Warburton Trail News
A group of students from Swinburne University are conducting a survey of trail usage and economic impact on behalf of the Warburton Trail Committee. The students are surveying 68 business organisations in the area and conducting a survey of users on the trail. It is planned to perform a more extensive user survey later in the year when the weather improves. To our knowledge this is the first such survey conducted on a railtrail in Australia. The findings from the survey should be of major benefit in future funding applications and trail advocacy.
Mt. Lilydale College
The sports fields of Mt. Lilydale College currency occupy the former railway alignment between The Warburton Highway and Lilydale. No progress has been made on this issue to date. The Committee of Management has requested a meeting with the Minister.
The Friends of the Warburton Trail hold regular working bees along the trail. Recently they have been planting trees and mulching in the Killara area. If you would like to help, contact Arthur Francis, 03 9725 7074.
… Based on Friends of the Warburton Trail newsletter.
Anderson to Wonthaggi Rail Trail Award
The Bass Coast Shire has been highly commended in the 1999 Heart Foundation Local Government Awards for the Anderson to Wonthaggi Rail Trail.
The awards recognise projects that promote health. The railtrail was one of five projects that were highly commended in the category of “Outstanding Recreational Facility”.
Conference Report – First Australian Tracks and Trails Conference
The First Australian Tracks and Trails Conference was held between 11 and 13 May at Pinnacle Valley Resort near Mansfield, Victoria. Over 130 people attended the conference from around Australia and overseas representing local and state government, universities, trail management groups and community organisations. Two people attended on behalf of Railtrails Australia: Vince Aitkin and Alexander McCooke. Fiona Colquhoun who was attending on behalf of Parks Victoria is also on the Railtrails committee.
Railtrails were well represented at the conference. Once of the nine blocks of sessions was devoted to railtrails and they received mentions in a number of other sessions. One of the railtrails sessions was presented by Vince Aitkin, our treasurer, on “Railtrails Linking Communities”.
On the last day of the conference, field trips were conducted. One of these visited the former railway to Mansfield, to look at the former Bonnie Doon railway bridge which is now part of a short railtrail and the potential for a much longer trail along this railway line. The trip was lead by Graeme Stoney MP, David Heale from NRE and Ian Geer from the Shire of Delatite who manage the current trail.
Another conference is planned for two years time to be held in Western Australia, hosted by TrailsWest.
Report on Mirboo North Annual Ride
Around 40 cyclists took part in the annual ride between Boolarra and Mirboo North this year. The weather on the day was pleasant although the trail was a little muddy after recent rain.
Cyclists met at Boolarra and rode along the trail as a group stopping to look at historic features of the along the way. Lunch was available at Mirboo North and a local historian was present to talk about the town’s history. The riders returned in two groups one on the trail and the other on the road.
The Benalla by-election on May 13 represents a chance for the candidates to support the proposal for a railtrail from Yea to Mansfield. Many electors in the electorate own bicycles and horses and a railtrail would provide a safe venue for them to ride. Additionally the tourist industry in the electorate would benefit from a railtrail. Already holiday makers at the Bonnie Doon caravan park cycle and walk along the short stretch of railtrail in Bonnie Doon including the bridge over the Eildon Reservoir.
If you live in the electorate please write to each of the candidates and ask them for their position on the development of the railtrail.
Australian Railtrails News Roundup
New South Wales
The old Meadowbank rail bridge across the Parramatta River in Sydney was opened by the NSW Minister for Transport on Thursday 13 April as a railtrail. It cost around $1 million. The railtrail links the north and south banks of the Parramatta River and the network of bike paths around the Olympic site.
Last week at Grafton the 1300 participants in the bike ride from Tweed Heads to Sydney travelled on the brand new railtrail on the southern bank of the Clarence river. The trail avoids difficult road and rail crossings in the area.
A working party is putting together a strategy for Railtrails as part of the Greenways Bill currently before Parliament.
The Willunga path has had some recent works to extend it to further south. The Clare Valley trail is being audited as to future improvement.
A cycle path from Perth to Albany is to be developed which will parallel the Bibilum Track. Part of it will be former railway lines.
A state wide plan from trails is being prepared. 1300 km of trails have now been developed in Western Australia of which about 200 km are railtrails.
Work is progressing on the Anderson to Kilcunda Trail. Grading of the trail has recently been performed between Kilcunda and Dalyston. The trail is clear and wide, but at the time of writing the surface is fairly rough.
The Tambo River Bridge on the East Gippsland Rail Trail is now open.
A community walk is to be held on Sunday 16 April from Curdies to Timboon along the Timboon Railtrail currenlty being developed.
First Australian Tracks and Trails Conference
The first Australian Tracks and Trails Conference will be held in Victoria from 11 to 13 May 2000. The venue is Pinnacle Valley Resort, near Mansfield.
A number of sessions will cover railtrails including a talk by Vince Aitkin of Railtrails Australia on “Railtrails Linking Communities”. More information is available from the organisers.
Mirboo North Annual Ride
The annual 28km ride along the Mirboo North Rail Trail will take place on Sunday 7 May 2000 starting at 10am. The ride is expected to finish around 2pm and is free. More Information is available from The Mirboo North Rail Trail web site.
Railtrails Australia announces new Mission Statement
Railtrails Australia has recently undertaken a planning process to look at long term goals and strategies for the organisation.
As part of this process we are announcing our new mission statement.
Our vision is to see a network of disused rail corridors being used for public purposes such as walking, cycling and horse riding trails.
To promote and support local Rails to Trails groups to establish an Australia-wide network of paths and linear nature reserves along closed railway lines. To provide and document contacts, share information and act as a national resource centre.
West Warburton Wander
The Light Railway Research Society will be conducting a walk on former tramways in the West Warburton area on Sunday 16 April 2000.
The Light Railway Research Society is a national organisation interested in the history of narrow gauge and industrial railways.
For more information on the walk contact Mike McCarthy on 0407 700911.