Roy’s rest project

26/06/2013 · Past Projects

strone bench

Public art project – Ashfield 2012

Roy Hookway Platform sub-committee proposal

A meeting was held by a sub-committee of the AshfieldCAN to develop a concept for how we can acknowledge the platform at the bottom of the French Street steps as ‘Roy Hookway Platform.’

At this meeting ideas about a bench, drinking fountain and ways to incorporate a plaque to identify the Roy Hookway Platform were discussed.

The family of Roy Hookway were invited to attend and Pauline Gazey, Roy Hookway’s daughter attended on behalf of the family.

At that meeting a number of ideas were discussed but no decisions were made.

The response from the family to the discussions were that has was that they only wanted a simple plaque to commemorate  Roy as they felt that was all he would have wanted but loved the concept of having some form of community amenity down there.

A decision was made to continue with the project to provide seating in that location.


Stone bench concept for area adjacent to Roy Hookway Platform

The concept is to have a limestone seat in the vicinity of Roy Hookway Platform.

This would be on the opposite side of the bitumen pathway adjacent to the French Street Steps.

A 6 meter curved, limestone wall would incorporate a 3 meter limestone seat. This wall would also act as a retaining wall to the embankment behind the area.  At the French Street Steps end of the wall, there is a possibility for a drinking fountain to be incorporated and a drinking bowl for dogs at the base of the wall.



The area in front of the wall/seat would be paved with a limestone block similar to which the French Street steps are made of. Potentially there could be a narrow strip of river stones between the paving and the bitumen to allow for drainage from the water fountain to run off safely.

The seat and wall would be made from limestone blocks 500 x 350 x 350 and cut specifically to create the curving shape.

These would be placed on a footing 550mm x 250mm reinforced concrete footing.

The height of the wall at the French Street Steps end where the water fountain would be would be approximately 820mm. This would increase to a height of some 950mm at the back of the seating area before dropping off to nearly nothing by the end of the 6m.

The seat of the bench would be capped with a sandstone ‘limestone look’ paver. This is a harder wearing, smoother more comfortable surface to finish the bench seat off with and would allow us to create a more appropriate bench seat height. The height of the seat would be 480 mm.  These pavers are 400mm x 400mm x 38mm.

The angle of the back of the bench at the furthest point of incline is 110°. The wall will be at 90° at the water fountain end and will graduate to a 110° before slowly correcting to 90° by the end of the wall.

The angle of the limestone seating blocks from the base to the seat will also be 110°.


Building the Bench


The bench was designed and built by Lucy Bromell and Rod Hodgkin.


The site proved to be a lot more difficult than first anticipated. It was thought that vehicle access would be achievable from the Hardy Road car park to transport the heavy limestone blocks to site but due to the softness of the land on the hill at Hardy Road it was apparent that access to site using that route was not possible. The French Street steps were a better option.


This meant the manually handling of every single block to site, the heaviest of which were close to 125kg. Rod Hodgkin made a sled to slide each block down the French Street cycle ramp which worked well but gave the whole project a feel of ‘building the pyramids’.

Each block in the bench and in the paving had to be cut to the correct size. Most of this was done off site to ensure that there was minimum impact to the environment on site.

The bench not only provides seating but also works as a retaining wall for the embankment behind. The bench also incorporates a drinking fountain and a dog drinking bowl. In the paving in front of the bench is an ‘x’. For some fun, next time you are down there, stand on that spot and ask the bench what it means.