Located in Phillip Park, Play Sculpture is a rare example of ‘playground sculpture’ in Sydney. It consists of painted, reinforced concrete, with the exposed surfaces ground to a smooth finish. Organic in form, it bears stylistic similarities to the work of Henry Moore.
Associated with the theories of environmental determination (euthenics) in the built environment and play therapy, this work represents an attempt to fuse sculpture with children’s education. Children are stimulated by being encouraged to:
delight in shapes and their possibilities, [and] develop different, more imaginative relationships with their surrounding environment.
Anita Aarons was born in Sydney in 1912. She completed her training in sculpture at the East Sydney Technical College, where she went on to become a teacher. She spent much of her life moving between Australia and Canada, working for a time as Allied Arts Editor of Architecture Canada. She died in Brisbane in January 2000.
Anita Aarons was invited to attend a meeting of the City of Sydney’s Health and Recreations Committee on 25 June 1951 to discuss her submission to erect a piece of sculpture in the children’s playground of Phillip Park. The Council approved the submission on 2 October 1951, and the sculpture was removed from Aaron’s house in Castlecrag and sited in Phillip Park Playground on 2 April 1952.