car, or those that choose not to use theirs, a way to and from central points.

I have a friend who lives in Higgins and I have got lost, more than once, getting to her house. The streets all look the same when you just drive through them on the way to somewhere else. They are also laid out in crescents and courts that become confusing to those not familiar with the layout, especially at night. The only way to get familiar is to do the trip often or walk the suburbs so you get a feel for it. One time I ended up at Higgins shops asking for directions and even the person I asked who had been living in the area for more than 20 years, so she told me, did not know where the street I was looking for was. I am always glad of my GPS when I get into these suburbs. I am grateful to the driver of the this bus that she does not get lost, or take a wrong turn. I know how easy that can be.

We arrive at Kippax. It is small as shopping centres go; large Woolworths, variety shops, and a few cafes, takeaways and hair dressers. No butcher, fruit shop or hardware (Bunnings has really cornered that market with their massive stores strategically placed around the territory). One hairdressers is clearly for men only; dark shop layout, black everywhere, a large TV playing sports and a table football game to keep men and boys entertained while they wait. The Anatolian Barber has one female stylist cutting the hair of a middle aged man. As I watch this from the vantage point of my coffee shop stake out, I wonder what makes this barber Anatolian? Is it the person who owns the business? Is it the styles they cut? Is it something else they offer that I am not aware of or can not even think of?

I must have been pondering aloud as I get into conversation about my thinking with a man who sits down on the neighbouring table having a coffee and a good looking sandwich. He tells me he lives locally. He tells me he loves this area and has continued to live here for the last 25 years. He tells me there is a good community; many of his friendships date back to a time when his kids went to primary school and they all did things together to make money for the school. He tells me thinking about that time brings back good memories and he is nostalgic for that time. He tells me although he still has friends, many people move away (“Canberra is like that”), and now his kids are grown and moved away themselves, he has more time and would like to spend some of it with those people he met when his family first moved out this way. He also tells me he has no idea what makes the barbers Anatolian.

I ask him about the name; Kippax. He also has no idea about that. He gets up to leave, has another thought and tells me to go to the library to find out.

The ACT has libraries in all the major satellites: 10 libraries, including a Hertitage Library spread across the territory. That is a lot of books for a such small a population. Open on different times and days there is a library open near or within easy reach each day of the year (except public holidays), with public transport to get you there.

Modern libraries are so much more than just a place to house books that can be borrowed. They offer other resources such as online access to other collections, databases for specialist investigation such as genealogy, events like author readings, courses: speaking better English, book clubs, activities for kids. Or even just the smaller things like reading a hardcopy newspaper, or respite from the cold or heat. They do it all. All are welcome and there is no cost.

In her book, The Library Book”, Susan Orlean (“The Orchid Thief”), charts her own love of libraries, the potential they hold, and a history of how the public library has grown and morphed through the years. The heart of the book is an indepth look at by whom and how the fire at the Los Angeles Public Library in 1986 was started and how the library recovered after such a devastating loss.

ACT libraries are located at the heart of the satellite communities and act as a hub. Kippax Library is a fine example of this. While I was still on the bus an older man got on with his, I assume, grandchild. When they got off at Kippax the young girl, maybe 4-5, saw the library and exclaimed “Pa! The library! The library! I just love coming here”. She got a little waylaid by the slide and swing adjacent to the front doors but made it to the library with a skip and a jump. How lovely it must be to work at a place with such enthusiastic patrons.

I head there to find out about the name Kippax.

The visit was a little disappointing: no one in the library had any idea of how to find out about the name, so I did some digging at home, after my uneventful journey home, with trusty Google, amidst the dust and the debris of my soon to be new kitchen; the centre or hub of our household.


There is a place in West Yorkshire called Kippax in a triangle outside Great Preston; Garforth and Swillington make up the other two corners. All residing on the Eastern edge of Leeds.

The name first appeared in the Doomsday book (1086) as Cippa or Cyppa and then changed, in about the 13 hundreds, to Kypask, showing a Viking influence. The word ‘ask’ in Old Norse refers to ash trees. The name changed again as the population became more mobile. As people moved they would take their place name at birth as their surname to be more easily identified when away from their birth village. With the movement new spellings emerged.

Many places in Australia are named after places in the UK. Names given to places to remind the early settlers of their home towns. Phillip Island located off the southern coast of Victoria has place names the same as the Isle of White off the southern coast of England: Ventor, Cowes.

Although I know the process for naming suburbs and places in the ACT I had assumed Kippax was a hangover from shadow place naming. I was wrong.

Kippax in the ACT was named after Alan Kippax, cricketer (1897-1972), whose ancestors may well have originated in the area in Yorkshire. Kippax played for Australia in the 1928-29 and 1932-33 tours of England. His career came to an end with the Bodyline tactics deployed by the England team in his last test. He wrote a book denouncing these tactics on his return to New South Wales. Earlier in his career he was not selected for the 1926 test against England. A controversial decision as he was a high scoring mid order batsman. This controversy grew when he scored 271 (in 423 minutes) against Victoria in a Sheffield Shield match on the day of selection. (His highest score, against Queensland, 1927-28, was 317).

Kippax’s greatest achievement was Captaining the NSW side against Victoria in the 1928-29 season. On the second day NSW stood at 7 for 58 chasing Victoria’s first innings score of 376. They dropped to 9 for 113 with Kippax on 20. Playing with Hal Hooker he went on to get a double century by the end of play that day and finished with 260 at the end of the innings. As the news of the partnership got out locally the crowd swelled to over 15000 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). This still stands as the highest last-wicket partnership in first class cricket.


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