Bicentennial Park Playground


Recipient: Jeavons Landscape Architects

Client: City of Kingston

Project team: 

  • Designers: Jeavons Landscape Architects
  • Contractors: Urban Plumb and Scape / Allplay Equipment Australia
  • Project Manager: City of Kingston
  • Musical Items: Nicholas Dunand and Herbert Jercher

Project address: Thames Promenade & Scotch Parade, Chelsea VIC 3196

Bicentennial Park Playground is located in Chelsea, a bayside suburb to Melbourne‘s south. The large park features a regional playspace, netball centre and kilometres of walking trails. The park is an old favourite with many locals who know the site as Mount Chelsea. The original iconic mound slides were destroyed by arson but were re-built in September 2009 due to popular demand. Following the redevelopment of Mount Chelsea, Jeavons Landscape Architects carried out the landscape design and construction documentation for the playground in 2010, collaborating closely with the City of Kingston and the landscape contractors and artists.

Significant improvements were planned for the site, with a focus on improved accessibility. The design of the playspace was steered by diverse stakeholders including Council, Victoria Police, Chelsea Community Renewal and Scope Victoria. During the design phase, the draft Landscape Concept Plan was distributed to the wider community for consultation and feedback. Throughout the construction phase a notice board was also located on site and regular updates on Council’s website allowed the broader community to keep in touch with the development of the playground.

The playground is a unique and complex landscape for play that welcomes all users – it is used from dawn to dusk by adults, children and teenagers. It includes a full complement of swinging, rocking, climbing, agility and spinning equipment caters for all age groups.

Bicentennial Park Playground is an inclusive design with paths that form a seamless circulation system for movement between quirky spaces that bristle with open ended play elements, art works and planting, with the colourful Mount Chelsea slides at its heart and centre. The inclusive design maintains the natural qualities of the park setting, while the selection of materials contributes to the sensory qualities of this space without the excessive use of rubber surfacing. Open areas of grass provide space for kicking a ball, picnicking and relaxing, while a series of shelters, bbqs, party tables and seats ensure that everyone can find their preferred vantage point or retreat.

The ‘smurf’ village with its sculptural cow in the village centre forms a highlight and focal point. Installed by local artists, the musical elements include a tuned piano, squeaky tyres and spinning sound makers. The sculptural cow randomly farts, burps or moos when triggered and its flatulence has been enjoyed by both children and parents (note – these are sound effects only. No actual methane is produced).

An extensive sand play area also incorporates carved timber sculptures, boulders, loose pebbles and a raised sand play table under a slatted pergola for generous shade over this social place. Overflow water collected from a nearby roof is channelled into the sand play area along a creek bed to allow children to utilize the water and sculpt the sand, while promoting sustainability and water conservation. Sculptural bulrushes form a central, arching spine connecting the sand play area to other parts of the space. Planting further enhances this feature by transforming it into a green tunnel.