Bollygum Park


Recipient: Jeavons Landscape Architects

Client: Murrindindi Shire Council 

Project team: 

  • Designers: Jeavons Landscape Architects
  • Head contractor: Naturform Pty Ltd
  • Project manager: Murrindindi Shire Council
  • Render Artist: James Cattell (Honeyweather and Speight) Artistic steel : Craig Macek
  • Timber carvings : Miriam Porter
  • Front entrance Sculptures: Nicholas (Rain) Gidley
  • Signs and maps: Linda Haggar
  • Timber work: Anthony Smith, Rick Green, Bruno, No.1 Creek Timber Mill Kinglake Planting: Kuranga Native Nursery, Fern Acres, Kinglake Landcare Group
  • Musical items: Herb Jercher
  • Play Equipment components : Allplay Equipment Australia / Adventure Playground Industries / Playworks

Project team: 40 Whittlesea-Kinglake Road, Kinglake VIC 3763

Bollygum Park is a regional playground in rural Kinglake, approximately 50km northeast of Melbourne. The playground was funded and built following the devastation of the Black Saturday fires, though the community had been planning and fundraising for the project for many years prior to the fires.

The community vision for the play space was to bring to life the children’s book Bollygum by Australian author Garry Fleming. Bollygum is the story of a group of native animals and their distinctive, cool-temperate forest habitats. The design uses the story as an appealing framework for play, using quirky artworks to present the animal ‘homes’ as endearing play settings such as the earthy wombat tunnels, the light and aerial frogmouth home, and the platypus house by the side of the rocky creek. Sculptures and other artworks by a wide range of local artists enhance the character of the space, which is lit up at night by eerie ‘glow in the dark’ aggregate set into the paving.

The design integrates the features of the natural landscape of the site to best advantage for play and accessibility. Magnificent trees that survived the fires frame the space where custom-designed structures are set into the site, linked by the winding rocky stream and enhanced by loose elements such as sand, water, leaves and twigs, and punctuated by open lawns, picnic areas and amenities.

Timber from large trees felled and milled on site, as well as locally sourced timber retrieved after the fires, has been incorporated into many structures and elements of the park.

Toilet facilities, car park, BBQ’s and picnic shelters are all linked via a fully accessible path system that provides easy orientation and access for people of all abilities. The contained site means that parents can keep track of their children. The high level of sensory qualities provides interest and engagement for children who seek sensory detail, and there is plenty of challenge for thrill seekers. Musical elements and interactive play elements have been designed for wheelchair access so that all users can play with them.

A skate park adds to the attraction of this site to people of all ages, and attracts users from Whittlesea and other outlying areas.

Jeavons Landscape Architects worked collaboratively with the local steering committee for many years and carried out the initial landscape concept plan for this project in 2005. Once funding was available, Jeavons completed the full landscape design and construction documentation, and carried out contract administration for the Murrindindi Shire Council.