Courtesy of Fitzroy local history photograph collection / ID: 16131 / photographer: unknown / copyright: library owns image / used under the fair dealings provisions of the Copyright Act 1968
Cubbies adventure playground on Condell St has evidently existed for a long time, as this photo from 1975 shows a place that was definitely not recently created. They make it look like it has experienced a war or natural disaster; decline and abandonment are obvious. Until a few years ago the site looked like an occupational health and safety nightmare. Since then it has been cleaned up and made safe for a new generation of children from the Atherton gardens.
Courtesy of Fitzroy local history photograph collection / ID: 16130 / photographer: unknown / copyright: library owns image / used under the fair dealings provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 / c 1975
Courtesy of Fitzroy local history photograph collection / ID: 6974 / photographer: Mario Cotela / copyright: library owns image / used under the fair dealings provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 / c 1980
In doing some research on the playground I found some helpful documents online. From this 2001 page I found the mission statement and a list of recent improvements:
Fitzroy Adventure Playground (Cubbies) is a free play space located beneath the Fitzroy Housing Estate. The playground acts as a casual, drop-in service and a “backyard” for local 6-16 year olds by providing the opportunity to play freely and creatively at no financial cost in a safe, secure environment. Fitzroy Adventure Playground also provides programmes and activities for newly arrived young refugees and other young people, primarily from the Atherton Gardens Housing Estate.
The Fitzroy Adventure Playground has been undergoing a process of redevelopment over the past few years. The playground now has a newly constructed straw-bale building that functions as a recreation room, kitchen, toilets and office. The building is an example of sustainable design which also houses a grey-water system for toilet flushing and watering the garden.
In 2004 the Atherton Garden’s own community website reported that:
The State Government has granted $195,000 to upgrade the Cubbies Fitzroy Adventure Playground. The grant will extend the current playground in King William Street to make it an even more exciting and safe place to go after school each day, and during the school holidays. Work will begin early in 2005. A new flexible space will be built, plus kitchen, toilets and office.
A 2007 report on local MLA Richard Wynne’s website states:
Young people will now be able to borrow all kinds of sports equipment ranging from bats and balls to bicycles. Neighbourhood Renewal has contributed $3,000 to the Atherton Gardens Estate in Fitzroy to ensure the library is stocked with sports equipment. These funds are sourced from the $25,000 Youth Recreation Grant from Office of Housing Client Services designed to benefit young people in Fitzroy and Flemington. The Library will be located at the Fitzroy Adventure Playground and will operate out of a 40m shipping container organised by Neighbourhood Renewal. The container is due to be delivered in April 2007.
You can see the shipping container in the grounds, along with rabbits, chickens and play equipment. The current appearance of Cubbies is a credit to all those involved in its rejuvenation and a great example of urban renewal in Fitzroy.