Finding Family

One woman's obsession with family history.

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

No matter what we tried to organise it seemed as if there was always something standing in our way. Being on holidays and having tons of free time is all well and good except when making plans, which meant we also had to hope that our chosen destination was open. The lure of an historical house and the possibility of cake and coffee influenced our decision and we soon headed to Tranby House in Maylands with our fingers crossed.

Unfortunately for us (or, mainly me) Tranby House was one of many places closed for the holidays and we had to be content exploring around the building and surrounding river banks.

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However, luckily the Peninsula Tea Gardens were open and we happily sat down to mini sandwiches, cake, scones and tea.

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Our earlier drive past the popular Maylands Waterland provided inspiration for all of us but especially for my brother (who also happens to love abandoned theme parks). As we sat musing over the various children’s parks that we visited when we were younger, the mention of Ascot Water Playground caused my Mum to pipe up that she was sure that it had closed years ago. This was enough to get my brother excited and after finishing up with our tea and coffee we left Maylands for Ascot in the hope of being able to view an abandoned water park.

Our hopes were not dashed. There by the river in Ascot, slowly being overtaken by nature was the Ascot Water Playground. We used to visit the playground when we were younger and though we couldn’t enter the park, simply seeing the old entrance and pathway were enough to rekindle childhood memories.

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Much to my brother’s dismay we chose to not enter the park for a closer view and only stayed outside the gated area. We wandered around and peered in from every angle possible but could only catch fleeting glimpses of the pools and surrounding areas. We really didn’t need close ups though. What we saw from outside the park was enough to help us remember what it was once like inside the park and to realise just how dilapidated it now looks.

Ascot Water Playground closed about ten years ago due to water discharge from the park flowing into the river as well its hazardous facilities which were found to be severely breaching Occupational Health and Safety laws.

In its prime the playground was extremely popular with children and families and was a welcome relief from the hot summer sun. If you’re interested in seeing some historical photos of the playground before it was closed, the City of Belmont Library has many available for viewing online including the ones below.

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More photos can be viewed online by searching for “Ascot Water Playground” in  the City of Belmont’s online library catalogue: http://library.belmont.wa.gov.au/amlibweb/webquery.dll

For more photos of the current state of the inside of the park, please visit the blog Urban Decay: http://urban-decay.livejournal.com/2055680.html

Despite the disappointment of having our initial plans thwarted due to the closures for Christmas, our day exploring by the Swan River turned out to be very interesting and completely random, but I guess sometimes the best days always are.

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