Paddocks Precinct Playground


The design for the Paddocks Precinct of Parramatta Park aims to address a pressing demand, in the area, for children play, in particular, disabled children play and associated family gathering and recreational opportunities for the local community. It is worth noting that Parramatta Park is classified as a world heritage site and as such, it places incredible sensitivities and complexities around the design process.

The playground is composed of a series of play rings, a deck structure that includes a water feature and floating net and Flying fox. The play rings contain a variety of bespoke and proprietary play elements either in sand or soft fall rubber surfacing with pathways surrounding these play areas.

The playground area is located adjacent to the Domain Creek and sits within an existing stand of trees, providing immediate shade protection for the children and carers and an engaging experience with the unique ecology of the site.

Our objective has been to ensure a balance between respecting the site’s heritage and providing these much needed facilities for Parramatta’s growing community.

An extensive community consultation process was undertaken during the design process. Two drop-in style information and feedback sessions were conducted to provide information and to answer specific questions about the proposed play equipment. Participants were also asked to provide feedback on the location and preference of play equipment for children less than five years of age. This feedback was considered and incorporated into the playground layout.

This new recreational layer to the park aimed to reduce the visual impact of the playground on the overall park aesthetic by employing strategies that limit their visual effect and recognized the important ecological corridor of the Domain Creek.

The project addressed best practice sustainability challenges through the establishment of two key design principles, these are:

  • Principle 1: Respect the open expansive nature and significant heritage components of the site by locating the proposed new facilities and activities to the site’s edge. Thereby, reducing their visual impact on the overall site.
  • Principle 2: Ensure clarity between the site’s past historic layers and this new layer. Embrace a contemporary design aesthetic that does not mimic the old and therefore confuse the visitor as to what it is old and what it is new.

Further to this, the playground layout and construction has been design to limit its impact on the existing landscape by elevating it above the ground plane and using natural and neutral coloured materials and planting that bed it within its context.

Low environmental impact materials such as sand, stone, recycling timber and decomposed granite have been used to further blend the playground into its natural settings. The use of rubber softfall has been limited to where all abilities access to play equipment is required.

The project team included Fleetwood Urban into delivering the bespoke site structures and Playground design specialist Ric McConaghy.

The playground opened in March 2015 and is set to become a favorite in the entire region, with another stage under construction that includes the BBQ and picnic facilities and amenities.