One day I was walking around Centennial Park (trying to clear my head before a day of writing) when I came across this paperbark forest. A sign told me that it was a community regeneration project and as I walked further into the space, I saw logs placed at deliberately sociable angles, an assemblage of large grey stones with pieces of coloured chalk scattered about, and to the side of it all, this sturdy handmade fort.
As I sat there, refusing the very strong urge to look at my phone, an almost palpable kind of peace fell over me. The noises of the forest became clearer and more distinct; the buzzing of cicadas separated out from the flapping of birds, and somehow the rustle of the paperbark leaves (or was it something about the paperbark itself?) provided a kind auditory cocoon around it all.
The next chance I got I brought the kids, and just like me, they fell in love with this little corner of the park.
If you’re ever in Centennial Park, go past the bike track and the new cafe, cross the tiny bridge near Kensington Ponds, and there it is.
Photos + Styling: Bron Bates and Max