Ngurrak barring works underway

A person wearing a backpack, standing in dense forest in the Dandenong Ranges.

Works are underway to prepare and improve trails for community and visitors, as ngurrak barring (RidgeWalk) becomes a reality.

Construction on the project - which will occur across 39 kilometres of existing, new and re-furbished walking track, accompanied by art and interpretive nodes – is now underway, with works on existing trails taking place over summer.

RidgeWalk has recently been re-named ngurrak barring (noo-rak bar-ring) - meaning 'mountain paths' in Woiwurrung. The name was provided by Senior Wurundjeri Elder and project Indigenous Advisory member, Aunty Doreen Wandin-Garvey.

Lyster Ward Councillor, Johanna Skelton, said that teams have been working hard on ngurrak barring through 2022, with major works to come in 2023.

"It's fantastic that this project is rolling out and has a name that reflects layers of meaning – the experience of walking the trails, the significance of the ranges as part of Wurundjeri Country, and the many 'paths' that have been taken throughout history by all who have lived here and felt connected to it," she said.

"There has been such fantastic contribution to this project from our Creative Advisory Panel and our Indigenous Advisory Group for the project, along with community feedback, which is going to help us ensure ngurrak barring is a project that people enjoy for decades to come.

"In terms of where we're at, we've had some great work done so far, in upgrading existing paths around Sassafras and hosting temporary artworks by Peter McIlwain and Renate Crow, which we've received fantastic feedback about.

"Right now, we're planning pop-ups to provide information and hear from community members about works in Kalorama on the intersection, while getting ready for major trail works to take place over summer."

From January, Council will be conducting maintenance works on existing trails on Parks Victoria-managed land as part of ngurrak barring, including:

  • May Moon Track, Kalorama
  • Trig Track, Kalorama
  • Toroa Track, Mount Dandenong
  • Alice Street Track, Ferny Creek
  • Janesdell Track, Ferny Creek
  • Wattle Track, Sherbrooke
  • Sherbrooke Track, Sherbrooke
  • Ridge Track, Sherbrooke
  • Pound Creek Track, Sherbrooke

Cr Skelton said the summer trail works would coincide with preparations for public artwork installations, with interpretive nodes, new trail construction and wayfinding Directional signs to come over 2023 and 2024.

"There are a lot of exciting projects and track improvements ahead for ngurrak barring," she said.

"Council Officers and Advisory Group members planning a nature-based land artwork that will be installed at Kalorama Park, just below the Five Ways intersection, and I'll be we're excited to share more information about this for with the community in coming months.

"The current plan is to have all works complete and every part of ngurrak barring open for the community by the end of 2024 – with artwork and trail sections to be completed in stages before then.

"I hope that this project will not only connect people to places and artists in our local area, but encourage visitors to stay overnight and see more of the Hills.

"I'd encourage everyone in the hills to visit the Shaping Yarra Ranges website to read the latest on ngurrak barring and sign up for updates on engagement and works and events – there will have plenty to share as the project rolls out, and plenty of things we'll want to get your feedback on."

ngurrak barring is one of Council's Ridges and Rivers projects, alongside the Yarra Valley Trail and Warburton Mountain Bike Destination. All projects have received significant funding from the State Government (Growing Suburbs Fund), Federal Government, with investments from Council.

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