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Jack Watkins Reserve

Home > Adelaide > Trains | Playgrounds | Parks | Fun for Children | Family
by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
I enjoy writing about Adelaide and its many attractions. If you think Adelaide is boring, the problem is not with Adelaide. Please click the link to Like my articles, and subscribe to see more. adelaideunearthed.blogspot.com.au
Published November 26th 2012
A playground for adults and children
parks and reserves, public restroom, the old railway, photo of railway, trains, train, freight by train, train routes, islington rail yards
Entrance Sign for the Jack Watson Reserve


Kilburn is a suburb just north of Adelaide, that is probably best known for the Islington Rail Yards and once dominated the entire area - geographically, socially, and economically.

The rail yards are being wound down and trains are disappearing from the area, creating a huge scrubby wasteland that the government is in the process of developing, and right next door is a park that is easily missed if driving past.

The Jack Watkins Reserve only has a narrow entrance, but beyond the car park it opens out into a large area. It is one of a large number of parks and reserves created by the Port Adelaide Enfield Council.

parks and reserves, public restroom, play equipment, playground, trains, train, freight by train, swings, islington rail yards
Child's Playground


The reserve is well equipped and suited for many different purposes. Young children will be delighted with the playground - it is modern and colourful, including a good selection of play equipment. There is a slippery dip, climbing frames, a tunnel, swings, and other things that only a child knows how to use.

parks and reserves, public restroom, play equipment, playground, trains, train, freight by train, swings, islington rail yards
Basketball Hoop


For teenagers there is a basketball hoop to pass the time with their friends, and some colourful street art nearby.

parks and reserves, public restroom, play equipment, playground, trains, train, freight by train, swings, islington rail yards
Street Art


parks and reserves, public restroom, play equipment, playground, trains, train, freight by train, swings, islington rail yards
Fitness Machines for Older Children and Adults


Nearby there is a group of fitness machines, so that adults can keep fit while their children play. Each machine includes detailed instructions on how to use it.

parks and reserves, public restroom, play equipment, playground, trains, train, freight by train, swings, islington rail yards
Shelter and Barbecue facilities.


If you want to stay a while, there are shelters, picnic tables with seats and free barbecue facilities to allow a group of friends make an enjoyable day of it. A clean public restroom with disabled access is conveniently located at the park entrance.

parks and reserves, public restroom, play equipment, playground, trains, train, freight by train, swings, islington rail yards
Asbestos Victims Memorial Pathway


Not far from the boundary with the Islington Rail Yards you will find a short walkway - The Asbestos Victims Memorial Pathway.

parks and reserves, public restroom, play equipment, playground, trains, train, freight by train, swings, islington rail yards
Asbestos Victim Memorial


The path leads to a memorial with a mateship theme, with some train track embedded in the ground to remind the visitor of the railway links to the area.

parks and reserves, public restroom, play equipment, playground, trains, train, freight by train, swings, islington rail yards
Kilburn Sports Plaque


Past the memorial a plaque celebrates the strong sporting heritage of the Kilburn area, and a small hill rises to the west with a path leading to the top.

parks and reserves, public restroom, play equipment, playground, trains, train, freight by train, swings, islington rail yards
Part of the Remaining Islington Rail Yards


From there you have an almost 360 degree panorama overlooking the remains of the heritage listed Islington Rail Yard that the government has not yet demolished.

parks and reserves, public restroom, play equipment, playground, trains, train, freight by train, swings, islington rail yards
Pacific Freight Yards


Across the train track you have a commanding view of the current Pacific Freight site. It now must be one of the the biggest places in Adelaide to send freight by train.

The Jack Watson Reserve is named for Asbestos Jack, a campaigner for safer working practices and against the use of asbestos in the building trade.

It is so appropriate that this park and reserve celebrating life would be named after a man who dedicated his time to saving other people's lives.


Text of the Islington Railyard Workers Memorial

To the Islington Railyard Workers

This monument stands in memory of Islington railyard workers who died from an asbestos related disease.

In the past, many people worked in conditions that were unsafe and unhealthy. After an honest day's work, many workers took home with them not just their wages, but the seeds of their death from asbestos related illnesses. Today we are more aware of safety in the workplace and we can prevent such work related deaths from happening in the future.

The impact of asbestos related illnesses is keenly felt in the Kilburn area. It is fitting that this monument sits in what is now a public park that will be maintained for the benefit of the local Kilburn community.

May the sound of children's voices and laughter in this park stand as a tribute to those workers who died and help ease their passing.
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Why? It's a great park where there are few others
When: Anytime
Where: Churchill Rd, Kilburn, SA
Cost: Free
Your Comment
And hey, you have had a rich diet of beautiful parks from me recently.

You can't suggest that I have been stuck in the heritage groove this week!
by Dave Walsh (score: 4|11027) 2150 days ago
Haha Yin-Yin, I discovered this place while trying to find somewhere to photograph listed buildings at Islington which are fenced off.

And sadly there are loopholes in heritage listing which allow the government to do what it wants.

Probably tens of thousands of men (few women) worked at Islington over the years. Not enough to justify heritage protection for a few buildings though :(

Perhaps more a moving target now than an invisible man :-)
by Dave Walsh (score: 4|11027) 2150 days ago
Knew it had to be more to this article than a playground. If it is not yet another heritage listed building to be demolished. What does heritage listing serve then? Does it not offer any protection?

Your Instagram pic - becoming less the man of mystery LOL
by Yin-Yin Ow (score: 3|1596) 2150 days ago
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