Ken Fletcher Park | Tennyson Australia | Form Landscape Architects

Laser cut screens, arbour, amphitheatre and public plaza | Image Credit – Yan Chen

Named after one of Brisbane’s greatest tennis players, Ken Fletcher Park is located on a former coal-fired power station site alongside the Tennyson Reach of the Brisbane River. The 2.9 hectare north facing site has emerged from its industrial past to become a contemporary district all abilities riverside park. Environmental and social sustainability initiatives are underpinned by the reuse of a post industrial site and recycling of its materials for the purpose of creating an innovative community based recreational facility. This facility provides equitable opportunities and outcomes for all its members, despite their level of ability or disability.

The site’s richly layered history included occupation by indigenous people, timber felling, growing of cotton and sugarcane, construction of the renowned ‘Hayslope House’ in the late 1880ʼs and finally the Tennyson Power Station 1953 -1986. After the station was decommissioned in 1986, the site sat desolate and in a state of disrepair until 2006 when it was demolished to make way for the recently completed Queensland Tennis Centre, together with riverside apartment blocks and community amenities. As a consequence, many industrial structures were removed leaving behind a scattered collection of historic elements along the site’s riparian edge. Through ecological succession, some of these derelict structures have become habitat for communities of native riparian plant species and mangrove colonies. In other words, death has given way for new life.

Expanded steel mesh grills, hand rails and interpretive signage within the eastern pump house | Image Credit – Yan Chen
Salvaged beams distributed throughout the park to demonstrate and reference the scale and significance of the former power station | Image Credit – Yan Chen

The design embraces the re-use of these remnant elements for viewing decks and picnic platforms for recreation as well as forming the foundations of creek riparian rehabilitation. Salvaged signage and mooring cleats are distributed throughout the industrial themed all abilities playground to reinforce the site’s sense of place and heritage.

Recycled concrete rubble over the tailrace/sluice and rehabilitation of the riparian edge | Image Credit – Yan Chen

The spatial arrangement of new plazas, lawns, footpaths and amphitheatres allows the park to function in various modes of use. The main plaza and arbour structure positioned opposite the Queensland Tennis Centre forecourt has the capacity to function as a spill out space and sheltered gathering node during peak events such as the Brisbane International Tennis Tournament. The playground, canoe pontoon and future community building positioned on the western part of the site can function independently and in harmony with activities associated with the Queensland Tennis Centre, Buzz Cafe and the Mirvac Tennyson Reach apartments.

Public safety and CPTED principles are addressed through a strong sense of passive surveillance provided by the neighbouring residential apartments and steady vehicular movement along King Arthur Terrace.

Central ‘Power station’ play unit. The playground is designed to maximise access to all areas and encourage inclusive play | Image Credit – Yan Chen
The playground is designed to maximise access to all areas and encourage inclusive play | Image Credit – Yan Chen

Local disability groups, schools and key stakeholders were consulted throughout the conceptual and design development phases as a means to identify key user requirements and to encourage public participation. These groups were also involved in the creation of a series of themed community art installations that are positioned around the main ‘Power Station’ play unit. These community based elements play an important role in engaging with the local user groups and supporting the region’s strong sense of community pride and ownership.

Power station playground | Image Credit – Yan Chen
Salvaged beams and mooring cleats positioned within the nature play area as bridges and seats | Image Credit – Jason Daley

Ken Fletcher Park | Tennyson Australia | Form Landscape Architects


YEAR | 2012
TEXT CREDIT | Shane Haddley
IMAGE CREDITS | Yan Chen and Jason Daley


About Damian Holmes 3308 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at

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