Connect South is open!
The Connect South stage 1 project is complete and the Mends Street Jetty piazza is officially open to the public.
The new jewel in the crown of South Perth, the area provides a vibrant, unique place for residents and visitors to meet at and enjoy, and gives a unique welcome to visitors arriving on the ferry.
Three themes that embody the City - ‘Perth Zoo’, ‘A Garden Suburb’ and ‘Public Transport’ - were drawn upon when developing the area and creating the artworks that can be found in the area and along Mends Street.
Construction began in February this year, and while there are still some small finishing touches to come, the majority of works are complete.
There will be a range of activations and events taking place at the piazza over the summer and we encourage everyone to post photos to Instagram with #discoversouthperth.
Connect South’s first major installation, the giant numbat represents the state’s animal emblem and acknowledges Perth Zoo’s commitment to the preservation of this endangered species.
At 23.5m long, 6.5m tall and 5.6m wide and weighing approximately six tonnes, the numbat is made from plate aluminium and shades visitors during the day and lights up at night as it watches over Mends Street.
Frilled neck lizard canopy
Facing the Swan River to greet visitors arriving by ferry, the frilled neck lizard welcomes visitors to the area, greeting them off the ferry with its giant frill and protecting and shading pedestrians as they walk from the jetty towards Mends Street.
Almost 10m high and weighing nine tonnes, the lizard is 21m long, 9.2m wide and 9.7m high, also made from plate aluminium.
Perth Zoo and the Garden suburb themes are both represented through the public art commissioned for the project.
Two Western Australian artists were commissioned to create tactile animal sculptures as a playful reminder of the connection between Mends Street Jetty and the Perth Zoo.
Family of emus
Wandering straight off the Australian Coat of Arms, a family of three Promenading Emus has claimed the area near the playground as home. Artist Russell Sheridan has used his unique style to bring the quirks and personality of these birds to life – the cheeky emus offer a great photo opp!
Family of meerkats
Meerkat sculptures link the foreshore with Mends Street, with five meerkat sculptures at the piazza and two smaller mobs along Mends Street helping guide visitors towards the Perth Zoo, where they can see these social animals in the African Savannah habitat.
Created by artist Mikaela Castledine, the meerkats use her signature crocheted polypropylene technique, giving them an intricate and unique finish. Another great photo opp!
Follow the meerkats up Mends Street and you’ll see other new additions, including two new parklets, fairy lights in the trees and two murals painted by artist Joanna Brown of Laeline Design in the BP service station alfresco area and at 16 Mends Street. Both murals reflect the ‘garden suburb’ theme featuring elements of nature found in local gardens and reserves.
Surrounding the new Western Power substation that provides the power for the piazza, Rick Vermey has created a screen that uses a sophisticated engraving technique inspired by native plants and the movement of water.
The public art will all be lit at night and there is a spectacular chandelier with suspended lighting as the centrepiece in the piazza, which will change colour through a series of lighting patterns throughout the evening.
Acknowledgement of the traditional owners
Amongst the trees, visitors will spot sand sculpture works created by Noongar artist Yondee Shane Hansen and Art+. These pieces are installed in the ground and link back to ground paintings and sand drawings learned from Yondee’s father and grandfather. The intricate patterns reference storm clouds, emu feathers, rock formations, waterholes and song lines.
Still to come
The last of the artworks to be delivered on site in December will be a compelling audio-visual artwork by Yondee Shane Hansen and Art+.
The piazza will then be the stage for a nocturnal light and sound display representing the cycles and rhythms of country from an Aboriginal perspective. Gobo projectors will be used to share ancient stories of this place, ensuring Whadjuk Noongar culture is at the centre and a highlight of the new area. This display will take place at set times each night after sunset.
The first event to be held at the piazza will be the Christmas Carols at Sunset on 15 December.
The City’s new SouthSide Summer series will be running for the first time early next year, with two distinct vibes with Acoustic Fridays and Family Saturdays, running from Friday 17 January to Saturday 15 February (excluding the Australia Day weekend).
Connect South was a $7.5 million project, with $2.5 million from the National Stronger Regions Round 3 funding, and the remaining $5 million from the City of South Perth.
Please note, the City will be installing new turf at the Mends Street playground and the eastern end of the Connect South, Mends Street piazza, meaning the playground will be closed until Sunday 15 December 2019. The areas will be fenced off to facilitate daytime watering and to ensure the turf becomes established.
The closest playground is at the Scented Garden, which is approximately 400m east, towards the Coode Street Jetty.
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