Featured Locals August 2015

Our featured locals for this month are Lyn Binns who has lived in Hackett since 1978 and Russell Reid who contributes to the health of many Hackett residents through the gym classes he holds at the old school hall

Lyn Binns – Recollections of Hackett


Lyn moved to Hackett in 13 December 1978 with her husband Arthur and three boys, Geoff, Stephen and David, following Arthur’s posting to Canberra with the Royal Australian Navy. They decided to buy in Canberra rather than live in Defence housing because Defence rents had gone up which made owning your own home more attractive.

She says that there were lots of Defence people which was great but because they lived amongst the general community they were able to meet lots of non-Defence people as well. Lyn and her husband were also attracted to Hackett because the Government were proposing to build Monash Drive which would make it easier for Arthur to drive to work at HMAS HARMAN.

The bus stop across the road and nearby shops were big attractions as Arthur would use the car to get to and from work. There were two buses in those days. One would go to Civic and the other would go to Dickson and the bus stop was just across the road. Lyn said that she didn’t go to Dickson as it was just too far away. A neighbour used to walk to Ainslie to shop as buses were infrequent.

Lyn recalls that the Hackett Shopping Centre consisted of the Little Owl supermarket, a butcher, a chemist, a newsagent, a post office and other shops which was pretty well everything that she needed.  There was also a laundromat where Siam Twist is now located and the owners won Tattslotto.  They then moved to Rockhampton. The laundromat then became a video shop.

Lyn and her family were also close to the Hackett Preschool and Hackett Primary School which was very convenient.

The local doctor was Dr Adele Hanstein who lived just down the road in Madigan Street and practiced out of her house. The Hanstein’s owned a big property in Majura and Dr Hanstein’s husband was very successful. Dr Hanstein used to drive a red Jaguar. But prior to Dr Hanstein there was a doctor practising in a house on the nearby corner of Madigan and Skeats Streets. The Lights then bought that house. Dr Hanstein later moved to the shopping centre in the 80s because doctors were no longer allowed to operate out of houses. It was located where the skin clinic is now located.

Lyn also recalls the tennis courts and the Knights of the Southern Cross facility up the road. The Knights were all hush and nobody knew what they did.

Lyn said for entertainment she and her husband would take the boys to the local drive-in and can remember taking them to see Star Wars. It was absolutely freezing and we had a heater in the car and nearly burnt ourselves in the process. Entertainment was largely self-made as most parents had very little spare money. You might take a dish and a bottle of wine to someone’s house which was a very common way of socialising.

There were also sports commitments with the kids as they got older and they were also involved with the Majura cubs and scouts. A lot of the leaders were service people. Arthur used to train the local soccer team. The kids also loved the yabby ponds up in the Mount Majura Reserve and on cracker night we would go up into the bush and build a bonfire.

There was a lot of socialising with neighbours in those days but according to Lyn now you would be lucky to know your next door neighbour. Although she felt that she was lucky in her street as she knew her neighbours and some others living close by. The population was very transient, particularly the service people who moved every couple of years. Lyn can only recall one person in her vicinity being born in Canberra which was very unusual in those days. She and Arthur used to have great fun mixing with fellow preschool and primary school parents.

They decided to retire in Hackett once Arthur left the Navy as they liked Canberra. What they loved about Canberra was that it was safe and it had numerous parks to take the kids to. They would often leave the house with the front door unlocked and the windows open.

The only shortcoming of Canberra for Lyn is the cold but the days are usually very comfortable. Although Lyn admits that the cold had it advantageous though as skiing was not that far away and Arthur would take the boys skiing. The family would often go down to the coast for holidays. The Tradies had units at Batehaven and they were very affordable.

Lyn can remember the Pope driving past the roundabout near the Rosary Church in his pope mobile on his way to the race course or NATEX for an outdoor mass. All the locals went down there for a look and later they attended the mass in the stinking hot weather.

She can also remember when she first moved to Canberra houses only extended to Kambah after that it was bush all the way to Wanniassa. The current Canberra Hospital was also very small and the main hospital was at Acton.

Lyn feels blessed to have lived in Hackett with such great neighbours. “We all look out for each other and I go to the shops each day with my two little fur balls (Sandy and Freya) and if I didn’t turn up for a couple of days someone from the shops would either ring or turn up at my house to see if I was alright”.

Russell Reid – Fitness Guru


Russell has had a number of career paths throughout his working life including as an auditor for both a large accounting firm and the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO). During this time he represented Australia as senior auditor in London and was required to visit a large number of posts in Europe. This was a very exciting time and allowed him to rekindle old school friendships from his early life in Scotland. Those friendships remain today. While in London he played rugby for the London Scottish club.

Coming back to Australia he commenced working for the Department of Education Employment Training and Youth Affairs as manager of internal communications and editor of the Department’s magazine. His various jobs in the Department gave him the opportunity to work throughout Australia and Asia.

During his working life personal fitness has always been a high priority, he has been a coach and referee for touch football teams. He is still a very keen surfer, skier, snowboarder and walker.

Russell has been involved in the Fitness Industry for a number of years working at the CIT Gym and YMCA. He has Certificate 3, Certificate 4 and Diploma of Fitness. He is a member of Fitness Australia. Therefore it is no surprise that in semi – retirement Russell has become a fitness instructor whose main focus is in helping older adults improve their mobility, strength, flexibility, coordination and general fitness.

He runs classes for all levels of fitness, at the old Hackett Primary School Hall on:

Mondays        8.30 am – 9.30 am

Wednesdays  6.45 am – 7.45 am and 8 am – 9 am

Fridays           6.45 am – 7.45 am and 8 am – 9 am
Russell says the classes are fun and are a great place to meet interesting people from the Hackett area. The classes and times are geared to suit both retirees and those wanting to exercise before work.

He considers fitness to be a key element in maintaining quality of life, independence and general health and well – being.

You can contact Russell by calling him on 0421770803 or email russell.reid19@gmail.com



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