An extraordinary play space

Matilda and Paterson Norman at the new nature-based playground at Goldsworthy Reserve, Corio.

A new nature-based playground has opened in Corio – at Goldsworthy Reserve, next door to the athletics track.

This sub-regional playground features 4700 square metres of play space for families in the northern suburbs to enjoy.

Nature-based play is a key component of the facility, with natural elements designed to inspire young children to play and connect with the outdoors.

The natural play elements include gardens, trees, constructed hills, water, a sand pit and tree houses.

Councillor Anthony Aitken said this playground is a unique addition to the northern suburbs.

“Having visited the space myself, I can tell you it’s an exciting secret adventure playground that will delight children and their families once they discover it behind the athletics track,” he said.

“Council was extremely proud to invest $350,000 in this special play space because it links natural elements with our Traditional Wadawurrung heritage, which is an amazing thing to do.”

The playground design, developed in consultation with Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, encourages further understanding and storytelling of Wadawurrung Country.

The layout and positioning of the natural elements have been designed to reflect the Wadawurrung landscape of mountains, rivers, waters, and a connection of play and movement reflecting eels, birds and animals significant to the area.

Community feedback submitted via an online survey in 2019 also helped inform the final design of the playground.

Natural elements including trees, logs, water and rocks, as well as opportunities for climbing and swinging, were among the highest rated features identified by survey responders.

In addition to nature-based play elements, key features of the new playground at Goldsworthy Reserve include a flying fox, You Yangs climbing wall, swings and slides, and a small fenced play space – among other things to play on and discover.

Cr Aitken thanked the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation and community for helping shape the vision of the new playground.

“We’re excited to see this facility open for the community and the combined vision come to life,” he said.

“Traditional Owner Corrina Eccles has had a significant impact on the space, with her concept ideas for an eel-catching tunnel, a walkway that represents the Moorabool River, and a slide that represents the Barwon River. These were all made a reality by the City of Greater Geelong team.

“The Council will install story boards around the space so that visitors can understand these important connections to Wadawurrung land, culture and heritage.

“This fantastic new playground is sure to create a sense of wonder and love for the natural environment for generations to come.”

The project was fully funded by the City of Greater Geelong, with the project cost at $350,000.

The playground at this site follows on from a $1.3 million upgrade of the athletics track at the reserve.