Exploring the hood: Pipemakers Park

January 22, 2016

One hot morning a couple of weeks ago, I threw the sproglet into the pram and pushed him across the bridge to see if we could reach the mall and by chance! discovered this weird, overgrown, dilapidated, wonderful space. Something about it made me think of the crumbling Oz as Dorothy rediscovered it, destroyed by Mombi & the Nome King. A post-apocalyptic park where scary critters might be hiding in the shade, history lost to tumbled stones. A place where old pipes stood on end to form a portico draped in unkempt grapevines, chipped mosaics led into the cracked concrete foundations of long-gone buildings, a fig tree drooped under the weight of green unripe fruit, birds sang in thorny bushes, old rail tracks went nowhere next to an overgrown dell, rusted signs stood watch beside wavy yellow grasses.

The park was built in the 1980s over the remains of old factories – meatworks, and pipeworks – and possibly has not been maintained since then. I was enchanted by its decrepitude, so I took my boys back there during the holidays to explore and have a picnic in the summery sun.

Pipemakers Park

Pipemakers Park

Pipemakers Park

A magnificent place to run around.

Pipemakers Park - mosaic

Lots of mosaics.

Old foundations

Pipemakers Park - old pipes

We ate raspberries and donuts in the shade of an arbor.

Pipemakers Park

Pipemakers Park - the meat trail

Found a few signs for the ‘Meat Trail’. Very intriguing…

Pipemakers Park

My favourite of these signs was barely legible, proclaiming the zone to be the ‘Garden of the Future’… well the Future is Now, and turns out it’s mostly weeds.

Pipemakers Park

Came across a mini caravan park where they must be doing some filming for the Reno Rumble TV show (remind me to watch it now) – what a lovely place to camp, beside the river!

There’s a free community bike workshop set up beside one of the old factory buildings, and lots of bike riders and walkers enjoying the riverside. But evenso, there’s something a little sinister about the park, with the quiet still, the ruins, the places to hide. That little thread of unease in the atmosphere only makes it a more interesting place to explore. I hope it doesn’t get fixed up any time soon.

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