The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects NSW Awards have granted top honours to Gosford’s Leagues Club Park for the category of Play Spaces.
Located opposite the Central Coast Leagues Club and adjacent to Central Coast Stadium, the park was an initiative of the Hunter and Central Coast Development Corporation (HCCDC) and was built on crown land.
The location of the new park is a boon for the Central Coast Leagues Club as the space attracts hundreds of people on a daily basis, especially families with small children who may not otherwise visit the precinct.
HCCDC’s $10 million transformation of the parkland has delivered a world class public space including ‘wild play’ areas, interactive Aboriginal design elements, accessible pathways, and quality green space.
The park’s innovative ‘tidal terrace’ brings the bay into the park through a shallow waterway, including sandstone animal ‘islands’ inspired by the nearby Bulgandry art site. When the tide rises the terrace becomes a water playzone where kids (and kids at heart) can splash, then when it falls the terrace uncovers a sandy playspace.
Designed by Turf Design Studio in collaboration with the local Aboriginal Darkinjung people, the awards jury said in a media statement that the park was “an exemplary project, which demonstrates a strong connection to Country informed through deep engagement with the local community”.
“[It is] an intricate blend of play, storytelling, land and water, public art and interpretation, that powerfully tells the shared history of the site while creating an exciting and dynamic play experience for children of all ages,” the jury said.
“This place, which was once an important camp, a place of trade and cultural exchange and meeting ground between the Darkinjung clans and adjoining nations the Gadigal, Goomeri and Wiradjuri, has been reimagined as a place to play, reflect, to learn and to connect to nature.
“This significant site creates a new heart for the local community,” said the jury.
The state winners were selected from a record number of 91 entries across 15 categories. National winners will be announced later in the year at the National Landscape Architecture Awards.