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Blaxland Riverside Playground Park

Blaxland Riverside Playground Park by JMD Design is a 21 hectare Park that offers a scenic location for a diverse range of leisure activities. Situated in Sydney, Australia along the picturesque Parramatta River and adjoining the heritage precinct of Newington Armory, where JMD Design has converted an okay park into an enormous field of fun. Once an estate belonging to John Blaxland, the area endured many evolutions as a salt pan, grazing land, and tweed mill before it was adapted to its current incarnation. Now it boasts a slew of slides and tree houses, along with other outdoor activities, that reconnect children with both the land and themselves.

Blaxland-Riverside-Playground-Park-By-JMD-Design-02-759x455 Blaxland Riverside Playground Park / JMD Design

© Brett Boardman

Using the existing landform to their advantage, JMD Design created a series of sweet worm holes and slides, some that are quite steep, along with a 12 meter high treehouse tower that overlooks the Parramatha River. Albeit completely in line with Australia’s playground regulations, this three hectare facility comes with a few risks. But that’s healthy, we think. When did we start denying children the right to fall down and hurt themselves while abandoning themselves to total outdoor bliss?

Blaxland-Riverside-Playground-Park-By-JMD-Design-05-759x759 Blaxland Riverside Playground Park / JMD Design

© Brett Boardman

Other attractions include a sand pit that allows kids to dig in the dirt to their heart’s content, climbing nets and walls, and a fun water play area complete with water jets of varying intensity. And the adults have options too. They can enjoy a peaceful meal, learn about the park’s long history, take a walk, or ride a bicycle on the trails. Of course, we’re just as happy searching for worms in the nearby forest, if one can be found, but this reclaimed land provides a wonderful retreat for urbanites who still want their children to have a taste of outdoor life.

Blaxland-Riverside-Playground-Park-By-JMD-Design-06-759x727 Blaxland Riverside Playground Park / JMD Design

© Brett Boardman

Sydney Olympic Park Authority:

New South Wales’ largest public play space was officially opened today, 1 June, at Sydney Olympic Park by Graham Annesley, the NSW Minister for Sports and Recreation.

Elevated with views over the Parramatta River, Blaxland Riverside Park play space spreads over 3 hectares and offers 12 unique and creative play environments, including a double flying fox, a giant swing, tunnel slides, climbing wall, spinning disk and a viking swing.

The final stage of the project, opened today, adds a huge multi-level tree house, sandplay and the largest waterplay experience in the State. Additional amenities including a kiosk, more than 130 additional car spaces and new picnic tables, shade structures and public amenities were also opened.

The popularity of the park is unrivalled and only expected to grow as current daily visits on a busy weekend exceeds 4,500 and the predicted annual visitation to the site is anticipated to surpass 580,000 visits.

The 7 million dollar project managed by Sydney Olympic Park Authority provides critical social infrastructure for Western Sydney and a place for people to become better connected to family and friends.

The play space also strengthens communities by encouraging participation in recreation and a healthy, active lifestyle across generations.

Blaxland Riverside Park is a major public park within Sydney Olympic Park. It is an addition to the Park’s already successful Bicentennial Park, Wentworth Common, varied natural features and the 35 kms of walk ways and cycle ways.

Blaxland-Riverside-Playground-Park-By-JMD-Design-09-759x388 Blaxland Riverside Playground Park / JMD Design

© Brett Boardman

Blaxland Riverside Park play space:

Sydney Olympic Park Authority has developed a unique, innovative and creative play space at Blaxland Riverside Park. The play space provides a diverse and challenging environment for people of all ages to play, socialise, get active and build memories.

Spread over an area of 3 hectares, the play space provides a colourful combination of play elements that includes high and steep landforms, water and sand, moving elements, nets, slides, tunnels and hidden spaces. Additional parking, toilets and picnic facilities were installed as part of the play space project.

Blaxland Riverside Park’s play space is an important project for Sydney Olympic Park Authority. It provides critical social infrastructure for Western Sydney and provides a place for people to better connect with family and friends. The play space strengthens communities by encouraging participation in recreation and a healthy, active lifestyle across generations.

Blaxland-Riverside-Playground-Park-By-JMD-Design-10-759x879 Blaxland Riverside Playground Park / JMD Design

© Brett Boardman

The opening of stage 1 of the play space in 2011 resulted in a significant increase in visitation to the precinct, with the daily number of visits on a busy weekend exceeding 4,500. With the completion of the project, annual visitation to the precinct is expected to exceed 580,000 visits.

Blaxland Riverside Park is a significant parklands precinct within Sydney Olympic Park. The parklands at Sydney Olympic Park are one of Australia’s largest urban parklands and play an important role as both a local park to surrounding neighbourhoods and a significant regional park destination for the wider Sydney community. Each year over two million people are attracted to this important green space, which provides picnic and recreation areas, playgrounds and 35 kilometres of walking and cycle paths.

The parklands at Sydney Olympic Park are managed and developed by the Authority, ensuring that their natural heritage is protected and enhanced whilst allowing greater access and enjoyment for the community.

Blaxland-Riverside-Playground-Park-By-JMD-Design-13-759x455 Blaxland Riverside Playground Park / JMD Design

© Brett Boardman

Project brief:

Create a unique regional play space that takes full advantage of its elevated river setting Create a journey of play with diverse play experiences that integrates the foreshore with the large free play open areas Provide relevant and challenging play experiences and socialising spaces for all ages and abilities; a truly ‘multi generational’ play area.

Blaxland-Riverside-Playground-Park-By-JMD-Design-14-750x1000 Blaxland Riverside Playground Park / JMD Design

© Brett Boardman

Key dates:

  • May 2011 – Stage 1 of the play space opened to the public
  • June 2012 – Stage 2 complete Play space officially opened to the public by the Hon. Graham Annesley MP

Key statistics:

  • Blaxland Riverside Park total area is 21 hectares
  • Play space area is 3 hectares
  • 6850 m3 of soil fill material to form the play mounds
  • 1610 m2 of soft fall rubber and 2548 m2 of artificial grass to provide soft fall areas around play equipment to comply with the Australian Playground Standards and durability performance in areas of high use
  • A total of 467 car spaces is available with 12 accessible car spaces. An additional 138 car park spaces were added as part of the play space project.
Blaxland-Riverside-Playground-Park-By-JMD-Design-16-759x455 Blaxland Riverside Playground Park / JMD Design

© Brett Boardman

Play space equipment and facilities:

There are 12 specific play elements integrated into landforms and artificial surfaces, including water and sand, moving elements, nets, slides, tunnels and hidden spaces. The play space has been designed, constructed and is maintained in accordance with Australian Standard guidelines.

Stage 1:

  • Giant Swing — designed by JMD manufactured by Fleetwood Engineering
  • Viking Swing
  • Spinning Disk
  • Climbing Wall
  • Tunnel and Surface Slides
  • Double Flying Fox
  • Wormhole Net

All other play equipment distributed by Playrope Pty Ltd Manufactured in Germany Kaiser & Kuhne

Blaxland-Riverside-Playground-Park-By-JMD-Design-22-759x506 Blaxland Riverside Playground Park / JMD Design

© Brett Boardman

Stage 2:

  • Tree House
  • Height — 13.5m tall structure
  • Structure — galvanized steel, FC sheeting & stainless steel mesh
  • Recycled hardwood timber — Architectural Timber, Grafton
  • Waterplay — 165m2 wet disc, 170 water jets, 7 programmable features
  • Sandplay — 30m2 in area
  • Kiosk — building 70m2, covered outdoor seating area approx. 140m2
  • Kiosk roof — PTFE (polytetrafluroethlyene) coated high translucency glass fiber fabric
Blaxland-Riverside-Playground-Park-By-JMD-Design-19-759x455 Blaxland Riverside Playground Park / JMD Design

© Brett Boardman

JMD Design

The new playground makes extensive use of landform to house a variety of play experiences and elements that caters for the entire family. The landform extends some 300 metres from the Giant swing to the Tonkin Zulaikha Greer designed kiosk. Nestled into dramatic cuts in the landform are tunnel slides, embankment slides, a climbing net, flying fox, sand pit, and a waterplay disc that houses 170 jets. These are programmed to create tunnels, enclosures, lines and spots of water that are at times gentle, at times boisterous. A 12 metres high treehouse overlooks the entire playground and gives long views along the Parramatta River. The highly popular playground is serviced by a new JMD designed extension to the carpark and a Tonkin Zulaikha Greer designed amenities block.

Blaxland-Riverside-Playground-Park-By-JMD-Design-23-759x506 Blaxland Riverside Playground Park / JMD Design

© Brett Boardman

Project Data:

Project name: Blaxland Riverside Playground Park
Location: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Coordinates: -33.825573,151.059956
Type: Amusement park / Water park, Riverside, Park
Park Area: 21 hectare
Play space Area: 3 hectares
Total play corridor: 13,500m²
Kiosk building: 70 sqm
Covered outdoor seating area: approx. 140 sqm
Car park: 142 space
Water play area: 165 sqm wet disc, 170 water jets
Sand play area: 30 sqm
Park Opened: March, 2007
Status: Completed
Project Year: 2009 – 2011
Project Budget: $6.9 M
Completion Year: 2012

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: Sydney Olympic Park Authority
Landscape Architects: Principle: James Mather Delaney Design (JMD Design), Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Australia
Sub consultants:

  • Electrical, Hydraulic, Structural: Sub consultants Northrop Consulting Engineers
  • Architects: Tonkin Zulaikha Greer
  • Water Play Design: Waterforms International
  • Playground Certifiers: Consulting Coordination

Construction team:
Stage 1:

  • Principle: Perfection Landscapes
  • Sub contractors: Fleetwood Engineering (giant swing)

Stage 2:

  • Principle: Co-Ordinated Landscapes, Safin Pty Ltd – Public amenities, BMD Constructions – Car park and services
  • Sub contractors: Hansen Yunken / Benro (Kiosk & Tree House), Mak Max – Kiosk Roof, Waterforms International – Water Feature

Text Description: © Courtesy of JMD Design, Sydney Olympic Park Authority
Images: © Brett Boardman, JMD Design

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Blaxland Riverside Playground Park / JMD Design
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