For the first 20 years, the original Bendigo-Axedale section of the O’Keefe Rail Trail had just four aging ‘recovered’ bench seats installed in 1994, as the only trail user facilities.
When the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail was formed in 2009, these four old seats were continuing to decay, becoming unused and unattractive compared to the new quality seat/table facilities that were progressively being provided by the group.
Rather than remove these aging seats, a 2020 decision was made to refurbish them. An application was made to the Strathfieldsaye and District Community Enterprise’s 2020 Community Grant program, for funding of this refurbishment project. The grant application was subsequently successful and a grant was awarded.
Men at work, Roy & Lindsay doing the installation at the Axe Creek crossing. Photo: Les Lewis
This project has utilised a recycled plastic and fibre product (commercial name ‘Modwood’) as a replacement for the failed timber components. Within COVID19 restrictions, the Friends group’s Project Team set about installing this low maintenance repurposed product, whilst also giving the seat’s metal frames a fresh look.
Trail users Lonain and Georgie came along just at the right time, to try out one of the newly refurbished seats at the Axe Creek crossing. Photo: Les Lewis
The members of the Friends group would like to acknowledge and thank the Strathfieldsaye and District Community Enterprise for their support, allowing these trail facilities to be upgrading and available for users of this popular trail.
Imagine an off-road trail running all the way from Melbourne to Bendigo, through towns like Wallan, Heathcote Junction, Kilmore, Pyalong, Tooborac, Heathcote, Axedale and including the now O’Keefe Rail Trail. How can you help to have this development occur?
One way is to make a ‘Give Now’ donation right now, to assist community efforts in lobbying Local, State and Federal governments, as your donation will help to put this trail ‘on their front page for funding’. Your donation will assist highlighting what the development of this linking trail will do, to build healthier communities and stronger local economies.
Regional Victoria seeks more rail trail cycle and walking tourism
Go to Give Now “Be a Trail Blazer appeal” (http://bit.ly/38xoI2u) to donate once or on a regular basis, as you or your family/friends could personally benefit from this trail’s development.
Help for cyclists needing to fix their bike on the O’Keefe Rail Trail has just been installed, perhaps a first for a rail trail in Australia! The provision of a Bike Repair Station has been the initiative of Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail group, with funding for two units due to the support provided by Strathfieldsaye and Districts Community Enterprise. (refer: 15 Dec 2018 Friends’ web News post).
O’Keefe Rail Trail’s Bike Repair Station tested by member Les Lewis. Photo: G.Long
A second funded repair station will soon be installed at Axedale Park Axedale by the Friends members, close to and about mid point of the rail trail.
Also planned for Heathcote is a third such station, to service both rail trail users as well as the local community who do not have a Heathcote based bike shop. Centred on Barrack Reserve, this location is close to the O’Keefe Rail Trail’s ‘Trail Head’, with the repair station being generously funded by three local Heathcote community organisations.
Community helping community can equate to great outcomes for many! Such has seen the Strathfieldsaye & Districts Community Enterprise supporting further development of the O’Keefe Rail Trail user facilities, through the awarding of a 2018 community grant. This grant will see two bike repair stations installed along this popular rail trail in the near future by the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail community group, at Axedale and Junortoun.
Community Grant presentation by Kat Charmas, Sec S&DCE – 9 Dec 2018
These bike stations will provide a rack for working on a bike, related tools, and also an internal air pump to inflate tyres. Locating these strategically along the trail, the bike repair stations can assist to get that troublesome bike back ready to ride, rather than the possibility of a long walk or trying to seek back up transport.
Whether its a cycling tourist or local riders in need, this initiative by the Friends group will become a win win in adding to this rail trail’s support services and facilities.
Greater City of Bendigo Councillor Yvonne Wrigglesworth’s published blog on 20th October 2018 has made reference to attending the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail AGM and the benefits to be gained from rail trail tourism.
Link to blog –
Cr Wrigglesworth also made reference to the Victorian National Party Deputy Leader Steph Ryan’s announcement to fund the Murchison to Rushworth (Heathcote) Rail Trail, if elected to government in November 2018.
Perhaps there will be a similar announcement made for the proposed Wallan to Heathcote Rail Trail, by candidates running for the same Victorian State Government elections!
A local community bid has made the final list of the 2018 ‘Pick My Project’, which this bid now needs local resident’s support. The Junortoun Community Action Group (JCAG) is delighted to advise that their bid for funding of a cycling and walking path, to complete a ‘missing link’ in Junortoun, has made it to the final ‘Pick My Project’ projects list. Pick My Project is a community grants initiative, supported by the Victorian State Government.
This project is proposing to have built a short section of new off-road path/trail, adjacent to Trotting Tce in Junortoun. Local residents now have a chance to support this proposed project, to enable it to succeed.
Reasons to support this project:
- It is for a cycling and walking related project near the O’Keefe Rail Trail in Junortoun.
- It completes a missing link, connecting the O’Keefe Rail Trail (via La Valla Court) to the ‘Trotting Tce – Cousins St path’ through the forest to Cousins Street Strathdale.
- It completes a missing link, connecting the O’Keefe Rail Trail (via La Valla Court) to the new off-road ‘Strathfieldsaye – Junortoun path’ via the McIvor Forest Estate.
- It will support people within the Junortoun, Strathfieldsaye, Strathdale (and other adjacent Bendigo suburbs) areas to safely and easily access the O’Keefe Rail Trail at Junortoun.
- It will support young people riding to and from schools in the Junortoun and Strathfieldsaye areas
- It will provide an easier and safer options for cycling and walking commuters, with off-road transport routes to various destinations.
- It will help to complete another section of Bendigo’s off-road path/trail network.
To support this worthy project, you need to vote now! Voting is open and closes 5pm Monday 17 September 2018.
Go to Pick My Project web page and type Junortoun into “Browse projects Near You’ field. Suggest selecting the “Cycling and walking path in Junortoun” project into your short list for support (you will need to vote on three projects when submitting your vote). You’ll then be asked to register (with your normal or temporary address to be included). As a regional project, voters must reside within 50kms of the project’s location.
Looking for other related projects to vote on? Perhaps note ‘Bike Love Bike Bendigo’ as well as many other local projects.
Please VOTE now, your country (trails) needs YOU!!Further information regarding the voting progress can be found on the Pick My Project FAQ’s page.
The O’Keefe Rail Trail is the focus of a project to install nest boxes along a section of the trail, for Brush-tailed Phascogales (Tuans) and Sugar Gliders. These new nest boxes, built by students at Catholic College Bendigo, should become homes to these small threatened animals in the trail reserve’s natural environment.
Brush-tailed Phascogale Photo: Jerry Alexander
The location for these boxes is along the O’Keefe Rail Trail, between Knul-doorong Woodland (Somerset Park Rd) and the Junortoun Flora and Fauna Reserve (Trotting Tce) Junortoun. Funding for the project has been provided by a City of Greater Bendigo Council’s Community Grant, awarded to the Junortoun Community Action Group
The public can witness the boxes being installed, which is to occur on Monday 24th April at 2:15pm at the O’Keefe Rail Trail crossing on Wilkie Road Junortoun.
Media Release by Junortoun Community Action Group.
Assistance provided to Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail during 2015 and early 2016 has not gone unnoticed. A number of companies, organisations, and City of Greater Bendigo staff, have all assisted the Friends group to provide O’Keefe Rail Trail user facilities and features.
Individual framed ‘Thank You’ certificates were presented during June-July 2016 to Bendigo RSL Men in Sheds, Mawsons Bendigo Concrete, City of Greater Bendigo Engineering and Open Spaces staff, Lockwood Semi Trailer Sales P/L, City of Greater Bendigo Heathcote Depot staff, and Hanson Axedale Quarry representatives.
Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail ‘Thank You’ presentations. June-July 2016
The willingness of management and staff to provide services at either no cost or reduced rates, assistance, or approval / acceptance of trail related proposals, have all contributed to some great outcomes that both trail connected communities and trail users are appreciating. Additional trail facilities, funded by various grants and donations are also making the O’Keefe Rail Trail a popular cycling and walking attraction now and will continue to be a Victorian iconic trail into the future.
Not resting on the past, the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail group has more trail user facilities and features already in the planning stages, with continuing external assistance and funding being provided, as well as lobbying for improved local ‘active transport’ facilities. New members are always welcomed into this, a positive contributing community volunteer group.
Looking for some creature comforts to take a ‘5 minute rest’ or two, perhaps to have a picnic while out on the O’Keefe Rail Trail? Over the past 4 weeks, users of the O’Keefe Rail Trail may have noted some additional facilities, like new table and seat units with bike racks that have been installed at two locations adjacent to the trail.
These trail facilities have just not magically appeared, it is not something that “Oh, ho hum, eer..suppose the council has done that!” type situation. Not at all!! With the assistance of two community grants and the installation efforts by some passionate volunteers from the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail, these trail user facilities have been completed with little fuss.
Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail members in action! 8 January 2015. Photo: Les Lewis
Just near native trees and bushland, a meandering water race nearby delivering much needed water, with views of the former railway branch line ‘roads’ that went to the Commonwealth Ammunition Storage facility and the separate branch line to the associated Ammunition Proving Range, one new table with single seat unit plus its concrete pad and two bike racks have been installed. These are near the former ‘Rangelea’ Station, just off Atlas Rd Junortoun, and this outcome has been made possible with the assistance of a $1500 community grant from CVGT Australia, creating a restful place while out enjoying the trail.
Former Strathfieldsaye Station site’s new table seats and bike racks. Photo: Les Lewis
A double table with two seats plus concrete pad and two bike racks have also been installed at the former Strathfieldsaye Station site, just off Wilkie Rd Junortoun. This was as a result of the support from the Strathfieldsaye & Districts Community Enterprise, who provided a $4995 community grant towards the project. While the former Strathfieldsaye Station was originally built in 1888, quite some distance from the actual Strathfieldsaye community centre, the station’s life turned out to be the shortest of all the railway stations before being closed to traffic. Yet small reminders of the past can still be seen close to the new trail rest stop in the Junortoun Flora and Fauna Reserve.
Sunday, 3rd January 2016 was another notable day for the O’Keefe Rail Trail and the Lions Club of Heathcote. This day saw signage, recognising the contribution that the Lions Club of Heathcote has made in providing a rail trail shelter in Herriot Street Heathcote, being put into place.
Installation of the Lions Club of Heathcote sign installation, 3 Jan 2016. Photo: Daryl Dedman
Immediate past President Daryl Dedman is to be congratulated, in helping to ‘steer’ the rail trail shelter project through the various stages of the journey during 2014-15. Sunday saw the new sign’s installation, lead by the current Lions President Greg Spiers with assistance from Lion Peter Baldwin and Lions Partner Ray Anderson. Of course this sign’s installation effort also had the oversight of ‘Site Foreman’ Lion Jeanette Dedman on the day!
The final touches to the Lions Club of Heathcote sign, 3 Jan 2016. Photo: Daryl Dedman
The new sign has now ‘put the icing on the cake’ so to speak, an outcome that the club members can be rightly proud of. The club also thanks Ken Testa of Kidswood Country, who did the sign’s lettering, and Joe McMahon for the timber.
The end result – The Lions Club of Heathcote’s O’Keefe Rail Trail shelter, 3 Jan 2016. Photo: Daryl Dedman
The Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail are equally pleased to be a part of this combined community effort, providing member time and expertise in helping the Lions Club to achieve such an outcome for the rail trail users as well as for the Heathcote community.