The Queen of Canberra - Mrs Aitken

Mrs Alison Aitken, a regular client at Momento Dezigns and resident of Deakin is also known as the Queen of Canberra. Born just five weeks before Her Majesty - Queen Elizabeth II. These two ladies have always been close in likeness, especially being born in the same year. 

Born in the 1920's living through two centuries, Alison has seen a lot in her lifetime and doesn't seem to be slowing down. 

Alison was born and grew up in Sydney with her parents and two older brothers. Alison lived through the Great Depression and both of her brothers fought overseas in World War II.

Unfortunately her brother Colin who served with the air force and a pilot of a Lancaster bomber, never made it home. Colin's letter to his family back home, now resides at the Australian War Memorial.

Alison and her husband John had three sons. Upon having their first son, the family moved for John's job in the Department of Army in Melbourne while the department was set up. Then later in the early 1960's they moved to Canberra.


"John's head of the department said to try and get to Campbell because that's where Defence would be built. So we got a house at Campbell – but there were no shops. And the lake wasn't here 'til 1964," she said.


"After a while they built Defence at Russell Hill. But our nearest neighbour was Duntroon and on the other side was Anzac Parade. There were all paddocks all around us. I loved it from day one."


John and Alison's third son,"Guy was born at the old Canberra Hospital that they imploded. In those days you never had your husbands in the theatre while you were having the baby. I mean as much as I love my husband I was there to get on with the job without worrying about how he was feeling," Mrs Aitken said.


"Afterwards John comes over with these beautiful flowers. And they said, 'another son for you Mr Aitken', and John said 'yes, our first one was born in Sydney, our second one in Melbourne, now Guy's been born in Canberra – we're not moving to Brisbane next week."


"Despite being surrounded by predominantly males most of her life, Mrs Aitken is a lover of fashion, and you'll never catch her out and about without a hat and gloves." (Hogan, 2015)

Mrs Alison AitkenOn the second day of Summer - December 2nd 2019, Mrs Alison Aitken ventured out into the unusually (usual) cold Canberra day to shop at Momento Dezigns. Photo: Rebecca Raston


"My husband John always said, 'you don't drink, smoke or gamble darling but you love fashion so go for it', so darling's been going for it," she says.


Mrs Aitken lives by herself unfortunately her husband John died a number of years ago. Living at The Grange in Deakin she is not far from Manuka, where she frequently visits. You may have seen her driving around in her bright yellow Volkswagon Beetle, that she's named Sunshine.


"With one son left in Canberra – another lives in Brisbane and the other is in Abu Dhabi – Mrs Aitken's older sons told the youngest that he had to take his mother out for lunch every fortnight. That was 18 years ago, and to this day, Mrs Aitken and her son Guy go to the Kurrajong Hotel in Barton for lunch every second Thursday." (Hogan, 2015)

Mrs Alison Aitken

Alison Aitken is a regular diner at the Kurrajong Hotel in Barton. Photo: Graham Tidy


"I have a saying life is beautiful when you surround yourself with beautiful people, and I've always been most fortunate to have my parents, my brothers, and then my beautiful husband and my three sons."

Mrs Aitken is a Doyen of Canberra. She shows us what it is like to live a life filled with beauty, and to make the most of every single day!

1 comment

  • Lisa

    Such a lovely story, thankyou.

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