Victory Park is the heart of Castlemaine, Victoria, and is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. PTA Landscapes has delivered an exciting new playspace to the park that draws on the themes of peace and reconciliation as an acknowledgement to the traditional owners of the land.
Castlemaine is renowned for its rich gold rush history and growing reputation as a fine food destination, with Victory Park a key destination for the community.
PTA Landscapes was engaged by Mount Alexander Shire Council to replace the existing playground at Victory Park and deliver a larger new playspace, which was designed by Urban Initiatives in consultation with Design Leaf Studios.
The playspace draws on the themes of peace and reconciliation, and incorporates two important ancestral beings of the traditional owners the Dja Dja Wurrung Indigenous people: Bunjil in the form of a wedgetail eagle and Waa, the crow.
Look up and you will see Bunjil soaring overhead on the shade sail, protecting those that play below. Bunjil is the creator spirit who symbolises wisdom, knowledge and power. On the shadow wall, Waa is flying away from the fire. The Dreaming tells us Waa discovered fire in a different country and then brought fire to Jaara Country. Waa used to be white before fire singed him black forever.
On the banks of the creek, a mother yabby sits protecting her eggs. Yabby is an aboriginal word that has its origins in traditional languages from across Victoria. A grinding stone with a spear sharping groove pays further homage to the traditional owners. The grinding stone is surrounded by a garden bed that contains native Kangaroo Grass (Themeda triandra), the seeds of which were customarily harvested and ground to make flour. This stone will be used for storytelling and bush tucker demonstrations.
The new landscaped playspace features a mixture of natural inspired play elements, custom and built equipment. It includes a zip line, basket swing, wheelchair-accessible carousel, chessboard, ping pong table, waterplay creek, timber cars, balance beam, stepping logs, timber thrones, refuge cubby, climbing boulder and slide.
Playgrounds are more than just fun places where children can run around; they are imperative to assist kids in the development of important skills. Swinging elements aid with balance, coordination, fine and gross motor skills, while climbing items build flexibility, awareness, encourage problem-solving and prediction skills. Free play helps children learn to communicate, practice conversation, interact socially and assists with vocabulary.
“PTA Landscapes is thrilled to have been a part of this project,” said PTA Landscapes director, Andrew Wilson. “Our team has enjoyed living in the Castlemaine community and constructing the playspace using many local suppliers and services, supporting the local community and economy. We look forward to watching with interest the public interaction with the space and thank everyone involved.”
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