Winton Aquatics Centre Upgrade

Project Overview

In the central heartland of Queensland lies Winton; a small town steeped in nature, culture and history. From prehistoric dinosaur sites to boulder opals, stunning National Parks and the legend of Waltzing Matilda, Winton is a thriving destination for travellers from around Australia.

Winton’s Aquatic Centre features three public swimming pools to help Winton residents and visitors to cope with the sweltering summertime temperatures.

In a bold move to prioritise youth engagement in the town, Winton Shire Council, jointly funded by the Works for Queensland program, chose to expand the Aquatic Centre with the introduction of an aquatic playground.

Council’s vision for this space was to create a dedicated waterpark; they wanted something big with slides and elevated towers. The facility needed to be big enough not just for the local community but to create a drawcard for the whole region, attracting travellers from Longreach and all over Queensland to Winton to discover the town and to create ongoing economic and social benefits for the whole community.

Design and Engineering

Featuring 4 slides, net climbers, water cannons, a multitude of interactive elements and a mega dumping bucket at the top of the structure, the brightly coloured tower entices children to explore their whole environment and find their next challenge.

To cater for all ages and levels of adventure, the aquatic playground is also augmented with a toddler zone, featuring numerous ground sprayers and a rain cap mushroom for those users looking for a quieter experience.

The project design stage included a full geotechnical report which identified highly reactive soil on site. The project engineering identified the need for 108 screw piers to be drilled at 6m to underpin the structural waterplay slab and to support the 12t Aquatower structure and hydraulic loads.

Equipotential bonding plans and full hydraulic specifications were engineered post-design finalisation to ensure bather and hydraulic loads were considered and resolved before construction. Plantroom design was a key component of the ongoing maintenance specifications as the new equipment needed to marry in with the existing pumproom infrastructure.


The construction of the structural slab was one of the key elements of this project; with soil reactivity levels showing soil levels could change up to 100mm between wet and dry periods. 108 screw piers were installed across the site, tensioned to a torque reading of 100KN in the ground and backfilled with 32MPA concrete.

The kilometres of pipework running between the pump room, water features and balance and greywater tanks are all HDPE, protected by a 10mm wall to withstand high levels of earth movement.

The screw piers are locked into the structural slab, so the whole waterplay slab is constantly supported regardless of soil levels or reactivity at any time of year. A construction control joint runs through the centre of the slab, with greasable sleeve joints at the interface to allow for movement, expansion and contraction between the two slabs if required. The 32MPA structural concrete was batch tested throughout the construction process, with independent QA testing undertaken by local engineering firm George Burn Associates. A 12T all-terrain mobile crane was used to lift the central deck and bucket system in place, while the remainder of construction was undertaken using elevated work platforms across the site.

Being part of a remote community, ensuring that we had the right equipment available at the right time was crucial to running this project efficiently and on budget. All equipment was shipped to Brisbane and then transported to Winton, with all equipment built on site.

Given the space constraints of the plantroom, we opted for a Neptune Benson ultra-fine, high flow rate filter which delivers the water purification required on a single unit rather than 8 large sand filters. A secondary disinfection unit controls the chloramines in the water through a UV treatment process.

Variable frequency drives (VFDs) have been used on all pumps, allowing the pump speed to be synchronised with the water flow requirement.Rather than running all pumps at constant 100% capacity, this method increases asset longevity and provides considerable power and cost savings for the Council.

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