Our Big Backyard West Torrens - South Australia

Come on an adventure with the ‘Our Big Backyard’ (OBBY) team and discover unknown and hidden locations along the River Torrens. Resources will include:

  • A map of the local area identifying natural spaces to explore
  • A checklist of 50 things to do in West Torrens including animal creations, botanical beauties, getting dirty and family fun
  • 5 nature adventure sheets with activities and ideas for each location including interesting facts and local Kaurna knowledge.

Download West Torrens Activity Pack

Where can I pick up a free hard copy?

Hamra Library – 1 Brooker Terrace,
Hilton SA 5033

About the Project

OBBY West Torrens began in mid-2018, with a key group of staff from several organisations excited about the potential of the project after learning about the Aldinga and Christies Beach projects.  The group reached out to several other organisations, and in September 2018 the project team held their first meeting.

Project Partners

The West Torrens Community

West Torrens historically has been an area of low to medium density housing, however with recent changes to development policy the area is seeing a lot of medium to high density housing being built.  Much of this housing comes with minimal or no green space.

From ABS data we know that a high proportion of West Torrens residents were born overseas, with 30% of residents having arrived in Australia within the past 5 years.  (2011-2016 ABSD data).  There are several primary schools in the area where approximately 80% of students come from non-English speaking backgrounds.  Conversations with new arrival families have indicated that there can be hesitations around playing in nature, particularly in areas where there is no play equipment to show what the space is for and how it can be used.  Feedback from families across the community has also indicated a decrease in the amount of time spent outdoors.

Consultation and Resource Development

The consultation process commenced in mid-2019 and involved the project team visiting four schools, two preschools and one community childcare centre.  Surveys were created for students and parents, with younger children able to participate by drawing (a project team member sat with them to write down any comments or notes).  The team also consulted at several school holiday activities to gain wider feedback from both children and adults.  A large map of the West Torrens community was available at all consultations, to allow children and families to identify locations that don’t have formal names.

From the survey data a number of potential natural spaces were identified, which the project team visited to ascertain their suitability.  Student members of the project team also attended these site visits.  Kaurna and Narungga man Jack Buckskin attended part of this excursion and shared the history and importance of the River Torrens (all OBBY sites are located along the river) as well as information about the local flora and fauna.  This information is included in the map and activity sheets, with each site location containing relevant information about the Kaurna culture and people.

Once the locations were finalised, another excursion allowed students to trial a range of different activities at each site, which were then voted on to decide on the final list of activities to be included.  All of this information was then sent to the graphic designer, who has worked on previous OBBY projects so was aware of the desired look and feel of the OBBY resources.

Resource Distribution

The OBBY maps and activity packs will be available at the Hamra Centre Library, Cowandilla Children’s Centre, Lockleys Children’s Centre, Torrensville Primary School, Cowandilla Primary School, Lockleys North Primary School and Torrensville Community Childcare Centre.  Maps and activity sheets will be distributed through these education sites, as well as through the project launch at a Come and Try day.

Challenges and Benefits

Student involvement across all aspects of the project was vital in ensuring that the resources accurately reflected young people’s experiences and needs in the community.  At times this was logistically challenging, but very much worth the extra effort.

Gaining approval for the Kaurna content in the resources took more time than had been allocated, and at times the process for this was unclear and confusing.  It was of high importance to the group that the Kaurna content was included, and accurate, which led to a delay in the launch of the resources, rather than the removal of the Kaurna content.

The Covid pandemic made excursions and meetings more difficult, which pushed back the original launch date, however the team was very dedicated and continued to move the project forward even during times of uncertainty.

Promotion

Facebook and Instagram pages have been created to promote the project across the West Torrens community. An OBBY page on the West Torrens website will allow families to download the resources and access more information about the project.

What Next

A Come and Try event is being planned for 2021 to launch the OBBY resources.