Photos from September 2014 visit. So wonderful to see the park packed full of families. I heard a few cries and protests as children were being taken home! The plants have grown beautifully. There is so much here for all the family – activity, rest, beauty, bbqs. I am always thrilled to see how this space is growing and how well loved it is.
Wombat Bend Park (formerly Finns Reserve) Duncans Road, Templestowe
Winner of the 2008 Playground and Recreation Association of Victoria (PRAV) Presidents award for contribution to play, awarded at the Parks and Leisure conference, Melbourne 2006- 2007.
Wombat Bend began life as the “All Abilities Playspace” – a park for people of all abilities to enjoy. My part in the project took around two years and involved around ten community groups – schools, scouts, disability groups, adult training centres, and the general community . It has been tremendously a satisfying project for me – as the artist / community art co-ordinator – and also for so many other people involved in its design, development and installation.
Wombat Bend was designed by Ric McConaghy and the Manningham City Council after much community consultation; the construction work was done by the perfectly named Crafted Landscapes, and I co-ordinated, taught and / or made most of the community and other artwork. The brilliant artists at Honeyweather and Speight created the entrance and, and Carey Grammar were involved in consultation and creating separate art projects.
Together we made hand-made tiles and a six metre mosaic, now known as the “Circle of Friends”. The idea for the mosaic came from community leaders who expressed a yearning for the artwork to reflect community connectedness. Each community group was given a section of the mosaic to complete – at their own pace, with all the materials and instructions required. I spent many very happy hours with the groups working on this wonderful piece.
As many participants in the art projects had a disability, the long timeline for the creative part of the project provided those people with the time they required to make the work without being rushed or compromised.
In February 2008, Wombat Bend officially opened with much fanfare. This was a wonderful project. Everyone involved worked hard to make Wombat Bend a really beautiful park – and accessible to all the community. It was given the proper funding; time to undertake meaningful community consultation, to design and build the space and to create and install the artwork. It has become a much-loved park.
Years later, it has grown into the most beautiful space and enjoyed by so many people with all abilities.