01 March 2018 New park that honours war heroes takes flight at Wirraway

An exciting new aviation-themed park at Wirraway in Thornton was opened today, featuring a fitness station, half-sized basketball court, shared cycle paths and a skateboard berm.

Approximately 100 students from Thornton Public School were the first to tackle the new playground equipment, after a spectacular flyover by a vintage 1942 Wirraway plane, one of only four left operating in the world.

Wirraway is a new community by award-winning developer Defence Housing Australia (DHA). Comprising quality homes, tree-lined streets and shared community spaces, including more than 16 hectares dedicated to open space, Wirraway will eventually be home to more than 500 families.

Special guests at today’s opening included Ronald Guthrie, a Korean War veteran and US Air Medal recipient. Mr Guthrie was a tail-end Charlie (rear gunner in a bomber) and flew 14 combat sorties—before his last on 29 August 1951.

The streets of Wirraway are named after RAAF war heroes, with Guthrie Crescent nearby to the new park.

Mayor of the City of Maitland, Cr Loretta Baker, Group Captain Peter Cluff, Deputy Senior Air Force Officer (D/SADFO), and war veteran Mr Guthrie officially opened the new park.

The park will be the heart of the new community and encourages residents to get outdoors and interact with their neighbours.

‘It’s important when planning any new community that the infrastructure to sustain the increasing population is also considered. Public places like Wirraway Park are great spaces for health and well-being, and strengthen the connections between people,’ said Mayor of the City of Maitland, Cr Loretta Baker.

Mr Brett Jorgensen, Acting General Manager, Property Provisioning Group at DHA, said civil works were currently underway on stage four of the six-stage development.

‘Housing in the first three stages has been completed and there are nearly 200 happy families already living in Wirraway,’ Mr Jorgensen said.

‘Building a community is more than bricks and mortar—we want to establish a place where residents know their neighbours and kids play together outside in the parks.’

‘We have our first community event tomorrow with an open air cinema planned.’

‘While next week we will be launching “Live Life Get Active”, a free fitness program for residents that will help to combat social isolation, promote social engagement and encourage healthier lifestyles.’

DHA is also a proud partner in the growth of Thornton and the Maitland LGA. Mr Jorgensen said the project would inject more than $150 million into the local economy, from local businesses working directly on-site, to those off-site providing goods and services. This will be matched again by the private spending of residents choosing to build their dream home in Wirraway. It is estimated that Wirraway will generate approximately 1,800 direct and indirect jobs.

‘The hard work and dedication from local contractors involved in creating Wirraway will allow us to deliver a high-quality development that meets the needs of the community,’ Mr Jorgensen said.