Our vision is to create a unique and iconic park space that celebrates Kyneton’s local heritage and environment, whilst engaging both children and adults; bringing parents, grandparents and friends together in a setting that nurtures social connections, exercise and creative play.
The park design captures the essence of Kyneton and what makes it special; creating a new park uniquely of Kyneton that reflects the area’s history, stories and current place in Victoria. Drawing on the concept of “Everybody’s Space”, the park has been designed to cater for the all members of Kyneton’s community and its visitors from young families to teenagers, adults and elderly residents.
The design for Kyneton Community Park stretches over a large footprint of parkland with different thematic elements scattered throughout the space. This is reflective of the open nature of this part of the historic Kyneton Botanic Gardens, respecting the site’s sense of place. Historical and environmental themes embraced in the park’s design include Kyneton’s rich agricultural history, its mineral springs, the Campaspe River and the Botanic Gardens. The end result is a park that celebrates the best of the town, its environment and history for residents and visitors alike.
Gather and celebrate
Kyneton’s Botanic Gardens is one of the oldest Botanic Gardens in Victoria. Historically, the gardens provided a gathering place for central Victoria. In the late 19th and early 20th century in particular, the gardens were recognised for their natural beauty and used as a place for picnics, moonlight concerts and celebrations. The new park in the lower arboretum of the present day gardens seeks to build on this tradition of the gardens as a focal point for community celebrations, providing ample space for open air music and theatre events.
Tractors and fields
One of the driving themes behind the park’s design is Kyneton’s rural and agricultural history. Many of the park’s elements make use of this theme to create an iconic and exciting play space.
Kyneton’s agricultural history is reflected in the strong lines running through the park design, which are reminiscent of ploughed and harvested fields. At the edges these blur into grassy mounds, but at the centre these strong lines are filled with agricultural references including play tractors, farm animal sculptures, a stockyard (mirroring the adjacent ‘Pig Market), an entrance arbour decorated with old farm implements, windrow trees and log feature walls. The theme of timber and logs is repeated as a strong play element throughout the space. Log rounds are provided as stepping and jumping tools, while long windrows of trunks and branches provide climbing and hiding opportunities – all encouraging creative play and gross motor skill development.
Caravans and tractors play a special role in the new Kyneton Community Park, as fun and unique play pieces which provide a link to Kyneton’s recent past. From 1961 until 2010 the Kyneton Caravan Park occupied the site now set aside for the Kyneton
Community Park. This holiday spot was well loved by visitors, and Caravan Cubby Houses modelled on vintage caravans will provide an ongoing reference to this use.
Vintage tractors scattered through the park provide different play opportunities, allowing children to engage with a real piece of machinery, modified to be suitable for children’s play. These brightly painted tractors will be a special and iconic part of the park, providing a play opportunity which is both unique and reflective of Kyneton’s agricultural past.
Springs and fairy rings
Water play is an exciting and engaging play opportunity that is rapidly gaining popularity in parks worldwide. Drawing on the themes of the Campaspe River and the nearby Mineral Springs, the central core of Kyneton’s Community Park is a water play area comprising a central rill dotted with rock and log mazes. It is proposed that water for the play area will come directly from the Campaspe and be returned to the river again. The rocks used in this space are sourced locally (indeed many have already been donated) and the main water play area is accessible to children of all ages and abilities. A simple timber fence is in keeping with the park’s rural theme.
The park design promotes a strong sense of place and connection to the Botanic Gardens and its hundreds of exotic plant and tree species including oaks, ashes and elms. Major pieces of play equipment echo the treed location, with strong vertical elements evocative of tree trunks. In the centre of the park timber poles are strung together with a low level rope course, providing risk-taking adventure and challenge for older children.
The pattern of vertical poles is carried over into what is by far the most unique and appealing attraction of the park’s design for older children; the timber tree house. This structure, designed especially for Kyneton Community Park would be tucked away in the park’s northwest corner, providing children and adults with a safe play space above the ground in the tree canopy; a special play world rarely found in public parks.
While much of Kyneton Community Park has been designed around nature based play, specially selected off-the-shelf play equipment has still been used. This equipment provides different play opportunities, allowing the development of gross motor skills and the swinging, sliding and turning play children love.
Play equipment has been selected for its ability to cater for a wide range of ages – including adults. One of the largest pieces of play infrastructure that will cater to children and adults is a proposed double embankment slide on the park’s large south-eastern facing hill.
Other play equipment includes large and small swings, including an all-abilities-accessible basket swing, and a wheel chair accessible carousel. For adults, exercise equipment including, outdoor table tennis tables and Pétanque pistes will provide opportunities for exercise and recreation. With play and recreation equipment designed for all ages and abilities, this is truly a park for all the community.
For generations, fairies have provided fertile ground for children’s imaginations. The existing ‘fairy ring’ of trees at the site of the Kyneton Community Park has been incorporated into the design of the space in a subtle and appropriate way which will not diminish its heritage significance. By adding new hedges to the outside perimeter of the ring, more enclosure will be provided without damaging the existing space, whilst the centre will become a quiet play area that can be ‘found’ by children away from the hustle and bustle of the main park.
Planting within the space will be chosen for its interest, robustness (it needs to withstand hoards of tiny feet), climatic suitability and play opportunities. Chinese Windmill Palms (Trachycarpus fortunei) are appropriate Victorian era plants which will provide structure and interest to the Park, tying it to the main part of the Botanic Gardens. Cordylines and flax are proposed as play elements, providing hiding spots and a chance for children to interact and play amongst plants. Grassy mounds, daffodil fields and hedges all provide play and visual elements which are appropriate to the Botanic Gardens’ setting.