The people’s playground

HAMILTON HILL locals have seen the fruits of people power with the recent opening of a new nature playground at Dixon Park.

Last year Dixon Park Friends and Hamilton Hill Community Group lobbied Cockburn council to abandon plans for a cookie-cutter playground.

“Our group managed to convince the council to start a proper consultation process with us, the local parents and grandparents,” says local Jozina de Ruiter.

“We did not want a ready-made plastic playground but rather a more natural, playful, imaginary setting and more interesting and challenging equipment, as well as more beautiful.”

• Jozina de Ruiter at the new, challenging playground at Dixon Park. Photo by Nicolletta de Gennaro

Organic

Ms de Ruiter says the nature playground, surrounded by fruit trees and native bushes, lets kids play in an organic environment, framed by sand, rocks and water.

But the new park isn’t dull and is deigned to encourage some moderate risk-taking, exploration and a connection with nature.

Local sculptor Jahne Rees, who has worked on similar projects including the playground at Perth Waldorf School, had a large role in inspiring a natural setting, as well as building the centrepiece for the park.

Ms de Ruiter claims a natural playground, “help kids to learn to take risks in a natural environment, as well as inspiring them to play with one another, which gives them confidence and reduces anxiety.”

by NICOLLETTA DE GENNARO 

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