Back to Top

Author Archives: ParksRecreationCollection

Tread Lightly!

Tread Lightly! (Australia) was a community organisation established to promote responsible use of outdoor recreation sites by users. Queensland public servant Neil Ames has assembled this narrative, based upon recollections of the late John Wood, who was president for 10 years.

The model came from the United States where Tread Lightly (US) is still very alive and functional: see Its mission has been “Promoting responsible recreation through stewardship, education and communication. Plus, we get out there and live it.” Tread Lightly (US) originated from the US Forest Service which wanted to partner with recreational users of forests to minimise recreation-related impacts resulting from all types of outdoor activities including off-road vehicles (mountain biking, bushwalking, camping, fishing, hunting etc).

Jan and Ivan Scudamore introduced the program into Australia in the early 1990s. Jan was Executive Officer of Tread Lightly (Australia) from its inception and the driving force. Tread Lightly (Australia) had a board and three chairmen over the ~10 years of operation, namely Brian Woodward, Rob Seymore and John Wood. Jan was also a board member of Tread Lightly (USA) and acquired a quantity of educational, training, promotional, research, management and operational material from the US Forest Service and the Off Highway Vehicle Association of USA.

Eventually it was decided to close Tread Lightly (Australia) down due to lack of financial support.

After an interregnum in the offices of Sport and Recreation Queensland based in Toowoomba, the collection of physical resources was secured by PaRC and many items scanned. The materials are not saved in a single digital location in the library, as the library is based on a keyword search engine, but the items that are not copyright are now accessible to all.

Review Status: Pending

Sport knowledge – the Australian Clearinghouse

The Australian Clearinghouse for Sport is the pre-eminent information and knowledge-sharing platform for Australian sport.

The Clearinghouse brings together Australia’s leading sport and active recreation agencies, using Sport Australia as the principal information coordinator, to share news, evidence and insights about sport, human performance and physical activity. The Clearinghouse works to:

  • Identify and acquire information of relevance to the Australian sport and active recreation sectors;
  • connect people in sport and active recreation with complementary expertise;
  • inform Australian sport practitioners (such as athletes, coaches, physical educators, scientists, medical providers, researchers, administrators, students, facility managers, policy makers, volunteers, and sporting officials) about good and promising practice in sport and active recreation;
  • provide Australian governments at all levels with comprehensive and policy relevant analysis of research relating to sport and active recreation, and its value to the community; and
    Provide Clearinghouse members with high quality information on sport, physical activity and active recreation.

The Clearinghouse is a central access point for knowledge about the Australian sport sector and for communication between sportspeople and sporting organisations. It is an entity of the Australian Sports Commission, itself an agency of the Australian Government. Access its website here.

Given the existence of the Clearinghouse and its focus on ‘active’ recreation and sport, the PaRC document library and the PaRC narratives website have purposely focused on ‘passive’ recreation and park management, although of course no clear distinction can be maintained.

Review Status: Pending

Open Space Planning in SEQ – 1994-2021

More than 25 years after the creation of a regional open space network was recommended in the SEQ2001 Regional Plan, South East Queensland does not have a regional park system or any coordinated network of recreational open space worth the name. The narrative of what-might-have-been is a story of opportunities lost, at least three times over.


Purlingbrook Falls adjacent to the rainforest purchased under ROSS in 1994 – G. Edwards

Continue Reading

Review Status: Pending

A Short History of the AIPR Trust Fund-Education

When the Australian Institute of Parks and Recreation (predecessor to Parks and Leisure Australia) established a Trust Fund – Education on 8 February 1974, it had no particular project in mind, but a general desire that the Institute should make a long-term investment in the future of the parks and recreation professions.

Continue Reading

Review Status:

Healthy Spaces and Places

Healthy Spaces and Places is a web-based national guide for planning, designing and creating sustainable communities that encourage healthy living.

Foremost it is for planners, as they can help tackle some of Australia’s major preventable health issues by planning places where it is easier and more desirable for more Australians to be active – walking, cycling and using public transport – every day.

But it’s also for everyone who can make a difference to the overall health and well-being of Australians – design professionals, health professionals, the property development industry, governments and the community.

Healthy Spaces and Places supports and complements planning and design initiatives throughout Australia.  It is a single source of easy-to-find, practical information from experts in health, planning, urban design, community safety and transport planning.

This website includes:

Planning for healthier outcomes can be applied to all parts of Australia. It is just as applicable in metropolitan areas as it is in regional cities, towns, villages and remote communities.

For an overview, download Healthy Spaces and Places: a national guide to designing places for healthy living.

The material provided within Healthy Spaces and Places focuses on how to create environments that support physical activity but does not provide in-depth information on nutrition, food security and noise and air pollution.

Healthy Spaces and Places website re-established on PaRC

The Healthy Spaces and Places website is re-established here. The material was previously hosted on a dedicated website, but this has since closed down. (It was however snapshotted by the National Library in 2011).

Note 1: References in the website to Adobe Flash Player are obsolete as this program has been withdrawn by Adobe. Please replace with your own image viewer.

Note 2: The Healthy Places website is a stand-alone module and not merged into the Narratives webcode. Consequently the standard search function on the website does not search these pages.


This resource was developed by a collaborative team comprising the Australian Local Government Association, the National Heart Foundation of Australia and the Planning Institute of Australia and funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. For more information about the people involved in the project please see Acknowledgements.

For an explanatory article written at the time, see Anne Moroney (2009). “Healthy spaces and places: A national guide to designing places for active living”. Australian Planner, 46:2, 11-15, DOI: 10.1080/07293682.2009.9995303

Material provided on this website can be used freely but please acknowledge Healthy Spaces and Places as the source.

Review Status: Pending

Regional Open Space System team 1994-95



The group within the Department of Lands charged with establishing and administering the Regional Open Space System. This photo was taken by a departmental photographer in 1995 prior to the appointment in the middle of the year of Steve MacDonald as Manager.


From left to right:

Geoff Edwards, Director, Land Planning

Bob Skitch

Jan Seto (deceased)

Mark Laurie

Tony Prineas

John Madden.


Review Status:

Courses available in parks and leisure

Eminent leisure professional Dr Penny Davidson in 2016 produced a “Preliminary report:

Review of the range of courses servicing the parks and leisure industry”. This report became part of the foundation of the PaRC initiative.

The report, available from the Secretary, aimed to identify the post-secondary training courses that are already available within Australia (TAFE and university).


Review Status: Pending

Glen Rock Master Plan

When staff of the Land Planning Branch of the Department of Lands, managers of the Regional Open Space System from its commencement in 1994, recommended that the Glen Rock property in the Gatton hinterland be purchased for public purposes, the intended purpose was as a demonstration cattle property. Given its proximity to the metropolis, the range of vegetation types from Creek Flats to mountaintops and the sensitivity of the land to soil erosion, it was considered that it would make an excellent facility to showcase landcare principles and practice. This was consistent with development as a regional park. Continue Reading

Review Status: Pending

Vale John Wood, 1945-2021

John Wood, Life Member of both Parks & Leisure Australia (PLA) and Outdoors Queensland; PLA Fellow; recipient of the PLA Frank Stewart Award (2012) and the Queensland Outdoor Recreation Award for Outstanding Achievement (2003); and retired Owner & Director of John Wood Consultancy Services, passed away in September 2021.

John was a generous, humble, and unassuming gentleman and a legend of the recreation, open space planning and natural area management fraternity in Australia from the mid-1970s. John’s national and international achievements across a wide range of disciplines speak for themselves. Few people can boast both the academic and hands-on project experience that John demonstrated with equal merit over his distinguished career. While he successfully advised government agencies on an array of projects, his passion was outdoor recreation where his expertise has been sought in tourism planning, national park planning, open space planning, master planning, trails, and natural resource planning. John’s specialist expertise has been acknowledged by several major local government agencies who have engaged him as an expert witness in complex cases involving open space and recreation matters.

John was born in Laidley, Queensland and grew-up in the Brisbane suburb of Camp Hill, exploring the then-wilderness of what is known today as Seven Hills Bushland Reserve and Whites Hill Reserve. While devoted to his family, John also selflessly volunteered his time as an advocate on many government, professional, academic and community bodies; and to present or facilitate at conferences where he has shared his knowledge and expertise. He devoted a lifetime of commitment to promoting and supporting the leisure industry and in the various professional roles he has held throughout his career, has served as a mentor for many. John Wood was a role model of professionalism and credibility in the leisure industry and a greatly respected consultant; his trademark was personified in his qualities of integrity, honesty, and humility. In John’s own words “Be positive, dream big, give it your all, learn from your mistakes.”

John was closely involved with the development of the Parks and Recreation Collection from its genesis. As convener of the Research group of PLA, he welcomed the advent of the Collection as a repository for the large volume of scholarly knowledge materials that he had accumulated over the years, notably the Research Connections series of annotated bibliographies. Also, as a long-standing senior member of PLA, he was integral to the steps taken to ensure that PaRC would meet the needs of PLA for archiving its own documentary knowledge. By celebrating John’s life here, the site is serving one of its purposes of keeping alive the knowledge and insights of the ‘greats’ of the profession.


John’s passing is a great loss to the parks and leisure sector and he will be deeply missed.

This account of John and his work is adapted from a newsletter of Parks and Leisure Australia.

Review Status: Pending