Bibra Lake Regional Playground

Design Feature
Type of Project
Western Australia

Bibra Lake Regional Playground is a 7,000 square metre regionally significant playground located in the southern suburb of Bibra Lake in Perth, Western Australia.  

An engaging space to learn and play 

Led by the City of Cockburn, the project concept was to develop a play space that introduces and connects children of all ages and abilities to the natural environment, providing the community with a variety of ways to learn, play and explore their local area. To achieve this, the space has been created as a regional destination, featuring interactive public art, shelters, barbecues, drinking fountains and themed vegetation for the community to access and enjoy. 

The unique space has utilised existing tree canopies, recycled materials, and additionally drawn on the flora and wildlife, through the inclusion of features such as long neck tortoises, dragonflies, butterflies and native plants. The cultural significance of the area for local Aboriginal people has also prompted the inclusion of features that celebrate the heritage of the site as a food source and place of mythological importance.

The 9 metre long mother tortoise sculpture generates a sense of place by acknowledging the local environment
The 9 metre long mother tortoise sculpture generates a sense of place by acknowledging the local environment

The park was initiated and sponsored by City of Cockburn Human Services. The design and development of the park was directed by various Council departments and local organisations, and extensive community consultation was conducted via the City of Cockburn Children's Reference Group and Aboriginal Reference Group, ensuring it met community and cultural needs of the area. It includes features for children, adults and those with disabilities, to ensure inclusivity and promote diversity.

The playground features a multitude of creative play elements that cater to the needs of different ages and abilities. Key play equipment includes:

  • A double flying fox
  • Tree top aerial rope walk
  • Rope obstacle course and climbing frames
  • Water play area with sandpit
  • In ground trampolines
  • Seesaws
  • A bird’s nest swing
  • The Diprotodon fossil dig (revealing the prehistoric marsupial that inhabited Bibra Lake 25,000 years ago)
  • Climbing frames
  • Cubby houses.

In prioritising inclusivity, the playground also includes:

  • Disability change rooms with tracking hoists with height adjustable adult sized changing bench, automatic doors and enough space for two carers (the first of its kind in Western Australia)
  • Ambulant and barrier free toilets.
  • Wheelchair accessible pool fence gates
  • New innovative wheelchair accessible barbeques
  • Wheelchair accessible drinking fountains
  • Supportive seating on play equipment
  • A wheelchair accessible movement network, featuring accessible ramps and rubber matting.
  • Microwave activated sound sculptures in the form of talking rocks
  • Wheelchair accessible/user activated play water play sprays

Regarding functionality, the playground features amenities that allow the community to actively engage with the public space, promote passive surveillance and safety, and support social connection.  This includes

  • Tree sheltered picnic areas
  • Six sheltered barbeques with movement activated lighting
  • Drinking fountains
  • Toilet facilities
  • An enclosed perimeter safety fence.
Creative and inclusive play elements support active recreation for children of all abilities
Creative and inclusive play elements support active recreation for children of all abilities

Through key elements in its design, the playground adds Aboriginal influence and reinforces a strong sense of place by acknowledging Bibra Lake as a significant site for the Nyungar people. For example, the play space features a yarning circle, a traditional space for gathering and learning that will teach the community about Bibra Lake and its importance to Nyungar people.  The yarning circle is enclosed within a group of six three-metre-high standing stones.  When touched, the stones ‘speak’ Nyungar words in a variety of young and old Aboriginal voices. The rocks also produce seasonally appropriate sounds - bushfires in summer, rain storms in summer and in spring the mating calls of local waterfowl can be heard by walking through the yarning circle.  

The play space also includes large basket-like climbing frames, which were inspired by Aboriginal fish traps, and a family of highly detailed giant long neck tortoise sculptures.  The mother tortoise is 9m long, and her nest of hatching eggs explain to children the life cycle of this important local environmental indicator.

Project Team

  • City of Cockburn Environmental Health Services (site contamination remediation, and use of water in public areas technical advice)
  • City of Cockburn Parks Services , design and documentation of construction contract.
  • City of Cockburn Infrastructure Services, Administration of construction contract,Disability Services Commission

Project Cost

$3.4 Million

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