Almost all of the original planning for Booyeembara Park in the 1999 Master Plan has not been carried out. However, the Park is much used for the usual purposes of walking, playing, eating and drinking, contemplation – and sailing model yachts.
I have only just become aware of the original master plan for Boo Park – despite having been walking in it, and what was there before, for over two decades. I just happened to click on the Friends site because it was at the top of my links page – and then clicked on “creating-booyeembara.html”, and then clicked on “Montreal Open Space (full doc here)” and so was able to read the master plan – which I hadn’t read before, because I hadn’t persevered to that extent.
Having been informed about the three ‘narratives’, I tried to follow them, starting with the geomorphological, the only one that exists in any sense of the word.
There’s a sort of look-out on the corner of Montreal and Stevens St, which provides almost the only verbal interpretation of the Park. The Rose Wise Pinter plaque gives some of the history of the area, but does not say anything about the Park’s plan. There’s a signboard nearby with a copy of the 1999 master plan, but it’s in shades of grey, and is too small and too near the ground. There are also some words, but only a few, and hard to read, on one of those structures on the path down to the jetty.
The spiral, representing a shell (as I’ve now found out), is not only overgrown, as it has been for some time, but is also close to dead. Either there’s no reticulation there, or it doesn’t work. The type of vegetation chosen seems to have been a poor choice, as it’s too untidy to define the spiral shape.
The view down to jetty is somewhat obscured by the tree next to it. Likewise the view back to the jetty from the other side of the pond. The line is also obscured by the vegetation in the pond on the eastern side which now almost completely hides the ‘jetty’ posts which would otherwise suggest it.
The ‘recycling narrative’ line is now simply a blue metal road between the olive trees, laid for council trucks to get to the inner end of the park. It starts at a locked gate and just trails off at the eastern end. The ‘terraces’ are some purposeless low stone walls containing a grove of cypresses – apparently a poor choice as only about a quarter still exist – the rest having been blown over by gusting winds in various storms.
I don’t think there has ever been attempt to show the ‘community’ entrance and line from the Stevens St entrance. I guess the money ran out before Phase 3 really got going.
The amphitheatre is half finished and is mainly used by graffitists who enjoy painting on the large blank walls conveniently provided by council workers who keep (at significant cost) painting over the graffiti so that the ‘artists’ can start again with a blank canvas. Some examples down this page. It’s also used regularly – at least once a year – for parties, as that page also shows. The area is fenced off, so that, theoretically, normal punters like me should not enter it. Ironically, therefore, the graffitists’ work is seen only by them and the council workers. I suppose it’s one form of ‘use’ of part of the Park.
The ‘billabong’ is a large hole in the ground. The ‘story-telling circle’ is an area of inconvenient beach sand, with six large poles adjacent which must have been used for something – on only one occasion, I think.
The ‘overlook’ shown in one diagram does not exist. The nearest viewing place is the 17th tee on the Royal Fremantle golf course, but it’s not where the ‘narrative’ lines terminate, more or less at the same point, as was intended.
The most successful part of the Park is the round grassy area with three picnic tables and a free gas BBQ. As it’s near the playground, people quite often organise parties for birthdays or whatever and kids can play safely on the grass, the equipment – and the trees, by the way.
The Park is used mostly by people walking – almost always with dogs, about half of which are on leashes as required by regulation. In fifteen years, I’ve seen a ranger in there once (plus two policepersons on another occasion). The walkers mostly walk on the paved paths, so I guess they must be seen as a success, tho I personally much prefer the crushed limestone paths in what I call the ‘W’.
There have also been a large number of weddings – tho the best spot for those is not attractive at the moment as it’s a bit overgrown. Also, kids from the neighbourhood use one of the artificial hills as a bike jump, which has radically spoilt the entrance to the ‘wedding area’ from the south, as they’ve destroyed the grassy path by landing on it.
Ducks have not bred all that successfully, possibly because of the number of dogs. However, purple swamp hens have multiplied in recent years.
The three large koi are still in the pond, tho I suppose they should not be. They must have been there for more than five years now. I saw them together only a few days ago. I see them as a feature.
Oh, and at least one German backpacker lived in the Park for a couple of weeks, putting his tent up at night and taking it down in the morning. We are still FB friends.