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Category: Human resource management

workplace health and safety; staff training; personnel management

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.

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Review Status: Completed

Peter Fitchett, 1960-2023

The parks and leisure community mourned the passing of Peter Fitchett on 5 February 2023, a true leader and champion of the parks and leisure profession. With over thirty years of experience in the industry, Peter was a passionate advocate for the benefits of parks and leisure in our communities.

Peter had a long and fulfilling career in local government, spanning 34 years after initially commencing in 1985 at the City of Camberwell. It was at Camberwell that Peter developed a passion for quality parks, recreation, and community facilities. He led the planning of the Ashburton Aquatic and Recreation Centre and was involved in the development of Balwyn, Ashburton and Camberwell Community Centres. His team initiated the Anniversary Trail and the various paths that radiate from it, creating an extensive off-road trails network. He also ran an innovative outreach program into supported accommodation homes, the first of its type in Victoria.

Early in his local government career, Peter completed his Master of Arts in Public Policy at the University of Melbourne and initiated the establishment of the peak industry body Parks and Leisure Australia. For this latter work, he was awarded the industry’s highest acknowledgement, the Frank Stewart Award, in 1998.

Peter then moved on to Frankston, where he led the reshaping and rebranding of Frankston through large-scale urban development initiatives. This work led to his being awarded the Planning Minister’s inaugural award for Planning excellence for “Frankston – TAFE to Bay”. This work saw the Frankston Waterfront created, significant investment into Monash University, Frankston Private Hospital and the Frankston CBD. Peter became a Director of Planning and Infrastructure at Frankston in 1998.

Peter was a lecturer at both Victoria University and University of Hong Kong. His work during this time encompassed post-graduate lecturing and supervising masters level students in the specialties of strategic planning and policy development.

In 2006, Peter arrived at Casey as Director of Planning and Development. He immediately set about creating a more aspirational culture for the City as it developed. Across housing estates, parks, recreation, and community facilities, he drove an increase in quality, which attracted the interest of other growth area municipalities and saw Casey become a desirable place to live. When the emergency was declared at the Brookland Greens Estate, he was selected to lead the Council’s response, which he did for the first eight months. It was a difficult period with the Council subjected to a $100m class action claim, which it ultimately settled for around $1m. It also secured $42m from the State Government to rehabilitate the site.

He oversaw the transformation of Casey Fields from five playing surfaces into a true regional parkland. He set up partnerships with Melbourne Football Club and the Melbourne Stars and was passionate about building pride in the Casey brand. Casey Stadium, the Shed, Casey Fields Number 2, Autumn Place, the St John of God Hospital, and an extensive array of community infrastructure have all been part of Peter’s legacy at Casey. He built a strong, talented, and loyal team and was known for his authentic approach to leadership.

Peter will always be remembered as a leading light in the parks and leisure profession, and his legacy will continue to inspire us all.


Review Status: Pending

Peter Nicholls: Life Enjoyment Mentor

Peter Nicholls, of Adelaide, a long-term Trustee of the AIPR Trust Fund-Education (forerunner of PaRC), has described himself as “Australia’s People Gardener”. His inspiring life story has been summarised in his “Manifesto“, a challenge to people enslaved by an economic  worth ethic to substitute “life enjoyment” for “work” as their purpose in life.


Peter has made his updated Manifesto available to PaRC readers. Further details  of Peter’s vision may be obtained from his website,

Review Status: Pending

Advice for Park Rangers

The essential roles of a ranger in a public park haven’t changed much in decades: protecting the natural environment and managing public visitors. But the world of rangering in 2023 seems quite different than in 1984 when this “Ten Mottos for a Successful Park Ranger” was delivered to parks outdoors staff in the Metropolitan Parks of the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works. The use of the masculine “his” to cover park visitors in general now seems quaint. The overall tone now seems rather patronising, given that many parks staff were (and in most public authorities are) old hands with extensive outdoor experience. However, the list should be understood in the context of the objectives of the period, which were to improve the self-reliance of outdoor staff and their confidence in their roles; and to decentralise decision-making in the interests of minimising administrative overheads.

A Ranger’s perspective: XXXX, an early-career Park Assistant and recipient of this homily in 1984, now an XXXX in Parks Victoria, writes: (to be completed)…..


See also Metropolitan Park Policies, MMBW, 1975

Review Status: Pending