Hunter & Central Coast Development Corporation
2018 – Current
Gosford, New South Wales, Australia
A living landscape: A reflection of the natural surroundings with elements and forms such as mounds, sand and shoreline
Gosford City has a rich and varied history, both Indigenous and European. Important narratives of the past include, the shoreline, Indigenous culture, the role and connection to the Leagues Clubs, and the evolution of the city. The Gosford Leagues Club Park serves as an iconic gateway to the city centre and reconnects the park to the waterfront and bay beyond; embracing the past patterns and uses of space, and serving as a reminder of the significance these stories have had in shaping the present.
Shorelines and Songlines
Reimagining the 1919 shoreline
The Old Shoreline Walk reveals the original 1919 shoreline and represents the ongoing cultural and social shifts of place. The park reimagines the traditional character of this shoreline that had been disguised by the adjacent highway, its narrative interprets the Indigenous and post-colonial histories of Gosford that once existed.
Linking Poppy Park in the south through to the Central Coast Stadium, the Old Shoreline Walk defines the spatial arrangement of the park, with the Norimbah Tidal Terrace and Ray Maher Field anchored and connected by its threading through the site.
Reflecting on the cultural landscape of the Darkinjung people
The traditional custodians of the land are the people of the Darkinjung Nation. Their connection to the region and stories of seasonal journeys from the mountains to the sea are inscribed as sacred rocks carvings in the nearby Brisbane Water National Park.
The Darkinjung people have strong connections to the waterways of the Gosford region, and used the bays and inlets as spaces for gathering, hunting, exploring and living. The shell midden deposits found across the bay unveils the every day ritual, smoking ceremonies and ceremonies of initiation and celebration that perpetuates their spiritual and physical connection to the land.
These narratives of culture, survival and history are intertwined into the parks play elements and expressed in the sculptural approach of the ‘Norimbah’ community node.
Norimbah / Tidal Terrace
Bringing in the bay
The Brisbane Waters have long been separated from the original shoreline by the Central Coast Highway. An underlying theme for this project was to re-imagine this connection. While strong visual connections between the site and the water had been maintained, the bay was reintroduced to the land in a physical manner through the excavation of a tidal terrace.
Cut along the 1919 shoreline, the ‘Norimbah Tidal Terrace’ fills with tidal sea water every high tide, creating a dynamic, energetic, wild play area for all ages to explore, discover, learn and enjoy. Designed in collaboration with the Darkinjung Land Council, the tidal terrace tells stories of local aquatic life, pre-European history, and early contact.
The Tidal Terrace is home to carved sandstone creatures of the Darkinjung, schooling in from the bay beneath ‘The Hood’– a concrete plinth that cantilevers over the tidal zone, hiding the water inlets beneath. Play canoes accompany the static canoes, as if washed up along the shoreline. Bush tucker planting along the Tidal Terrace feeds into the Darkinjung narrative of moving from the forest to the sea.
The Indigenous Ceremonial Ground
A meeting place and common ground
The Indigenous ceremonial ground forms the community centrepiece of the park and the tidal terrace. At the heart of the park, it acts as a stage for community events. More significantly, showcases the Darkinjung culture and the culture of neighbouring nations. Following consultation with Darkinjung elders, the sculptural poles that surround the Indigenous ceremonial ground have been arranged to represent the locations of seven local clans of Darkinjung and seven neighbouring nations. Each clan pole features artwork created by indigenous community members, referencing the totem of each clan and supported by a unique lighting scheme that creates sense of place both day and night.
Fostering adventure and curiosity, for all
There are three playgrounds adjacent to the Tidal Terrace.
The Fishtrap Playground is located on the southern edge of the Tidal Terrace. Elements of wild play, including logs, rocks and ropes provide play passage between the Tidal Terrace and the sculptural play on the adjacent Play Mound. A ‘fishtrap’ sculptural play element, presented as a climbing net, settles itself at the top of the playground, suspended over sand.
Play pods sit elevated on the Play Mound, overlooking the Fishtrap Playground and Tidal Terrace beyond. Logs, rocks, sandstone and other natural obstacles provide passage between the base and the mounds top. A slide and tunnel offer alternative passage down the mound.
The Play Hill is located opposite the Tidal Terrace and provides a typically ‘dry’ wild play experience for visitors.
RAY MAHER FIELD
Sport and the common green
Ray Maher Field is a multi-purpose, informal sports space for all to enjoy. Its carries recent community and cultural significance to the Central Coast Leagues Club. The field is a flexible, undefined area, for accommodating picnics, grassroots sporting events and larger celebrations.
Tracing the perimeter of the field is a jogging track coined the Walk of Fame. Sixty brass plaques along the track highlight members of the Gosford community who have made important contributions to the city.
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