In 2014, Alec Duncan from Child’s Participate in Audio wrote two fantastic and unforgettable weblog posts about Katanning All Ages Playground. You can study them right here and here. I was mesmerised. The constructions are distinctive and really various from anything at all else I had ever seen.
In 2015, when I realised that an old school mate lived just around an hour from Katanning, I realized I experienced to pay a visit to and see for myself what this playground was like. The blog site publish underneath talks about my expertise of the pay a visit to. It was a bittersweet pay a visit to with so a great deal very good and so much disappointment that it experienced been neglected above the yrs.
However in 2020, the playground was fully refurbished. I have not been to see it, but the web site contains some aspects and the video underneath reveals that the refurbishments have taken account of the legacy of the web-site and initial play features. For case in point, there is a modernised spiral slide and a massive wavy slide which even now has ladders that will deliver a “spacey” experience to access it. The online video is really short and it is worthy of halting and commencing it to get a look at all the options in just the site.
Immediately after some reflection, I have made the decision to depart the primary site write-up untouched as I feel the commentary captures both my activities and some crucial details in relation to playgrounds which are nonetheless deserving of reflection. Delight in the trip down memory lane…
The authentic All Ages Playground was modelled on the Grant Park Playground in Monash, South Australia. A Fb site has tons of constructive reminiscent feedback left by the 300K readers per year that made Grant Park a go-to playground in the Eighties. The Participate in Scapes site has a good publish and the YouTube clip is undoubtedly really worth viewing as is this a single:
Katanning is a more compact edition of Grant Park and it is unclear who truly built it, when, or how it came into currently being. My gut sensation is that it should have been very well-ahead of the Nineties which is when considerations close to playground basic safety and litigation burst on to the scene. The odor of the steel and sweat on my palms reminded me of my childhood activities actively playing on the zig-zag, the witches’ hat and climbing frames of the Seventies. The narrowness of the structures and heights also took me back down memory lane.
The structures that have not been removed are suitably sturdy. Sadly, it seems that yr-on-yr the playground is remaining dismantled. As the constructions come to be unsafe, they are remaining cordoned off or eradicated completely.
For case in point, in the picture higher than, the major rope with a knot at the stop, has not been replaced. It’s a steel equal of a huge tree swing and equivalent constructions can also be discovered in journey playgrounds – a superior example being the swing platform at Glamis.
Normally, one particular does not vacation midway all-around the earth simply to glimpse at the playground and choose a few of pics. I took my time to check out out all the distinctive slides, rockers and seesaws and swings. The scariest bit is climbing the ladders. These times, in contemporary playgrounds, you experience protected and secured when climbing to a top. At Katanning, the degree of publicity is absolute. So though I was only climbing to perhaps two-thirds of the peak of the Macquarie Lake Variety Playground Mineshaft slide on any a single framework, it felt a good deal additional difficult. Set it this way, there was NO WAY I was heading to allow go or mess about.
As time went on, I commenced to alter to the publicity and it began to sense a lot more ordinary. What this informed me is that when we thrust ourselves we can acclimatise. Just like remaining on a rock face, you adapt to the environmental circumstances in which you locate you. It did make me chuckle as I realised that even the 30ft buildings would be considered “hazardous” by some overzealous security officers and would most likely need helmets and getting roped up.
As I wandered about, tests, discovering and photographing, I was intrigued by the designs. Every single slide was a little unique. For instance, in the picture under you can see the overlapping metal plates. This is like a rumble strip. Over you can see mild waves. The major slide, which is out of use, was a double a single that men and women could go down side–by-facet.
The buildings were being misleading. Normally speaking the major kinds were being like gentle giants. Even though the steps have been uncovered, the really incline of the slides was shockingly gentle. I assume utilizing hessian (burlap) sacks would make for more quickly rides. I’m guaranteed at the very least a person particular person will have tried out sitting on a skateboard to go down just one!
The “satellite” previously mentioned looks like one particular of the rapid playground rides the place you are whizzed around. The challenge listed here is not managing on it to make it go spherical. It is not a significantly fast experience. It’s working out how to get into the composition. There is no gate and no steps. You have to hoick oneself up and in via the horizontal bars. Or just maintain onto the outside… which I observed a team of young children undertaking.
The big tractor tyre swing was a big ambling construction. It takes a whole lot of ability to get it shifting and swinging large. I could not get it to swing significantly far more than a foot either side of the A-frame – and that was standing up and going for it. Hence there is a lesson right here about the arc of a pendulum and its oscillation.
Nevertheless, some of the most innocuous seeking buildings were being much wilder. The gate publish underneath is a excellent illustration. It whizzes close to pretty immediately and in complete flight, you have to have to hold on incredibly difficult.
A curious quirk is that the structures were actually hard to photograph with my Iphone. The scaffolding-like design means that they blend into the landscape rather very well. There is no garish colors.
All-in-all, this was a considered-provoking check out, tinged with unhappiness. I was reminded once once more, we have packaged and canned so several activities – regular adventurous types or or else – that any element of physical danger is hugely diminished. I felt Katanning Playground reminded me of the need to have for variety of playground experiences and to query conditions these types of as “safety”, “danger”, “risk” and “hazard” and all people other destructive connotations that are routinely uttered along with participate in. Perhaps its time to critique the playground expectations, not in conditions of protection language but in conditions these types of as “freedom”, “positive memory creators”, “space to be”, “enabling”, “empowering” and “fun.” That may perhaps help us rethink what the function and purpose of a playground actually is.
This weblog publish was at first revealed in April 2015.