Melbourne is known the world over for its beautiful parks and gardens. In keeping with that tradition, Frasers Property Australia’s Victorian communities feature some of the most inspiring, exciting, and alluring public parks you can imagine.
Thanks to its fertile climate and generous annual rainfall, Victoria has long been called Australia’s Garden State, with Melbourne its Garden City. Just over a decade after Melbourne’s European settlement, the Royal Botanic Gardens were established in 1846. In 1908, would-be settlers were enticed with offers to create farms and homes amongst the new colony’s “healthy and congenial surroundings.” By the 1920s large-scale urban developments such as the Merrilands Garden Suburb in Reservoir were designed to prioritise parks, gardens, and pedestrian-enjoyment, further enshrining Victoria as the state that prioritised human harmony with the natural environment. Then, in 1974, the state’s Premier, Rupert Hamer, officially designated Victoria ‘The Garden State’ with the moniker appearing on car license plates for several decades thereafter. This garden-loving history and enduring affection for green open space is now permanently part of the Victorian psyche. Placemakers and community builders like Frasers Property Australia are continuing that legacy with an array of contemporary new parks, gardens, and places to play, all at the heart of their emerging neighbourhoods.
Moving with the times
According to Brent Hill, Sales & Marketing Director for Frasers Property in Victoria, there’s been a big leap in progressive thinking when it comes to the design of public open space in new communities. “Being satisfied to just put in a footy field and a cricket pitch is really old-fashioned thinking,” says Brent. “The way we are designing parks and playgrounds today is a world removed from that. “We’re not only thinking about how these spaces will be used for sports, but how they’ll support children’s development of varying ages and abilities as well as being places that facilitate gatherings, celebrations, relaxation and recreation for grownups too.”
A case in point is Frasers Property’s Mambourin neighbourhood in Melbourne’s south-west. The expansive Baraboo Boulevard Park and adjoining wetlands offer a wonderland of outdoor exercise equipment, BBQ and picnic facilities, play towers, mazes, flying fox, waterplay areas, a basketball court and a skate park—a magnet for locals of all age groups. Recently, a second park designed for young children to test their climbing and adventure skills opened in Heidelberg Avenue at Mambourin. Along with climbable bee sculpture and bee-themed play equipment, the park includes basket swings, a hill-slide, shelter and nature play elements set amidst extensive gardens featuring Plane Trees, Flame Trees and Moreton Bay Figs. A third local park will offer added layers of adventure for older children with bouldering, rope climbing, and a BOBITS (Bits of the Bush in the Suburbs) garden.
On the other side of the city, Frasers Property’s Five Farms development is exploring ways to create more inclusive open spaces, with its first park designed to be accessible by children of varying abilities. Created in consultation with children’s charity, Touched by Olivia, Hillsmeade Park will have wheelchair-friendly ramps, sandpit, trampoline, swings, and climbing structures as well as accessible parking and ambulant toilets. Jackie Zedda, Frasers Property’s State Marketing Manager, says that the new park is a wonderful example of the evolution toward diversity, inclusiveness, and cultural recognition that’s taking place in public spaces. “Melbourne is a melting pot of people from different places, backgrounds, and experiences,” explains Jackie. “So, it’s important that we don’t have this bland or homogeneous approach to the places in which we gather for relaxation or recreation. “The fact that the park at Five Farms has facilities for able-bodied kids to play alongside kids with disabilities means that everyone can share in the joy of play.
Let’s take it outside
Over at the award-winning Burwood Brickworks neighbourhood, the newly minted Village Green offers a welcoming gathering place in the heart of the community that also honours the history of the site in its climbing structures and play zones. A brick ‘kiln’ tower is an adventure playground unto itself with a ladder and a rock-climbing wall leading up to an awesome slide. For the more musically minded, a fun xylophone at the base of the tower stands ready for a melody to be played on it. Shaded picnic structures and dog park mean the whole family, even Fido, can joining the fun.
“The Village Green at Burwood Brickworks recognises that great parks and gardens become the focal points of their community,” says Brent. “And this one really links the whole neighbourhood including the Burwood Brickworks urban plaza and shopping centre, making it highly walkable and pedestrian friendly.”
Rounding out the variety of experiences in the parks and play spaces of Frasers Property’s Victorian communities are a Grand Prix BMX track at Berwick Waters, and four new playgrounds with custom play elements inspired by the natural beauty of Werribee River at The Grove. For as good as this new breed of parks and gardens have become, there’s always room for evolution and improvement. “We conduct pretty regular focus groups with our customers where we seek feedback on what we can be doing better or differently,” says Jackie. “Making sure that parks can be enjoyed more comfortably in the summer months is a key consideration for new residents. Asa result, we pay a lot of attention to installation of shade structures, waterplay areas, picnic tables, and lighting so people can get the most out of those spaces. “One of the things that we heard lot in the lockdowns, is how grateful people were for their neighbourhood parks as places to escape to. It has certainly spurred us on to ensure that the public spaces we design today will bones that people choose to comeback to again and again in the future.”
For more information on Frasers Property neighbourhoods in Victoria, call 13 38 38.