Kids have designs on winning playgrounds

Kids have designs on winning playgrounds

Kids are calling the shots on the planning and design of the City of Sydney’s pocket parks and playgrounds.

The latest “advice and direction” from young Sydneysiders was used in the upgrade of a small park in Chelsea Street, Redfern, and Lord Mayor Clover Moore will meet with 35 boys and girls from Bourke Street Primary School to hear their judgement of the project.

“We always consult with the community before upgrading our parks, and we are increasingly seeking the children’s ideas about their designs,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Engaging school children in our decision-making not only gives us great parks and playgrounds, it is an investment in the growth of the active citizens of the future.”

Across the city centre and surrounding village areas, there are more than 400 parks, meaning no visitor, local, worker, or child, is ever far from a green space.

About 276 of them are small parks and playgrounds, and combined they fill an area larger than 32 football fields.

Chelsea Street will be the 43rd pocket park to receive an upgrade in the last eight years.

Local parks slated for improvements in 2013 include Janet Bierne Reserve (Beaconsfield), St James Park (Glebe), and Reconciliation Park (Redfern).

The Lord Mayor said the city’s small parks and playgrounds were urban oases for tens of thousands of residents, visitors, children, parents and workers.

“Sydney is the most densely-populated city in Australia, and providing great places for local activity and interaction is high on our priority list,” the Lord Mayor said.

Some of the City of Sydney’s most interesting small parks are:

  • Pottinger Park, Millers Point, has the sandstone ruins of the home where horse and cart driver Arthur Payne lived in the 1900s – the first Sydneysider to be diagnosed with the bubonic plague.
  • Barcom Avenue Park in Surry Hills is where former convict Thomas West built a water mill using the streams that ran down into Rushcutters Bay. Rainwater is now harvested underground from the adjacent St Vincent Hospital to water the park.
  • Lilian Fowler Reserve in Newtown is a partnership between the City and Newtown Public school creating new play spaces for students, raingardens, herb gardens, recycled pavers and bike racks.
  • Ethel Turner Reserve in Paddington includes play elements and structures among existing sandstone outcrops.
  • Pinkstone Playground, Erskineville, is a tiny corner park sheltered by old gum trees and with a woven cubby house and a tangled nest holding gigantic ‘eggs’.
  • Kirsova Playground 1, Erskineville, was donated to the children of Sydney by prima ballerina Helene Kirsova (1910-62). It has vibrant red seating, climbing nets, recycled railway track and lots of shade.
  • Arthur (Paddy) Gray Reserve in Glebe is urban oasis for wildlife, like the blue wrens which have returned thanks to the park’s native shrubs and plants.
  • Peace Park, Chippendale: a sustainable park with underground rainwater tanks, communal verge gardens and fruits trees around the perimeter.

To see a map of our small parks visit the City’s website.

For more information, contact City of Sydney Media Adviser Jo Wathen, phone 0467 810 160 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Jonathon Larkin, phone 0477 310 149 or email