Bridgewater Parkland

Design Feature
Project Type

Bridgewater Parkland is a valuable area of public open space positioned between the River Derwent and Bridgewater, a settlement approximately 20 kilometres north of Hobart, Tasmania.

A comprehensive master plan for the site will be delivered incrementally with the first phase being the design and construction of a new Community Playground (opened in Spring 2018), which features a new children’s play area, open space and associated infrastructure (e.g. footpaths) that help improve links with the Bridgewater community.

Creating a new Playground as the first phase of Master Plan for Bridgewater Parkland

The Community Playground is an exciting new play area and provides a valuable asset for the local community, particularly to help local families, children and young people to have access to play opportunities in a convenient and safe environment. This facility creates opportunities to increase levels of physical activity for the local community, in turn helping people to lead healthier lifestyles through participation in more play, walking, cycling and activity.

Opened to the community in September 2018 the playground establishes the first phase of development of the Bridgewater Parkland. The Community Playground covers to an area of approximately 1 hectare (c. 2.5 acres), within the context of the broader Master Plan that extends to a wider area of approximately 20 hectares (c. 49 acres).

Detailed Masterplan

The value of master planning

The project demonstrates the value of having a master plan to guide the design and development of an important area of land, allowing elements of the master plan to be delivered incrementally as an interrelated series of projects. The overarching master plan covers a ten-year timeframe, as detailed in the Bridgewater Parkland Master Plan Report 2016-2026. Prepared by Brighton Council in collaboration with landscape architecture and urban design consultancy Play Street, the Master Plan report articulates a vision for the Bridgewater Parkland that provides a framework for development over a longer period.

The master planning process has ensured the best possible location of the Community Playground immediately adjacent to a ‘hub’ of community facilities at the Bridgewater Civic Centre including Bridgewater Library and the tagari lia Child and Family Centre (“tagari lia is the Tasmanian Aboriginal word for family and is one of two Children and Family Centres being established in Tasmania under the National Partnership Agreement on Indigenous Early Childhood Development[1]

This prominent location positioned in the heart of the residential community ensures that the playground is both visually prominent and easy to access, helping to ensure the facility is well used by local people. The central location ensures that residents and visitors can walk or cycle to the playground using foot and cycle paths that connect from within Bridgewater and are extending into the Parkland master plan area. Improving connections is important to promote active travel, which in turn increase opportunities for physical activity and support healthy lifestyles.

[1] Australian Government:

The local community and key local stakeholders have been engaged in the design and development of the Bridgewater Parkland. Community consultation events at local markets and neighbourhood centre buildings revealed a strong desire for ‘anything’ to happen. By far the most requested element was new facilities for children and adolescents. The construction of the playground shows delivery of much-needed facilities for young people and families, in the earliest stage of the master plan implementation.

The project demonstrates strong collaboration between Brighton Council and the consultant team led by Play Street, with the Council undertaking project management including the application process and Play Street developing the scheme from concept design, to master plan vision through to detailed design for the first phase of construction. The master planning commenced in 2016, an enabling grant was confirmed in 2017, with construction of phase 1 in 2018. 

Heathy Active by Design Features in action

The Community Playground demonstrates several Design Features from the Healthy Active By Design guidance in action, including:

  • Public Open Space: the playground creates a valuable piece of public open space, with several elements that offer opportunities for different types of physical activity including children’s play equipment; a wide, level, open grassed space that provides space for informal sports activities such as kicking a ball about.
  • Community Facilities: the playground is purposely located as part of a wider hub of community facilities including the Bridgewater Library, tagari lia Child and Family Centre, and the civic centre. This hub of community facilities is located in the heart of the Bridgewater settlement, close to other shops and services and easy to access from residential streets.
  • Movement Networks: leisure paths for walking and cycling have been integrated into the playground design, connecting with both the network of paths and with the opportunity to extend into the wider Bridgewater Parkland reserve area as the master plan scheme develops over time. In this context, it is notable that Brighton Council have also delivered a new foot and cycle path running parallel to the East Derwent Highway, an important piece of infrastructure for active travel that connects the neighbouring settlements of Gagebrook and Herdsmans Cove
The project demonstrates the value of having a master plan to guide the design and development of an important area of land, allowing elements of the master plan to be delivered incrementally as an interrelated series of projects.
The project demonstrates the value of having a master plan to guide the design and development of an important area of land, allowing elements of the master plan to be delivered incrementally as an interrelated series of projects.
  • Sense of Place: Play Street, the lead designers, conceived a design theme of ‘a swans nest’ that links the space back to the local character of the riverside setting. The play area is set within trees and grassy mounds, with features that provide a visual connection to that of a ‘swans nest amidst rushes’. The playground creates opportunities for the community to meet and interact, notably with design features including barbeque areas, picnic benches and seating and a community orchard area. These features in addition to the play and open space create multiple points of interest with opportunities for interaction for people of all ages and backgrounds.
  • Healthy Food: Access to healthy food has been a key design consideration, the playground includes a community orchard area with fruit trees and raised beds for planting vegetables and herbs. This area will be open access for all, but it is particularly hoped that local community groups will be able to make use of these food cultivation areas, including groups of people from local schools and the neighbouring tagari lia Child and Family Centre.

Project Team

  • Brighton Council – local government.
  • Play Street – landscape architecture & urban design consultancy that prepared the masterplan and detailed design scheme for Phase 1.
  • Centacare Evolve Housing – a partnership between Centacare Tasmania, and Evolve Housing NSW. Centacare Evolve Housing manages approximately 1,500 social housing properties throughout Tasmania. Centacare Evolve Housing is a financial contributor to the Bridgewater Parkland.
  • Specialised Landscaping Services.

Project Cost

  • Approximately $1,000,000 total cost of Phase 1, Bridgewater Parkland Community Playground; comprising:
  • $430,000 federal grant that Brighton Council received from the Building Better Regions Fund.
  • $150,000 contribution from the Affordable Community Housing Alliance Tasmania Limited.
  • With Brighton Council making up the difference.[2]

    [2] Costs as stated in Brighton Council Community News, Vol 20, No 8, September 2018.

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