Mary O’Brien Reserve, Zetland

Joynton Avenue and Tilford Street, Zetland


In a highly residential part of Zetland lies the excellent Mary O’Brien Reserve, with two children’s playgrounds, picnic facilities, seating, lush grassy space and attractive landscaping, which is well worth a visit.

In response to the significant development that has taken place in this part of the city in recent years, this reserve was given a major transformation in 2014, expanded to double its former size and refurbished with appealing, contemporary amenities. Later two large shade sails were added to the playground areas to offer sun protection.

We visited this park on a quiet weekday and enjoyed almost exclusive use of the facilities. It was most certainly a hit with our avid four-year-old playground tester, with much of the equipment entirely novel for us.

In the middle playground, intended for children aged 3 and up years, there is a slide, a corkscrew-style spinner, numerous climbing and balancing features and monkey bars. The segmented climbing arch was a clear favourite. Also in this section is a water play area with six jets – perfect for warm days!

On the western side is a second playground, suitable for babies and toddlers. This playground has a gentle slide, low climbing and balancing equipment and two fun interactive displays. The rainbow spinner was a real hit with our junior playground tester. Both this play area and the middle one have a rubber soft fall surface.

The landscaping is thoughtful. Most of the park’s original trees were preserved while new shrubs and trees were added. There is plenty of seating for parents in the playground areas and ample grassy space to run or relax. Table seating (some covered, some not) and barbecue facilities are also provided.

There are two downsides to this park: first, it is only partially fenced, so perhaps not suitable if you have a little wanderer (or bolter), and second, there are no toilets!

Parking can be found in the surrounding streets.

Mary O’Brien Reserve was named after a former member of Waterloo Council and Zetland resident, who worked tirelessly for charitable, aged and youth organisations for more than five decades. O’Brien was an important community role model and an early champion of feminist causes.


All images © Ginny Grant


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