The $18.7 million upgrade is an initiative of The City of Perth, and will be undertaken in five stages over 12 months.
Works have commenced on the first major upgrade of Wellington Square in more than a century, following a traditional smoking ceremony and sod turn this morning.
Highlights include a new inter-generational playground, supported by a $4.37 million grant from Lotterywest, and a place of reflection to commemorate the Stolen Generation.
City of Perth Chair Commissioner Andrew Hammond said planning for the upgrade included extensive consultation with the community, outreach services and local organisations such as Royal Perth Hospital, the WACA, East Perth Community Group, Mercedes Ladies College and local sporting groups.
“Wellington Square is a significant community space in East Perth, and the City is excited to work with the local residents, businesses and park users for the transition of the site into a contemporary city park,” he said.
“The redeveloped Wellington Square will feature a state-of the-art inter-generational playground, supported by Lotterywest, a Stolen Generation place of reflection, basketball courts and new automated ablution facilities.
“Both the park and playground will receive dual names in recognition of Wellington Square’s significance to many members of the Aboriginal community, and out of respect for the traditional owners and custodians of the land. These names will be finalised and announced in the coming months.
“The City of Perth anticipates the redeveloped park will attract many events and activations, which will add further vibrancy to the East Perth area.”
The site was cleansed this morning in a smoking ceremony undertaken by Aboriginal Elder Nick Abraham. Member for Perth John Carey MLA then presented the City of Perth with a certificate marking Lotterywest’s $4.37 million contribution to the project.
“This is a significant milestone for East Perth: the renewal of Wellington Square has been a long time coming for local residents, and under the City of Perth Commissioners and new administration, we are actually seeing this project being delivered,” Mr Carey said.
“If we want more people to live in our city, we need more focus on basic residential amenities for all demographics: like recreational facilities and the inter-generational playground which both feature in the redevelopment.”
Originally a swamp that was drained in the 1830s, Wellington Square has long been used as a recreational area. In the past, it was a popular place to exercise horses, was the site of Perth’s main cricket ground (prior to the construction of the WACA in 1890) and has also hosted WAFL matches.