is a girl-about-town and general, adventurous, know-it-all.
Published September 26th 2011
undercover at Clifton Park
Clifton Park takes up the entire area between Albert Street and Victoria Street in Brunswick. It covers a massive land area and is the more stylised, edgier sister of Gilpin Park across the road. Clifton Park has been designed to cater for a variety of different sports and has well-maintained facilities.
To begin with, there's a basketball half court. The ring had a faded, timber backboard set against a wildly graffitied wall; the aerosol artwork giving a sense of New York, where street teams battle it out for urban, neighbourhood glory.
Up for a little b.ball?
From the court, the park circles around to a soccer field. Its surface has been damaged in recent years by Australian drought conditions and although it remains partially dry, has recovered enough for families to use at least.
Not that it matters because if you're truly keen on soccer, you'll be impressed by the absolute jewel in Clifton Park's crown; a $765,000 full-sized, FIFA accredited, synthetic, soccer turf. It has permanent soccer goals, fresh white lines, flood lighting, team benches, new concrete and fences all the way around.
The most amazing thing about the pitch is that it is completely open to the public, unlike so many of Melbourne's other premier sports facilities which sit at a distance behind high wire fences. They entice you to play but remain ultimately reserved for club members only. Not this one. It's typical of an afternoon in Clifton Park to see a dad goal-keeping for his sons or a little soccer school practicing. A bit later on, when the older boys train, the skills on display become even more acrobatic.
Installed early during 2011, the turf represents an investment by Moreland council to continue providing citizens with the sporting and recreational facilities it has done for many years, while addressing the current issue of drought for now and into the future.
The soccer field is conveniently close to Victoria Street's Futsal Stadium, which has rapidly gained a reputation as the home of the indoor soccer game in Melbourne. Local players have been happy to train there or out on the new open field.
At the northern edge of Clifton Park, towards Victoria Street, there's a wide cricket oval with an undercover shelter and full cricket pitch. A walking track that stretches all the way around the outside will give you a quick five to ten minute lap depending on your speed.
Clifton Park is the second in a row of three parks for the area. There are plenty of car spaces near the park and many access points by which to enter the grounds. It is also within walking distance of the Brunswick Railway Station and the Number 508 Alphington bus stops right outside.