Jubilee Playground


Recipient: Sue Barnsley Design

Client: City of Sydney

Project team: 

  • Cardno
  • Professor Max Irvine
  • Earthscape Horticultural Services Consulting Coordination
  • Fiona Robbe Landscape Architecture

Project address: Northcote Road, Glebe NSW 2037

Community of play

Jubilee Playground is located within Bicentennial Park in Glebe and forms part of the Foreshore Parkland of Blackwattle Bay. The new works have renewed a well- loved local playground in the south-east corner of the park, under the canopy of a grove of large old fig trees that edge an open lawn. Designed for families with newborns to twelve year olds, the playground is made up of three distinct but interconnected ‘worlds’.

It is close to Jubilee Oval, Chapman Road Playground and the open space reserves along Johnston’s Creek. Linking a community of play spaces in Glebe, Forest Lodge and Annandale.


The community supported the playground renewal and reviewed concepts as part of the City of Sydney’s community consultation process. A letterbox drop distributed 2,500 notices within a 500 metre radius of the playground and the concept design was on public exhibition between March and April 2011. Visibility into the cubby and noise from musical instruments, were two of eight concerns addressed in design development.

During construction Wilson Pedersen Landscapes were constantly asked when the playground would be opened and on the first weekend it was flooded with families from near and far. Opened for nearly two years the playground is still in demand.


The brief did not call for an Inclusive Playground however, we approached the design with Inclusive Thinking. Renovating the carousel much-loved by generations of children. Providing a play deck and seat beside the cubby for all abilities access. Renovating the picnic shelters and making a new shelter that allows universal access from the entry.

The tripartite arrangement of this local playground encourages movement between elements in a way that is dynamic and interlinked. It is a place where carers can watch or participate in the action. A place surrounded by seats and open lawns for picnics and games.


  • tree-root investigation validated the siting of all structures
  • site earthworks where minimised due to the possibility of acid sulphate soil conditions
  • site utilises natural drainage and a shallow soakage pit was used to discharge subsoil water to adjoining planting
  • new pathways were minimised and made universally accessible
  • the high cover of porous, natural surfaces, reduces reflectivity and heat generation
  •  simple, robust materials were selected for sustainability and longevity:
  • Australian hardwood- recycled- for timber decks- new- for shingles & pathways
  • trees were upcycled as stools, stepping stones & log bridges
  • stainless steel for structures- slides
  • painted steel for structures- swings, shade
  • high UV shadecloth with polyester rope fixings
  • insitu concrete walls to sandpit
  • epdm softfall has a recycled rubber base
  • the carousel was renovated and made compliant
  • picnic shelters and seats were renovated
  • on street parking- no vehicular parking in the parklands
  • bike parking provisions at entry
  • soil conditions were improved through decompaction and amelioration
  • plantings are low water use and non-irrigated
  • all elements require low maintenance