Inner north community backs temporary ‘Big Watson Dirt Jumps’ bike track

Lottie Twyford 24 September 2021 24
Signage for bike tracks in Watson

With so many bike tracks to choose from in Watson, where will you ride? Photo: Tom Corra.

Similar to initiatives that began during last year’s COVID-19 lockdown, a pop-up bike track known as the ‘Big Watson Dirt Jumps’ has recently arrived in the Canberra inner north suburb of Watson.

The track, complete with jumps and signage, is located at the suburb’s Irvine Street Greenway and was intended as an add on to the ‘Little Watson Dirt Jumps’ in a nearby park, which is designed for younger children.

Local dad Tom Corra says it all started when he had an idea for how to put a smile on not only his son’s face, but all the kids in his neighbourhood.

“I’m very well aware of the everyday homeschooling struggle and the need for an escape close to home,” he says.

“[The bike track] has very quickly received major support from the community.”

Now there’s a keen group of local families supporting the project.

Tom says the ‘Big Watson Dirt Jumps’ bike track fills two major needs in the Watson area. Firstly, it helps get kids out of the house during COVID-19 lockdown and away from their screens and the very sedentary nature of home learning.

“It’s also more COVID-19 safe than having multiple kids all touching play equipment,” he says.

Watson residents are keen bike riders. Nearby is Majura Pines for adults and teenagers, and there’s ‘Little Watson Dirt Jumps’ for younger kids, which Tom says helps to fill some of the gaps left by the facilities suited to more experienced riders.

Similar jumps popped up in 2020 in the nearby suburb of Ainslie.

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After last year’s COVID-19 lockdown, the ACT Government supported Ainslie residents by enhancing a set of ‘homemade jumps’ and making them safer rather than demolishing them.

Local Ainslie residents, including children, lobbied the government to stop a proposed flattening of the jumps.

The jumps had previously been described as Canberra’s most dangerous sports facility.

However, unlike the Ainslie jumps, the bike track in Watson is only intended to be temporary.

“The moment school is back and lockdown has lifted, the track will be no more,” says Tom.

Dirt bike jumps in Ainslie park

The enhanced bike jumps in Ainslie after the ACT Government worked to make them safer. Photo: Tim Gavel.

“Unlike lockdown, this track is here for a good time, not a long time.”

However, Tom says if there is a way to keep the track in place as a longer-term, more sustainable project, the community would be keen to do so.

“It’s really helped to revitalise the whole strip,” he says. “Now you see whole families going through and spending a bit of time there.

“But even if it had to be in a different location, we could potentially work with the government, too.”

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The inner north community has long been calling for a ‘destination playground’.

Inner north parents have previously contacted the ACT Government to improve one local playground, but it was just painted, a seat installed and existing jumps flattened.

However, right now Tom is just happy to see so many parents and kids out and about enjoying the space with big smiles.

He urges the community to “stay safe, please enjoy and remember great teaching happens when we simply provide the resources and challenges, and get out of the way”.

You can get involved with the Irvine Street Greenway pop-up bike track project on social media, and use #irvinestreetgreenway to share your photos and experiences.

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24 Responses to Inner north community backs temporary ‘Big Watson Dirt Jumps’ bike track
Michael Norris Michael Norris 9:49 am 27 Sep 21

You can go out and ride your bike after you write an essay on why those apostrophes don't belong there.

    Michael Norris Michael Norris 5:04 pm 29 Sep 21

    Roger Wheatley key bounce, but yes fair point

Janette Spring Janette Spring 7:42 am 27 Sep 21

Kids (not ours - we're rather too old) made a super track on the western side of Lyneham Ridge - but the 'council' in its non-wisdom broke it all up and fenced off. Ok - perhaps it was distant from homes, so any 'accidents' could not have been attended to easily - but I wish the kids had been able to keep it.

Dave Dran Dave Dran 7:33 am 27 Sep 21

Good to see in this sort of area. Unfortunately, the ones constructed in the bushland in Umbagong Park are endangering rare species of native plants. Several small trees have already been destroyed and the roots of many of the larger trees have also damaged.

Jason Heddle Jason Heddle 6:58 am 27 Sep 21


Was only thinking yesterday we need something like that near Latham park

Phillip Cox Phillip Cox 11:05 pm 26 Sep 21

I've seen it while doing my deliverys and it's great to see kids getting out with buckets and shovels👍

Tony Southwell Tony Southwell 10:34 pm 26 Sep 21

Makes sense...

The gov won't allow it...

Just like all the other bike tracks we have had around Canberra over the years...

They all gone...

This one no Difference ??

Leos Nikias Leos Nikias 10:16 pm 26 Sep 21

Mark Watson

The sign pointing to the left is for you!

Leka Hakaumotu Leka Hakaumotu 9:34 pm 26 Sep 21

Yo sounds hectik 😉

Ken Owers Ken Owers 9:31 pm 26 Sep 21

Great initiative.

Gillian Coles Gillian Coles 8:54 pm 26 Sep 21

Fantastic! Great work.

Luke Malacchi Luke Malacchi 7:51 pm 26 Sep 21

Toby Morwitch ...this why you needed the bike???? Trying to relive your childhood????😄😄😄😄😄

Dwy Jago Dwy Jago 7:49 pm 26 Sep 21

Let them send it!!

Jennifer Moriarty Jennifer Moriarty 7:31 pm 26 Sep 21

Public liability ??

    Cass Proudfoot Cass Proudfoot 10:24 pm 26 Sep 21

    Jennifer Moriarty this is a tiny gentle track for tiny riders.

Stephen Spencer Stephen Spencer 7:30 pm 26 Sep 21

Wonderful. Can’t believe how quickly they built it. We walk our dogs through there and one week it was empty space, and the next an extensive track. Congratulations to whoever is responsible, a wonderful community contribution.

Angie Fearon Angie Fearon 6:48 pm 26 Sep 21

Is great!

Judy Carn Judy Carn 6:41 pm 26 Sep 21

Watch out they destroyed the one in Belconnen that the kids built...some one will complain...But I love the idea should be more of it :)

Juz Hawke Juz Hawke 6:33 pm 26 Sep 21

That is so great!! My boys have found a spot and started building some as well. Noticed another spot where another couple of young'uns are doing the same 👏🏻

Paul Sheahan Paul Sheahan 6:28 pm 26 Sep 21

All for it, green spaces need to be used.

    Hannah Zurcher Hannah Zurcher 7:38 pm 26 Sep 21

    Green space simply existing *is* green space being used. There's more than just humans living in cities.

Kyrie Michelle Brown Kyrie Michelle Brown 6:04 pm 26 Sep 21

Ryan Molyneux we were just talking about jumps for Corbs 🙂

Leonie Watts Leonie Watts 3:52 pm 26 Sep 21

Please let it stay! It’s very safe, the kids love it, it enhances community. I understand the government needs to check it out and cover their backs insurance wise but please can we have a ‘can do’ approach. Health authorities want kids (and adults) to be active and outdoors more and these community initiatives make that happen quickly and easily. And it’s much safer and accessible across all ages than a government approved skate park! In the ‘old days’ (I’m over 60) communities did this all the time with no fear of the ‘legislative’ consequences (suing the government for injuries etc). Come on – keep it!

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