Corinna's Canberra: Woden - Corinna Dental Group

Corinna’s Canberra: Woden

This month on the blog we are starting a new series where we will be exploring Canberra, suburb by suburb, so we can highlight the features and history of the city. We are starting with Woden, which is where the original Corinna Dental practice was (and still is) located. In fact, the area the locals refer to as ‘Woden’ is actually a suburb of Canberra, Phillip. It is also often referred to as ‘Woden Centre’. ‘Woden’ is actually a region of Canberra, otherwise known as The Woden Valley.

Woden: Its Beginnings

The planning of the town of Woden Valley began in 1958 by the National Capital Development Commission. Accordingly, the development of Woden as a separate entity of 12 suburbs began in 1962. Families moved into the first suburb of Hughes in 1963 ( ).

The origin of the area’s name is steeped in history. The name “Woden” was given to the 2500 acres of land bought by Dr James Murray in 1837. It is thought that he named his property “Woden” after the Norse God of War who was also the patron of learning. It has been reported that Dr Murray was a scholarly man and spent much of his life as a ‘seeker of knowledge’. You can read more about Dr Murray here .

Interestingly, however, there is another theory regarding the origin of the name ‘Woden’. Dr Harold Koch, an ANU linguist, claims that the word could be Aboriginal in nature. Koch claims that a ‘plausible Aboriginal source of the name ‘Woden’ is the word for ‘possum’, wadyan (or possibly wadhan)’. He adds that if ‘the word ‘Woden’ is indeed derived from an Aboriginal language, it is possible that its spelling was influenced by that of the Germanic god’s name’.

The Woden Homestead

The original Woden Homestead, the oldest domestically occupied building in the ACT, still stands and is located in Woden Valley. It has been assessed against criteria pertaining to the ACT Heritage Act of 2004 and is thus Heritage listed. It still operates today, albeit in a reduced capacity, occupied and managed as part of an agricultural enterprise. As well, the homestead contains a significant collection of documents and objects (including furniture) relating to the Campbell family and Canberra’s history. Learn more about this here .

Living In Woden

The Woden Valley is conveniently located approximately ten minutes from Canberra’s centre. It now consists of 13 suburbs and is home to around 32 000 people ( ). As with most areas in Canberra, Woden’s street names and signs are an acknowledgement of the contributions that significant individuals have made to Australian history. Most of these have the names of Australian people and things that are typically Australian. We’ll explore these street names, suburb by suburb, in future articles.

We think that Woden is a great location in Canberra. As well as being quite central, it has its own Civic Centre, a major Canberra hospital and several private hospitals, numerous primary and secondary schools (both public and private), a convenient bus service, and excellent sporting facilities. It is also the home to Woden Plaza, now a Westfield, a major commerce and shopping centre.

Corinna Dental Group is proud to be situated in the bustling centre of the Woden Valley. We are located at Corinna Chambers, Corinna Street. Our practice is conveniently positioned adjacent to Woden Plaza: parking is plentiful, as is excellent coffee and places to buy lunch and morning tea.

Significant Dates in Woden’s History


The National Capital Development Commission (NCDC) is established in October by an Act of Parliament. It began operations in 1958 under Commissioner John Overall. The NCDC assumes responsibility for the planning and development of Canberra including Lake Burley Griffin, Parliament House and the new towns of Woden Valley, Weston Creek, Belconnen, Tuggeranong and Gungahlin.


The first of a series of new towns, planned by the National Capital Development Commission, was opened at Woden, south-west of Canberra, with an exposition held in Hughes on 9 May.


The Woden Plaza (major shopping centre, now a Westfield) was opened on 18 September by the Prime Minister, William McMahon.


Canberra’s population reaches 300 000 of which approximately 60 000 live in Central Canberra, 34 000 in Woden Valley, 26 000 in Weston Creek, 88 000 in Belconnen, 85 000 in Tuggeranong and 7 000 in the rest of the ACT