Past front page items
Historic signal mast gets armed!
On the last day of 2012 the signal mast at the Trail entrance in Bairnsdale was fitted with a replica 'home' signal arm and top capping. These had been fabricated and donated by Trail supporter Robbie Fraser, one time steam engine driver on this line. Committee member John Nelson and another great Mitchell River Rotary Club supporter Leigh Venables (Venables Precast - Crane Hire P/L), under Robbie's watchful eye, used a 'cherry picker' lift to reach the top of the mast and bolt on the new components.
The mast had been retrieved from near the Bairnsdale railway station several years ago and installed beside the Trail pathway and now forms one of the few remaining railway artifacts from the steam train era. This was the 'home' signal which was used to give the engine driver permission to leave the Bairnsdale yard and proceed towards Nicholson. A similar mast has been installed at the Burn Road end of the Trail, forming the 'book ends' for this long rail trail.
The Bairnsdale mast also carries the bronze plaque which was unveiled at Nicholson on the occasion of the formal opening of the first section to Bruthen in December 1998.
The next phase of an upgrade for the western entry area is to review present vegetation in preparation for another round of planting and in readiness for the anticipated installation of a new visitor shelter which will have a roof profile modeled on an old goods shed located at Rosedale. The intention is to also replace the pine post and rails at the entrance with a traditional white picket fence.
Snowy River Cycling Sponsor Story Board at Partelli's Crossing
Liz Mitchell of Snowy River Cycling not only sponsored a story board about the impact of fire on the Hospital Creek area of the Rail Trail she also helped in installing the board.
Marlene Robb and Liz Mitchell with the Story Board. There are now 8 story boards installed on the Nowa Nowa to Orbost Section.
The East Gippsland Rail Trail is fully open
Trail access has reopened at Newmerella. Visitors to the rail trail can now again use the Preston Road to Burn Road section at the eastern (Orbost) end of the trail. This part had been closed following serious damage caused during the June storms. Thanks to the huge efforts of volunteers and with local equipment there has been sufficient repair to the trail embankment to allow safe passage, but be aware that there is still a dip in the pathway. Warning signs will be erected to advise visitors. Considerable work has yet to be done to avoid the culvert being blocked again. An estimate of the cost so far is several tens of thousands of dollars. A great community effort by all concerned.
The newly-formed Snowy West Landcare Group has successfully received funding for their first project to protect and enhance the vegetation at the Burn Rd start of the EGRT. There will be selective professional weed eradication and volunteer planting of endemic plants including acacia maidenii an endangered species of wattle.
Members of Snowy West Landcare group meeting with Rail Trail Committee of management discussing proposed work.
The work has now been carried out with extensive weed spraying and removal of blackberry. Thirty new advanced trees have been planted and 400 other plantings have been completed.
This series of images show the growth at Burn rd since the original plantings in 2009.
Rebuilding habitat for native birds and animals on the Trail Reserve. The Nicholson River Landcare Group has been working on a 100 m section of the Reserve at the eastern end of the Trail's Nicholson River bridge since early 2011. Several hundred indigenous shrubs, trees and grasses have been planted. Thanks to good rains last year and regular weeding, this effort is being rewarded with excellent plant growth. A seat and new paths have been added, providing extra walking path options near Nicholson. Well worth exploring.
Don't let weeds beat you; Nicholson River Landcare remove yet another trailer load of invading ferals from the new planting.
Thanks to a very generous farmer and Landcare member in the Nicholson area, the Trail Committee and Landcare now have access to a 4x4 ute on long term loan. With 420,000 kms on the clock this 1988 Landcruiser is no pretty face but with some TLC from very helpful DSE people at Nowa Nowa some of its deficiencies are being fixed. It will reduce the need to use private vehicles for maintenance work and add a high level of flexibility for tackling some of the tougher jobs. Many thanks, Leo!
This very bright addition to the Trail Committee's resources is thanks to a generous donation more than two years ago of a part built but very solid 4'x4' trailer, by a member of the Bayside Touring Club (cycling; metro Melbourne) and more recently an amazing welding fit-out by Archie Sutherland (of Nicholson River Landcare) aided by Committee member John Nelson. The 200 litre 12V spray tank with hose reel purchased in 2010 thanks to a grant from the Federal Department of Families, Housing, Community Service & Indigenous Affairs ($1751), has been installed, with various carry boxes for tools and equipment. We look forward to the addition of some colourful 'artwork' from a budding graphics designer. This trailer will provide an invaluable addition for use with the Landcruiser ute. Thanks Archie and John!
Another view of the new work trailer. It even has a spare wheel slung under the tray and considerable floor space for extra water drums, tools etc. The tank and spray will be used for weed control.
Santos sponsored Story Board at Newmerella. From the left: Kathryn Mitchell and Sue Rayner from Santos, Kerry Seaton from DSE and Committee of Management and Marlene Robb from Friends of the EGRT.
This story board describes the flora in the remnant rainforest area between Newmerella and Burn Rd. This is the 5th board installed with a further three in production.
A seat installed at Sarsfield Road, Nicholson, in memory of Jan Martorana-Cleeland, a cousin of Michael Oxer and Marg Holt. A similar seat is located near the Nicholson Bridge in memory of Marg's late husband Barry, a former President of Railtrails Australia.
Updateon Trail closure at Newmerella.
On Monday July 23rd, work began on clearing the fallen trees in the area of the collapsed embankment which has led to the closure of the Preston Rd - Burn Rd section. The work has been progressing well but more work is needed. Until the work has been completed and the Trail is declared safe for visitors, the Preston - Burn Rd section is a construction site and out of bounds to the general public. This short section can be bypassed via Preston Rd and the Princes Highway for about 1 km on a wide sealed verge. Turn left into Burn Rd just past the service station. The rest of this farmlands-forests-and rivers rail trail is OPEN to visitors. The Wattle is blooming, the Heath plants are abundant and there is so much to see and explore, in Naturally Magic East Gippsland.
This slideshow shows that work is underway to fix the the damage to the rail trail in the Orbost to Newmerella area. As well as a large wash out there were a lot trees down between Burn Rd and Prestons Rd. This section remains closed until restoration work is complete.
A long serving member of the Committee of management Michael Oxer has been acknowledged by having a nature reserve on Nicholson River named after him . The Committee and Friends acknowledge Micheal's commitment to our cause and congratulate him on this honour.
The East Gippsland Art Gallery has in May 2012 a two part exhibition. An in situ ephemeral sculptures along sections of the East Gippsland Rail Trail. These images are in the section between Burn Rd and Prestons Rd Newmerella. The second part is artwork inspired by the sites and visual project documentaation at EGAG 2 Nicholson St Bainsdale 3875 website Link
Sarsfield CFA get fired up
Volunteers from the Sarsfield CFA Brigade have provided valuable assistance with controlled burns over the last year, dealing with trash heaps prepared as part of fuel reduction clean up work conducted by the Trail volunteer management committee assisted by crews from Bairnsdale Community Correctional Services. Without this sort of local support it would be very hard to keep this Trail in reasonable shape.
First of many Story Boards to enhance the East Gippsland Rail Trail
Four new story boards have been installed on the link trail between Orbost township and Burn Rd Trail Head. These boards have been funded by generous donations from the Orbost Community.
1. "End of the Line" at the old station site sponsored by Orbost & District Historical Society.
2. " Our Longest Timber Rail Bridge" near the viaduct sponsored by the Orbost & District Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
3. "Buiding The Line" at Burn Rd trail head sponsored by Orbost Visitor Information Centre.
4. " A 20th Century Tussle" at Burn Rd Trail head sponsored by the Friends of Orbost Op Shop.
The East Gippsland Shire has installed these sign boards with out cost to the East Gippsland Rail Trail.
Giles St Upgrades
There are a number of story boards in planning and production. This photo shows a meeting of the residents at Giles St Wiseleigh near Bruthen who are planning to upgrade the area around Giles St with picnic facilities and story boards.
We are pleased to see such a strong community involvement in improving the facilities along the rail trail.
The little things you can miss
There is more to this Trail than an easy pathway, big trees and wonderful rivers. Take the time to look at the ground, move quietly and keep a sharp look out and some amazing little critters can catch ones attention. This small lizard was spotted taking in the morning sun near a vegetation clean up site. It was about 12 cms long and quite unfazed by a close up camera. This Spring there are many small flowing plants to be found so it is worth pausing along the way.
Great spot for a seat
The Nicholson River Landcare Group has carried out a major planting of indigenous species on the north side of the Trail immediately east of the Nicholson River bridge. A new side track has been installed with access under the bridge abutment. Part of the project included this seat, which has views across the river. Bird nesting boxes have been installed to complement the already high variety of birds at this locality. The additional paths are part of the Nicholson Walks Project.
This Trail is now fully open to visitors
Following the very fierce fires which swept through the Tostaree to Waygara sections on February 1-2,further work will take place during March to improve and protect the pathway surface. Grading and rolling will take place but this should cause only brief delays of the sort often encountered with maintenance work. The major loss has been the Hospital Creek bridge. It was not in use but an outstanding landmark. A toilet unit at Partellis Crossing also burnt down. With the mild weather and approaching Autumn the countryside will be looking less blackened as plants and trees begin regenerating. This is a great time to visit. Biking or walking. Come and enjoy magnificent Eastern Victoria!
New pathway near Bairnsdale entrance
The Shire Council has recently replaced a rough pathway near the Hadfield Street link with a new concrete surface. It is part of a wider linking pathways upgrade for the East Bairnsdale area.
Volunteers repair a vandalised gate
Incidents of wanton vandalism of infrastructure on the Trail leave damage which diverts effort from other important work. Recently several gateways have been damaged on the newer (since 2006) Nowa Nowa to Orbost section. A gatepost at Joiners Road (western crossing) has been repaired by volunteer members of the Friends Association. Thanks to them and all the other helpers who pitch in to help keep the Trail in good shape.
The East Gippsland Rail Trail launched into cyberspace with its first site with those exact words on June 29th 2004. Way back then. And so much has happened thanks in the most part to persistent and dedicated volunteers who keep this Trail a going concern.
Thanks also to a Federal Government grant in 2005 it was possible to complete the route almost to the banks of the iconic Snowy River. Then with funding from the Victorian Government, great assistance from the Shire Council and support from the Trail Management Committee we saw the off road link from Burn Road established right into Orbost.
Several issues of the brochure and map (thanks to Railtrails Australia and assistance from Bicycle Victoria) have been launched since 2004. And most recently the Shire Council has provided funding to help our marketing efforts. So we move forward, dedicated to making sure this Trail justifies the claim - 'There's nothing like the East Gippsland Rail Trail!'
Now come visit, and keep checking here for news updates.
Getting the chips flying
A small volunteer grant late last year from the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (Community Investment Program - and thanks Jill) enabled the Trail Committee (with some extra funds added by the Committee) to purchase a heavy duty chipper machine. It will be used to turn green vegetation being removed as part of the regular fuel reduction works into mulch to support tree planting projects. This reduces the amount of material that would otherwise be burned, so it also helps our 'carbon footprint'.
The Hansa C13 can be seen in action in a video clip at here
Melbourne Ausbike Bicycle Expo
Volunteers on the Rail Trail stand at the Ausbike Expo on Saturday August 21. Michael Oxer (RT Committee), Mike Ryan (Mingling Waters), Andrew Sharpe (RT Committee), and Liz Mitchell (Snowy River Cycling). The fluro vests and caps are new attire for volunteers, and made it easy for visitors seeking information.
The enlarged map of the Trail was a constant focus of attention. The new Perry's Bus Service shuttle information got a lot of attention; The 6 metre x 1 metre stand was part of the current promotional project, thanks to support from the East Gippsland Shire Council, and a number of local businesses and organisations.
Liz explains some details while Mike helps another visitor.
Mike talks up the Trail while Han Oxer explains some
details from the Trail brochure.
Bus Service 3rd Sunday of each Month
A regular bus service on the 3rd Sunday in each month has been introduced to support bike riders and walkers on the East Gippsland Rail Trail.This is a shuttle service: Orbost , Nowa Nowa, Bruthen, Bairnsdale and return. It has facility to transport bikes as well as passengers.
- 2.00pm Orbost (depart)
- 2.30pm Nowa Nowa
- 3.00pm Bruthen
- 3.30pm Bairnsdale (arrive)
- 3.45pm Bairnsdale(depart)
- 4.15pm Bruthen
- 4.45pm Nowa Nowa
- 5.15pm Orbost (arrive)
The first run of the shuttle bus on June 20 was supported by 5 passengers despite the inclement weather. Plan your next ride for 19 September 2010 to take advantage of this service.
Kathryn Thomson waits for the shuttle bus out of the rain at Nowa Nowa.
Mike Ryan describes the Nowa Nowa Mountain Bike facility at the May meeting of the Friends of the Rail Trail . Visit their Website for more information
Burn Rd Update
In June 2009 a shelter plus planting and mulching was made at the Burn Rd car park at the Orbost end of the trail. This small image shows how it looked in June 2009.
Over the last 10 months and particularly over summer the growth of the plantings and the weeds has been greater than we expected. On April 13 a team from corrective services and a few friend volunteers weeded and remulched the area. This photo shows the difference 10 months growth and a day's labour can achieve.
COUNCIL BACKS PUSH TO MARKET RAIL TRAIL
Following a submission from the Rail Trail management committee seeking funding for a marketing and promotion position, the Shire Council has accepted a recommendation from the Economic Development Advisory Board and allocated $25,000 to assist with a marketing drive. 'The Trail committee is greatly heartened by Council's support for a more professional marketing program' said Michael Oxer, Trail committee chairperson, following the Council vote on Tuesday night. 'Virtually all efforts so far to promote the Trail have depended on community volunteer effort, especially in development and management of the trail's web site, and preparation of the information brochure and map' Mr Oxer added.
Oversight of this new marketing program will be a partnership between the Council's Major Projects and Economic Development Unit and the Trail committee. A number of activities and projects were suggested in the committee's submission, including targeting schools, cycling, walking and equestrian groups, enhancing the web site, revising trail notes, and special events which attract new visitors to East Gippsland. 'Decisions have yet to be made on details for carrying out this exciting new development for the Trail'
Would you like to help?
The Rail Trail Management Committee is keen to have more assistance and invites expressions of interest from anyone interested in joining the team. The salary is outstanding - zilch! 'Hours' are very flexible. The tasks and issues involved are very interesting and often even challenging, with plenty of variety. Formal meetings are bi-monthly. Email is a primary way to share information, etc. Representation from the Orbost end of the Trail will be an advantage. Interest in marketing and promotion matters would be highly valued.To learn more just email a note via this web site, to the Chairman.
A group of four students Joanne Rogers, Nathan Dubbeld, Nathan Young and Emma Clark walked the railtrail from Saturday through Tuesday. They had initially hoped to finish the entire walk but had to finish at Bruthen on the last day because of blisters. They did the walk as their final adventurous journey for the Gold Duke of Edinburgh that they're hoping to be presented with at the end of this year.They are all year twelve students at the Warragul Regional College and have been doing Duke of Edinborough for several years now.
The walk began with mild weather and they walked all the way through to Partellis Crossing Road. Day two began ok but started to get really wild and a lady from Parks Victoria told them that it was too dangerous to be walking so by 12 o'clock they had to pack it in and went to Lakes for the afternoon. Day three was still quite cool and windy but barely a drop of rain. There were several fallen trees that were too heavy to be moved. Day four was beautiful blue sky as they walked into Bruthen.
There are several excellent sites already considered as suitable 'rest and landscape view' locations, typically about mid point between road crossings or special vantage spots.
We will be delighted to discuss the details.
Bullant Beer Boost 4 Bruthen
A new colorbond steel clad building overlooking the Trail next to the unique former railway tunnel is set to reshape Bruthen as a 'must visit' destination. Housing the soon to be opened Bullant Brewery complete with bar and restaurant and outside decking with views across the Tambo valley, it is simply a stand out.
Plans are forming to establish a pathway off the Trail to the adjacent foot bridge for easy access by Trail visitors. Landscaping along the top of the Trail cutting will enhance the precinct which should become a major attraction for all visitors to Bruthen.
More Bruthen area upgrades
The access ramp west of the tunnel has been rebuilt thanks to a special grant from DSE. This on/off point connects to a pathway listed for sealing thanks to the Shire Council. Drain lines have been cleared of debris and the embankment will be planted with appropriate indigenous grasses and rushes. With help from a Bairnsdale Community Correctional Services crew a track from the Trail to the Tambo River 'Bridge to Bridge' walk has been cleared. There will be ongoing upgrades to various sections of the Trail in the Bruthen area.
Tambo Upper Road entrance blockade
Illegal vehicle traffic (which degrades the pathway and endangers the safety of visitors) is being blocked by use of large rocks. This type of treatment has been adopted at several locations where wire fences have been knocked down by vandals. (Funding by a DSE grant)
Let's tell them!
Thanks to the promotional funding from the Shire Council (Economic Development Advisory Board) the Trail management Committee has subscribed to block advertisements in several wide circulation publications. To date these include: East Gippsland Visitor Guide; Youth Hostels Australia 'Backpacker Essentials'; the Bruthen Rambler; Orbost town and locality map. Other outlets will be added to the list, with the aim of taking the name of the Trail to a wide audience.
Ride the Trail, then explore the hills.
The Rail Trail is easy riding but it also gives visitors a chance to venture into the high country and explore the sights, smells and vistas of East Gippsland's forests. One of the Friends Association recent activities was a ride through hills North East of Orbost amongst the big trees and over clear running streams. A great boost to the spirit. Give it a go. Skip the city for a few days, discover eastern Victoria's secrets.
CFA help with fire management
Bumberrah and Sarsfield CFA brigades have assisted with fuel reduction trash heap burns between Bairnsdale and Stephensons Road. This volunteer help is greatly appreciated.
Places to take care
There are several places where visitors do need to take special care. The access points each end of the Stony Creek bridge are steep, especially the eastern side but that was last year treated with a roughened concrete screed to ensure stability and stop erosion. It should be obvious to any visitor that these inclines are to be taken with care. The other potential 'problem' location on this section is at Drivers Break, a large cutting just west of Nowa Nowa which had collapsed several years ago following the laying of the interstate gas pipeline. A great deal of cost and effort has been expended to try and halt the erosion and provide a reasonable path. It is just a couple of hundred metres long. At times here it can mean walking bikes rather than riding.
At any time if a problem is encountered on this Trail the details can be reported to the Committee via the email Comment facility on this site.