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Maritime Cove Community Park Playground, The Boulevard, Port Melbourne

A brilliant place space created by the Port of Melbourne using re-purposed equipment to create a Maritime themed park. The playground weaves equipment such as a Crows Nest, channel markers, marine bollards, coloured buoys, rail lines, ladder bridge and steel buoys into a fun and exciting play environment.

Standing high upon the playground is a lookout tower with a spiral slide which takes some effort to reach the slide. Take your pick from wooden ladders, rope ladders or a wibbly wobbly bridge to reach the first level of the tower. Then scramble up a vertical rope tunnel to get to the top of the slide. Unfortunately after all that effort the slide wasn't very slippery or maybe I just had high friction pants on.

The base of the tower has a wooden bridge which leads to a traverse across a thick rope and another traverse across a thin rope bridge to the site of sand play heaven. In this area there are lots of buckets, channels, chain pulleys and cranes to move sand about. This is a brilliant area for budding construction workers to practice their future career. You can also scale the Crows Nest. Crows never had it so good.

At the northern end is an area for the younger kids which has a water play area with hand pump where you can pump water through a series of channels and tables, an old fashioned metal kaleidoscope, car tyre on springs, a big metal disk which rotates and moves around, a long wall with lots of sand play equipment, sea lion sculpture, turtle sculpture, wooden pyramid with tiny metal slide, wooden boat, really interesting mechanical sand digger and a shiny black block with slits which you can hit with a clanger to make truly beautiful music. Normally I don't like the sound of clangers but this one could only be described as melodious.

On the western side is a concrete area which has some water sprays on top of some tall poles. I'll leave it to you to work out the devious ways to get the sprays working but one tip is to investigate the wonderful see-saw made from a wooden pole.

A metal ladder from a ship has been turned into horizontal traverse. There is a high ropes course to traverse across which includes a number of elements including some thin ropes, net and spiders web. A large buoy has climbing holds and there is a wonderful area where logs are piles up in all sorts of directions to make a fun and exciting climbing area.

On the beach side is a boardwalk with a fun and innovative exercise area for both the body and mind which includes a fantastic log sawing station. Can you become the Australia log sawing champion?

The surface of the playground is more gravelly than sandy and has a lot of tiny stones but I'm not going to hold a few stones in my shoes against a playground like this.

There is also an outdoor gym for adults which has ten stations of exercise equipment.

In the playground area there are two shelters from old shipping containers with some seats, water tap, beach shower and unshaded seats. There is a lot of free parking in the area. The nearby Sandridge beach has toilets, tables and BBQs. Caps Café is close by.

The playground is located in the Perce White Reserve next to Sandridge Beach. The turnoff to the playground is close to the curve in The Boulevard where is becomes Todd Road.

This playground is in the top few playgrounds in Melbourne.

Some historical background on some of the equipment used in the playground:

Crow's Nest - They are part of the fixed beacons system used to mark navigation channels. The Crow's Nest is part of a navigation beacon. There are lights and navigational markers on top and they can transmit data to the navigation systems in the port, A green triangle means the beacon is on the right (or starboard) side of the channel, if travelling upstream you see a red square (port side) then the channel is between them. The tall structure is required so they can be seen from large ships without the captain looking down on them.

Ladder Bridge - This access ladder was used to enable maintenance crews to climb up to the Crow's Nest. Maintenance crews would tie their boat on to the base of the ladder and climb to the Crow's Nest to inspect the navigation lights and other equipment.

Shipping Containers - Containers are shipped all around the world. They carry furniture, clothing, toys and even food. A standard twenty foot container is known as a TEU and a forty foot container a FEU. In Australia, we mainly export heavier wheats and wines in TEU containers and import lighter furniture and clothing items in FEU containers. Containers can be repurposed to have different uses. Some people even use containers as the structure for their houses.

Coloured Buoys - These colourful buoys are used to mark channels, obstructions or other areas that need to be delineated. These buoys had a 40 year life cycle and concrete bases. They are now being replaced with polyethylene buoys that are much lighter and larger.

Channel Marker - There are a lot of different buoys and markers in the bay. They all have slightly different functions, but all serve as safety measures for ships in the water. These bright yellow structures in the playground were some of the buoys that marked the transit only zone around the Port Melbourne Channel to separate small craft from ships. Over the years, these structures have been replaced by fixed piles that you can see in the bay today.

Rail Lines - The disused rail lines were crane rails used to support and move the container cranes, When joined together they formed Swanson Dock's nearly 1km long rail line. The rail was replaced as it can only be used for around 20 years.

Marine Bollards - Found all over the port, marine bollards are used to secure a ship's ropes to the wharf. Their design and use remained unchanged for the last 70 years except they are now larger and stronger. As ships get bigger the bollards will become redundant and proprietary bollards will be installed. The design of the playground bollards was an in-house design developed by the Melbourne Harbour Trust.

Steel Buoy - These large steel buoys were located in the transit only zone. Historically, these buoys were built this large so they could be seen in the bay from far away. They can hold a light so they can be seen at night, and shapes that make them easier to be seem by mariners. After World War II, these buoys contained gas cylinders which were used to fuel a flame on the top. They are still used in a couple of places but the buoys in the transit zone have now been replaced by steel fixed pile beacons that have a better life cycle cost.


Address | Contact

200 The Boulevard,  Port Melbourne 3207, Victoria, Australia. View Map Map opens in new browser window
Map: 56 Ref: H3

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Other useful resources:
Top 50 Playgrounds in Melbourne and Geelong
The BEST playgrounds in the Central Melbourne Region

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