Playground winning for WollongongThe kids know Wollongong City Council’s regional playground at Thirroul is a winner and now everyone else does too, with the playground collecting the top gong at the Parks & Leisure Australia’s Play Space Awards of Excellence.
The Thirroul Regional Playground, which was opened in 2012, took out the New South Wales state award in June. It’s the second year running one of Wollongong Council’s playgrounds has collected the award, with Towradgi’s Regional Playground winning in 2012. The Towradgi Playground went on to take out the national award later that year.
Both playgrounds are in beachside locations, and in popular picnicking and swimming areas. They were developed as collaborative projects between Council, local schools and the wider community. They feature spaces for children to climb, spin, slide, rock and swing – all activities listed on the kids’ wish lists during the consultation process.
Wollongong City Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said the city had an exceptional array of playground opportunities in more than 150 parks and reserves.
“Our award-winning Thirroul and Towradgi playgrounds are two key recreational areas and are joined by spaces in the Wollongong Botanic Garden and the city’s foreshore area at Belmore Basin.
“They’re not just enjoyed by residents, either. Go to any of our parks or gardens during the school holidays or weekends and you’ll find lots of visitors enjoying our city’s attractions.
“These areas are part of Council’s focus on providing a liveable area, and a connected and engaged community.’’
Local stories were integrated into the design of both playgrounds. The Thirroul playground, for instance, features a half-sunken elephant – a nod to a local tale about a circus elephant that got stuck in the nearby beachside lagoon in the 1920s.
The Towradgi playground features expression poles designed and painted by local children, and a maritime theme which links it to the nearby shipwreck of the Queen of Nations in the 1800s at Towragdi Point.