LIVVI’S PLACE – Mirror, mirror on the wall…

Story and photos by Carmel Liddell

Kellyville’s inclusive playground is the fairest of them all! The upgraded Bernie Mullane Reserve play space (re-opened in 2017), now ticks the right boxes. It invites children of all ages and all abilities to have fun side by side. And it’s called, Livvi’s Place.

In 2006, following the loss of their daughter Olivia to a rare disease, the Perkins family formed the Touched by Olivia Foundation. Its goal was, and is, to make children’s lives happier and healthier. Through extensive research, advocacy and guidelines based on the Universal Design Principles, the foundation helps communities create playgrounds that encourage social inclusion, through play. Its custom made equipment and amenities reduce the barriers experienced by those with special needs. In 2010, the first Livvi’s Place (Five Dock) was so successful, that Parks and Leisure Australia named it the country’s best play space.

So, if you’re seeking an inclusive playground,
just ask any magic mirror close at hand – whose
is the fairest in the land? The answer you’ll find,
will come quickly to mind
~ Livvi’s Place! ~

Livvi’s Place in Kellyville has parking and secure fencing. Inside the playground are accessible pathways, sensory and tactile play and artworks, plus soft fall rubber flooring. Gardens, shade sails, BBQ and picnic zones all add to its charm, making Livvi’s a firm favourite with families and social groups. There’s a Liberty Swing, a worldfirst invention by Wayne Devine whose dream was for children with disabilities to experience the joy of swinging. Twelve years later, in 2000, Devine’s first Liberty swing was installed in Old’s Park, Penshurst. Today, in addition to a bright yellow Liberty swing, Livvi’s Place is home to the usual suspects – climbing ropes, in-built mini trampolines, slippery dips, swings, sand pit, stepping ‘stones’, tunnels, a water play area – and more. There are opportunities for intergenerational play. Adults too, are delighted by the oldies but goodies! It’s hard to resist tapping on the outdoor xylophone, an instrument which has been in existence since 500 AD. Or, to resist a ‘long distance’ conversation with little ones via the bright blue voice pipe, a method of communication used by ships as early as 1803.