CREATURES OF THE SHALLOWS
Flirting with the shallows in Broadwater Parklands, a host of salty sea creatures lie in wait, ready to splash and spray those that dare to come near. A series of true-to-life sea creature sculptures with ‘spray & spurt’ features has transformed the Rockpools waterpark on the Gold Coast into an aquatic adventure on land.
Part of a larger public recreation area in Broadwater Parklands, the Rockpools is a superb splash park that adds tonnes of wet play fun to the coastal area. Shaped from giant boulders with inbuilt concrete seating, the Rockpools feature multiple water jets shooting alternating splash patterns at aquatic adventurers, while the shallows hide realistic-looking sea creatures that provide hours of climbing and play opportunities for visitors of all ages and abilities.
Rockpool’s larger-than-life artistic sculptures are the work of Natureworks, a specialist outfit in Queensland that creates nature-based themed art sculptures. As the focal point of the public space, the sea creatures were required to be child-friendly and carry a variety of functional watersafe spray features that meet Australian Playground Standards. The resulting aquatic menagerie is not only suitably attractive but also interactive, functional and age-appropriate to the sprayground.
The Rockpools’ oceanic play zone is outfitted with an oversized mud crab that stands at centre stage, encouraging older children to climb aboard before water jets playfully stream water skyward. A realistic looking loggerhead turtle presents a comfortable seat for younger children to view the 6m spray jet that launches from its mouth, while an adorable and elegantly appointed fur seal pup sprays water from his whiskers, and a spotted eagle ray with a detailed and unique skin pattern lurks nearby. A brightly coloured octopus with true-to-life ‘suckers’ and a dusky flathead fish are among the remaining creatures that grace the shallows, adding texture and depth to the area in a delightful way that both entertains and educates on the wonders of the natural world.
Common to all the sculptures is a height constraint of 600mm, which, due to the concrete base of the watercourse, was required in order to meet Australian fall-height requirements. Slip factors were also a consideration on some pieces, such as the sloping ‘wings’ of the spotted eagle ray and the hunched back of the loggerhead turtle. The addition of a fine anti-slip grit incorporated into the clear-gel coat finish provided a viable solution for these pieces to meet safety requirements.
Construction considerations required to ensure longevity included protection against full sun exposure and against the corrosive nature of a saltwater environment. Manufactured from reinforced stainless steel and fibreglass with a UV-stable polyester gel-coat, the fabrication criteria for these structures was pushed to its limits to ensure they would last in the harsh Australian environment and maintain not only structural integrity but their charm and vibrancy as well.
The realism of the pieces created for the Rockpools is the key to the overwhelming positive reaction from the public. Being immersed in the water puts these cute characters face-to-face with kids at their level, and enhances the public space in a creative way that will continue to encourage visitors for years to come.
Natureworks Pty Ltd |David Joffe
Client | Southport Council
Location | Broadwater Parklands
Public Art | Natureworks Pty Ltd
Send Enquiry To Natureworks Pty Ltd