Visit Pipemakers Park, Maribyrnong for nature play with a dash of history

Pipemakers Park, on the banks of the Maribyrnong River, is a large open space with a magnificent nature-inspired play space, a pretty landscaped garden, a location of historical significance for Melbourne’s industrial west and a site with a rich indigenous history. If you’re looking for a park in Maribyrnong then it’s a great destination a day out.

Pipemakers Park Playground Wide Angle

Pipemakers Park is managed by Maribyrnong City Council, and covers approximately 8 hectares of land, stretching down the hill from Gordon Street to the banks of the Maribyrnong River, with sealed and unsealed paths throughout the area that join the Maribyrnong River Trail.

Pipemakers Park Playground Wide Angle With River In Background

The land has a rich history.  The traditional owners of the land, the Wurundjeri people, were followed by first settlers – shepherds along the banks of the river. After that, like much of the land along the Maribyrnong River, it was developed into industrial land from the middle of the 19th century, making it some of Melbourne’s oldest industrial land.

The area around Pipemakers Park was a boiling down works, then the largest meat cannery in Australia; The Melbourne Meat Preserving Company, then home to Hume Pipeworks, which manufactured reinforced concrete pipes that were crucial to Melbourne’s sewerage and drainage systems. Pipemakers Park is named after the many pipe makers and workers of Hume Pipeworks.

Pipemakers Park playground

The playground is split into different sections, each designated by a colourful totem/wayfinding sign that explains the Aboriginal name of the country as well as describing the meaning and story behind the name. They are evocative artworks in their own right.

Pipemakers Park Playground Water Country Sandpit And Water Play

For instance, at ‘Water Country’ there’s the water area where kids will enjoy the rock-bordered sandpit with fixed equipment for shovelling, scooping and carrying. There’s also a water pump leading into a stream for water play.

Pipemakers Park Playground Water Play Pump

There’s a campfire area with traditional artworks etched into the rocks, perfect for imaginative play.

Pipemakers Park Playground Aboriginal Rock Art

Kids are encouraged to bring together fallen bark and branches to create cubbies or humpies in the ‘Below Country’.

Pipemakers Park Bike Parking Cubby Making

The main attraction is definitely the high, twisty slides made of plastic, which hopefully means it will not get as hot in summer compared to metal slides!

Pipemakers Park Girl Running Along Wooden Bridge

The climbing forts rise amongst towering gums, which lend the playground natural shade as well as integrating the play equipment with its natural surroundings.

Pipemakers Park Climbing Fort Amongst Gum Trees

A small adult would be able to climb right up to the top, offering spectacular views of the Maribyrnong River and surrounding nature, including all the way to Frogs Hollow Wetlands.

Pipemakers Park Interior View Of Rope Nets Inside Climbing Fort

If your kids aren’t keen on heights there’s still lots of climbing opportunities lower to the ground in the wooden and rope obstacle course.

For little ones, there is a large soft fall area (as opposed to tan bark flooring for the rest of the playground) with a bank of swings, spinner and shorter slides.

Pipemakers Park Playground Child Inside Spinner

The adventure playground is set well back from the river and hence unfenced (unlike the nearby playground which is also located along the Maribyrnong River). I don’t think it’s a big issue – if you have a runner like Baby 2.0 then they have to go quite far before they get close to the river path/water and you’d be keeping a closer eye on them anyway due to their age.

Pipemakers Park Playground Gravel Path

Next to the playground there are a few picnic benches and lots of grassy space to set up a picnic rug. Still within the park but not within sight of the playground are two picnic shelters and free barbeque facilities.

Pipemakers Park Sunrise

There are public toilets towards the Maribyrnong River Trail within sight of the park, and a water tap.

Pipemakers Park gardens

When you’re visiting the Pipemakers Park playground make sure you take some time to appreciate the large scale mosaics and thoughtful landscaping that help tell the history of the site.

Pipemakers Park Garden

Garden beds contain native food sources of the Wurundjeri people, a cottage garden, a Mediterranean garden, and huge concrete pipes that kids can climb into.

Pipemakers Park Girl Running In Garden With Mosaics

Signage provides more information to interested visitors.

Pipemakers Park Hume Pipemakers Garden Sign

There are ponds and sections of wetland (don’t forget your binoculars for a spot of bird watching) within Pipemakers Park, and even a small wharf, which is visited by Blackbird Cruises.

Living Museum of the West

Also in Pipemakers Park is Melbourne’s Living Museum of the West, a community museum that involves the people of Melbourne’s West in documenting the industrial, social and environmental history of the area.

The museum is located in historic bluestone buildings within Pipemakers Park that were once used by Hume Pipeworks. It differs from other museums with a strong emphasis on storytelling and is only open at certain times, so check before you visit.

Pipemakers Park Playground Slide

Pipemakers Park Maribyrnong is a fantastic location for a day out with the family, incorporating active play with a dose of history that is not well-known in Melbourne, even amongst people living in the Melbourne’s west. I reckon it’s one of the best playgrounds in Melbourne Western Suburbs for that reason!

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text el_class=”thon-hot-tips-panel”]Tips for Pipemakers Park: natural shade; water play – single pump; bike/scooter track; barbecues and picnic shelters; water taps; public toilets; best access via Van Ness Avenue, limited parking near playground; accessible via Maribyrnong River Trail. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Visit nearby Quarry Park, Newells Paddock or Footscray Park

Best Playgrounds in Melbourne Western Suburbs

Best bike rides for families in Melbourne

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About Joyce Watts

Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.

As well as being the founder of TOT: HOT OR NOT she helps businesses with their SEO, email marketing & social media as BrightSmart.com.au; she owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au and develops and produces creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com. She used to publish another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

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