Our History

Our History

We're 105 years young and still counting...and play remains essential to the nature of being a child!


We originated as the Guild of Play, formed in poverty-stricken Melbourne focussed on establishing playgrounds (donated by organisations and companies) to get children off the streets with a view to improving their physical health and moral codes.


We continued operations under a new name, Playgrounds Association of Victoria, to reflect our strong focus on playground development.

1933 -1980s

We broadened our business and introduced Play Leaders who were funded by local councils to support children to play in playgrounds and schools, as well as providing exercise and learning games.


We became the Australian secretariat for the International Play Association (IPA) in the same year it was founded.

1933 -1980s

We became more focused on the provision of training and advice on playground standards to alleviate some of the injuries that were being sustained by children. We took a lead role in the dissemination of the Australian Playground Standards.


We secured the International Play Association Triennial World Conference held in Melbourne, and subsequently we began focusing on providing network support for individuals and groups involved in children’s outdoor play.

2011 - 2019

We changed our name to Play Australia and commenced transformation into a national entity with state branches, collaborating with a range of different groups to promote children’s play, whilst maintaining focus on disseminating information on Australian Playground Standards.

2020 - 2025

We are a highly valued member organisation that has developed volunteer branches in most states as we undertake our bold new game plan to support play for all Australians!

100 years of Play!

Celebrating 100 Years of Play




In 2014 Play Australia celebrated it's 100 year birthday - Read our Commemorative Booklet





Historic play

These images have been collected from the Play Australia archives some dating back to the 1930's, each one portraying play 'the work of children'.