These Rail Trail History pages are currently under construction.
No items for 1990.
No items for 1991.
• In 1992, the Shire of Strathfieldsaye began investigating options in relation to how the reserve could be used.
• At the Council's 18th February 1993 meeting, it resolved "That landowners adjoining the former railway reserve be advised that it is Council's objective that the reserve be developed for the purpose of recreation and nature conservation." This would be a key date that would create one of the earliest trails on a former railway reserve in Victoria. Such conversions were to become known as rail trails. In March 1993, the adjoining landowners were advised that sections of the former railway that had become unofficial roadways, were to be closed to vehicular traffic. The Council then sought Government funding to begin converting the land corridor into an official trail and nature reserve. Successful funding saw the trail work begin on 1st July 1993, under the Federal Government Landcare and Environment Action Program (LEAP) 1993-94. The first stage of the conversion to a rail trail had begun.
• Council agreed on 19th November 1993 to have a low cost suspension bridge built across Axe Creek. The bridge was designed, and its construction supervised by Rod Symes of Keleher and Associates, Consulting Engineers, Bendigo. The main support timbers for the suspension bridge were felled in the St Arnaud area by the LEAP participants, dressed, and then transported to the site. With donations from local businesses, plus support from the Bendigo Army Survey Regiment, the main structure was built in approximately a two week period. The funding for the bridge was depleted just prior to completing the final design, and so its approaches were never built. A substitute set of rough timber steps up to each end of the bridge was quickly provided. They remained as a poor means of access to the bridge for the next 19 years!
• The Axe Creek suspension bridge was officially opened by Colonel Don Swiney MBE (retired Army Survey Corps Director) at 11.30am on 15th December 1993, with the other sections of the completed trail officially opened the following week - as reported by the Bendigo Advertiser.
No items for 1994.
• With the last short section of the former railway between North Bendigo and 'Rangelea' platform (an Army ammunition storage facility) being booked out of service on 11 December 1986 (due to the condition of the Grassy Flat Creek Bridge located at 160.556 kms point), most of this remaining railway line would be lifted in January and February 1991. The opportunity to extend the O'Keefe Rail Trail from the McIvor Highway Junortoun to the Bendigo suburb of White Hills, on Crown land, was high on the community's agenda. The O'Keefe Trail Enhancement Committee presented a management plan for the existing trail to Council in 1995.
• The City of Greater Bendigo Council formed an O'Keefe Rail Trail Advisory Committee, and appointed community representatives and a representative from the then Department of Natural Resources and Environment. The purpose of the Committee was to work with council staff plus a consultant, to develop a master plan for the section of former railway reserve and other land options between the McIvor Highway (Junortoun) and Midland Highway (North Bendigo).
No items for 1997.
No items for 1998.
• The City of Greater Bendigo Council formed an O'Keefe Rail Trail Advisory Committee, and appointed community representatives and a representative from the then Department of Natural Resources and Environment in October 1996. The purpose of the Committee was to work with council staff plus a consultant, to develop a master plan for the section of former railway reserve and other land options between the McIvor Highway and Midland Highway. In conjunction with the council, the State Government then contributes $35,000 towards the O'Keefe Rail Trail's next extension, with additional assistance from the Federal Government's 'Work for the Dole' scheme. This trail's 'stage 2' extension would be constructed during 1998-99. The trail extension project would also include the refurbishment of the original timber pile railway bridge over the Grassy Flat Creek, beside Strickland Road, East Bendigo, trail track construction, plus various signage and road crossing treatments. The official opening of this latest section of the trail was by The Hon. Marie Tehan, MLA, on the 11 March 1999, approximately 110 years after completion of the original railway line in that area.