The Report details the extensive tracks and trails in the Campbelltown area and highlights the value of bushwalking to the community.
The Report details the extensive tracks and trails in the Campbelltown area and highlights the value of bushwalking to the community.
In 2022 and 2023 MidCoast Council developed the MidCoast Open Space and Recreation Strategy 2023-2035 (OSRS). The Strategy is a twelve-year plan to manage both the public open space in MidCoast along with the activities that take place on that space.
The Strategy includes a comprehensive Action Plan, that detailed many actions that need to be undertaken throughout the public open space portfolio to bring it up to contemporary standards. During the development of the Strategy and its Action Plan it was identified that much of the built facilities located on our public open space, in particular our sports facilities, were at an unacceptable standard, or could be expected to reach the end of their life during the lifecycle of the Strategy.
One of the planning recommendations contained in the Strategy’s Action Plan was the development of a Sports Lighting Plan. The purpose of the Plan is the identification of all existing sports lighting infrastructure, in particular the lighting poles and luminaries, and the identification of new sports lighting infrastructure that would be needed in the future. The Plan deals with sports facilities only and does not detail lighting provided in passive public open space.
The purpose of the Sports Lighting Plan 2023 – 2035 is to:
Deliver a comprehensive and prioritised plan for the provision of contemporary sports lighting to sports facilities in the MidCoast region.
The Sports Lighting Plan 2023 – 2035 aims to:
Provide a plan that will guide Council in planning for and providing infrastructure that meets the community’s needs for night-time sports.
The Plan contains the current asset list as well as a future works schedule for our sports lighting infrastructure.
The MidCoast Outdoor Sports Court Strategy 2023 – 2035 is a critical supporting document to the
MidCoast Open Space and Recreation Strategy 2023 – 2035 (OSRS). The OSRS sets out the vision,
guiding principles and aspirations for our public open space, how we use it and how we care for it. This
Court Strategy is an asset specific planning document focused on one of the components of our public
open space, outdoor sports courts.
One of the eight guiding principles we have adopted in the OSRS is use knowledge and evidence based
Therefore, the Outdoor Sports Court Strategy has been developed based on a foundation of evidence,
and every recommendation contained within the Action Plan is then based on that evidence. This
approach will ensure that in the future every sports court that we have will be where it needs to be and
provide value based on evidence.
The Strategy highlights that sports courts are provided for several different sports, namely; tennis,
croquet, netball, basketball, and emerging sports such as pickleball. Some of these sports have a rich
history in Australia and our region. Sports such as tennis and croquet were introduced in the 1800’s and
many courts were built. You can still see them in our small villages, such as Krimbiki and Killabakh.
These facilities were the centre of each community, with picnics and dances being held at the
community halls often built right next to the tennis or croquet court. People would travel for many miles
to attend these events. There is a legacy with these facilities and the Strategy respects this. The
Strategy also looks at more modern sports such as netball and basketball, and most recently pickleball.
A sample of Nick’s art
Nick Safstrom OAM (1947- ) as described by Neil Hordern, formerly of the firm EDAW:
“In a word or two as a leader, the best and still my benchmark for which I am always grateful! As a Landscape Architect – rigour and creativity underpinned by a strong moral compass. Someone who could deal with significant urban challenges and at the same time, share the marvel of often over looked cultural and environmental undercurrents. In my time at EDAW, Nick cultivated so many young landscape architects to collaborate and enjoy problem solving and in doing so operated at a level beyond their years of experience. “
Who is this man, Nick Safstrom who earned such a high accolade from a previous employee?
Nick Safstrom studied architecture and fine arts at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology for six years (1966-1972), worked in that discipline for one year and then decided, as he was much more interested in landscape, that he would pursue studies in landscape architecture at RMIT (1973-1977). Nick’s design training as an architect, with the ability to mentally visualise an entire concept before he started working, certainly enhanced his landscape design practice as well.
Loder & Bayly
Nick was initially employed to establish a landscape architecture division for Loder & Bayly (L&B) a multi- disciplinary office in Hawthorn during the late 70s & 80s. It was an innovative practice with planners, urban designers, architects, sociologists, civil engineers, traffic designers and geographers, all working collaboratively under the same roof, to create strong design solutions for Melbourne and Australia. (One time an egyptologist was eagerly accepted onto staff as one who would bring innovative perspectives to the mix).
Loder & Bayly’s office work culture
Nick reflects that “Loder & Bayly had an amazing work culture. It was a very family-orientated practice with children and partners coming into the office after work every Friday night for drinks, while the children would play around the spaces of the open plan office in Power Street, Hawthorn and often head off for a Vietnamese meal in Victoria Street afterwards. If you had a birthday or won a project, you brought cake the next day! The group periodically holidayed together and their friendship links remain strong to this day. Sadly it was the economic downturn in the late ‘80’s which led to L&B being forced to close and then merging onto the engineering firm Sinclair Knight, but not before they had found a job for everyone in that practice.”
Loder & Bayly colleagues: L-R Jan Martin, Nick Safstrom, John Loder, Don Glasson, Bill Chandler, Michael Daff, Michael Read, Ian Wight.
Brown bag sessions
Nick established a weekly meeting for the whole office over lunchtime, called a brown (lunch bag) session. It became a very valuable ideas-sharing time. It could have been about a specific work project; philosophical ideas; world events; work culture; but everyone at that session was on equal parity. It was of enormous value for more junior staff to feel valued and a learning tool as well.
Master Planning for Melbourne’s metropolitan parks
One important assignment received by L&B in 1985 was Nick Safstrom’s appointment to design the master plans for all of the regional metropolitan parks around Melbourne. Alan Croxford, a visionary leader of the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works, observed that when most people visited national parks, their most common activity was to gather with families, have a picnic, kick a football and do a little walking. So he proposed and implemented adding a parks levy to every landowner’s rates bill, which gave the funding (via the Metropolitan Improvement Fund) to establish and maintain these important recreational spaces around Melbourne. These included Jells, Brimbank, Westerfolds, Banksia and Point Cook Coastal Parks.
His wife Heather writes: “I recall Nick walking around Jells Park directing the bulldozers to shape the ponds, which feed into the large lake in the flood plain valley, with islands shaped within it. This has become an important habitat for ibis and other wetland nesting birds and a greatly valued family recreational space for metropolitan Melbourne.”
Litchfield National Park
In about 1986, the Northern Territory Government envisioned establishing a second park project following Kakadu, to increase tourism opportunities. They wanted to open access for visitors to Litchfield, which was officially declared a national park in 1986. Loder & Bayly was engaged to do the master planning for this project. Nick Safstrom, John Wood and Jan Martin, along with others drove in through wilderness areas, with snorkels on the exhausts of their 4×4 vehicles, to mitigate the effect of mud and floodwaters, to finally access the Wongi Falls area. There on the sandy banks of Wongi Pool, trestle tables were set up to do the master planning.
They asked themselves questions such as
Then a helicopter was flown in to give them an overview of the whole site.
This project has proved to be very successful, with high visitor demand creating the need for ongoing strategies by others to continue management to protect this beautiful area.
West Gate Bridge Park
The Chair of the West Gate Bridge Authority, Oscar Meyer, is credited with the inspiration for the establishment of Westgate Park. He wanted to create “a beautiful park straddling the Yarra River” to complement his sculptural bridge. He developed this vision soon after the completion of the bridge in the late 1970s. The federal government funded the development of Westgate Park to mark Victoria’s sesquicentenary in 1984-85.
Nick was involved with L&B and landscape architect Bruce Mackenzie OAM to win a competition with an ambitious design relying on a constructed landscape of hills and access tracks which framed and created views of the West Gate Bridge as the central sculptural feature, and with fresh and saltwater lakes as focal points. Planned features included an island visitors’ centre, as well as the planting of Australian vegetation, improvement of bird habitat and the incorporation of a narrow-gauge railway, a sound shell and sculptures. To this day this park has an active team of volunteers who continue to develop the planting and management of the park, under the banner of Parks Victoria. It is thrilling to visit this park today to see the wide variety of birds that now call this park home, only 4kms from Melbourne’s CBD.
Karkarook Park / Sandbelt Masterplan and Lower Plenty River Concept Plan
For reports of these projects, visit https://www.parksleisure.com.au/library/ and enter keywords.
Click here for the first Newsletter of the practice, issued in 1986.
EDAW Australia – Architecture & Design
(EDAW is an acronym derived from Eckbo, Dean, Austin and Williams, the names of four of the firm’s original partners). Peter Haack has shared some background about this practice.
“The EDAW story is certainly an interesting one. EDAW Australia was a national practice of multi-disciplinary design and planning professionals covering planning, site and urban design and landscape architecture, under the umbrella of the international landscape practice EDAW.
The arrangement with EDAW came about as a buy out by Sinclair Knight Mertz (SKM) of the Loder & Bayly practice. SKM took the urban planners, social planners and the traffic engineers, but the Landscape Architecture (LA) team went to EDAW. (Jan Martin as an urban designer and urban planner went with the SKM team). EDAW was 40-50% owned by SKM at that time and SKM helped EDAW break into the Australian market. EDAW already had a strong presence in NSW.
As part of the EDAW takeover of the L&B Landscape Architecture team in 1995, Andrew Irvine came from EDAW Sydney to join with Nick and Peter Haack to form the new EDAW Melbourne practice. John Wood and Michael Erickson of L&B Brisbane became part of the Brisbane EDAW practice. After the recession of the early 1990s, the L&B team was pretty thin with Neil Hordern and Marius Brits being some of the first new EDAW recruits.”
This then led to Nick’s managing the Melbourne office and eventually all of the Australian offices of EDAW in Queensland and NSW as well as a new office in Adelaide that Nick established, (managed by John Holland) – four offices in total. It was a highly successful international planning and design firm. EDAW was eventually taken over by AECOM in 2008. Following that takeover, much of the Australian design leadership within EDAW left AECOM. Click here for a capability statement of EDAW, date uncertain, but probably not long before 2008.
Some significant projects undertaken by EDAW
Nick returned to RMIT to join the teaching staff on a part-time basis to train landscape students in business practice.
An interesting piece of advice Nick received from a mentor in the early stages of his career was to volunteer his skills to an organisation. Acting on this, over a period of 30 years he gave his time to the Victorian National Trust on their management board, to eventually become Vice-Chairman of the National Trust, alongside Simon Molesworth OAM. Nick’s particular interest with the National Trust was preserving historical landscapes. This voluntary work for the Trust, along with his leadership in the landscape architecture field, eventually earned him recognition as a Fellow of the Institute of Landscape Architecture and an award of an OAM in 2007.
One role Nick managed on behalf of the Trust was running Mooramong, a property that had been bequeathed to the Trust. Mooramong is on a working farm in the Western District of 4,000 acres, running sheep and producing crops. Nick would attend monthly management meetings with local farmers who also donated their time and advice to run the farm. What should be planted and when? How should sheep be managed and purchased or sold? Using profits from this farming activity, a large area was fenced to exclude predators to re-establish a nature reserve with habitat for Eastern Barred Bandicoots and other Australian species including the Wedge-tailed Eagle and Brolga. It was a very exciting day when the first release of bandicoots was made into the compound. For further information, enter Mooramong into the search box of the website of the National Trust, Victoria.
In 2000 while in his early fifties Nick experienced a stroke, which left him with aphasia and unable to talk or write. It’s just as well that he can draw, as all communications are now made by mime and drawing. Heather writes: “You won’t catch his wife playing Pictionary just for fun!” However the multiple skills he had developed over his lifetime have led to his enjoying his unexpectedly early-retirement with great satisfaction.
Once back on his feet he returned to painting, something for which he hadn’t had time, during his busy career. Multiple successful art exhibitions were held in their family home between 2002-2023 and his work has been sold all over the world. He still draws using his non-dominant left hand.
Until recently, he and Heather travelled with their campervan and 4×4 through outback Australia for fifteen years, spending three months each winter in very remote places, exploring beautiful landscapes, painting and exploring. A musician all of his life, he now sings in two choirs and still plays his tjembe for the Stroke A Chord choir.
So, his enjoyment of life continues, enriched by his innate curiosity and varied interests with great contentment.
He certainly deserves a place under the heading “Inspiring people”. He is an inspiration to many.
Nick in 2023, in his ‘habitat garden’, a creation 40 years in the making.
NICK SAFSTROM’S COLLEAGUES
With characteristic modesty, Nick has asked that some of the achievements of his colleagues be recognised in this narrative.
John Loder and right hand turn lanes – An enduring L&B innovation
Loder & Bayly was the first stand-alone planning firm in Victoria.. Prior to that, planning was an add-on to civil engineering and architect offices. The founding Principals were John Loder, a transportation planner and engineer, and John Bayly, a town planner and architect.
One of the important legacies left by John Loder (deceased) was to introduce the concept of right hand turn lanes. As an inspiring planner, frustrated by delays at traffic lights by right-turning vehicles, he organised a trial project within Hawthorn and following its success, this concept was run out all over Australia. It’s something we take for granted now – but what a difference that planning initiative has made to all of the driving public.
Don Glasson and Melbourne’s bike paths
Don Glasson, also a town planner and architect, joined the firm early after its inception and later became the third partner. Don played a key role in the growing recognition of cycling as a significant transport mode. He prepared comprehensive bicycle plans for many cities, towns, suburbs and regions from Cairns in North Australia to Adelaide and parts of South Australia. He carried out the first Rail Trail Policy and Evaluation work in the Victorian Ovens Valley, followed by many other trails in Victoria and South Australia. As part of the MMBW’s and L&B’s overall strategy of linking parklands throughout the metropolitan area, Don, a keen cyclist, designed many of Melbourne’s bike paths.
Nick, Natalie Grey, Peter Haack Bill Chandler Jan Martin Andrew Irvine
(Bill, Jan and Andrew are all deceased).
World Urban Parks holds an annual congress. Documents can be found on the respective websites, and PDFs are linked below where PaRC has been able to obtain them.
Congress in Kazan, Russia (2019)
Kazan is a Russian city and the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan. Kazan is identified as a growing, dynamic city with significant opportunities for improved liveability; Kazan has already been placed in the top 10 most sustainably developed cities in the Russian Federation. Since 2016 the Institute for Urban Development of the Republic of Tatarstan has been implementing the Program for the Development of Public Spaces, under which more than 300 parks, embankments, pedestrian streets, public gardens and squares in all municipal districts of the region were improved.
The principles of sustainable development are reflected in Kazan’s long-term development strategies — from transport, housing and energy- saving technologies to the support of park, cultural and social programs.
The Congress website (alive as at Jan. 2024) includes a link to a Congress video and a program with abstracts. It is understood that a report of the proceedings in English exists but the hotlink is no longer alive.
Congress in Monterrey, Mexico (2022)
Alternative links: Congress website via blog and via index.php here. The Event Objective is described as: “World Urban Parks aims to gather and train professionals, public officials, housing developers, decision makers, industry suppliers, students and non-governmental organizations in one place. It is a space that allows you to create collaborative networks with industry leaders around the world.” Click here for the program.
The Congress, themed Sustainable Places: Spaces, People and Habitats, was held in Adelaide in October 2023 jointly with Parks and Leisure Australia. The Adelaide Statement is posted on a separate page.
Congress in Utrecht, Netherlands (2024)
Congress website. More to come.
The brief internal paper Determining Land Use was written in 1984 as a guide for staff of the Metropolitan Parks Branch of the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works. During that era (1980s), the Branch was taking occupation of numerous properties zoned Proposed Public Open Space, many of them worn out or run down (given that sale to the Board was more or less inevitable). Field staff were required to assess properties and decide whether to manage them for environmental conservation or develop for some form of public recreation, or something else. The paper is signed by Tony Whitham, but is marked in Trevor Arthur’s handwriting as by Geoff Edwards.
Roll on two decades, and the same Geoff Edwards in the Department of Natural Resources and Mines in Queensland, wrote a more sophisticated and comprehensive paper with a similar purpose. However, the scope of the land uses that departmental officers (who were the target audience of this Resource Planning Guideline) were from time to time required to evaluate were much broader, covering virtually all the land uses for which various parcels of Crown land could be allocated. This Guideline F9 Determining Most Appropriate Use was published in 2005 and appeared briefly on the Department’s website.
There is a subtext implied by the term “most appropriate use”. This concept is one grounded in public interest, and not in economic profit. It is in tension with the term “highest and best use” that is widely used as the basis of planning in planning schemes and water allocation. “Highest and best” implies the most intensive or economically profitable use (as determined by the market) that can be permitted under the regulations in force; “most appropriate” implies the use that maximises the benefit to the community, deriving from the intrinsic attributes of the land nestled in its locality; with economic potential, being only one criterion. The difference between these two concepts is explained in other papers in this series of Resource Planning Guidelines, obtainable by request to PaRC or from Trove.
A leaflet dated 1985 includes a list of parks in north-western Victoria and is followed by a nature trail guide for Wyperfeld.
This circular letter introduces the Friends of Wyperfeld, established in 1976, the second Friends of National Parks group, following in the footsteps of Friends of Organ Pipes, established in 1972.
Guides to Hattah Lakes – Trees, Vegetation, Nature Trail – can be found by entering “Hattah” into the Document Library search box.
A landmark report The Need for Reservations in Desert Settlement resulting from a conference held in Nhill in 1964 is more than just one of the earliest salvos in the debates over land use in the Little Desert; it includes accounts of the contemporary views of district people and also includes appendices with lists of flora and fauna, even though these have been superseded.
Building the foundations of our parks system
Trevor Elsbury Arthur, who died on 15 November 2009, played a pivotal role in the development of Victoria’s parks system and in the founding of the two parks organisations that merged in 1996 to form Parks Victoria.
Born in 1925, Trevor was a bright student and won a scholarship to Melbourne High School. World War Two began and as soon as he was old enough he joined the RAAF and trained as a fighter pilot. After qualification, he was scheduled to go to Canada for further training when the war ended. He accepted a place at Creswick Forestry School and after graduating with an Associate Diploma Forestry in 1948 second top of his class, he was offered a scholarship to Melbourne University. His first posting after attaining his degree of B.Sc.For. in 1952 was with the Forests Commission Victoria at the Wimmera Forest Nursery at Wail close to Dimboola. He was appointed Officer in Charge of the nursery and Dimboola Forest District. In 1960 he completed units of further study in landscape design, park planning practice and architecture.
After a stint as Aboriculturalist in the Commonwealth Department of Works, charged with giving advice to various government organisations on design and management of vegetated areas, he was appointed in 1962 as Technical Officer in the fledgling National Parks Authority, successor to John Landy (a scientist and athlete, later Governor of Victoria). By the end of the 1960s the head office staff, including Trevor as Chief Technical Officer (2IC) and Technical Officers Bob Yorston, Colin Hutchinson and Don Saunders (later Director), numbered around 10 – about at the same as the number of park rangers across the state. In 1976 he completed a postgraduate course ‘Introduction to Park Operations’ conducted by the USA National Park Service at Grand Canyon.
The principles for managing Victoria’s national parks were established in those years. The twin objectives of nature conservation and recreation were crystallised through such functions as training the Rangers inherited from the Crown Lands committees of management, publishing interpretative guides and site-sensitive design of infrastructure and facilities. Proposals for non-sensitive road standards by the Country Roads Board were stared down, and pressures to open parks for commercial development were resisted. A policy of destroying non-native pests was embedded and fire management regimes endeavoured to reconcile property protection with ecological principles.
They were also years without remotely adequate budgets and without any previous professional parks corps from which to draw expertise. If a sign had to be erected at Cape Everard or a pit toilet dug at Glenaladale, as often as not it was head office staff who had to do it. Trevor was always prepared to roll up the sleeves and do what had to be done to support the frontline outdoor work.
He took conservation very seriously. In 1971 a journalist from The Age newspaper approached him with an idea of featuring the Arthur family for a week to raise awareness in the community about conservation. The series of articles was called ‘The Earth and Trevor Arthur’ and featured concerns Trevor was already advising would be problematic to future generations such resource consumption, pollution, population growth and the need to recycle materials. Into the 2000s he was greatly distressed that the nation’s leadership still did not take many of these issues seriously enough. In many of these issues he was 30 years or more ahead of official thinking.
In 1974 he was recruited by Chairman Alan Croxford as the inaugural Manager of Metropolitan Parks with the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works. The metropolitan parks included Jells Park on Dandenong Creek, Westerfolds Park and Petty’s Orchard on the Yarra River and Brimbank Park on the Maribyrnong River. Public buyback of parklands designated in the planning scheme and the 1971 Interim Development Order as Proposed Public Open Space made it easier to control incompatible private development, and allowed the construction of public access venues such as a children’s farm and a model grazing property, as well as bush regeneration. Again, Trevor was instrumental in setting the policies by which these parks are managed to this day.
He retired from the Board’s service in 1986 and for a short period was Senior Planning Consultant, Hassell Planning Consultants, then from 1987 managed his own consultancy firm.
Trevor was an inveterate international traveller. In May 1999 he calculated that since 1967 he had made eighteen overseas visits to countries in Asia, North America, Europe and Africa visiting hundreds of parks and recreation facilities.
Before and after retirement he was immensely active in the voluntary environmental sector. His roles and awards include:
National Trust of Australia (Victoria) – from 1966 a member of the Landscape Committee, including Chairman for a period; inaugural Chairman of the Significant Trees Committee; granted Life Membership in 2009, in recognition of more than 40 years’ voluntary service.
Royal Australian Institute of Parks and Recreation – invested as a Fellow in 1960; member, past Treasurer and past President of Victorian Regional Council of RAIPR, 1970 -1997; invested with the Australian Award in Park and Recreation Administration in 1986; Trustee of the Trust Fund-Education that gave rise to the PaRC websites from 1987 and chairman for a period until his death in 2009; in 1991 invested as an Honorary Life Fellow.
International Federation of Parks and Recreation Administration – member from 1975; appointed by RAIPR as Australia’s Commissioner to the Asia-Pacific region chapter, 1986-1992; Chairman, IFPRA Statutes Committee, 1989 – 1998; Secretary, IFPRA Asia Pacific Region, 1989–1992; Chairman, IFPRA Asia Pacific Region, 1992-1993; Immediate Past Chairman, 1993-1996; in 1995 invested with Honorary Life Membership.
Ornamental Plant Conservation Association of Australia – Treasurer from 1986 and in 1999 invested as an Honorary Life Member.
Burnley Horticultural College – Education Fund; member of Advisory Committee, 1980-1983.
He was a member of the Panel of Judges for Royal Park Master Plan (Melbourne City Council) 1985 and Chairman of Outdoor Access for All Working Party (disabled persons access) 1981-1989. In 2004 his work in landscape management was acknowledged at the International Park Management Congress in Japan, where he received a Distinguished Contribution Award.
In 1974 Trevor lost his beloved wife Pat to cancer (they married in 1952), and in 1989 his elder son Graeme to a freak car accident. These setbacks, coupled with progressive loss of hearing and anguish at the anti-progressive policies of Victoria’s and the nation’s leaders, cast a shadow over his final years.
Trevor Arthur was a visionary conservationist, compassionate supporter of a number of charities both in Australia and overseas, a Friend of the ABC, a letter writer to and aficionado of The Age and a keen political observer. His family and associates will always remember him with admiration for all that he achieved, his integrity, resilience, compassion, work ethic and dedication to the public interest.
Trevor was a practical person who did not leave a large body of written work such as magazine articles, so his contribution to building the foundations of the state’s park system is not as obvious as it might otherwise have been. If you wish to enjoy his legacy, just visit the facilities at one of the Victorian parks and look around you.
Adapted from the eulogy delivered at his funeral in November 2009 by his daughter Gillian and an article in the Victoria National Parks Association Journal Park Watch, 1 March 2010 by his former colleague Geoff Edwards.
Some selected writings
Metropolitan Parks – Description and Progress. Three internal staff papers, 1982, 1984, 1986 (May not all have been authored by TEA).