Hobart’s Best Park

Friends Park
There’s an old burial ground behind a bus stop on Melifont Street in West Hobart.
The headstones are still there. They form part of the wall of what is now a park. Headstones of Quakers, the land was bought in 1836 by the society of Friends and around 60 people were buried there. It was decommissioned in 1912 and fourteen years later it became a children’s playground.
And that’s what it is now, and a leafy green oasis in the suburbs, a short walk from NoHo’s Elizabeth Street.
There’s history and there’s play equipment: a swing that can accommodate my hips and one that acts like a child restraint. No adult could squeeze into it and last more than a couple of
pushes.
There are seats in the sun and in the shade. You can lie on the grass and loll about.
But the absolute best thing about this park, which might just make it the best park in the whole of Hobart, is a sculpture made by Roland Gabatel in 2000.
Carved out of a dead cypress pine, four angels emerge, releasing birds to the sky.
The sculpture is monumental and unassuming. Easily missed driving the back way from West Hobart to Lenah Valley. But if you stop and get out of your car and walk into the park, the image is astounding and enlivening. It’s respectful to the history of the place but it is also tremendously optimistic and transcendent. When I love and it I feel so hopeful. It symbolises freedom and opportunity.
It might just be the most beautiful piece of public art in Hobart.
I love that this beautiful sculpture is tucked away in a small space in West Hobart. It’s one of the things I love most about Hobart. Go spend some time under those angels and be transformed.
Here’s a little more information about Mr Gabatel in Chisel 2006.
Mr Gabatel is responsible for the carved busts in the Savoy Baths.

 

If you’re looking for coffee or something to eat after your visit, try Providence café. Goodness that’s prophetic isn’t it? And it’s just down the road.

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