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Category: Inspirational People

Nick Safstrom OAM (1947-), Landscape Architect and Artist

                            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?

Profile

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

  • which were the most important areas for development?
  • sites for parking, facilities & camping areas?
  • how to protect the special Horseshoe Bats in an area – with the determination that a viewing platform would be made, rather than allowing people into the gully?

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.

For further information see Westgate Park Masterplan and implementation or enter Westgate/Lower Yarra River Project or Loder and Bayly in the Victorian Government’s Library Service catalogue.

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 and Andrew Irvine led the creative vision for the South East City Link Project, with technical expertise provided by Neil Hordern. They developed the landscaping plan along the South East Freeway, with the blue wavy lines on the sound walls referencing the river. Nick reflects: “I recall Neil’s frustration when contractors, rather than leaving planting space, filled the base of one of the sound walls along the freeway with concrete!”
  • Many more bike paths were designed and built, linking up parklands and watercourses.
  • EDAW sent Andrew Irvine, one of its landscape architects, on a world tour to visit significant waterfront developments, then together with Nick, developed the master plan for the Victoria Harbour precinct, including the stadium.  Bill Chandler was also involved in this Docklands planning.
  • John Wood from EDAW’s Queensland office undertook a safety audit of Ormiston Gorge in the West MacDonnell Ranges of the Northern Territory.  He was flown in to Alice Springs, had to walk the perimeter of the pound, photographing every trip/safety hazard and note its GPS co-ordinates – so that a work team could go in later to repair them. “Landscape architecture offers such a variety of opportunities!”
  • Maroondah City Council Design Service’s contract. Nick was responsible for managing the contract for three years. Works included wetlands, parklands, sporting fields and streetscapes. This was the first major local government outsourcing of design projects.

Nick returned to RMIT to join the teaching staff on a part-time basis to train landscape students in business practice.

Volunteering

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.

Mooramong

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.

Early retirement

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).


 

 

Review Status: Pending

Trevor Arthur – forester, parks manager, innovator, professional body stalwart, 1925-2009

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).

Notes on the Treatment of Historically Significant Open Spaces. May 1986.

Australian Parks Systems: Some Changes and Innovations. 1989.

Parks, People and the Environment. 1990.

Meeting the Challenge of Creating Dynamic Park and Recreation Systems. c. 1990.

Review Status: Pending

Jenny Veitch, Physical activity and nutrition

Jenny Veitch. Deakin profile photos August 9 2022

Jenny Veitch is an Associate Professor in the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), at Deakin University, Australia.

Her research aims to better understand the impact of the built and natural environment on physical activity and health-related behaviours. A/Prof Veitch has a particular research focus on understanding how the design of parks and public open spaces can optimise physical activity and social interaction among children, adolescents, adults and older adults. Since the award of her PhD in 2008, she has attracted >$3.8M in competitive research funds, including three consecutive nationally competitive externally funded research-fellowships, providing support for her program of research for 13 years (2009-2021). As at September 2023 she is Chair, Faculty of Health, Human Ethics Advisory Group, Low Risk Ethics Committee HEAG-H, Academic lead of IPAN’s Stakeholder Engagement Committee and Co-Chair, of the World Urban Parks’ Children, Play and Nature Committee. She has authored >114 publications (33% lead author, 31% senior author), two book chapters and 19 reports for government/NGOs. Over 42% of her publications are with international co-authors. Her research has been cited by researchers in >109 countries and in 60 policy/guideline documents across nine countries.

Ten recent publications:
  1. Veitch J, Timperio A, Salmon J, Hall SJ, Abbott G, Flowers E, Turner AI. Examination of the acute heart rate and salivary cortisol response to a single bout of walking in urban and green environments. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, 74:127660.
  2. Veitch J, Biggs N, Deforche, Timperio A. Exploring important park features for active and social park use among adults: a qualitative study using walk-along interviews. Health and Place, BMC Public Health, 22:753.
  3. Veitch J, Ball K, Rivera R, Loh V, Deforche B, Timperio A. (2021) Understanding children’s preference for park features that encourage physical activity: An adaptive choice based conjoint analysis. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 18:133.
  4. Veitch J, Ball K, Rivera E, Loh V, Deforche B, Best K, Timperio (2021) What entices older adults to parks? Identification of park features that encourage park visitation, physical activity, and social interaction. Landscape and Urban Planning, 217, 104254.
  5. Veitch J, Salmon J, Abbott G, Timperio A, Sahlqvist S. (2021) Understanding the impact of the installation of outdoor fitness equipment and a multi-sports court on park visitation and park-based physical activity: a natural experiment. Health and Place, 71.
  6. Veitch J, Rodwell L, Abbott G , Carver A, Flowers E, Crawford (2021) Are park availability and satisfaction with neighbourhood parks associated with physical activity and time spent outdoors? BMC Public Health, 21,306.
  7.  Veitch J, Ball K, Flowers E, Deforche B, Timperio A. (2021) Children’s ratings of park features that encourage park visitation, physical activity and social interaction. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, 58,126963
  8. Veitch J, Elliott F, Ball K, Deforche B, Timperio (2020) Exploring children’s views on important park features: a qualitative study using walk-along interviews. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 7, 4625
  9. Veitch J, Flowers E, Ball K, Deforche B, Timperio A. (2020) Designing parks for older adults: A qualitative study using walk-along interviews. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, 54, 126768 org/10.1016/j.ufug.2020.126768
  10. Veitch J, Denniss E, Ball K, Koorts H, Deforche B, Timperio (2020) Increasing translation of research evidence for optimal park design: A qualitative study with stakeholders. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 17. 49 doi.org/10.1186/s12966-020-00952-5.
Recent projects

Optimising park features for all ages

This video outlines the research findings of A/Prof Jenny Veitch and team about the most valued park features in different age groups.

Click to play video – 3.46 MIN

 

REVAMP study

The Recording and Evaluating Activity in a Modified Park (REVAMP) study was a natural experiment that examined the impact of the installation of a play-scape on park visitation and park-based physical activity compared with a control park.

Click to play video – 2:23 MIN

Summary report – PDF, 1 MB

Infographic – PDF, 333 KB

 

ProjectPARK

This three-year project (2017-2020) identified the relative importance of park features that attract children (8-12 years), teens (13-18 years) and older adults (65+ years) to visit parks, and to be active and social during their time in the park.

Summary report – PDF, 616 KB

Infographic – Older adults – PDF, 128 KB

Infographic – Teens – PDF, 129 KB

Infographic – Children – PDF, 128 KB

 

Parks for heart health

This project is supported by an Australian National Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellowship.

Infographic: Important park features for adults 19-64 years – PDF, 168 KB

Review Status: Pending

John Senior: Healthy parks make healthy people

Text to come

 

We owe to Carolyn Rance this article dated 5 August 2014 as a profile of John Senior, who as Network Coordinator has been instrumental in populating PaRC’s Document Library in the early days of its establishment, drawing upon his excellent network of contacts within the parks and recreation sector.

 

“For someone who is semi-retired, John Senior is a very busy man who is happy to still be involved in work he loves.

The former manager of strategic partnerships at Parks Victoria continues to help build international networks of parks and recreation professionals and spread the message that access to open space is vital to people’s health. He spoke on both topics at the Parks and Leisure Australia national conference in Cairns in August 2014.

John Senior started working life as a civil engineer and worked with the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works (MMBW). In the lead-up to Australia’s Bicentenary celebrations in 1988 he managed the project that led to re-vegetation and development of trails along many of Melbourne’s waterways.

Following the later restructure of the MMBW he joined Melbourne Parks and Waterways, which became the foundation of Parks Victoria. ‘‘I became more and more involved with parks and recreation although it wasn’t my basic training,’’ he says.

A chance meeting with Dr George Peterson, then a senior scientist with the United States Forest Service, introduced him to a growing body of research showing that contact with nature offers broad-ranging benefits to physical and mental health. John invited Peterson to visit his workplace and Parks Victoria later commissioned Deakin University’s Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences to undertake a review of international literature on the topic.

‘‘It showed that apart from the fairly obvious physical benefits from exercise in parks, it fosters psychological well-being and reduces stress,” John says. “Time spent in open spaces, whether they are urban parks or wilderness, yields both preventive and remedial benefits.’’ As global interest in the link between parks and health continued to grow, he was put in charge of arranging Parks Victoria’s inaugural International Healthy Parks Healthy People Congress in 2010.

By then he was 70 years of age and, although still working professionally part-time, had accumulated a significant portfolio of voluntary work. He has a long-standing involvement with Parks and Leisure Australia and mentors younger parks professionals through Leadership Victoria.

Internationally he leads a taskforce that aims to expand and revitalise the International Federation of Park and Recreation Administration (IFPRA), a world urban parks organisation dedicated to city liveability and a sustainable environment through parks, open space and recreation.

Since retiring from Parks Victoria two years ago he has added consultancy to his activities. He is project managing the production of best practice guidelines for programs based on the Healthy Parks, Healthy People model for the International Union for Conservation of Nature, an organisation dedicated to finding pragmatic solutions to the world’s pressing environment and development challenges.

John says that as well as benefiting park users, programs that raise awareness of the social and health benefits of park use boost recognition of parks agencies and their employees as providers of valuable social services.

Stronger links between the people who operate the world’s parks and protected areas help promote best practice worldwide and assist professionals develop operational skills in management and advocacy. ‘I want to pass on my knowledge and I’m passionate about helping people recognise the health benefits offered by parks,’ he says.”

John Senior has authored three narratives “Green space and public health” on this website – to access, type those keywords into the search box.

Review Status:

Vale David Vial, IOSS

The parks and recreation profession lost one of its leading lights with the passing on 21 March 2020 of David Vial, Principal of IOSS, Integrated Open Space Services after an extended illness. David was a member of the steering committee that oversaw the strategic planning for the PaRC project. David  supported the PaRC initiative throughout and generously gave password access to his database of significant documents.

In 2008 IOSS commenced a collaborative program with Parks and Leisure Australia termed Parks Base. Parks Base is a web-based portal that collects, organises and reports on information about public open space planning and management. Parks Base is for local, regional, national and international use. There are two subsets:

Knowledge Base, an online database for professionals in the fields of public open space, urban greenery, urban ecology, conservation and protected areas, land management, arboriculture, horticulture, soils, turf, recreation and sport; and associated areas of sustainability and social research. Registration is required.

Comparison Program, a commercial program that enables monitoring of aspects of public open space planning and management by participating government authorities. Registration is required.

The IOSS website includes an index of a substantial body of publications and “Public Realm Research Projects” produced by David and his team. PaRC will endeavour to perpetuate his contribution to the profession by offering access to a selected body of his work.

Continue Reading

Review Status: Completed

Regional Open Space System team 1994-95

 

 

This is 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: Pending

Anne Binkley – Bridging international boundaries

Dr. Anne Binkley has more than 50 years of experience in the field of parks and recreation including experience in academic, therapeutic, military, public, commercial and voluntary settings in Australia, the United States and Korea. She started her career as a Service Club Director for Army Special Services in Korea and ended as the Coordinator of Graduate Programs in Ageing, Disability and Recreation Management and Co-Manager of International Programs for the School of Human Movement, Recreation and Performance at Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia.

Dr. Anne L. Binkley

Doctorate in Recreation, Indiana University, 1980

Master of Science, Leisure Services and Studies, Florida State University, 1976

Recipient of the William J. Tait Award for Outstanding Graduate Student

Bachelor of Arts, Government, Indiana University, 1966 – Graduation with Distinction

 

Anne has written numerous articles and been a frequent presenter at local, state, national and international conferences. Her research interests have included cross-cultural studies of ageing and leisure in which she has done fieldwork in the Caribbean, Egypt and China. In later years, her major focus has been on Ageing Well which led to her position as Principal Officer for the Australian arm of the 16-country International Research Project on Ageing Well. She has also served as an Associate Editor of Leisure Sciences and the Therapeutic Recreation Journal and Co-Editor for the refereed section of the International Federation of Park and Recreation’s IFPRA World. As a member of the Editorial Committee for Australian Parks & Leisure, she was involved in the process of finalising a refereed section. In addition, she has served as the Research Update Editor for the American publication Parks & Recreation and Research Review Editor for both Australian Parks & Leisure and Australian Parks & Recreation – a feature she established in both Australian publications.

 

Dr. Binkley’s presentation highlights include speaking at the World Congresses of the International Federation of Park and Recreation Administration (IFPRA), the International Therapeutic Recreation Symposium, the International Alzheimer’s Conference and the Australian Gerontological Association. In addition she was selected to give the inaugural “Dr. Janet R. MacLean Seminar on Ageing and Leisure” and the keynote addresses at the Horticulture Therapy State Conference and the Improving Physical and Sport Education for Students with Disabilities State Conference. She also served as a convenor at the First International Urban Parks and Waterways Best Practice Conference and as Program Chair of the Joint Inaugural Parks and Leisure Australia Conference/18th IFPRA World Conference.

 

A strong commitment to the growth and enhancement of the recreation and parks profession has always been a hallmark of Anne’s career as demonstrated by her extensive involvement in professional associations at the local, state, national and international levels. Highlights of this involvement include serving as a World Commissioner for the IFPRA, National Councillor and President of the Victorian Region of the Royal Australian Institute of Parks and Recreation, Member of the Board of Directors of the Society of Park and Recreation Educators and President of the Arizona Parks and Recreation Association.

 

In addition to her professional work, she has been very involved in women’s issues and associations.  She has served as the President of the Victoria Region of Soroptimist International and as President of the Melbourne Club of Soroptimist International.  She also served as Chair of the UNAA Victoria Committee for the Status of Women.

 

In recognition of her professional achievements and contributions, Parks and Leisure Australia bestowed on her its highest honour, the Frank Stewart Award, along with the title of Fellow, and Indiana University has selected her as the recipient of both the Garrett G. Epply and Dean W.W. Patty Distinguished Alumni Awards.

 

Anne Binkley was appointed a Trustee of the AIPR Trust Fund – Education in 1999 and retired on 31 December 2022, having supported the birth and evolution of PaRC from its inception. PaRC salutes her!

 

Publications

Dr Binkley has supplied a list of publications and conference presentations. It runs to 12 pages!

 

 

 

Review Status: Pending

Kenneth Trafford – Lifelong service to horticulture, parks and recreation

    Ken Trafford studiously at work

Kenneth Trafford held a keen interest in horticulture from his very early teens. He studied horticulture at Burnley Horticulture College Melbourne. He secured employment in Essendon City Council’s parks department. In December 1955 he was appointed as Superintendent Parks and Gardens,Toowoomba City Council, Queensland. He resigned in December 1965 to return to Melbourne. He was appointed Superintendent Parks and Gardens, City of Sunshine, later to become Director of Parks, Gardens and Recreation.

He was appointed as a member representing trade apprentices on the Victorian Employers Committee and served as President for a number of years until his retirement from all positions in 1990.

Ken spent a number of years teaching with the Adult Education System.

Institute service

Ken Trafford became a member of the Royal Australian Institute of Parks and Recreation in the early sixties. He took an active role in the Victorian division for many years, serving as its President for two years. He was elected as a Federal Councillor and its President in 1982/83.

Ken was granted the following awards within the Institute:

Associate membership 30-9-1972

Fellow of the Institute 15-4-1984

Honorary Life Member 17-10-1989

Certificate of Recognition 30-1-1988 for “the contribution to the Australian Parks and Recreation Industry through services as President of the Institute from 1982 to 1983.”

Parks and Leisure Australia Honorary Life Fellow 1-7-1988.

PaRC service

On 17 September 1987 Ken was appointed as a Trustee of the Australian Institute of Parks and Recreation Trust Fund – Education, a position held until 31 December 2022. This 35 years of service alone would earn Ken a place in any parks and recreation Hall of Fame! Ken was one of the four Trustees who endorsed the concept behind PaRC and supported it unstintingly it during the more than five years it took to evolve.

Kenneth Trafford has given a lifetime of service to the parks, horticulture and leisure sector. On top of all that he has a generous heart. PaRC salutes him!

 

Review Status: Pending

David Aldous: educator, turf expert, all-round parks and recreation leader, 1946-2013

David Aldous began his career at Burnley (Victorian College of Agriculture and Horticulture/University of Melbourne) in 1981.

David had many strings to his academic bow: starting with a Wagga Diploma in Agriculture (Hons) from the now Charles Sturt University in 1966, and, after a year with NSW Department of Agriculture as an agronomist, gained a BSc (Hons) from the University of Sydney in 1971 and an MSc and a PhD from respectively Cornell University and University of Michigan State. Then followed an appointment as a Senior Lecturer in Environmental & Plant Health at Massey University in New Zealand in 1979 followed by one as a Principal Lecturer at  Burnley campus of the then Victorian College of Agriculture & Horticulture in 1981. Subsequently he gained a Graduate Diploma in Education Management from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) and a technical and further education (TAFE) Certificate IV in Training & Assessment, rising to Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne’s School of Land & Environment. His main contributions were teaching and research centred around sports turf, urban horticulture, parks management and therapeutic horticulture.

When he retired (or rather semi-retired) in 2007 to Queensland he became an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Queensland. In 2011 he was granted an Honorary Professorship by the University of South Africa.

He was a prolific researcher, educator and author. He was a speaker at many conferences in Australia and overseas, especially on his specialist topics of urban horticulture, green space sustainability, and sports grass/turf. Consequently, David was well known to many Australian ‘turfies’ and horticultural students as a lecturer at Burnley College (School of Land & Environment campus of the University of Melbourne), lecturing on the Certificate of Recreational Turf Management which he coordinated. The Certificate was a well-respected qualification which eventually morphed into the Advanced Certificate, Diploma and Degree, advanced qualifications for which David was the driver.

David had the knack of enticing overseas researchers to take a sabbatical in Australia where they would collaborate with him in research projects. Over the years he hosted scientists such as Dr. David Huff (Poa annua and plant breeder), Dr. Brian Holl (soil microbiologist), Dr. John Haydu (turf industry economist), Dr. Sowmya Mitra (soil scientist specialising in wetting agents) and Dr. Kenneth Marcum (specialist in turfgrass salinity tolerance). Because of David’s enthusiasm for this ‘visiting scientists’ program it was an opportunity for several Australian turfgrass agronomists to be exposed to these researchers and to collaborate with them on research projects. Included in this work was the screening of a large bentgrass collection for salinity tolerance, assessment the effects of various herbicides on different Poa annua biotypes, studies of the effects of various bio-stimulants on soil microbial activity and the evaluation of some of PennState’s new Poa annua cultivars. These connections have been invaluable for many over the years when undertaking further research.

David was a great educator and would willingly tackle any turf-related topic. He had an appetite for researching the literature and becoming expert in many different fields. In addition, David was the consulting editor for the monthly international HortScience journal for 10 years.

The first National School in Park Management for professionals working in the sector was initiated by David in 1996, in collaboration with industry partners Parks Victoria and the City of Melbourne. From 1996 to 2007 David coordinated the National School each year. Together with his committee, he put together an intensive program that combined lectures and presentations with field visits and case study problem-solving activities.

David also helped develop and subsequently delivered annual Certificated Park Management training to the Singapore National Parks Board’s Centre for Urban Greenery & Ecology.

Away from the campus David was a very active member of the parks sector. He served across multiple industry professional associations, councils and committees and was a regular contributor to conferences and industry activities across Australia and internationally, particularly the Royal Australian Institute of Parks & Recreation (RAIPR) and subsequently Parks and Leisure Australia (PLA). For both he served on their regional/Victorian councils and conference organising committees. In 2005 he received PLA’s Frank Stewart Award 2005 “in recognition of significant innovation and best practice” in the parks and leisure sector.

In 1989 David became a Trustee of the AIPR Trust Fund – Education.

Since 2008 David had been the Chair of the International Society for Horticultural Science’s Commission on Education, Research, Training & Consultancy and was a member of the organising committee for the Society’s 2014 World Congress. David was part of the Australian contingent at the International Turfgrass Research Conference in Beijing China in 2013. At the conference he presented a paper on Durbangrass and publicised the 29th International Horticultural Congress that was to be held in Brisbane in August 2014.

David was an Australian Commissioner for the International Federation of Park and Recreation Administration (IFPRA), becoming its Asia-Pacific Chair and subsequently World President (1998-2001) and was also a member of its Science Task Force. He received its Australian Award for “leadership in the field of parks and recreation” in 1995 and, just days before his unexpected death, was the recipient of its Silver Medal at a joint conference between IFPRA and the Alberta Recreation and Park Association (ARPA) at Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada from 24-26 October 2013.

David collapsed at his home just a few hours after returning home from that Canadian trip. Despite being rushed to hospital, he passed away peacefully on Friday 1 November with his family at his side. He was 67.

 

Writings

David was a prolific writer, whether it was through a research paper, industry magazine article, conference proceedings or one of several books that he produced.

Here is a list he compiled of his earlier publications, as at 19 September 1989.

 


Review Status: Pending