Wattle Park is a much-loved park with significant natural and cultural heritage, providing visitors with an important connection to nature in a suburban landscape. Led by our Landscape Architecture team, AECOM delivered multidisciplinary design services to Parks Victoria while capturing the essence of the park’s unique character and focusing on the park’s social value, environmental significance, and transportation history. 

Project summary 

Parks Victoria has delivered a new all-abilities playscape, an uplifted picnic area and an upgraded walking and running track at Wattle Park in Burwood. This project was funded by $5.1 million from the Victorian Government, as part of the $315 million Suburban Parks Program and the $21 million Urban Parks Active Wellbeing Program. These programs aim to support community health and wellbeing, social connectivity and access to green open space. 

The Wattle Park amenity upgrades will enable the broader park to directly engage with a wider community spectrum as the upgrades propose a broad range of passive, active, and play activities. The design proposals have carefully considered the site’s ecological sensitivities and heritage assets listed in the Victorian Heritage Register. 

Heritage overlay 

A crucial element of the upgrade was to celebrate the rich historic values of the park, of which a significant area is included in the Victorian Heritage Register and is afforded protection under the Heritage Act. The design team ensured all works within the heritage-listed areas were carefully scoped to maintain and/or restore heritage assets of the park, including managing and protecting the highly valued, established trees throughout the park.  

Our Heritage Team measured the visual impacts of proposed designs, and our Landscape Architecture team responded with appropriate design solutions that met the expectations of Heritage Victoria, the community, and our client – Parks Victoria.  

Community consultation 

Designs for the new Wattle Park facilities were developed in collaboration with the community through extensive community consultation and achieved across two stages in October 2020 and June – July 2021. The high level of interest and participation in the consultation and details of these findings influenced the design at both stages of engagement. This collaboration delivered a legacy that caters to a diverse group of visitors now, and into the future. 

First Nations engagement 

AECOM collaborated with Greenshoot Consulting to drive First Nations engagement and embed the aspirations of Wurundjeri Elders into the upgrade of Wattle Park. This engagement amplified opportunities for Indigenous leadership, decision making and participation in delivery throughout all project phases. Our Landscape Architecture team assisted in developing interpretive components within the playscape, such as sculpture, stencil art, and a celebratory meeting place suitable for ceremonies and outdoor learning. 

Delivering a sustainable legacy 

AECOM worked to ensure the bushland environment of Wattle Park was protected and enhanced to support important species and preserve the unique urban park. The team undertook extensive environmental assessments to realise sustainable outcomes throughout the design process. The site’s existing felled trees were retained and re-used as nature play components within the playscape. The new playscape was designed to weave around the natural vegetation, reducing the environmental impacts of the new playscape.   

Banner image and above image: Robyn Oliver