Progress in 2013
This group of enthusiastic volunteers have continued their work throughout 2013 with regular working bees along the trail between South Geelong and Drysdale rail stations. Whilst new plantings have continued, there is greater emphasis on maintenance work to ensure that earlier plantations continue to grow and develop. So our work now tends to involve less planting but more weeding, watering and mowing.
The trail continues to function as a community asset of which we can all be proud. We see a growing number of users, both walkers and bike riders, many coming from afar to experience an opportunity to engage in a healthy, cost-free activity, which can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Some enjoy using just a section of the trail, whilst many cyclists ride the full 34 kms to Queenscliff. Others take part in organised group activities such as the Salvation Army annual walk to raise funds to help the homeless. See www.walkinghome2012.org.au for details and entry forms for the next such event due to be held later in 2014.
The story of the purpose and construction of the rail line is a fascinating part of the history of the Bellarine Peninsula, some of which can be read on signage installed by the City of Greater Geelong at the site of several former rail stations and sidings. An example of this may be seen at the site of the former Curlewis rail station, where the rail line once crossed the Geelong/Portarlington Road. This area is now a park-like environment with seating, picnic tables and a shelter for the use and enjoyment of those who wish to take a break from their cycling or walking activity, or just enjoy a picnic.
Sealing of the trail is a continuing aim of the trail managers. Funding has now been approved to complete a further 2.5 km sealed section at Curlewis. Upon completion, this will mean that most of the 16 kms of trail between South Geelong and Drysdale has been sealed. This joint funding, to be contributed by the state government and City of Greater Geelong, was announced at an October working bee at Curlewis by David Koch MLC and Councillor Lindsay Ellis, with the advice that the works proposed under this program include:-
Asphalt sealing of 2.5 km of the trail pathway (commencing at High Street, Drysdale and continuing westward),
The installation of a small picnic shelter and park furniture within the rail trail reserve near the site of the "Curlewis Dip" (this is at the rear of the Curlewis Golf Club); and
The installation of pedestrian/cyclist crossing lights where the trail crosses Jetty Road in Drysdale.
Fred Cook (FBRT) with Councillor Lindsay Ellis (Infrastructure, Parks and Gardens
Portfolio, CoGG) and David Koch MLC (Member for Western Victoria Region).
The M-M2014 Extreme Arts Walk is an inaugural walking event which commences on Friday 9th May at Big Rock in the You Yangs. It will cover 80km to finish at dusk on Saturday 10th May at the mouth of the Barwon River. This unique community event will incorporate a program of music, visual arts, storytelling and sporting elements along the way.
People of all ages are invited to participate, with their personal choice of either covering the full distance or just one or more stages to suit.
The Bellarine Rail Trail will form part of the pathway, incorporating several ‘stations’ along the way. The Christies Road rock garden, developed by the Friends of the Bellarine Rail Trail, will be a feature station in the form of a labyrinth, as one of several environmental projects along the journey.
Refer www.karingal.org.au/events to register or for more information
More good news arrived in November 2013 when we were awarded a $2300 grant from Leopold Community Bank to enable the purchase of a long sought-after defibrillator. Knowing that this equipment will be readily available - should a sudden health problem arise whilst undertaking our work activity - gives our volunteers a greater sense of security. But our group has enjoyed a very good health and safety record over many years, despite the fact that we have a high proportion of retirees in our ranks.
Rock Garden Development at Christies Road, Leopold 2010-2014
A raised garden bed has been developed in the reserve adjacent to Christies Road. Several large rocks were installed to provide an attractive visual feature, whilst at a later working bee, 450 native seedlings were planted, watered, mulched and plant guards installed in this area. The rocks were provided by way of donation, and we also gratefully acknowledge the valuable assistance of Robertsons Transport who transported the rocks and positioned them on site.
In early 2014, additional garden beds have been developed in this location including a further 250 plantings with construction of a new feature in the form of a labyrinth.