Written by Samuel Smith
I’m not going to beat around the bush for this one. Saint Kilda Adventure Playground is pretty dodgy. If you’re looking for an uplifting, fun-filled family day out, you’re almost better off stopping at Elizabeth. If however, you’re a photographer who can suppress your fight or flight response for over an hour, you may see things differently. Surrounded by water and dusty nothingness, the playground oozes melancholy. Comprised of dilapidated play equipment, a life threateningly large flying fox and a decaying wooden pirate ship, St Kilda Adventure Playground gives off an eerie ‘days gone by’ vibe that’s almost impossible to escape.
Of course, nothing good comes without sacrifice. When I visited, the playground was entirely populated by “druggies, mate.” As I sat on the swing, I overheard conversations about “shit loads of meth,” “getting stoned tonight” and being “abso(fuckin’)lutely smashed.” Still, after considerable photographic success, I felt that my faith in a fun day out could be restored. It was around that time that I was pushed to the ground by a rat tailed youth, while lining up for the “adult sized” flying fox. “Ya snooze, ya lose,” he snarled, before gliding away into the sunset. Instead of resorting to the common “WHY YOU LITTLE…” response, I attempted to calm myself by finding beauty in the playground’s natural surroundings.
What met my gaze was a group of 20 something-year-olds, screaming and pushing each other into parked cars, a grown man lying in bark chips (no one seemed to take any notice of this), and several unsupervised toddlers rolling in dirt while their parents argued over who finished the last can of VB.