Bilya Kard Boodja Lookout, Belmont WA


 

Bilya Kard Boodja Lookout is a sheltered public parkland fringing Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River). The culturally sensitive site is located within an area occupied by the Beeloo family group; part of the Whadjuk Noongar people, the traditional owners of the Perth regional and Swan Coastal Plain.

A 1990 City of Belmont vision to make the Swan River more visible and accessible to the public recognised that the recreational use of Hardey Park was limited and there was a need to revitalise the space.  The development of high density developments in the area highlighted increased pressures on limited recreational spaces.  For many years Hardey Park was a vacant and disused space, lacking any amenity within increasing demands on maintenance to manage invasive weed species and erosion caused by pedestrian access on the steep embankment; a ‘forgotten’ site. The pressures of urban development in such a tight geographical area led to anti-social behaviour, ad hoc access, erosion and general neglect. Nevertheless, the site continued to be a popular thoroughfare for accessing the jetty for fishing and many of the trees planted by the Hardey family continued to thrive.

Ecoscape began the process of revitalisation of Hardey Park in 2011, which included analysis, consultation and conceptual design.  The final design was articulated using the site’s dynamic cultural fabric and complex natural environmental elements to re-value the ‘forgotten’ site.  The objective was to provide a mix of opportunities for interaction and communication between visitors within the natural environment and the site’s forgotten Aboriginal and European stories, while providing a variety of passive and active recreational activities.  Key to achieving this objective was ‘designing with respect’; allowing the socio-cultural responses to drive the design process and therefore the experiences users will have. The first step in this process was the renaming the park to reflect the connection to Country and recognition of traditional owners.  The park was renamed Bilya Kard Boodja Lookout; Bilya meaning ’river’, Kard meaning ‘hill’ and Boodja meaning ‘land/country’ establishing the City of Belmont’s first Aboriginal named open space.  An Artist’s team ‘Peter Farmer Designs Team’ was engaged to design and manufacture a sculpture referencing fishing and the six Noongar seasons. This playful interactive form engages children and is sited adjacent the play space.

The nature play space provides opportunities for the youngest of the community.  Play elements have been purposely designed to not limit the imagination of the user, and encourage opportunities for interaction and cognitive development through creative play.  Play fabric has been developed based on the Beeloo interactions with the river through the integration of timber cubbies, log settings for talking, a creek side setting and nets.

Species selected for the rehabilitation of the embankment were locally sourced provenance, and species appropriate to parkland settings were weaved through the planting palette to highlight their spectacular form and colour. References to food and medicinal plants used by the Beeloo are incorporated throughout.   Turf areas are limited to usable places for both active and passive recreational pursuits and to maximise opportunities for play and viewing the river.

The successful retention and protection of the existing mature trees has provided the park with an instant maturity and a strong sense of place.  Careful design and consideration to detailing and planning has provided opportunities for users to visually and physically engage with the trees and river through the siting of expansive platforms. Bench seating provides opportunities for contemplation and reflection on past land uses through integrated interpretation panels.  The inclusion of an equal access path network with a comprehensive galvanised steel stairway at the steepest embankment facilitates opportunities to increase healthy active lifestyles for the neighbouring high density residential dwellers and continue to support the traditional use of the area, fishing.

 

Expertise
Land Assessment | Master Planning | Parks & Playground Design | Project Design & Administration

 

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