Fyshwick was named after Sir Philip Fysh, a Tasmanian politician, Federalist and one of the Founders of the Constitution. To his surname, ‘wick’ was added, which in Old English means ‘village’. This was at the suggestion of the Federal Capital Commission to the Canberra National Memorials Committee, chaired by Prime Minister Stanley Bruce. The FCC advised that `A suffix has been added, similar to some of the Anglo-Saxon names of towns in Great Britain, where the name is thought not to be very euphonious’ (well-sounding).
Fyshwick’s composition of mainly light industrial and retail spaces is reflected through its street names, with each street being named after one of Australia’s industrial towns or regions.
Situated east of South Canberra and west of the airport, Fyshwick is an industrial suburb with an interesting origin. Immediately after World War One, in 1918, a German prisoner of war camp was built between where now lies the railway line and Canberra Avenue. When no prisoners arrived, the camp was at first left abandoned and half sold off, before being utilized in 1921, during a severe housing shortage, to house the unemployed returned servicemen who would help build Canberra. Gradually, accommodation was moved elsewhere around Canberra and the roads used to service the camp became the first streets of Fyshwick.
Today, Fyshwick is home to many wholesale stores, hardware and car shops, and a scattering of fast food outlets. It is also known for its adult entertainment industry. The only railway line into Canberra runs through the middle of Fyshwick, dividing the area into two halves. Ipswich and Newcastle Streets as well as the Monaro Highway cross the railway line and unite the two halves.