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Biographies for Committee Members and State representatives 2020

 

Damian McCrohan
Damian

Damian has had a lifelong interest in railways and found cycling a great way to get around. When it became obvious in the mid -90s there were too many closed railways to keep as heritage railways he became interested in the new concept of rail trails to preserve the history and provide a great facility for people to walk and ride. Over the last 20 years he has helped produce the guidebooks, calendars, magazine and website while getting around to almost all open and prospective rail trails in Australia. One of the great rewards from this is getting out and enjoying our wonderful rail trails with his family, and meeting the many passionate people involved with rail trails. In between this Damian works as an electrical engineer.

Steven Kaye

Steve KSteven has a lifetime interest in railways, cycling and ‘the great outdoors’. He began using Victoria’s rail trails with his family over a decade ago, enjoying the history, natural environment and safety provided. Consequently he joined the Rail Trails Australia committee in 2008 to become more involved and hopefully improve/complete the trail network. He was involved in the management of Medical services of the Great Victorian Bike Ride for a number of years. When he gets time away from his General Practice, he now leads groups of people to cycle in rural locations, using rail trails throughout Australia and New Zealand, providing regional economic benefit and brilliant experiences for the participants. In between this Steven is a medical practitioner.

Frank Kinnersley

Frank KFrank became interested in rail trails from his keen interest in walking and cycling. This reconnected his interest in railways that had been inspired by family who had worked there. Frank became involved in Rail Trails Australia and subsequently found himself on the committee. He has volunteered in many roles with Bicycle Network and continues in several roles related to walking and cycling advocacy. He worked for many years in truck engineering and related areas.

Alexander McCooke

AlexanderAlexander is a very keen railway enthusiast who has also been closely involved with rail trails for many years. He has visited several places in Australia and overseas that have a rich history in old railway equipment. Given his outstanding technical expertise, he has helped maintain and update our website and guidebooks.

Gary Allan

Gary BioGary has been riding a bike since a young age. He is a supporter of conservation and protection of the natural environment, which combined with his interest in railway history led him to Rail Trails Australia. His interests are bushwalking, canoeing, cross-county skiing, and photography. He is working through riding all of the rail trails in Australia, but his main cycling ambition is to ride downhill from the Gulf back to Melbourne. Gary is also Treasurer of the Victorian National Parks Association.

Alan Abrahams

Alan Abrahams Bio 660Alan has been a keen cyclist for many years. He was introduced to Victoria’s rail trails over a decade ago, joined RTA a few years later and in August 2015 joined RTA as the Administration Officer. Over the past several years he has managed to explore most of Victoria’s rail trails as well as some in South Australia and Queensland. He is very interested in supporting the raising of awareness of rail trails and their benefits and the subsequent development of rail trails throughout Australia. In addition to cycling, he is also a keen bushwalker. His career has been focused on Program Management with a strong emphasis on business and productivity improvement.

 John O’Brien

John BioJohn worked for Telstra as a Technician and Technical Officer for 35 years, and has been a keen cyclist for over 40 years, riding a lot of the “Big Rides” in NSW, VIC, WA, and QLD. It was while doing some of these rides that he discovered “rail trails” and was hooked, eventually joining Rail Trails Australia and becoming part of the rail trail committee. He is also the state representative for NSW, which currently has no rail trails on ex-government land. He is working with Rail Trails Australia and RT4NSW to lobby politicians and local councils in an endeavour to have the situation changed. Over the years his goal has been to explore and ride on every available rail trail that he could find. As a keen photographers as well as cyclists, rail trails are the perfect way to indulge both passions.

 Karen Wilson

KarenKaren first encountered rail trails when she rode from Lilydale to Warburton, and was so impressed with the idea that she became a member of Rail Trails Australia the following week. The rail trail concept combines a number of Karen’s passion - travel, being outdoors, cycling, sustainable transport, history and community. So when she saw a callout for volunteers in Connections, she joined the committee and as an editor. Karen has enjoyed using her skills from her career in environmental and conservation policy and programs to help advocate for and promote rail trails. She looks forward to enjoying more of Victoria’s trails and continuing to be involved with the rail trails community.

 Mark Linnett

Mark LinnertMark has had an interest in railways from an early age, influenced by his father. This has grown stronger over the years, and now includes the history and research of closed lines. He is a long-time member of Australian Railway Historical Society (QLD Div) and has been an active member of their tours for more than 25 years. Mark has been part of many farewell tours for the closing of railway lines, after which he watched the corridor deteriorate. He became aware of the rail trail movement in Victoria and has been a member of Rail Trails Australia for many years, becoming the Queensland representative in 2012. He is a keen cyclist and enjoys using the rail trails and meeting and talking with other users. He studied at UQ Gatton Campus, having had a variety of employment roles, but is currently working in the painting supply industry.

Will Owens

Will Owen Bio PicWill lives near Coogee in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. He works full time in the city, but was born and raised in Melbourne. He is a weekend non-Lycra cyclist. He is old enough to have traveled by train on Victoria’s original rail trail, Wangaratta to Bright. In Will's opinion, rail trails are the best way to re-use the old alignments for multi-purpose recreation (not just bikes - he is happy to share). He has cycled on a number of trails in Victoria, SA, QLD and on the few trails available in NSW. NSW has particular barriers to the re-use of defunct rail lines, many of which pass through world-class landscapes which would attract global tourism interest if developed into trails.

 James Pearse

JamesJames is a civil engineer based in Perth, Western Australia. His interest in rail trails started after working on a series of long-term cycling strategies for regional WA. Growing up in the Wheat-belt region, James’s interest in rail trails sits at the intersection of three of his passions - civil engineering, active transport and regional economic development. James commenced as the WA representative for Rail Trails Australia in 2019.

 

Stephen Brown
Stephen Brown ResizedStephen’s passion for cycling was reignited back in 1998 while on holiday in Bali when he hired a bicycle and did a ride down from one of the island volcanoes. This lead to him purchasing a bike back in Australia and getting interested in adventure cycling and touring. He traveled several times to South East Asia on cycling tours and has also traveled in Australia. This developed into an interest in Rail Trails and accordingly Brisbane Valley Rail Trail, along with the Kingaroy To Kilkivan Rail Trail, have become spots for him to visit regularly. He has frequently visited New Zealand to experience their Rail Trails and learn more about why they are so successful and the business opportunities that come from building them. He is a supporter of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail group and has had an interest in the development of the Tweed Valley Rail Trail in his hometown of Murwillumbah. He has run his own business for 30 years and his other passion is a musician. He has worked as a volunteer for Tweed Tourism Company at Murwillumbah Visitor Information Centre where he regularly gives advice on World Heritage National Parks and adventure holidays in the Tweed Valley.

Martin Cousins

MartinMartin first heard about and explored potential rail trails while he was a member of Newcastle Cycleways Movement, who were advocating for development of the Fernleigh Track and Richmond Vale Rail Trail near Newcastle NSW. While living in Victoria in the mid-late 2000s he had the opportunity to ride many of the trails there, including the Lilydale to Warburton (Yarra Valley), Bass Coast, Murray to the Mountains and Great Southern Rail Trails. He has since ridden many others including several rail trails in South Australia, Tasmania's North East Rail Trail, the Central Otago Rail Trail, the Via Verde de la Sierra in Spain and the Bristol and Bath Rail Path. He enjoys the scenic nature of many trails, the steady grades, the history and the opportunity to ride away from cars. The open Fernleigh Track is now an extremely popular cycle route. Martin hopes that the Richmond Vale Rail Trail and other opportunities in NSW can be developed to join it!

Warwick Duncan

Warwick Duncan Bio PicAn avid cyclist for many years, in late 2018 Warwick set himself the challenge of riding every rail trail in Victoria in 2019. He had also recently 'tree-changed' to Warburton, right at the end of the beautiful Lilydale to Warburton (Yarra Valley) RT. Both of these things led him to appreciate the wonderful asset rail trails are for the community, but also to realise that so many were not well maintained and therefore not well patronised. As a regular repeat offender when it comes to community service, Warwick thought he could try to help out somehow. Accordingly he volunteered as the Regional Representative for Eastern Victoria, which includes Gippsland and Yarra Valley Rails Trails.

 Michael Lowe

Michael BioMichael lives in Launceston, Tasmania with his wife and three school-aged children. He has a long-time interest in both bikes and trains. He worked across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria as a newspaper journalist, before stopping paid work a few years ago as a self-funded retiree. During his time as a journalist in Tasmania, he heard about the North East Rail Trail in the state's North East. He then joined the committee working to extend that rail trail towards Launceston. His initial involvement in rail trails was helping to start the High Country Rail Trail in North East Victoria. His interest in trains is catching them in far-away lands, most recently in Iran.