While Murchison Rushworth Rail Trail had the Greater Shepparton City Council and the State Government funding this trail’s initial construction project, resulting in the official opening of a trail section between Murchison and Channel Inlet Rd (council boundary with Campaspe Shire) on 27 Feb 2015, there was much more potential for this short section of rail trail.
For the community of Rushworth, who had saved much of the former railway’s infrastructure within the town’s area, they really needed this rail trail to be connected with their town and support its businesses.
With the opportunity of a Federal Government’s ‘Local Roads and Community Infrastructure’ grant, the Campaspe Shire Council on 15 December 2021 unanimously approved to fund the extension of the Murchison to Rushworth Rail Trail by matching the $1.5M grant being provided by Federal Government. A media release from Federal Member for Nicholls, Damian Drum’s office dated 15 Feb 2022, confirmed the allocated grant.
What a great outcome for the local community, especially those members who have been behind efforts to have this project funded for many years! The project’s current target date for completion is mid 2023. And with a Campaspe Shire’s published plan to connect Rushworth via forest tracks to the O’Keefe Rail Trail at Heathcote, such presents huge potential for an amazing connected trail network.
The close by Girgarre Stanhope Rail Trail (part of the same former railway branch line) is currently being extended so as to connect these two communities, which has those communities keen to have the Murchison to Rushworth Rail Trail extended to Stanhope (and so Girgarre). And just maybe, an extension of this Murchison Rushworth Rail Trail further westwards to Colbinabbin may follow on in the future, where that town’s new silo art is attracting high numbers of visitors that support this small community’s local pub and general store.