Fitzroy Adventure Playground, known to locals as Cubbies, is a haven for inner city kids who don’t have access to a large backyard to play freely in.
Built in 1974, Cubbies was the first adventure playground built in Australia, and has catered to the needs of Melbourne’s inner city kids ever since. It’s operated by Save the Children Australia with part funding from the Yarra City Council and contributions from local businesses and community organisations. Many of the children who use Cubbies come from newly arrived communities and live in the Atherton Gardens Housing Estate.
In 2017, Cubbies installed a new playscape called Coal Flowers. It features five poles on the top of which are pods made of steel and recycled rubber, sourced from coal mine conveyor belts. Housing 25 solar panels, the flowers generate and harness electricity for Cubbies’ use and feed into the power grid. Not only that but the petals are also designed to provide shade for children using the playground throughout the year.
Created by sculpture artist Benjamin Gilbert, the project was funded by the State Government and various philanthropic donors. In early design stages, Gilbert worked with local children to create the concept of the play structure and show them the skills needed to create the structure.