Hughes is an established South Canberra garden suburb popular for its peace and quiet, as well as its proximity to the Woden Town Centre and Red Hill Nature Reserve. Gazetted in 1962, the suburb was named after William Morris (Billy) Hughes, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth during World War I . Hughes’ role as Prime Minister during World War I earned him the name of ‘The Little Digger’. The twenty-seven streets and eighteen cul-de-sacs within Hughes are named after World War I Armed Services Personnel and contemporaries of William Hughes.
Hughes is bordered on both the south and north by bushland connected to the Red Hill Nature Reserve, which separates it from its neighbouring suburbs, Deakin and Garran. The Red Hill Nature Reserve is designated land under the National Capital Plan and is predominately characterised by native and indigenous vegetation, with some areas of deciduous/exotic vegetation. The Federal Golf Course borders the suburb on the eastern edge.
Hughes also contains an open space corridor running through the suburb from east to West, providing recreational opportunities as well as convenient access through the suburb to the Red Hill Nature Park. The open space corridor contains a mix of native and exotic tree plantings; a playground facility is located in Goble Street. The foothills of Red Hill are highly valued for a range of recreation activities, and ‘land care’ groups assist with maintenance.
Four neighbourhood parks are evenly placed throughout the quiet, suburban parts of the neighbourhood. These parks vary in size, but in general are small spaces containing dryland grass and scattered plantings of trees. Some parks contain playground facilities. Whilst the parks are used for informal recreation, such as children’s play and dog walking, they also provide a visual resource for the neighbourhood. Hughes Oval, or Clarrie Hermes Park, is a located on the western fringe of the suburb, and is a well-utilised community facility. It is used for formal and informal sporting activities, as well as other passive recreations.
The Hughes Local Centre has a lively village atmosphere and provides a central meeting point for the neighbourhood. It currently contains a variety of commercial services located in two separate buildings. Services include a supermarket, bakery, café, take-away, real estate agent, violin store, hair salon, post office, laundromat and second hand book shop. A third building contains the Hughes Community Centre. A central paved area unifies the three buildings, and contains tree and shrub plantings, seating and ‘Mabel’. ‘Mabel’ is the affectionate name the local community has given to a cast bronze statue of a life size female figure designed by Giovanna Lanniello and Gerard Murphy in 1997. ‘Mabel’ was erected as part of the refurbishment of the Hughes Local Centre, which commenced in December 1996. A Service Station is located at the Local Centre across the road from the main three buildings.
Hughes contains a number of community facilities, predominately clustered around the Local Centre and in the northwest corner of the suburb. Community Facility land-use makes provision for the health, educational, intellectual, religious, cultural and welfare needs of the ACT community.
Community facilities located in the suburb include: the Hughes Preschool, Hughes Primary School, Baptist Church and St Andrews Village aged persons accommodation and hostel on Groom Street, Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall on Hughes Place, Hughes Community Centre located within the Hughes Local Centre, North Woden Tennis Club on De Largie Place, Hartley Court aged care accommodation on Wisdom Street, and Hughes aged persons units on Carroll Street. The National Brain Injury Foundation’s Dorothy Sales Cottages are located in Wynter Place.
Hughes has a generally flat terrain to the west and undulating topography to the east of Kent Street increasing in height towards Red Hill Nature Reserve. The more elevated areas of Hughes enjoy views to Mount Taylor and the Brindabella Ranges and the visual and recreational amenity provided by the open space network.