Aranda is a suburb in the Canberra district of Belconnen. It is the eastern most suburb in Belconnen, located at the western foot of Black Mountain. Bounded on two sides by nature park, the suburb is characterised by its bush setting. During the planning and development of the suburb, a large proportion of large native trees – predominantly eucalypts – were left in place.
The suburb derives its name from the Arrernte tribe of Central Australia, previously known as Arunta, which means ‘White Cockatoo’. The streets in Aranda are named after Aboriginal tribal groups from around Australia. The suburb comprises an area of 160ha and, in 1967, was the first suburb in Belconnen to be settled. On Census night 2006, Aranda had a population of 2,412 people.
A small plaque at the Aranda District playing fields near the suspension bridge over Belconnen Way marks the settlement of the suburb as the first development in the Belconnen district. It reads:
“This tablet marks the inauguration of development of the district of Belconnen by the Minister of State for the Interior The Honourable J. D. Anthony, M.P. 23rd June 1966”
Aranda is located 7km to the west of Civic along Belconnen Way. Bandjalong Crescent, a curved bell-shaped street is the main street passing through the suburb, connecting Caswell Drive with Bindubi Street. A number of community facilities are located in the centre of the curve.
A bicycle path along Bindubi Street connects Aranda with the Canberra bike path network. A walking path runs through a reserve along the spine of the suburb and connects with the footbridge to the suburb of Bruce. A walking track over Black Mountain connects Aranda with the CSIRO and the Australian National University.
Aranda is served by buses which connect Civic with Belconnen Town Centre via Cook and Macquarie. Buses to Belconnen also stop on Belconnen Way and at the Calvary Hospital located in Bruce without passing through the suburb.
A number of community facilities are located close to one another near the intersections of Bandjalong and Bindel Streets. These include two primary schools, (Aranda Primary School and St. Vincent’s Catholic school), two churches and a pre-school.
The local shops have been in decline for a number of years and, unlike most other suburbs in Canberra, have never included a general store. The individual shops have been unleased for a number of years and the site, which is in a serious state of disrepair, may be developed in future as apartments. The Jamison Centre in nearby Macquarie services the suburb.
A number of playing fields are located in the north-western corner of the suburb including softball and soccer fields, as is a Scout hall. A nursing home is also located near this area.
Due to its setting in a bush environment and the interest expressed by its residents, Canberra’s first Community Fire Unit was established in Aranda in 2003. The programme provides Aranda residents with training and fire fighting equipment to fight bushfires in their suburb.
The Friends of Aranda Bushland group is active in the suburb and there is an active Neighbourhood Watch group.
Aranda is located in the south-east of Belconnen. It is bounded by Caswell Drive on the east, separating the suburb from Black Mountain Nature Park, Belconnen Way to the north, Bindubi Street to the west and Aranda Bushland to the south. A pedestrian bridge crossing the six-lane Belconnen Way connects the suburb with the suburb of Bruce to the north. The suburbs of Cook and Macquarie are located to Aranda’s west on the opposite side of Bindubi Street.