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Young in Canberra: Changing attitudes one click at a time

Laura Peppas

Canberra has its fair share of bashers, and Caitlin Willington admits she used to be one of them.

“I thought there was nothing to do, and nothing good about Canberra,” the 19 year old says.

“I was born here but I’ve lived in NSW for the majority of my life until I was about 13 when we moved back, so I was at that age where I had a lot of freedom but couldn’t find anything to do. I would try and search into Google ‘things to do in Canberra for teenagers’ and was frustrated when the only results were Questacon or the War Memorial.”

That all changed this year when Caitlin, a University of Canberra student, was asked to create a blog as part of an assignment for her web design course.

Caitlin Willington. Photo: Young in Canberra

Caitlin Willington.

Caitlin decided she’d base her blog around events in Canberra aimed at young people like her, describing it as a project for herself to see if she could find more to the “boring city” she thought she knew.

She was surprised with the results.

“The more I looked into it, the more I found Canberra had become more urban, and more accommodating to the younger generation than it was 8-10 years ago,” she says.

“I found people were getting more involved in the culture of our city, inspiring people to create more events and initiatives for the ACT. Because of that we’ve now got events like the Three Sixty Fashion Market, Art Not Apart or destinations like The Hamlet in Braddon or Westside Acton Park.”

Since its inception in March, Caitlin says the website has generated plenty of hits and interaction on Facebook, with The Lonsdale Street Project sharing one of her posts. The blog is currently one of the projects listed on Stir, an online crowd-voting website designed to teach young Canberrans innovation skills.

“I want to evolve the blog to include submissions from young people so it’s more of a community to get people involved,” Caitlin says.

Three Sixty Fashion Market. Photo: Young in Canberra

Three Sixty Fashion Market. Photo: Young in Canberra

“At the moment I’m working on keeping my eye out for events and going out to events and take photos to show there’s plenty to do in Canberra, and in that time I’ll also go out and talk to people and find exciting things they’ve done in Canberra. I want this website to be about young people coming together to show this city isn’t as boring as it seems, particularly for young people interstate who are thinking about moving here.”

Caitlin says the website has not only changed her mind about Canberra, it’s also redirected her plans for the future.

“My original plan was to finish my degree in Melbourne, I was hoping to get out as soon as possible, but now I’m thinking I’ll stay on as I’m enjoying it so much,” she says.

View more on Young in Canberra here: http://youngincanberra.tumblr.com/

Feature photo: National Youth Week Expo 2015, provided by Young in Canberra

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Laura Peppas

Laura Peppas is HerCanberra's senior journalist and communications manager and is the Editor of Unveiled, HerCanberra's wedding magazine. She is enjoying uncovering all that Canberra has to offer, meeting some intriguing locals and working with a pretty awesome bunch of women. Laura has lived in Canberra for most of her life and when she's not writing fervently she enjoys pursuing her passion for travel, reading, online shopping and chai tea. More about the Author

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