It's sometimes hard to remember the days that kids used to play outside - before video games and cell phones annexed their minds. But not at the Blaxland Riverside Park in Sydney, where JMD Design has converted an okay park into an enormous field of fun. Once an estate belonging to John Blaxland, the area endured many evolutions as a salt pan, grazing land, and tweed mill before it was adapted to its current incarnation. Now it boasts a slew of slides and tree houses, along with other outdoor activities, that reconnect children with both the land and themselves.
Using the existing landform to their advantage, JMD Design created a series of sweet worm holes and slides, some that are quite steep, along with a 12 meter high treehouse tower that overlooks the Parramatha River. Albeit completely in line with Australia’s playground regulations, this three hectare facility comes with a few risks. But that’s healthy, we think. When did we start denying children the right to fall down and hurt themselves while abandoning themselves to total outdoor bliss?
Other attractions include a sand pit that allows kids to dig in the dirt to their heart’s content, climbing nets and walls, and a fun water play area complete with water jets of varying intensity. And the adults have options too. They can enjoy a peaceful meal, learn about the park’s long history, take a walk, or ride a bicycle on the trails. Of course, we’re just as happy searching for worms in the nearby forest, if one can be found, but this reclaimed land provides a wonderful retreat for urbanites who still want their children to have a taste of outdoor life.
Photography by Brett Boardman