Buvette Masthead

Fall in Love with Watson

Ashleigh Went

Rachel Evangelou’s life is anything but ordinary.

The Co-Founder of Shop Handmade, Handmade Markets and The Local Larder Online is a chic, vivacious mother of two and entrepreneur.

Rachel Evagelou of The Local Larder

Rachel Evagelou of The Local Larder. Photography: Lori Cicchini

Given her general fabulousness, it makes sense that Rachel lives in an extraordinary suburb—although it may not flaunt its charms to outsiders.

“I moved to Canberra in 1986 from Armidale, and the first place we moved into was in Watson. We still had the roller rink, Watson High was still open and it was known as a bit of a rough suburb – the end of town really.”

After a brief foray into Sydney life, Rachel returned to Canberra with her husband Dim and purchased her house in the suburb she had previously lived.

Over 17 years have passed, allowing Rachel to reflect on the comings and goings of neighbours, including journalist Ginger Gorman, whose perspective on living on Rachel’s street went viral when it was published last year.

Rachel shares what she loves the most about the suburb she calls home.

Happy Hour 

“I’m a bit of a party animal, I’m very social” says Rachel.

“I made friends with the lady across the road and we’d meet and have tea, and gin and tonic happy hour. Then she had neighbours move in, Mike and Deirdre, who are directly across the road from me and brought them over for happy hour.”

With a big backyard and swimming pool—not to mention permanent disco lights and a mirrored disco ball—Rachel’s place quickly became the backdrop for get-togethers.

“When Ginger bought her house, her neighbour Liz said ‘oh, you’ve got to come to Rachel’s’ and now it’s just a thing! We have impromptu barbeques and parties, everyone will bring a plate. There can be 15 or 20 people here, kids running around like crazy. We hang out and have a good time.”

“We had a new neighbour move in about six weeks ago and she’s already been around for a couple of happy hours. I have a bit of a reputation in the street for ‘if you’re new, just knock on number four.’”

Street sensation

With so many families, Rachel says that her street has been a fantastic place to bring up her two children.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked out into the street and said ‘who’s got Ruby?’ and I’ll hear someone call out ‘I’ve got her!’ The kids are always at one person’s house or another. It’s fabulous, actually.”

Not only can Rachel rely on her neighbours to look after her children, but she can also depend on them for a cup of sugar, so to speak.

“We really are that neighbourhood where I’ll think ‘oh, I’ve got no eggs!’ and I’ll go over to Ginger’s house or Mike and Deidre’s and borrow one. Ginger and Donny have chickens and vegetable patches, so we swap food and that sort of thing.”

A stone’s throw

Once considered the outer edge of Canberra, Watson is now close to a range of facilities including local shops, larger shopping centres and schools.

“Living in Watson is fabulous because firstly, if you’re ever travelling home from Sydney and you’ve had a long drive, you know you’re only moments from home when you see the Australian Capital Territory sign!” Rachel laughs.

“It’s very easy to get anywhere – if you’re going to Civic, you cut through Ainslie and you’re there in nine minutes. If you need to go out to Majura and visit IKEA, you’re there in 12 minutes. Everything is close.”

Closer to home, Rachel sings the praise of the local Watson shops.

“It’s a fabulous little shopping centre, the supermarket is amazing. We’ve also got The Knox—the coffee shop—it’s sensational. Everything we need is right there.”

Such great heights  

We’re blessed in Canberra to have access to a huge range of recreational spaces. What’s perhaps less common is such direct proximity to Mount Majura.

“There’s a walking trail, and walking along there is just sensational. You’re always seeing people walking their dogs, going for walks or bike rides along the trail and across the mountain.”

“It’s amazing to live in a house where within five minutes I can be on top of a mountain, looking like I’m nowhere near a capital city. You’re in the middle of the bush, it’s absolutely incredible.”

Aside from the mountain itself, Rachel says the landscape provides a haven away from the city centre.

“The trees are beautiful, I can hear cows mooing and horses neighing just up the road—there’s a lot to love about Watson.”

Think you could fall in love with Watson? Check out houses for sale in Watson on realestate.com.au.



Ashleigh Went

HerCanberra ACTIVE Editor Ashleigh Went has a passion for all things health and wellness. As someone who loves champagne and cheese almost as she loves a sweaty workout, she's all about living a healthy, balanced lifestyle. She can usually be found with her nose in a book, planning her next adventure, in the gym or updating her Instagram @wentworthavenue. More about the Author

  • Susan Arney

    I’m moving to your street Rachel! Sounds so friendly & so fabulous but not surprising as you live there. And some like minded neighbours too! ?

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