Where did the idea for this project come from?

    The Play Wollongong Strategy is our 10 year plan to guide the future direction of play across Wollongong. The concept for an all abilities and ages inclusive play space in Wollongong has been planned for some time.

    In 2019, Council partnered with the University of Wollongong and the Disability Trust on the research project Giving Voice to the Voiceless, to collect the opinions of people with severe intellectual disability and who are functionally non-verbal about how they would like to use playgrounds. The partnership was then formalised through the creation of The Playground Project, one of four projects that received funding through the University’s Community Engagement Grant Scheme, which seeks to address key challenges in the community. The Playground Project’s research directly informed the development of this concept design.

    Council also talked with young people with disability in our city to find out what they would like included in this space. 

    What did we learn from some of our young people with disability?

    In addition to the Playground Project research, in 2020, Council officers engaged with 25 young people with disability and their support workers to gather their play ideas. We learned that popular play activities included relaxing, climbing, swinging and sitting. Play preferences and suggestions included:

    • adult size play equipment
    • wheelchair accessible play equipment
    • physical activities providing challenges and adventure
    • a place to hang out and play games
    • food and drink nearby
    • artwork and way-finding signage
    • sensory garden

    What are the key features of the concept design?

    Construction of the play space will be staged. Key features of the concept design include:

    Current Stage 1

    • Cattle ramps, slide, balance beams, steps and obstacles of different materials
    • Nature play area including a forest maze, rocky gorge, dry creek bed and billabong track
    • Rotating mouse wheel suitable for adults
    • Wheelchair accessible carousel
    • Wheelchair accessible trampoline
    • Wheelchair accessible paths
    • Swing area including a 'nest swing', two adult sized swings, and a combined swing for a child and their parent/carer 
    • Sensory garden with plantings of different textures, colours and scents
    • Tactile board with different textures to stimulate touch 
    • Shade structures
    • Table sets
    • A variety of seating
    • Extensive landscaping
    • An accessible path of travel to all play items and picnic shelters

    Stage 2

    • Large centralised raised platform with wheelchair accessible ramp,  sensory elements (sound and tactile) and seating areas
    • Double slide, cattle ramp, Japanese steps.

    Please note the central area will be landscaped grass until such time as Stage 2 works are installed.

    Who is this additional play space for?

    The playground extension will be a space for everyone.  It It has been carefully designed to provide a safe environment with lots of options to encourage people of all ages and abilities, their carers and families, to play, interact, explore and have fun together.

    Why was Stuart Park chosen for the location?

    Stuart Park is Wollongong's premier playground and is popular with locals and visitors of all abilities. The expanded footprint forms a natural extension to the existing playground area with clear sight-lines across the park. 

    The existing playground is also close to facilities including parking, toilets, cafe, picnic shelters and other activities. 

    Where in Stuart Park will the play space be located?

    The new play space will extend from the existing playground, to the east of the pond. See the site plan and location plan for details.

    What additional access improvements are planned for Stuart Park?

    We'll be phasing access improvements in Stuart Park to support the new play space, including additional linking paths, parking and toilet facilities.

    Who is funding this project?

    Stage 1 of this project is being funded by the Australian Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Fund, corporate and community donations and Wollongong City Council. Stage 2 works will progress pending additional fundraising activities.

    When will the play space be built and how long will it take?

    Construction will be staged and is scheduled to start in Winter 2021. Stage 1 works are expected to take approximately 12-16 weeks to complete, depending on the weather and site conditions.  We may also need some time to establish the soft landscaping.

    We’ll let the community know about the timing of Stage 2 works closer to the time.

    Will construction affect users of Stuart Park?

    The existing playground will remain open during construction. Park users can expect to see and hear construction and landscaping crews, vehicles and machinery at different times during the works. 

    How can I provide my feedback?

    How will you use my feedback?

    All feedback will be provided to the project team for their consideration. Please read Council's Privacy Policy before making your submission.