This is a series of posts because there is much I love about Sydney Park. You can read points 1- 5 here – http://bit.ly/1U1Y9Ib
6. The fencing around the ponds & wetlands – Unfortunately in years past a number of black swans in the ponds were killed by dogs. The council has dealt with this by installing fencing around the ponds to keep dogs & people out, providing safety for water birds. Unobtrusive black fencing was used & hidden amongst lush vegetation. It is great to see the safety of the wildlife given priority over human beings. Installing fencing that does not detract from the landscape is quite a skill. City of Sydney Council has achieved this in my opinion.
7. The dog pond – Recently a ‘dog water station’ was created. Now that dogs cannot enter the ponds or wetlands, they have their own place to get cool. It’s great to see happy dogs enjoying themselves. It’s also great entertainment for others who don’t have dogs.
8. The water feature – Last year long terracotta half-pipes were installed to carry water to the ponds. Not only do they look good, but they also create a peaceful sound effect of falling water, which is very relaxing. There are park benches around this area, so plenty of room for people to sit & chill out. The vegetation in this area is growing well with new trees & lots of different plants. The birds like this area too, presenting some great opportunities for photographers.
9. The AIDS Memorial Grove – This is a forested area adjacent to Barwon Park Road. Every tree & plant here has been planted by volunteers since the Grove’s creation in 1994. I am a huge fan of memorial trees as they represent life, growth & beauty & have great meaning to those who have lost someone they love. The AIDS Memorial Grove is a wonderful & respectful way for the Council to acknowledge the huge numbers of people who have died because of AIDS-related illnesses. This initiative also allows the community to participate in creating an area of peace & beauty, which I think is quite a healing opportunity that brings people together.
10. The half-half hill – I call this the half-half hill because half of the hill is planted with native grasses & the other half is lawn. It is creative & lovely to look at. The hill offers duel use – one side for people & the other side for wildlife. The native grass side leads to a valley that incorporates a large swale with thick planting along either side – perfect for wildlife, yet still visible for people. You don’t need to stand still for long before you see birds in this area.
11. Seats – I love that there are so many park benches & other places for people to sit in this park. I love that these seats are scattered everywhere meaning that we don’t all need to be corralled on top of each other.
There are seats in open places, park benches in secluded places, seats surrounded by plants & trees, seats at lookouts, seats under trees, seats in the sun, seats in the AIDS Memorial Grove, seats overlooking the ponds, seats beside the ponds, seats at the café, seats at the playground & even a park bench on top of the hill looking over the whole park.
Seats comprise of park benches, slabs of sandstone beside planted areas, concrete & wood structures, concrete ledges & even a small amphitheater of concrete steps built for people to comfortably sit.
Not everyone wants to or can sit on a blanket on the grass. This is the realm of the young &/or healthy. People with physical disabilities find it difficult when there are no seats, so do the elderly or people who are unwell. Sitting down on the ground can be a difficult option for those with a sore or restricted body.
Lots of seats allow people to walk a longer distance, knowing that there are places where they can stop & rest for a bit. In my opinion, far too many of our parks are not set up to allow those that need seats to be able to use the parks because of the lack of seating. I have been thrilled to see an elderly couple down at the river at Mackey Park sitting on one of the new park benches installed by Marrickville Council in 2015. I’ve never seen them before, yet most evenings you can see them on the bench, watching the river & chatting to each other.
Seats allow people to get out of their homes because they offer safety. Sick people & old people need parks & green spaces just as much as everyone else – more in my opinion. However, the infrastructure is often not there to support them. Generally, all that is offered is park benches in or near the playground & this is not the place people without children want to sit.
We all get old & most of us will find ourselves in need of places to sit at some stage in our life. Being out in nature, in green spaces has been proven to have an enormous positive benefit on people’s physical, mental & spiritual health. However, they have to be able to access it in a way that is safe for them to do so. Plentiful seating provides this to a great degree. The City of Sydney Council has, in my opinion, created a space that is open to everyone regardless of limitations.
On last thing – there are a number of park benches in Sydney Park that do not have a slab of concrete underneath them, which I really like. I’ve never quite understood why so much concrete is needed to install a park bench. Simple is good.
Here ends part 2 of why I love Sydney Park. More later.