The Texas All Abilities Playground was the town’s first dedicated family playground. It highlighted that having access to quality, universally-designed play spaces is just as important for children in small, rural communities as it is for those in cities.
More than 250 local residents, which equated to a quarter of the town’s population, had a say in the playground’s design. School students, teachers, mums and dads – everyone played a role in making their inclusive vision a reality.
Name: Texas All Abilities Playground
Officially opened: Friday 27 November 2009
Main play elements: ‘Silver Spur’ sand and water play area, general store façade, sensory plantings, flying fox with harness, toddler and hand-powered swings, open play areas and climbing net.
Facilities: Sheltered picnic and barbecue area, continuous surfacing and wide pathways throughout, informal seating and perimeter fencing.
Toilet facilities: Accessible toilet facilities are located on-site.
Address: Broadway East, Texas (next to the swimming pool). View on Google map.
- Queensland Government ($367,750, Queensland All Abilities Playground Project)
- Goondiwindi Regional Council ($40,000).
For more information: Contact council on (07) 4653 2600.
Texas’ council and community had long shared a vision to transform vacant land off East Broadway into a recreational space which met the needs of people of all ages, abilities and interests.
Creating a play space was a natural step in the land’s redevelopment, which had already seen a skate ramp developed in collaboration with local young people and other community stakeholders.
Continuing the community focus, council teamed with Disability Services to develop a strategy geared at maximising input from people of all abilities.
The strategy included a wide range of engagement activities, including:
- children's workshops
- student council projects
- community workshops and focus groups in Texas’ Town Hall
- surveys published the local MacIntyre Gazette.
An activity book, designed by Disability Services, formed the basis of children’s activities. The book promoted the use of different forms of creative expression and visual cues, as ways for children to contribute their ideas.
In total, more than 250 local residents, including 85 students from Texas State School, participated in the activities.
To help take local residents’ ideas and transform them into design realities, council also engaged a team from playground design and equipment manufacturer The Play Works.
Inspired by Texas of yesteryear, the playground’s finished design featured a general store, and sand and water play area modelled on the old Silver Spur Mine.
The large ‘Silver Spur’ play area featured an array of sand tables at different heights, as well as a sand pit, water pump, conveyor belt and other gadgets designed to inspire industrious and creative role play.
The playground also featured sensory plantings throughout, with plants carefully selected to encourage children to use the senses of touch, smell, sight and taste.
Accessible amenities, including toilet facilities, and a sheltered picnic and barbecue area, as well as continuous surfacing and wide pathways, all added to the accessibility of the space.