Chinchilla’s much anticipated sprawling new Botanic Parkland, which is set to become a focal point of future community events and entertainment, will officially open with a Community Fun Day on Saturday June 1.

A vision driven by the community 40 years in the making, the more than $6 million project covering 4.2 hectares includes a 1500 capacity performance space for events of all sizes, and an innovative water play area which sensibly recycles water, making the space more than just a Parkland – but a space with multiple uses. The event space is extremely versatile, being a place not only for a concert or parkour exhibition, but one which also caters for a family picnic or a place to kick a ball around with the kids on a weekend.

The Queensland Government’s Building our Regions program has contributed $2.85 million towards the project with Western Downs Regional Council providing the remainder to create a year-round tourist attraction that supports local employment and community wellbeing. So far, 14,000 plants have been planted by the local nurseries, 14,200 square metres of turfed area has been laid, 70 per cent of the materials used have been locally sourced and more than 3 kilometres of pathways have been laid. The Parkland also celebrates the identity of Chinchilla including its rich Aboriginal Culture and a Megafauna Discovery Space featuring the prehistoric giant wombat and the largest known marsupial, the Diprotodon, which used to exist within the area.

Western Downs Regional Council Mayor, Paul McVeigh, said the Parklands would act as an infrastructure and tourism attraction for the region as well as showcasing the liveability of the Western Downs. “Delivering this wonderful Parkland with the Queensland Government is the fruition of a concept that was first canvassed back in the 1970s and we’re very pleased it’s been such a successful partnership,” said a clearly delighted McVeigh. “The scale and diversity of what will be on offer in the Parkland is a first for our region and we’re excited to open this wonderful recreational space for our community.”

There are many areas for visitors to explore, especially children, including indigenous cultural heritage through the yarning circle, and scar trees which bear the marks where bark was removed for building long ago. A display of Chinchilla’s railway history that goes back to the late 19th century when the first tracks were installed to service Chinchilla and surrounds is another feature. Repurposed steel tracks and other memorabilia are to be found where the old Chinchilla locomotive depot stood for 80 years after construction in 1914. Having a fulfilling and fun day is the aim of the Parkland operators with guests able to cool off at the Water Play area, which boasts sustainability through the Splash Pad allowing water to be drained, quality treated and recycled daily. The performance area will be christened on the opening day with family favourites Agro and Ranger Stacey headlining the program.

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