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All Abilities Playground - Ross Reserve

What is the All Abilities Playground?

In early 2020, Council will be building a new premier All Abilities Playground in Ross Reserve, Noble Park. The all abilities playground is being developed by Council in partnership with the Victorian Government. The Victorian Government has provided significant funding support for this project through Sport and Recreation Victoria.

The playground will be located between the Noble Park Community Centre and Noble Park Aquatic Centre, and will offer an inclusive experience for all. It will provide a play environment for a diverse range of children, youth and adults of all ages, sizes and abilities.

All people should have the ability to play and choose how they engage and challenge themselves physically, mentally and socially, regardless of their age or abilities. The term disability goes beyond those with visual and physical disabilities such as those who use wheelchairs or other mobility aids to more broadly include those people living with autism, sensory challenges, cognitive and developmental issues and complications that arise from aging.

Some children may have difficulty using or finding their way through a park or play area due to difficulties moving, seeing, reaching items, fitting into spaces, not being able to perform unaided physical tasks and not being able to use loose materials. Inclusion seeks to bring together the concepts of access, participation, equity and dignity to all users.


Community consultation

The final design of the playground has been strongly informed by what the community and stakeholders have told us during the two phases of community engagement undertaken between February and May 2019.  The engagement process was positive and constructive and showed a high level of support and enthusiasm for the project.

The community and stakeholders told us that:

  • The variety of play experiences is the most important aspect of an all abilities playground. Variety ensures that there is something for everyone.

  • Easy access, sightlines and safety should be a major consideration in the playground design to allow parents to monitor children within the play space.

  • Fencing or limiting access points may be used to contain play spaces without making the playground appear as if it is sectioned from the rest of the reserve.

  • Active play was raised as one of the most desirable types of play.  It is important that the play equipment included offers interaction for different levels of ability so that everyone can take part.

  • Whilst provision of ‘quiet’ spaces did not generate high responses from children, it was noted by parents that these are a necessity in the playground to allow children to have respite from activity and stimuli.

  • Equipment pieces such as ropes, monkey bars, slides, swings that allowed for movement were chosen as the most popular type of equipment to include.

  • Social equipment such as seesaws, large swings, variety of grouped seats, as well as sensory (visual and tactile) equipment was also a popular choice.

  • Shelters/ shade, seating, BBQs and toilet facilities were identified as important to co-locate with the playground.

Separating equipment and spaces by ability or need is one of the biggest mistakes the design of an all-abilities playground can make. Instead the playground design must integrate the play elements so that those with different needs and abilities can play together.



Final design of the All Abilities Playground

The environment of  ‘Red Gum Ecology’ provides the playground's overarching landscape character which connects the seven distinct play areas. The seven themes of the playground are descibed below.

  1. Urban Environment

    As the ‘home bases’ these areas are where the main amenities such as shelters/ BBQs/ tables and seats will be located.

  2. Wetland Environment

    This is the backdrop for nature play, quiet spaces, imaginative play, sand play, and a water play element.

  3. Creek Environment

    This area has play activities involving ‘movement’ such as a flying fox, as well as providing a ‘flow’ path and connection between the two ‘home bases’.

  4. Woodland Environment

    This ecology underpins the character of the area where sensory play (see, hear, touch) and exploration occurs, including tactile elements, musical play and exploration trails.

  5. Grassland Environment

    This describes the open grass and kick about space of the adjoining southern lawn that located outside the playground.

  6. Ranges Environment

    This area already has an existing high embankment and becomes the high point for a tower and climbing elements.

  7. Billabong/ Island Environment

    With an accessible Red Gum lookout as its centrepiece, this environment will include various play elements such as tunnels, slides, nets, scramble rocks and decks.

For further information about the project contact email or contact Council on 8571 1000.


Final concept plan

All Abilities Playground final concept 2019 Image 1 All Abilities Playground final concept 2019 Image 2 All Abilities Playground final concept 2019 Image 3

Download final design

Download plan with playground themes and play equipment

Download artist illustrations on Red Gum Ecology features