Year in Review: Part 2

Welcome to the second part of our Year in Review. Here we will cover May to August.

May – More native animals move into High St

A pair of wandering wombats found a home in High St as part of the reconstruction works.

The Parent and Baby wombat watch over the pedestrian crossing near Sesame Lane and were specially commissioned to complement the echidnas that feature in the northern end of the street.

Artist Dean Bowen sculpted the brass wombats and echidnas with the large parent wombat weighing 150 kilograms. The Lavington Library Owl is one of Bowen’s commissions.

The wombats and echidnas are cast from bronze, are robust and considered appealing to all audiences. They can be climbed on, touched, sit next to and have a photo taken with.

A second Ken Raff piece – Unconditional – was later placed near Woodland Grove.

Similar in style to Raff’s piece How Deep Is … which features in the northern end, the laser-cut silhouette of a boy with his dog speaks of man’s best friend’s unconditional love.

A second set of seating banks, designed in the shape of a rail turning triangle, will also be a place of people to pause and gather, with a nod to the city’s rail history and bookend High St.

The seating banks, designed by Kylie Bickle, are made from weathered steel, railway sleepers and concrete.

The inclusion of public art and functional pieces was a part of the funding agreement with the Australian Government for the four-year project.

May – National Simultaneous Storytime

The sound of maracas filled Wodonga Library for National Simultaneous Storytime.

Wodonga Deputy Mayor Cr Kat Bennett lead a special gathering where she read 2019’s book Alpacas with Maracas written and illustrated by Matt Cosgrove.

The book follows Macca and his pal Al who are the best of friends and love spending time together in this great rhyming story.

When there is an opportunity to enter a talent contest, they just can’t resist.

But what will their act be? Will they shimmy and shake? Dance and prance? It takes them some time to work out they can play the maracas.

National Simultaneous Storytime is an annual campaign that aims to encourage more young Australians to read and enjoy books.

Every year a picture book, written and illustrated by an Australian author and illustrator, is read simultaneously in libraries, schools, pre-schools, childcare centres, family homes, bookshops and many other places around the country.

May – Wodonga Volunteers Fair

Wodonga Council hosted another successful Wodonga Volunteers Fair where we crowned this year’s winners.

This year we renamed the Individual Volunteer of the Year award in honour of Bryan Watson.

The Bryan Watson Award was sponsored by Belvoir Wodonga Rotary Club and was awarded to Reginald Morley.

Reginald was described by the person who nominated him as the ‘king of volunteers’.

He is one of Wodonga’s oldest and longest-serving volunteers, racking up 70 plus years.

The team award was presented to the Friends of Willow Park .

Friends of Willow park work to educate and involve the community in protecting, preserving and valuing parklands.

The group has contributed more than 150 volunteer hours so far this year to enhance the outdoor environment across the entire park, including the bush corridor connecting other parks, resulting in many benefits for the community.

Each year the group hosts a National Tree Planting Day and involves the general public and refugee groups.

The winner of the People’s Choice Individual Award is Keith Quinn.

Keith has been involved with the Wodonga Softball Club for more than 30 years.

During that time, he has been the head coach and coached senior and junior teams as well as coaching within the wider association, spending up to six days a week to ensure children reach their full potential in the sport.

His efforts have seen 14 players achieve state level in the past two years, assisting their training on the Border rather than having to travel to Melbourne during the week.

The public also voted in the People’s Choice Team Award, which went to Wodonga Koorie Youth Network Planning Committee.

The Wodonga Koorie Youth Network Planning Committee support the Wodonga Koorie Youth Network (WYKN), a group of Koorie youth aged 12 to 25 years, that come together on a regular basis to plan, conduct and evaluate fun activities that address their priorities.

June – Gallery’s final exhibition takes a look back

Visitors became a part of Arts Space Wodonga’s final exhibition in June.

Retrospect: Community Installation Project evolved as the community helped create it with a series of installations and activities facilitated by local artists allowing everyone to leave their mark on the gallery.

Artist Vicki Luke lead The Memory Imaginarium featuring a projection of artwork through the years and a series of memory veils.

Susie Losch communicated the transience of the space with Vanitas and visitors were invited to add their own unique clay vessels to the installation.

String conveyed the interconnected relationship of Arts Space Wodonga and the community through an artwork by Beth Peters which included “imprints” of visitors.

June – Lighting it up for safety

Wodonga Council installed 54 new solar lights along pathways in six Wodonga parks, following on from 23 lights installed in and around Belvoir Park last June.

The solar lighting project has been funded through the Victorian Government’s Community Crime Prevention: Public Safety Infrastructure Fund, allowing council to further illuminate our popular pathways.

The most recent lights were installed at the following parks:

  • Birallee Park
  • David Bishop Park
  • Arthur Dunstan Park
  • Frank Krier and George Looms Park
  • Westlands Park
  • James Taverny Park

The lights are solar powered LED lights that will enable residents to travel safely from the CBD, schools and sports reserves to shops and their homes after hours.

They are also low maintenance, cost effective and environmentally friendly.

Wodonga Council Sport and Recreation Officer Ryan McNamara (pictured above) said the new lighting hoped to encourage people to walk and ride to work.

June – Cities launch new arts and cultural festival

AlburyCity and Wodonga Council announced a new four-day arts and cultural festival that will span both cities in March next year.

Upstream will be an arts and culture festival that will give everyone a chance to explore an immersive experience of nationally acclaimed artists and local performers across four days, two cities and one amazing festival.

It will be held over the Victorian long weekend from March 6 to 9, 2020.

A festival of regional significance that draws regional and national visitors to Albury Wodonga, planning is well under way for a celebration of collaboration and connection, art and culture, and local food and beverage.

The program will focus on art installations, theatrical experiences, quality music entertainment, spectacular artistic performers that defy space and height, exhibitions and professional development opportunities.

AlburyCity Mayor Cr Kevin Mack and Wodonga Mayor Cr Anna Speedie launched the new festival and brand saying the festival would be unique to the Border and would have something for all ages.

June – High St opened to traffic

The city’s new-look High St was re-opened to traffic in June.

“You will be able to drive down and park, everything will be back to the new normal,” Wodonga Council’s Manager of Infrastructure and Projects Theo Panagopoulos said.

“You’ll have a lovely street, so I’m really looking forward to this weekend.”

Here’s some quick facts about our new street.

Did you know our new street is greener?

We have added an additional 100 trees to the street, bringing the total to 126.

In addition, each planter box has shrubs to make it nicer for people visiting the area and it’s all connected to our central irrigation system so we can be smarter with our water usage.

Our new street has been improved from the ground up.

This means we have renewed all water main pipes in the street, upgraded our underground drainage system, and we have also angled our parking bays so the water flows directly to the spoon drain.

Our new street is accessible.

Flat surfaces and kerbing make it easier for walkers, prams and wheelchairs.

There are also parallel disabled parking bays to make access to the footpath easier and tactile markers help people who are vision impaired.

Landscapers will continue, mainly in the Woodland Grove area, but that won’t stop vehicles using and parking on the street.

July – Aboriginal mural finds home

A group of young indigenous people left their mark on a wall of Cafe Grove in O’Neill Lane, Wodonga.

In April, 20 young people aged between 5 and 17 attended a three-day workshop at the Albury Wodonga Community College to design and paint a mural, which has now found its home.

Wodonga Council engaged local Aboriginal artist Tamara Murray to lead the design for the mural while working with the group of young indigenous people as part of the Stronger Communities Program.

Ms Murray was mentored by Dr Treahna Hamm, an internationally renowned Yarrawonga/Mulwala contemporary Aboriginal artist.

The mighty Murray River and other elements of the twin cities feature proudly on the large mural.

“It’s great to see the mural up and in such a prominent location for locals to admire,” Ms Murray said.

The work is titled ‘Footprints of Youth’.

“I left the design up to the kids and asked them to think about what it means to live in Albury Wodonga,” Ms Murray said.

“The main element is the Murray River and then there’s symbols like stars that represent family.

“They also painted their hands and pressed them onto the mural to leave their own mark.”

July – Wodonga Council launches new website

A more contemporary look, easier navigation and full mobile responsiveness are hallmarks of the new Wodonga Council website.

It’s the first major redevelopment to the council’s website in more than seven years and follows the launch of a new The Cube Wodonga website earlier in July.

The new council website includes a top hits section in the home page that will change seasonally based on the information being sought as well as consolidating the council’s news centre, consultation portal Make Wodonga Yours as well as Wodonga Major Projects.

New features also include a new events calendar and predictive search and updating key content areas has been a focus in the development of the new website.

The new site halved the amount of pages while improved navigational features makes it easy to find what you need when you need it.

As part of the capital project that was a part of the 2018-2019 budget, The Cube Wodonga website was also updated with a light, bright and modern look.

It too offers improved navigation to help you find out about the venue, and find out what’s happening within the venue.

This site is also device responsive and optimised for all screens.

The Cube Wodonga website can be found at

July – Emerald Oval tender gets green light

Wodonga Council awarded the Emerald Oval construction tender to Southern Cross Developers Pty Ltd.

In July’s council meeting, councillors voted unanimously for the company to build the new pavilion changerooms.

Cr Ron Mildren said he believed awarding the tender was a step in the right direction for the city.

“We’re making the right move having this constructed by a single developer,” he said.

“This tender is the best value for money and the best opportunity to get the job done the way we want it to be done.”

In October last year, the Andrews Government announced $160,000 funding for the pavilion from the Victorian Government Female Friendly Facilities Fund.

The council will provide an $80,000 contribution to the $240,000 project.

The Female Friendly Facilities Fund is part of the Victorian Government’s strong commitment to sports and active recreation, gender equality and to encourage all Victorians to get out there and get active.

August – Albury-Wodonga to host Inland Rail Conference 2020

Albury-Wodonga will get a head start on the massive potential for growth resulting from the Inland Rail corridor, after the border cities won a bid to host the Inland Rail Conference 2020.

The two-day conference is expected to attract 450 delegates – many from the freight and logistics sector – bringing a potential economic boost to the region of $335,000.

AlburyCity Mayor Kevin Mack said winning the conference was a major coup for the border cities, which are strategically placed as a key location on the inland rail route.

“This is obviously fantastic news for the local economy but in the bigger picture, it’s also a golden opportunity for Albury and Wodonga to work together to make the most of the huge potential that the rail route will offer,” he said.

“With direct access to freeway and air links, competitive land prices and our close proximity to 75 per cent of Australia’s population, Albury-Wodonga is a perfect place to invest and that will only improve with the arrival of the inland rail project.”

Wodonga Mayor Anna Speedie said the conference was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the region not only for its many tourism drawcards but also what it could offer for business and investment.

“Together Albury-Wodonga is the 19th largest city in Australia and a strong, growing regional centre,” she said.

“We know we live in a great part of the world and the chance to share it with a key sector that potentially will want to invest, work and even live here is one that offers significant benefit for our community.”

/Public Release. View in full here.