Sep 20, 2020
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A piece of forgotten land within the industrial East Bendigo area and adjacent to the O’Keefe Rail Trail, which had consisted of an informal drain and non-native plants due partly to the impacts of the 19th century gold mining era, is now being transformed into a natural reserve environment.
As a consequence of damage caused by a fire earlier in 2020, rehabilitation of the area is being undertaken by the City of Greater Bendigo’s Parks and Natural Reserve unit staff. The landscaping has included removal of pampas grass remnants, as well as shifting and contouring tonnes of soil to create ponds and waterways for frogs and other native animals.
Earthworks have created ponds and connecting waterways. Photo: Paul Ferguson
Recent planting of hundreds of native trees and shrubs, by State Government funded unemployment scheme (related to the current pandemic), has occurred between the O’Keefe Rail Trail and the Bendigo Railway Workshops (BRW). The plantings and mulching should see a significant change to this steep embankment area adjacent to the rail trail, having seen land use changes by the former Victorian Railways Workshops built in 1917.
Tree plantings along the embankment adjacent the O’Keefe Rail Trail. Photo: Paul Ferguson
While the rail trail users can still experience local historical points of interest, like going through the 1863 brick railway culvert or observing two amazing 1888’s railway related red brick lined drains, the transformation of the area will both encourage a return of native animals as well as be enjoyed by the public into the future.
Mar 18, 2020
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Regional Roads Victoria (RRV) is conducting a study for the McIvor Highway in the Longlea and Junortoun area. What part will the O’Keefe Rail Trail and its user traffic play in this study’s outcomes?
During this month of March, RRV will be counting the number of pedestrians and cyclists within the Junortoun area through which this highway passes. The active transport study will assess the typical journeys of pedestrians and cyclists, to help understand how people travel and where they might be going. Such is expected to help RRV better understand where people choose to go in the future, especially if there were to be improved paths, crossings, underpasses, and on-road lanes to provide safer access.
As an O’Keefe Rail Trail user you shouldn’t be worried, as RRV is using a number of ways to record travel information therefore such will not identify individual people.
The Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail have indicated to RRV and the City of Greater Bendigo, the future need for a trail underpass at the crossing point of this highway. It is assumed that such a study will highlight the current commuter and recreational user traffic on the O’Keefe Rail Trail, especially at that point where trail users need to cross this highway with its increasingly busy traffic.
The Campaspe Shire council is in the planning stages for extending the Greater Shepparton City Council’s current ‘Murchison Rail Trail’ on to Rushworth and Heathcote.
Former railway bridge. Goulburn River, Murchison
This extended trail section, when formally constructed, could link the O’Keefe Rail Trail (Heathcote to Bendigo) to the Murchison East railway station. A Heathcote to Murchison Trail proposal brochure has been produced by the Campaspe Shire.
Grass Trees in Heathcote-Graytown National Park
Support by community, businesses and trail users for this trail is to be encouraged, so have your say, contact the Campaspe Shire council, the Greater Shepparton City council and your local State Government representative.
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!
Aug 13, 2018
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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.
Mar 28, 2018
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Public Transport Victoria is seeking feedback on changes to the Bendigo – Heathcote bus service. Such not only services the communities of Heathcote, Knowsley, Axedale, Longlea and Junontoun, it also provides transport options for O’Keefe Rail Trail walkers and cyclists.
PTV is proposing five return trips between Heathcote and Bendigo on weekdays and three new return trips on Saturdays, plus is also considering two route options to and from Bendigo.
The proposed Saturday buses would be especially handy for O’Keefe Rail Trail walkers and cyclists getting to and from Axedale or Heathcote or Bendigo.
The public is encouraged to provide positive feedback, and maybe asking PTV to consider putting a bike rack on this service’s bus.
Please provide your feedback no later than Sunday 29 April 2018 by:
– visiting getinvolved.transport.vic.gov.au/heathcote-junortoun to take the PTV online survey
– calling 1800 800 007 and ask to provide feedback on Heathcote – Junortoun to Bendigo bus services
– dropping into an information session (ref the downable pdf doc above).
Don’t wait until the 29 April…..get involved right now!!
Mar 26, 2018
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The proposed 78km Wallan to Heathcote Rail Trail is one step closer, to being linked with the 49km O’Keefe Rail Trail and the Melbourne urban trail network, as reported by the Bendigo Advertiser (26 March 2018 on-line edition).
While nearly 80 per cent of people consulted for the feasibility study were in favour of the rail trail being implemented, of the 37 private landowners of the former railway reserve (or linked to this reserve) interviewed, 27 objected to the trail.
Such objections, as recorded by the independent feasibility study consultants, were largely related to access to those landowner’s properties i.e. of the actual former railway reserve, rather than the concept of creating the rail trail itself. Other individuals in the Pyalong area have indicated their personal concern about the Mitchell Shire being responsible for future maintenance costs associated with the proposed trail.
The Mitchell Shire has indicated that a Trail Working Group will be established, providing the opportunity to take into consideration the concerns of individual landowners and residents, as well as seeking input from government bodies e.g. DELWP and individuals with rail trail expertise.
Mar 25, 2018
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The Wallan to Heathcote Rail Trail is seen as being visionary for the Mitchell Shire Council’s community, business economy and tourism, according to Mayor Rhonda Sanderson. The Shire Councillors voted seven to one to proceed with the trail feasibility study’s final report at its 19 March meeting.
Council agreed it will work with the community, landowners, trail users, and related experts by forming a Trail Working Group, to investigate concerns raised by some landowners of the former railway reserve.
The Council will also investigate external funding opportunities for implementing the trail in stages, as per the study’s recommendations, plus securing access to land and/or preservation of the route on which the trail may be located.
The actual trail route proposed for certain sections, which are privately owned, will depend upon whether private landowners and Council agree on access arrangements, or land sales/ leases, or alternative route options. Such arrangements are usually required for many other successful trail developments in Victoria, interstate, and other countries e.g. New Zealand, USA.
Related article: Bendigo Weekly, 23 March edition p. 11. 2018-03-23_Bendigo Weekly
The Wallan to Heathcote feasibility study’s community feedback stage is drawing to a close. The final date for feedback is 5pm Monday 10th April, therefore members of the various communities that are likely to benefit from such a trail, or individuals who would like to raise any points of view, plus general trail users, are all encouraged to complete the feedback form.
This feedback can easily be completed on the Engaging Mitchell web page’s ‘Complete form‘ link.
‘Pink Cliffs’ cutting, Pyalong. Photo: G Long
Further information can also be obtained from http://wp.me/ptMbe-2kM
Mar 10, 2017
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A proposed Wallan to Heathcote Rail Trail has the Victorian State Government, Mitchell Shire, and City of Greater Bendigo co-funding a study to assess the feasibility of a new 65km rail trail, from Wallan to Heathcote for recreational walkers, cyclists, and possibly horse riders.
Such a trail may connect, via a safe off-road trail, the communities of Wallan, Heathcote Junction, Wandong, Kilmore, Pyalong, Tooborac, and Heathcote. Linking with the O’Keefe Rail Trail, such connection may also link with the communities of Knowsley, Axedale, Junortoun and Bendigo.
The study is at the community and landowner consultations phase, with a series of Listening Posts being conducted. The Engaging Mitchell web site has details of these Listening Posts’ dates and more information.
The Heathcote Bush Market’s Wallan to Heathcote Rail Trail Listening Post. 4 March 2017. Photo: G.Long
Feedback by the public on the proposal is also being encouraged, either by completing the feedback form at the Listening Posts, sending a completed form via Aust Post, or an on-line survey using the Engaging Mitchell web page’s feedback link. Such feedback will be received until by 5pm on Monday 10 April 2017.