Gosford Leagues Club Park
Turf Design Studio with Kevin 'Uncle Gavi' Duncan (Artist)
Gosford has a rich and varied history, both Indigenous and European. Narratives of the past include the shoreline, Indigenous Darkinjung culture, the Leagues Clubs, and the evolution of the city. The Gosford Leagues Club Field is an iconic gateway to the city and connection the waterfront; embracing the past patterns and uses of space, and serving as a reminder of the significance these stories have had in shaping the present.
Fundamentally this project is about connection; connection to environment; connection to ‘country’ and connection to community – making a place for all. The brief was to provide a town green, a regional playground, conserve existing phoenix palms, extend Baker Street to provide frontage for new adjacent development, and lastly, provide a new and ‘community node’.
Discovery of the early shoreline on historical surveys, located deep within the park, long buried, strongly influenced the park narrative and its overall physical form. There was an opportunity to not simply interpret, but also restore this lost shoreline in a kind of archaeological dig, revealing the bay floor as an estuarine wild play area, a ‘Tidal Terrace’– a large splash zone that links with nearby Brisbane Water to fill and drain with the rhythm of the natural tide. At high tide, visitors can cool off in the shallow water, while at low tide the terrace drains to reveal the sandy bottom and sandstone islands. This reintroduces Brisbane Water to the site for the first time in over 100 years after land reclamation changed the landscape in the early 1900s.
Leagues Club Park has been transformed from an empty and underutilised green space into an enviable nature-inspired regional destination. It incorporates and celebrates local Aboriginal art and culture, providing a diversity of passive and active recreation opportunities while sharing the rich history of the region’s first people.
Photography by Guy Wilkinson.