The new Jacaranda Park in Grafton is one of the largest inclusive playspaces installed anywhere in Australia, and the most exciting destination park in the Clarence Valley. Featuring Proludic’s accessible Galleon Ship, Kanopé Rainforest Tower, and heaps of other inclusive play equipment, there’s something for everyone!
Site: Jacaranda Park, Prince Street, Grafton NSW 2460
Client: Clarence Valley Council
Age Range: from 1 year old – all abilities
Opened: December 2019
“It’s a regional park with high quality playground equipment that is accessible and inclusive of people of all abilities, and I congratulate everyone involved in bringing it to fruition.”
Chris Gulaptis, Member for Clarence
At Jacaranda Park in Grafton, Clarence Valley Council wanted to create an iconic regional playground designed for children of all ages and abilities. The concept design of the new park was inspired by the Clarence Valley region’s natural environment. The detailed design of the park was informed through outcomes of community engagement and overseen by a Working Group, Council officers and external consultants. Proludic worked closely with Clarence Valley Council to design and develop unique, inclusive play solutions that expressed the character of the different play zones inspired by the region.
The playspace is divided into three play zones, each representing distinct areas of the Clarence Valley:
- The ‘Coastal Beaches’ play zone represents the Clarence coast in the eastern part of the region;
- The ‘Floodplain’ play zone represents the floodplain adjacent to the “mighty” Clarence River and its tributaries;
- The ‘Sandstone Country’ play zone represents the escarpments, forests and waterfalls that surround the Clarence Valley.
The Coastal Beaches play zone is designed to meet the play needs of younger children and features a bespoke Proludic Galleon (Custom J1960). Built on an impressive scale this three masted play ship is over 20 metres from end to end with masts that reach 8.2 metres at their highest point! Fully accessible with a ramp that adjoins the nearby concrete pathway that weaves throughout the playground, the Galleon’s inclusive design enables people using mobility aids to freely circulate around the ship and enjoy the numerous play features. The Galleon is equipped with elements supporting physical, imaginative, social, cognitive and sensory play activities. Everyone can play together, even parents that use a wheelchair can get on board!
Proludic’s unique and award-winning “Grafic Games” technique was used to apply custom designed wave graphics to the panels of the Galleon, giving the impression of a ship moving through the ocean. Other elements inspired by the maritime world such as anchors, portholes, seagulls and clouds enhance the coastal theme. Named “The Phoenix” by the local community after a ship that traded on the Clarence River in the 1850’s, the Galleon stimulates childrens’ imagination as they set sail for a world of adventures across the stormy seas, shipwreck on a desert island or drop anchor to swim amongst the dolphins!
Additional play equipment catering for younger children in the Coastal Beaches play zone includes:
- The Small Boat (J2615) where toddlers create stories around the theme of water whilst developing motor skills;
- The Inclusive Dippy the Dolphin Springer (J981) supports up to 6 children playing together, enjoying the rocking motion as they play with dolphins;
- Frankie the Fish (J821) and Stella the Star (J856) Springers enhance the sense of balance and coordination as children enjoy the swaying motion;
- The Sand Factory (J5001-M) provides a whole world of sensory exploration with activities that encourage cooperative play, curiosity, creativity, fine motor skills and coordination of movement;
- The Tubophone (J3410) provides a fun way to communicate and encourages social interaction;
- The Play Hut (J287) provides a wonderful place for young children to play, chat or just relax;
- The Accessible Carousel provides for motor coordination and sensory stimulation. It is accessible to children in wheelchairs and encourages social play.
The primary safety surfacing in this zone is certified playground sand with nodes of rubber sufacing providing access to all inclusive play elements.
The Sandstone Country play zone is targeted at older children and aims to represent the escarpments, forests and waterfalls that surround the Clarence Valley. In the ‘Sandstone Country‘ play zone, Proludic’s Kanopé Rainforest Tower makes quite an impact!
In perfect harmony with the park setting, the imposing seven metre high nature-inspired Rainforest Tower (J56104) boasts enhanced play features that engage older children in fun, imaginative and active play. Children can climb a rope staircase to reach asymetric play houses perched high at the top of the tower – giving them a commanding view and a special space above the action. A large spiral tube slide guarantees a thrilling ride all the way back down!
The Kayak slide, Climbing wall and Fireman’s pole encourage motor skills development and add more thrills. An Ixo Multiplay is attached to the tower for those older children and pre-teens who want to be further challenged. Here they can test their strength, prove themeselves and make their own play rules.
Other play equipment for older children featured in this play zone is the rocking and rotating Rodeoboard (J3501) and the Aerospeed track ride (J2582-M). These items are a great addition for dynamic and fun play experiences!
A custom designed Three Bay Swing set featuring butterfly and leaf-shaped panels includes an accessible “Pod” seat, inclusive “boat” seats and toddler seats, enabling all children the joy of swinging together, flying through the air!
The Floodplain play zone represents the floodplain adjacent to the Clarence River and its tributaries. This zone is for all children and features a diverse range of play activities and natural play elements including bridges, a water pump, dry creek bed, stepping stones, balancing equipment and sensory play items. There is a space dedicated to musical play with “instruments” including drums, xylophone and bells . Musical play helps children develop creativity and encourages interaction with other children.
Proludic’s Balancing Rope Course (J5407-M) and Balance Slackline (J5406-M) are a great addition to the Floodplain play zone where children can test their balance and develop perseverance.
Other supporting facilities in the fenced playground include a buddy bench, BBQ’s and picnic shelter, park furniture, yarning circle, shade, drinking water station and a public toilet. The park facilities and play zones are linked by an accessible pathway which can also be used as a children’s riding track. The Jacaranda Park upgrade is funded by $500,000 from NSW Government under the Stronger Country Communities Fund with a further $760,000 funded from Clarence Valley Council and is a wonderful play facility for the whole community.
Clarence Valley Council Mayor Cr. Jim Simmons said, “If you’ve got kids that love to climb and slide, the Rainforest Tower is definitely a winner. The centrepiece is a climbing tower surrounded slides, climbing bars and peep holes that children will love”.
“This is an amazing upgrade to the much-loved Jacaranda Park and the new playground facilities will no doubt attract children and their families from Grafton and the wider Clarence Valley region,” commented Mr Gulaptis, Member for Clarence.
Jacaranda Park’s official opening took place on January 30, 2020, as reported below in Grafton’s “Daily Examiner”: