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    Historic Townsville Military Barracks redeveloped into public parkland [video]

    Nathan Johnson

    The redevelopment of Jezzine Barracks by Place Design Group balances multi-purpose design with historic reference says Place Director, Wal Smith.

    Located at the western end of the Strand beachfront in Townsville, QLD the Jezzine Barracks are both rich in history and situated appropriately for recreational activities.

    The 15 hectare site was home to Australian military units for over 120 years and was utilised for national defence in both World Wars.

    The 15 hectare site has been transformed into public parkland which includes various lookouts, an amphitheatre, recreational facilities, boardwalk, bridges, pedestrian paths, and incorporates bio retention drainage systems which capture stormwater runoff and provide natural boundaries between key sections of the site. 

    Smith, the Director of Place Design Group and project landscape architect for the redevelopment, is proud to see his vision for an integrated site come to fruition. 

    "Jezzine Barracks is an important development for Townsville and getting the balance of creating multi-purpose spaces whilst honouring the history of the area is something we had to manage very carefully.  It was a challenging site due to the varied history and also because of the harsh terrain.   We wanted to ensure the design was user friendly for all ages and abilities regardless of where they were throughout the site but we also wanted to give proper recognition to the military and traditional owners of the land and I think we were able to achieve this,” said Smith.

    Place worked with architects, COX and TSA as well as the Project Managers, Thinc and the Jezzine Barracks Community Trust to redevelop the extensive parkland site. 

    Being a site of significant cultural heritage, the design brief required consultation from a variety of parties that have direct relationships with the site and its history.

    The site has strong Aboriginal significance and the The Jumbana Group were special consultants on the project to ensure the development reflected the site's historical and cultural values.

    Part of the design process also included consultation with the Military Advisory Committee and the Traditional Owners' Advisory Group (Bindal & Wulgurukaba) to incorporate heritage elements to the design in addition to military and traditional owner interpretive elements.

    During the construction phase Place Design Group also worked with Townsville City Council and UDP Consulting to play a significant role in the ongoing implementation of the works.

    Robert Kent, Jezzine Barracks Project Manager for Townsville City says, “The close working effort between the military and traditional owner advisory groups, the Trust, Place Design Group and the project team has resulted in a wonderful outcome, particularly in how the public art and the landscaping of the Jezzine site integrate so well. The way the artwork and interpretive works were developed and incorporated into the broader landscaping package of the redevelopment is unique in itself and I doubt there would be another project in Australia that can match it.”

    The official launch was a success said the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) with visitors impressed by the design and layout of the area. 

    See below for an aerial tour through Jezzine Barracks:

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