Springing back to life

Article image - Springing back to life Characters of the dreamtime come to life to tell their history in Spring Reserve.

The City of Swan, Western Australia, recently completed a significant upgrade to State Heritage listed park, Spring Reserve.

The reserve, located in Guildford, is a place of significance for local Aboriginal people, once serving as an important source of fresh water.

The City’s landscape architects developed the design for the revamped play area in collaboration with Lance Chadd, a Bibbulmun Nyoongar/Budimia Yamatji Aboriginal artist and partner, artist Trish Robinson.

Lance paints under his traditional tribal name ‘Tjyllyungoo’ meaning Elder Man/Wisdom/Law, given to him by his Father, Norman Chadd, a well-known drover of Yamatji Country.

Tjyllyungoo explained that the new play area tells the story of Koolbardi (magpie) and Kaarda (Racehorse Goanna).

“In Winter, Kaarda goes underground to hibernate until the weather is warm again. His nephew Koolbardi is distressed when he disappears, and sings to him in Spring to wake him up when the land is warm and beautiful.

“Koolbardi’s song is written on the stepping logs in both Nyoongar and English, and the varying height of the logs represent the melody.”

The play space is circled by Wagyl (the rainbow serpent) and includes Kaarda as the wall and Koolbardi sitting atop a basket swing.

The playground equipment provides opportunities for kids to jump, climb and slide. A gently trickling stream invites water play.  

City of Swan Mayor, David Lucas, said the refreshed reserve is a reflection of the City’s rich Aboriginal heritage and culture.

“We hope that families will be able to use the new space to come together, enjoy nature and connect with Nyoongar stories.”

Including Spring Reserve, the City of Swan has successfully delivered six park upgrades in the past year.