The playground at Spurling Reserve is better known as the Bulldogs’ playground or Whitten Oval playground because it’s at the entrance of the Western Bulldogs complex at Whitten Oval. The precinct includes a clubhouse, canteen and child care centre.
The fact that the Spurling Reserve playground is owned and managed by the Western Bulldogs means that any maintenance issues are not dealt with by the Maribyrnong City Council but by the football club.
This may explain why two gates for the fenced playground had been removed sometime before our visit on Friday 25 July and as at today still had not been fixed. This means that there are currently two massive holes which lead out onto busy Barkly Street.
When I told the Western Bulldogs reception that there was no gate the sullen receptionist told me that it had been removed because it was hanging off its hinges and they didn’t want it falling on any children. Fair enough. But if you’re going to remove a gate then it makes sense to replace it immediately with a functioning gate.
With my lawyer hat on I told the disinterested woman that by providing a fenced playground the football club could arguably be held to a higher duty of care to provide a safe play environment and that it was highly problematic that there were no gates. In fact, legally the club would be better off having no fence at all.
Anyway, if you’re comfortable with the playground having no functioning gates then the site is actually pretty good. It could do with a lick of paint and some graffiti removal but it is otherwise large and spacious with a plethora of swings, slides, bridges and climbing structures.
The playground has a lion motif as it was a Lions project. The kids loved playing on the reclining lion and older children can count the number of lions on the playground.
The playground would be great in summer, with a lovely landscape setting and natural shade, a picnic table and seating.
However, given that Baby 2.0 is a bolter, for the moment the Spurling Reserve playground is a NOT for me. If I’m outnumbered 2:1 then I can’t be sure that he won’t make a run for the opening and end up on a busy roadway. More to the point I’m disappointed by the Western Bulldogs‘ lack of action on this seemingly simple maintenance issue.Features:
- suitable for toddlers;
- suitable for older children;
- fencing (currently broken);
- toilets (inside Western Bulldogs clubhouse);
- natural shade and rotunda;
- seating and picnic tables; and
- water fountain (inside Western Bulldogs clubhouse).