Mildura Waterplay


Recipients: Tract Consulting

Client: Mildura Rural City Council 

Project team: 

  • Nigel Parker
  • Victoria Sharp

Project address: Mildura Riverfront Park, Mildura VIC 3500

The Waterplay facility is part of a redevelopment programme to revitalise a 10km stretch of run down public park. The parkland sits adjacent to the Murray River and rather than being a much loved public space had become a wasteland and maintenance burden to the council that divided the river from the city. Given the hot climate of Mildura a waterplay facility was identified as an activity – use that as part of the wider masterplan would help encourage people back to the park and the river.

The facility is located adjacent to an ornamental lake and has been designed to re-invigorate the lake and encourage greater use of the park in general. The existing lake had become infested with weeds and was fenced off. Far from being the attractive draw card originally intended when the park was founded it was seen as a hazard and eyesore. The lake was drained, and reshaped with benching to enable the removal of the fence and instead of a proprietary pool fence native reeds were installed as barrier in its place. A decision very popular with the native ducks of the area.

Adjacent to the lake a 40m long artificial stream laid out like a river delta with divergent paths, islands and rivulets was created. Along the length of this watercourse are fountains, programmed water geysers, splash pads, manual water pumps and other play elements. Further interest is added to the watercourse through different surface and textures, such as river cobbles, naturalistic boulder placement and selected areas of colourful wetpour rubber to add a splash of colour.

The naturalistic shapes of the waterplay were based on aboriginal fish traps used on the Murray for centuries. Surrounding the waterplay facility a botanical garden with emphasis on indigenous plants was laid out. A further layer of information was added with the selection of indigenous plants used by the aboriginal – such as the trunks of the Murray River Cypress which were used for spears to hunt fish.

The facility is completed with pergolas, BBQ facilities and indigenous trees which provide a shady and restful setting. The waterplay facility has truly fulfilled its brief with 1000 people regularly attending the facility over the summer weekends.

The Mildura Rural City Council usually receive complaints from residents – as testament to the popularity of the facility for the first time the council have received letters of compliment from residents and even a positive endorsement from the local press!