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Published September 11th 2018
Grassy park with kids play train in Samford Village
If it's not enough that Samford is already blessed with mature forests, wide open spaces, and a rich rural community, it is also fortunate to boast a lush, circular grassy green space in the middle of its main village. So much lawn for any child or dog to envy. The space is known as John Scott Park
Surrounded by quaint shops in the centre of the Village, John Scott Park is a meeting place and key location for community events such as local fun runs and outdoor movie nights in as well as being the ideal for family picnicking or simply taking in the serenity of this rural Brisbane suburb.
Samford is located 21 kms from the CBD (around a 25-minute drive). Samford is situated adjacent to the Samford State Forest section of Brisbane Forest Park and comprises of more than 26,500 ha enclosing 16 separate recreation areas. The wide variety of habitat provides a sanctuary for a broad range of native wildlife.
My visit to Samford Village and John Scott Park was during a quiet midday week morning and here are some of the features I found.
Samford Visitor Information Centre For the first time visitors to Samford Village, it's worthwhile starting your adventure at the Visitor Information Centre located at the top end of the park. The small, colonial-style cottage contains helpful brochures, maps, visitor guides, itineraries and more to help you explore the local township and surrounding areas.
The tourist information hub also offers FREE Wi-Fi!
Rotary Stage Beside the Information Centre is a sound shell shaped Rotary stage. It reminded me of my memories and photos of the former exterior of the Cloudland Ballroom in Bowen Hills but on a much smaller scale.
Kids Play Area Apart from the grassy green, the hero of John Scott Park is one of the coolest kids play areas I've seen. It might not be as big as some rivals across Brisbane but the kids will be amused with a variety of slides, rockers, low climbing structures and shading on a hot or rainy day. The inward facing swing set, where kids can swing towards each other is also a hit.
What makes this park particularly special is the bright, scarlet red train (it remains stationary, unfortunately) which snakes through the area. It's complete with a trusty cabin for the driver and a comfy carriage for its young passengers. Even as an adult, I thought it was pretty special. It pays homage to Samford's past by occupying the space where the Samford Railway Station and adjacent rail yards once stood.
Railways are a big part of the area's history. On 5 May 1947, a packed excursion train derailed at nearby Camp Mountain, in what is Queensland's worst rail tragedy - The Camp Mountain Train Disaster. The picnic train was organised by the Customs and Excise Department and crashed with the loss of sixteen lives. Three of the dead were children and thirty-eight people were injured. Something solemn to reflect on when you are in this vicinity.
Barbeque Area After all of that play and some time to rest for a while, head to the barbeque area, right beside the kids play area. There are 4 barbeques with rainwater tanks on either side. It is also covered from the elements and a sweet spot for birthday and family celebrations. Toilets are close by.
If a coffee is calling, several cafes are within reach at the nearby village. The Flying Nun is housed in a re-purposed church is one of the large cafes and is particularly popular for its indoor and outdoor seating and lush mature garden. Don't forget to look out for the old, red English phone boxes at the entry. If the barbeque idea fails, this might provide an instant lunch option instead.