Our office has been working on Beaton Park’s Inclusive Playground for the past 6 years. Located on the Swan River foreshore in Dalkeithin Perth, Beaton Park’s playground will be a quintessential inclusive playground: it takes the whole community to build a playground for everyone to enjoy! This playground will become an exemplar for the rest of Australia, in process and the constructed form.
Beaton Park, a chronology:
Fiona and Rolfe visited Beaton Park to undertake a site inspection on the construction. It was very exciting to see this large playground taking shape!
Their visit involved some classic collaborative work; meeting contractors, sponsors, Rotary, Council, manufacturers, specialised sub-contractors and artists. Fiona called it a “weaving of magic” inspection: the collaboration and meetings gave insight to the team at large, spurring motivation and giving direction. Things were falling nicely into place!
A breaking of the soil ceremony was held for the beginning of construction in Beaton Park. The Mayor, Rotary, Australia’s Bridge, and various benefactors (who have generously donated much needed funds for the project) were all present for this auspicious moment.
Left to right: City of Nedlands Mayor Max Hipkins; Bella Hopewell; Justin Lekias; and the Hon. Bill Marmion, member for Nedlands.
Fiona spoke to Morning Show host Geoff Hutchinson on ABC Radio Perth last Wednesday (29th March), extolling the virtues of play for everyone. She spoke about the inclusive design for Beaton Park that will encourage children and adults alike to play: “I think that we are all playful human beings but we often lack the cues in our public environment to actually play,” she said.
“Much as we may all love to swing or spin, we feel shy about it because it is something that children do and it’s perceived as childish.”
“So this playground is designed in such a way that you are encouraged, all the cues are there.” Fiona said.
The topic received multiple enthusiastic calls and messages from ABC Radio Perth listeners; adults of various ages describing how they like to have fun with their children and grandchildren in playgrounds. There was sheer delight to hear of the proposed playground for everyone at Beaton Park!
You can read the ABC’s article here.
During this time, Beaton Park Playground was redesigned twice to meet the financial constraints of council, and infrastructure feasibility. A memorandum of understanding was also required between Rotary and Council.
Significant funding was obtained from community sources and local grants, raising $1.5 million towards the playground.
Public consultation with local groups was led by Fiona Robbé Landscape Architects in 2012, talking to students at Dalkeith Primary School, Newman College, and Shenton College, parents and children of Ability Centre‘s Cerebral Palsy Playgroup, members of the ParaQuad Association, and a general public consultation at Mt Claremont. The consultation sessions involved describing the proposed playground vision, and creating interactive discussion groups to find out what the participants would like to do, see and play on at Beaton Park. This process gave children, young people and adults the opportunity to express what is important to them and to contribute to the shaping of Beaton Park. For this project it was especially important to engage with stakeholders of various ages and abilities, to create a playground where everyone is welcome.
Dalkeith Primary School Newman College
Our office consolidated the consultation data into a community design brief, which was closely analysed and followed when designing the proposed play space. The playground design includes traditional equipment like swings, slides and flying foxes, as well as devices which promote physical agility, coordination and balance. Of particular interest will be areas for scientific discoveries, and a sensory walkway where you can experience different musical sounds. The play space will provide social supports (such as seating and picnic areas), and cues for inclusive play, like paired swings. Beaton Park will be host to a sophisticated playground unlike any other!