Jun 17 2011Great Playgrounds we have been injured in
We were talking recently about the playground equipment of our youth – much of it undoubtably sponsored by the Australian Orthopaedic Association. My favourite was the Rocket at Dobroyd Point.
Dick West is the godfather of fancy playground equipment in Australia. In 1961 he acquired some plans from America and built a 30 foot high ‘Moon Rocket’ slippery dip, which was erected in Blackheath, Blue Mountains. It was so popular that over the next few years he built 37 more all over Australia – including Elizabeth, Mooree, Broken Hill, Taree and ‘our’ one at Dobroyd Point. Over the years Dick built a variety of interesting shaped play equipment including a stage coach, submarine, old woman’s shoe, elephant slippery dip, HMAS Endeavour, a space capsule, a Tiger Moth biplane, a vintage car and a dinosaur. A number of these were sponsored by the Blackheath Rotary and started life in the Rhododendron festival procession and then would be installed in the Blackheath Memorial Park. Go Dick!
Mike was pretty keen on the Maypole – a medieval looking set of chains and handles attached to a tall pole. If you wound one chain around and around the others, and then everyone ran out in a coordinated way, you could just about launch someone into space.
At the school bus stop under the harbour bridge was a roundaabout. 20 boys sprinting clockwise could create much more centrifugal force than the Coney Island ride at nearby Luna Park.
It was a monkey bar like this that lead to my broken arm in 2nd class.
Trampolines are the greatest source of serious backyard injuries. Perhaps unfortuantely, they themselves are almost indestructible. This one is going strong at our house 16 years down the track.
These standard slippery dips had two weapons at their disposal. If the child didn’t fall off quickly, on a hot day they would invariably get 2nd degree burns. We could often get 15 kids per slide.
Swings were made of hard wood. Perfect when lined up in a row. Watch out innocent bystanders walking by.
Addendum: Cathy reminded me about the seesaw. The standard NSW issue had a fulcrum that could be moved, which meant you could balance with your little brother. Bad news for him, however. The favourite trick was to edge back on the seesaw until he was at the highest point, and then to slide off the back. A spine tingling crash to the ground would result. Sorry Damien!
What’s your favourite memory of playground equipment? And your greatest memory of the injuries it caused?