The best people serving the hub of the north

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Belconnen is a thriving hub for north Canberrans, with so much to offer residents and visitors. This is a sponsored post. 

COMPRISING 25 suburbs surrounding the Belconnen town centre and Ginninderra Lake, Belconnen is the most populated district of the ACT. 

Originally farming land, Belconnen was developed in 1966, with Aranda as its first suburb. 

Now, Belconnen as we know it, is a thriving hub for north Canberrans, with so much to offer residents and visitors.

Herbert’s at Evatt owners Dino Martiniello and Kristin O’Neill.

Bringing warm vibes, coffee, dogs and pub food

Ruby’s Cafe and Bar owner Matt Morrissey with Katie Hancock and her sons.

RUBY’S Cafe and Bar, and its neighbour, Herbert’s at Evatt are creating a warm community vibe and a welcoming destination for locals, says owners Matt Morrissey of Ruby’s Cafe and Kristin O’Neill of Herbert’s.

Matt says Ruby’s Cafe and Bar is a lovely little coffee house with locally roasted coffee, assorted housemade sweet treats and a range of sandwiches and light meals that can be enjoyed at the cafe or taken home. Matt and his partner Katie Hancock named the cafe after their kelpie, Ruby, and are welcoming of four-footed friends with outside seating and a “puppicino” on the menu. 

“Inside we have a play area so a lot of parents enjoy a coffee with their little ones, before or after school,” says Matt. 

Next door, Kristin O’Neill and her partner Dino Martiniello opened Herbert’s at Evatt earlier this year, which was a dream come true for them. 

“We have received a lot of amazing support from Evatt locals and are so excited to have opened to such a positive response,” says Kristin who grew up in Evatt. 

Offering craft beer, local wines and a menu featuring small bites and casual pub favourites such as burgers and fish and chips, Kristin says they are open for dinner Wednesdays to Saturdays, lunch on Thursdays to Saturdays and offer brunch on Sundays. 

After 26 years in hospitality Kristin says she’s delighted to have opened Herbert’s, named after politician Herbert Evatt and recommends getting in touch to make a booking. 

Ruby’s Cafe and Bar, and Herbert’s at Evatt, Heydon Place, Evatt shops. Search for both businesses on Facebook.

Supporting people with chronic fatigue

Arthritis ACT CEO Rebecca Davey.

RECOVERING from the chronic, debilitating condition, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), is a long-term process, but Arthritis ACT has information and support to help. 

ME/CFS is often the result of a viral infection that a person never really recovers from, says Arthritis ACT CEO Rebecca Davey. 

“It affects the central nervous system and the brain. Some people become bedridden and they can’t do what they used to do,”
she says. 

With other chronic conditions, building low-impact exercise into people’s lives is generally very beneficial, but she says in the case of people who are unwell with ME/CFS exercise exhausts them too much. 

“We support people with ME/CFS by offering support networks for both people living with it and those who care for them,” she says. 

The condition, she says, can also affect children and teenagers, and is often triggered by glandular fever in young adults. 

“It’s a big job to care for people living with ME/CFS as they are often housebound,” she says. 

People living with ME/CFS can contact Arthritis ACT or visit the ACT ME/CFS Society website for information about their support networks, which are offered via teleconference and social media. 

“When people recover, we can work with them to introduce hydrotherapy and low-impact exercises that we run to help them during this long-term process of recovery,” says Rebecca.      

Arthritis ACT, Building 18, 170 Haydon Drive, Bruce. Call 1800 011041, email or visit or

Supporting carers who support ageing loved ones

CARERS ACT, the delivery partner of Carer Gateway in the ACT, says it has a comprehensive suite of aged care services to support carers.

Canberra resident Delia is a carer for her dad and says she’s been able to relax a little from the support she’s received from Carers ACT over the years. 

“Carers ACT explained to me that I could have a break through their aged care services respite program,” says Delia, who found herself doing more to assist her dad on top of working and managing her own house. 

It became exhausting, and as her father’s needs changed, it was difficult for Delia to have any time away, so Carers ACT introduced them to the Deakin Cottage, which is a low-needs respite service that provides professional care for people who are ageing while supporting carers who need a break from their caring role. For Delia, it’s meant she’s been able to go away for a few days when needed. 

Through Carers ACT information sessions, the team at Carers ACT has also helped Delia understand the aged care system and, as her dad needed more support, suggested he get assessed for a “home care package”. 

The home care package has come through and Carers ACT has helped coordinate the services, Delia says. 

“The staff have all been wonderful to work with and I can relax a bit, knowing dad is being supported,” she says. 

Carers ACT, 2/80 Beaurepaire Crescent, Holt. Call 6296 9900 or visit

Brenda Dunlop, left, with owner Samantha Henderson.

‘Five-star’ salon offers readers a special deal

ULTIMATE Skin and Beauty owner and therapist Samantha Henderson loves helping clients feel better, look great and achieve the results they want. 

Backed with 12 years of experience in the industry, Samantha works alongside therapist Brenda Dunlop, who has 38 years of beauty knowledge, and together, Samantha says their combined expertise ensures every client feels and looks great.

“We take the time to listen to our clients and work with them to achieve what they want,” says Samantha.

“With our years of beauty experience, we just get it!”

And, with a newly renovated salon, Samantha says clients love the relaxed, modern feel and the personal attention she and Brenda give to them. 

Samantha says Ultimate Skin and Beauty offers a wide range of services such as waxing, spray tanning, massages, manicures, pedicures, lash lifts and extensions, and facial treatments, which use the internationally-recognised skincare product, Murad. 

“A current beauty trend that our clients are loving is a henna brow tint. It’s a natural product and gives greater definition than a regular chemical-based tint,” says Samantha, who is offering “CityNews” readers a free eyebrow wax with every henna brow tint booked. 

Samantha is also delighted that the salon has a five-star rating across their social media and Google and looks forward to welcoming new clients to the salon, which adheres to covid-safe hygiene practices.

Ultimate Skin and Beauty, Shop 3, 16 Hardwick Crescent, Holt. Visit or call 6255 3851.

Unique fitness club offers free trial

BACKED with more than 15 years’ experience in Canberra’s fitness industry, Marie Anagnostis was motivated to open the ACT’s first 12RND Fitness Club after she went to one of the club’s classes in Queensland. 

“There’s nothing like it in Canberra,” says Marie, who opened the boutique Belconnen-based studio in February.

The 45-minute workouts replicate the physical demands of a 12-round championship boxing bout, with 12 circuit-style rounds of three minutes, with a 30-second rest (and sanitising) in between. 

Marie says the workouts are boxing-based but also include cardio, core and strength-based exercises, giving people a fantastic workout. 

The beauty of 12RND Fitness, according to Marie, is that people can turn up at any time and join the circuit, which is led by a team of experienced boxing coaches. 

“[It] doesn’t matter if you hit the snooze button in the morning or run late leaving work, you can join in at any time,” says Marie. 

“Our coaches teach everything from scratch – no experience of boxing is necessary. People love that boxing is incorporated with other exercises and you don’t have to partner with others [and can] work individually to your pace.”

Currently 12RND Fitness is offering a free trial for people keen to give it a go, Marie says. 

12RND Fitness, 102 Emu Bank, Belconnen. Call 0478 779300 or visit

Charity’s always willing to help

THE doors at the West Belconnen charity, UnitingCare Kippax, are open to anyone in need of help, says its acting CEO Meg Richens.

“Especially during these difficult times, people are coming to us for support and we are looking at how we continue to help them either online or face-to-face,” she says. 

UnitingCare Kippax provides a range of services such as case management, early childhood programs, food relief and employment and training. 

The Mower Shed is one of UnitingCare Kippax’s social enterprises, which is a business set up to achieve social good by helping people find mainstream employment. 

Meg says The Mower Shed offers garden maintenance training to people who have found it difficult to find and maintain employment, giving them the opportunity to leave the program with a set of skills, a certification and some work experience. 

“For people who need basic garden maintenance, including mowing, pruning and garden rubbish removal, and cannot pay the full fees, it [allows] UnitingCare Kippax to continue to support people in need,” says Meg.

Meg says their “wrap-around” support process enables them to work with people who need support at any level, saying they offer a range of programs from support with parenting, unemployment issues or training.  

UnitingCare Kippax, corner of Luke Street and Hardwick Crescent, Holt. Call 6254 1733 or visit For information about The Mower Shed, call 0410 083846.

Volunteers support people with Parkinson’s

PARKINSON’S ACT supports and promotes the wellbeing and interests of people with the degenerative neurological disease, Parkinson’s, says Parkinson’s ACT president John Sheldrick. 

“We are a volunteer-run, non-profit organisation providing information, support and education for people living with Parkinson’s, as well as their families, friends and carers in the ACT and region,” he says.

“As part of this we run eight support and activity groups, including two dance groups, one of which is conducted at the Belconnen Arts Centre, a singing group, [a] painting with Parkinson’s [group] and a young onset support group. Our groups are places for people to improve their lifestyle, chat and share experiences.”

John says Parkinson’s ACT also hosts information seminars, publishes a monthly bulletin, contributes to Parkinson’s research, supports aged-care nurses in improving their knowledge of the disease, and provides scholarships to medical and nursing students in the region. 

Parkinson’s ACT, 7 Collett Place, Pearce. Call 1800 644189 or email

Art centre reopens with double the space

AFTER a period of closure during COVID-19 restrictions and the completion of its $15 million expansion, the Belconnen Arts Centre is ready to open its doors to the community, with a number of exciting exhibitions and events.

The centre, which is now double its original size, includes an extra 160 square metres of exhibition space and a new 400-seat theatre.

The Belconnen Arts Centre artistic director and co-CEO, Monika McInerney, hopes the centre becomes a place where artists and the community connect with each other to make memories, share stories and create new work. 

“It’s an exciting time for us. We are blessed to be able to have the capacity and room to safely bring people into the space,” says Monika, whose team has devised some wonderful programs for people to “explore, engage in and gather” both inside the centre and online.  

Four exhibitions are opening this week, including Ngunnawal elder Loretta Halloran’s first solo exhibition, which celebrates her love of working with clay and connection to her Ngunnawal culture. 

Another exhibition titled “Kamberra” by Marissa McDowell and Lisa Fuller, explores local traditional owners, their connections to country, as well as diverse communities who’ve lived here for years, decades and in some cases, generations. 

In the other exhibitions, local artist David Roberts will exhibit “It’s Elementary”, featuring acrylic paintings inspired by the elements and Julie Bradley’s “Evocation” is a mixed-media exhibition that invokes spiritual connections to land. 

Monika says she is very excited to work with local artists and offer new residencies and opportunities for collaboration as well as explore what the new theatre space will be able to offer.  

Belconnen Arts Centre, 118 Emu Bank, Belconnen. Visit

Bringing balance back to carers’ lives

FOR 25 years, Carers ACT, a Carer Gateway service delivery partner, has been dedicated to supporting unpaid family and friend carers through a range of support services to carers in the ACT. 

Services include counselling, online coaching, emergency and planned respite, peer support and a dedicated carer planner.

Canberra resident Joanne became the carer of her 45-year-old brother, pictured, who lives with an intellectual disability, when her elderly mother found it too much to care for him, and says it was a stressful time and a big adjustment for everyone when he relocated from country NSW to the ACT. 

Struggling to juggle work with being a carer and family life, a friend suggested that Joanne call Carer Gateway to get help. 

“When I found the time to call and got through to Carers ACT, what a godsend it has been. My care planner really listened to me and understood,” she says. 

“We are working on an action plan with the aim of bringing my life back into balance. It’s early days yet in my caring journey, but I feel with the support of Carers ACT and the Carer Gateway, I am on a path to success.”

Carer Gateway, visit or call 1800 422737.

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