Joubert Park

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Joubert Park
Joubert Park is located in South Africa
Joubert Park
Joubert Park
 Joubert Park shown within South Africa
Coordinates: 26°11′57″S 28°02′57″E / 26.1991°S 28.0491°E / -26.1991; 28.0491Coordinates: 26°11′57″S 28°02′57″E / 26.1991°S 28.0491°E / -26.1991; 28.0491
Country South Africa
Province Gauteng
Municipality City of Johannesburg
Area[1]
 • Total 1.06 km2 (0.41 sq mi)
Population (2001)[1]
 • Total 29,468
 • Density 28,000/km2 (72,000/sq mi)

Joubert Park is a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa. It is located in Region 8. The suburb shares its name with the largest park in the Central Business District, which is located a few blocks from the main train station for the city (known as Park Station in the early years).

Joubert Park is also the location of the Johannesburg Art Gallery.

Sixty years ago my brothers and I played in Joubert Park. I remember there was a fish pond in the middle. Nearby was a band stand where a military band played every Sunday. Pensioners were sitting on the benches enjoying the sun. There were also many pigeons that were fed by the visitors.

In the Sixties, a semi-enclosed open air theater was constructed towards the north east corner. Movies were shown on the weekends, and occasionally ballets and plays were performed there. Nearby, a large outdoor chess board, complete with smaller chess tables encircling it, allowed flat(or apartment) dwellers the opportunity to challenge each other.

Every Easter, an outdoor art exhibition was held. It was called "Artists under the Sun".

Around Christmas, a magnificent Disney-like theme park was erected throughout the park highlighting fairytale themes (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs etc.)The trees were lit up with spot lights which enhanced the magical nights. Christmas carols would be piped through overhead speakers to enhance the setting. Families would bring their children to view the spectacular display of coloured lights and statuettes.

The Victorian conservatory, located at the north west corner, had large green ferns and exotic flowers. It was known as the "Hothouse"It also had large pond inside filled with goldfish and magnificent lily pads. It had four main wings and each section was partitioned off by double doors which would swing shut once you had passed through to maintain the different temperatures in each room.. In the North east side of the park was a house that had been built for the use of the children from surrounding suburbs. A daily programme was run by a teacher named Miss Ray who was affectionately known as "Miss". After school every day the house would be filled with children who would play outdoor games with the equipment provided. Indoors there would always be paints, crayons cards and puzzles. Every year when the artists of the sun would have their exhibition a category would be opened for young artists under the sun and children who attended the afternoon sessions would be entered by MIss.During the school holidays Miss Ray would take the children on outings to the zoo lake.

On the south side, overlooking the railway tracks, stands an art museum that was planned in Britain. Consequently it was built facing south, away from the sun. They had to break down the one side to let the light in. In the Seventies, one of the curators at the museum was named Charles Berry. He was from Cork, Ireland.

During the Sixties and Seventies, the park manager was a Mr. Gunn, who lived in a house within the grounds. He was responsible for the upkeep of the park. He was supported by a number of park-keepers, known affectionately as "Parkies"

Every evening, at 6PM, a bell was rung to mark the closing of the park (except over the holiday, when the park remained open until 10PM)

This is a collection of memories of the park, and unfortunately not all of the part about the museum is entirely true.

Joubert Park today When thinking of the word 'park' in the context of Johannesburg CBD, Joubert Park instantly jumps to mind due to its richness in narrative and changes and adaptation over time-an important factor to address considering the political regeneration of Johannesburg. Its history is prevalent in the classic elements still actively functioning today, such as the symmetrical layout with arcades resting on the grid of the central axis's that cross at the centre of the park where the fountain (that was once a less prominent pond) is located.

The rectangular footprint is masked with a grid that is a continuation of the figure ground of the city along the West and East edges (this promotes infiltration along the broad arcades bordered by trees). Hard and soft landscaping designates activity such as active and passive space. All of the abovementioned elements are reminiscent of an idyllic landscape of a template superimposed on park-scapes world wide. Joubert Park today is an account of Johannesburg as a city in transition. The park is fed by a network of (in-)formal activities, such as the establishment of the chess club, community facilities (aftercare; clinic), a broad field of trade and services all weaved together by the people. The users of the park have designated areas of activity, which is respected by one and all within the park.

Joubert Park has grown alongside the city, with new amenities such as the greenhouse project (previously known as the Victorian Hothouse) on the North-West edge of the site, the big screen Television to the east wing, and the Reya Vaya bus terminal at the outer east edge. Furthermore, as the park has become gated in order to control access (as security is undeniably a concern in South Africa), informal traders have manifested themselves along the east and west edges, creating a secondary network of trade arcades. Whilst the ephemeral nature of the park has ensured its longevity, the foliage has remained intact, and confirms the mature nature of this district.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Sub Place Joubert Park". Census 2001.