Friday, April 24, 2015

Abandoned: Parkerville Amphitheatre

It’s amazing what you find out and get surprised by. Did I know that there was a 70’s era hub of creativity and rock ‘n’ roll in my locality that I've lived in for 20 years? I did not, and when I found out it had been abandoned since the 1980’s, my interest certainly peaked again. 
The Parkerville Amphitheatre was an amazing venue in the 1970’s based in the bush and built around a damned section of Jane Brook; showcasing plays, orchestra performances, the first wine festival in WA and of course plenty of rock ‘n’ roll, folk and blues shows. Plenty of known artists played there, including John Farnham (of Cold Chisel fame) and Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs. 
What followed eventually led to the end of the Parkerville Amphitheatre however, with accidents, local council problems and then money woes unfortunately signalling the end of this very unique venue in the Perth hills. It has been abandoned since the 1980’s (from what I can tell), and the bush has not been kind. There are quite large trees growing out of the amphitheatre now, and all the bridges, remaining buildings and walkways are now partially destroyed and unstable. 
It’s all quite sad, but it’s been said that it has new owners who want to transform it into a new, smaller venue. The Parkerville Amphitheatre may live on soon, and as much as I love abandoned places, this is certainly a location that deserves to be revived.  
There is also currently an independent documentary being produced based on the extensive history of this location called Parkerville Amphitheatre: Sets, Bugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll. They had a successful Kickstarter campaign, so hopefully it will be released soon. Here is there Facebook page. 

The carpark entrance, which actually was built onto an existing heritage trail (that use to be a train track from the late 1800's until the 1960's). I made a post about the old Parkerville train station years ago, but the photos have since disappeared (Thanks Photobucket!). I should get down there with my camera again sometime soon.

Over a huge rock vaguely following where the path from the carpark use to be (now too overgrown to actually walk on).

Looking side-on at a smaller seating area. It's kind of hard to make out with all the brush and trees now sticking out of it, but I assure you its there.  

Eek! Suffice to say, I did not go inside. 

The front of the smaller amphitheatre.

 The one remaining building.

Buddah is keeping everything safe; except for the bridge of course.

A bridge going over Jane Brook is still intact, but quite unstable looking.

Based on an antiqued real-estate listing I found, this was an art gallery.  

The most intact part of the main amphitheatre, including what was once a stage/jetty over Jane Brook. The brook was quite dry except for a big puddle when I visited, but that's mainly because of the season.

There was a 'pool' like structure just in front of the main amphitheatre, which was an orchestra pit. It has some quite nice art lining it (full photo below).

Perhaps the remains of the bar?

Remains of the walkway heading back to the carpark.

Since I had so much fun doing it at the Ascot Water Park, I decided to take some before and after photos based on historical photos I found online.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Abandoned: The Ascot Water Playground

The Ascot Water Playground was a water park that was built in the late 1970's and operated until about 2002. This place was special, and was a true icon of the Perth suburbs. Entry started out as free, but then changed to just a gold coin donation. There was nowhere else like this at the time, and you'd be hard pressed to find something similar in the present day.
It was in an ideal location right on the river, with the Perth CBD visible from the edge. Ultimately though, the river contributed to it's downfall as river run-off laws were introduced and new occupational health and safety laws also shuttered the park (lots of wet, slippery concrete you see.) As far as I can tell there was never any serious injuries at this park, but the world is now a different place. I guess the council didn't want to splash out the money on making it 'safe' or fixing the river run-off problem, and it was permanently closed.
What's left now is a swampy wasteland which reminded me a lot of a few locations from the video game, The Last of Us among a few multi-million dollar mansions as the location is now considered upper market. Luckily, there isn't much vandalism here, but nature has really taken it's toll on the place.
I should add I was quite excited to go here since this is the first abandoned location I've been to where I actually went to as a child when it was open. It was quite an experience to see it now, when I have seen it in its prime. Not through photographs, but my very own eyes.

The main pool is starting to collapse. It's surprising there is cavity under it.

In the background you can see the main attraction, which was a cave of sorts along with huge sprinkles on the top and a slide.

The smashed windows in the toilet block and the cafe were some of the few examples of vandalism.

There was also mini-golf here.

The little shed next to the mini-golf was full of pamphlets, but unfortunately I couldn't reach in far enough to grab one (the door was locked).

This photo was taken with a mobile phone from a previous trip without my camera, but I forgot to retake it. The mini-golf is basically falling into the ground, that trench of sorts is not present in any historical photos and runs all the way from where some water slides use to be, all the way to main pool near the river past the cafe following where a path use to be. I don't know if it was actually formed by nature over the years or deliberately dug, but I couldn't see a logical reason for wanting to dig it in the first place.
In the background you can see a house, which was probably inhabited by a caretaker or used as office space.  

The walls had a stunning paint job.

There were mugs everywhere.

On top of the cave like thing.

In the cave type thing.

There were plenty of BBQ's around too.

It was here I tried to match up some photos of it in its prime to what it looks like today, but in this case it was quite hard. There was two pools connecting to this structure, one at the end of a slide (where that gap in the fence is) and another at its entrance. The slide pool has been completly overtaken, meaning I couldn't get in a position to take the photo with looking straight into a bush.

Here's what it use to look like from nearly the same angle.

Here's another comparison facing the structure, which was quite hard to take as well. Directly in front is part of the ditch I was talking about earlier.

These were a little easier to take.