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Community gathers for afternoon of celebration

Lots of kids playing on equipment and carousel at Victory Park.

A large crowd turned up to test out the new play space at Victory Park during the official opening in Children's Week.

Friday 25 October 2019

An exciting new play space in the centre of Castlemaine has been officially opened with community members of all ages coming together for an afternoon of fun.

The Victory Park play space was a hub of excitement yesterday as children tried out the new play equipment and enjoyed free afternoon tea and ice cream along with acrobatics lessons, story-telling and face painting.

“This is a very special afternoon to celebrate all the hard work that went into creating this place for our community, and it’s particularly significant to hold the official opening during Children’s Week,” said Bronwen Machin, Mayor of Mount Alexander Shire Council.

“Children have played a vital role in helping to design this new district level play space. They had many wonderful ideas, and it’s an absolute joy to see so many smiling faces as they explore the equipment,” said Cr Machin.

The play space features climbing boulders, log cars, a basket swing, accessible carousel and balance beams. There’s also musical play, a slide, flying fox and ping pong table.

“The play space also incorporates many elements that are important to our community – local Aboriginal culture and stories, the Maia mothers’ seat, a breastfeeding chair and memorial to Dr Santha Traill of the Australian Breastfeeding Association,” said Cr Machin.

“It demonstrates the importance of community in our shire, which I believe is one of our main strengths,” she said.

The play space design draws on themes of peace and reconciliation. It incorporates two important ancestral beings of the Dja Dja Wurrung – Bunjil in the form of a wedge-tail eagle and Waa, the crow.

“Bunjil is flying overhead on the shade sail to protect those playing below, and you can find Waa on the dreamtime shadow wall. There’s also a beautifully crafted yabby sculpture and grinding stone near the stone creek bed,” said Cr Machin.

“Aunty Julie McHale and our Dja Dja Wurrung community provided a lot of guidance to incorporate local aboriginal heritage into the play space. We are so grateful for their contribution and support,” said Cr Machin.

Equipment in the play space is designed to meet the play needs of a broad range of ages and abilities. It provides an opportunity for children, young people and adults to play, test out their skills, and come together in the centre of Castlemaine.

“Thank you to everyone who helped to create this wonderful space that will be enjoyed for generations to come,” said Cr Machin.

The play space opening was held alongside the Mount Alexander Early Years Forum and Mount Alexander Seniors Festival. In attendance at the launch were State Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards MP, Councillors, Aunty Kerri Douglas, Aunty Julie McHale and representatives from Sport and Recreation Victoria and Mount Alexander Early Years Steering Committee.

Council contributed $458,300 to the play space. The Victorian Government’s Community Sports Infrastructure Fund provided $89,500 and Variety Club generously contributed $10,000 for the accessible carousel. Activities at the Children’s Week celebration were provided by Council with a grant from the Department of Education.

Image: There were many smiling faces at the new Victory Park play space launch.

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