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Acknowledgement of Country — WestConnex would like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we have built WestConnex and our public art and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. We extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and invite everyone to share, be proud and be empowered by their culture.

St Peters Fences Playground by Mike Hewson


Artwork

Simpson Park, Campbell Road, St Peters


Rather than doing a playful sculpture next to the playground, it needed to be ‘the’ playground.

St Peters Fences Playground is an assemblage of climbable brick fences. Each fence is built brick-for-brick from archive images recreating the front fences of homes in St Peters demolished for infrastructure expansion projects in the last 30 years.

The contrasting aesthetic of fences throughout the Inner West reveals the cultural diversity of the area and how fence designs were influenced by the cultural background of immigrating families. The recreation of fences transfers these objects the status of heritage artefact, celebrating them as a markers of local identity and diversity. St Peters Fences Playground transforms Simpson Park into a new type of museum playscape that can explore community history and memory in a way that is fun, engaging and interactive for children and adults alike.

Each individual element of the 1,500 square metre playground is hand-crafted from materials including salvaged brick, heritage sandstone and Victorian terrace fencing, most of which has been salvaged from homes recently demolished along Campbell Street in St Peters. The new playground is designed for accessible, inclusive and imaginative play, with tailored spaces for low play and wheelchair access, gradually increasing in height for advanced play. The playground has been co-created with community, including a series of community engagement workshops with St Peters Public School students who contributed ideas that were incorporated into the final design.

Headshot of the artist Mike Hewson

Mike Hewson

Dunedin, New Zealand


Mike graduated from the prestigious Visual Arts MFA program at Columbia University in the City of New York in mid-2016 then quickly moved to deliver a significant public artwork for Wollongong City Council. This was a unique opportunity to introduce a bold identity-forming icon for the city’s civic centre.

Mike has a unique set of skills with a background as a Civil Engineer and has project-managed large heavy-civil construction projects. This has allowed him to both design and deliver turn-key public artworks with minimal hassle.

It is a very valuable skill to easily navigate working alongside professional designers and construction firms. This allows for seamless integration during construction, ability to deliver in tight time frames and find cost-savings synergies that extends the scope of potential deliverables for a limited budget. He was the winner of the 2021 Parks and Leisure Australia Awards for Excellence in the category of Playground.

Concept

Fabrication

Installation