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    $1.5M record grant to create a Children’s Garden in Centennial Park

Children's Garden - Centennial Park

Melbourne has one. Perth has one. And now Sydney will have one, thanks to The Ian Potter Foundation. Thanks to a $1.5 million grant, The Ian Potter Children’s Wild Play Garden is set to become a reality!

Announced at an event in Centennial Park yesterday, this is the largest philanthropic grant sourced by the Centennial Parklands Foundation, and will (literally) benefit generations of children.


What will The Ian Potter Children’s Wild Play Garden be?

The Garden will be an iconic and memorable experience for all children who visit. It will be an interactive environment that will allow children to experience the learning power of nature, through free nature-based play and unstructured learning.

This will be the first dedicated public children’s garden in NSW, and will teach children to respect and understand the natural world in a hands-on and engaging environment.


Rebekah Giles (Foundation Chair), Kim Ellis (Executive Director), Ita Buttrose AO OBE (Trustee) and Lesli Berger (Trustee and Foundation Governor) at the announcement in Centennial Park

Rebekah Giles (Foundation Chair), Kim Ellis (Executive Director), Ita Buttrose AO OBE (Trustee) and Lesli Berger (Trustee and Foundation Governor) at the announcement in Centennial Park


Why is this garden important?

“If children lose contact with nature, they won’t fight for it”.

An article in The Guardian (November 2012) put it succinctly: with half of their time spent looking at screens, the next generation will be poorly equipped to defend the natural world from harm. If children don’t feel the texture and function of the natural world when they are young, how can we expect them to protect the natural world as they grow older?

Movements have been established around the world in recent years around the issue (e.g. the Children and Nature Network, No Child Left Inside, Forest Schools), and here in Centennial Parklands we created an Australian-first Bush School program. And that is the beauty of this new Garden. Not only will it help to deliver on the principles of the global nature-play movement, but will complement existing (and new!) educational programs in place in the Parklands.

At Centennial Parklands we believe that if you connect a child with nature when they are young, you’ll connect them for life. This is our driving principle.


Future 'customers' of the Children's Wild Play Garden in Centennial Park

Future ‘customers’ of The Ian Potter Children’s Wild Play Garden in Centennial Park


We still need your help to complete the project

We are exceptionally thankful to The Ian Potter Foundation for their generosity. Their grant allows us to complete Stage One of the Garden. Now, while we get to work on Stage One, we need your help on funding the second stage.

To achieve this we need to raise $1 million over the next 12-18 months.

How can you help?

Or at very least share this post – the more people who learn about this, the better.

Help spread the word! Use Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or whatever you may use. If you’re a journalist or blogger, contact us to chat!

We’re excited about this project and hope to create a living legacy for the whole community.


Finally, want a sneak peek at what a Children’s Garden may feature?

This is a video of the Children’s Garden in Melbourne. While not exactly what we will be creating, it gives you an insight into what is coming…




What is The Ian Potter Foundation?

Thank you!

Thank you!

The Ian Potter Foundation was established in 1964 by Australian financier, businessman and philanthropist, Sir Ian Potter (1902 – 1994). The Foundation is now one of Australia’s major philanthropic foundations.

Based in Melbourne, the Foundation makes grants nationally to support charitable organisations working to benefit the community across a wide range of sectors and endeavours. Grants are made through nine program areas which reflect Sir Ian’s interest in the arts, and his visionary approach to issues including the environment, science, medical research, education and community wellbeing, as well as the importance of investing in Australia’s intellectual capital.

Since 1964, The Ian Potter Foundation has contributed over $170 million to thousands of projects, both large and small. Led by its Board of Governors, the Foundation has a strong track record of funding projects that respond decisively to key issues and develop our creativity and capacity as a nation. Visit their website.


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