O’Keefe Rail Trail Axedale #OnePlaceJoys

The O’Keefe Rail Trail

When I saw the prompt one #OnePlaceJoys, I immediately thought of the O’Keefe Rail Trail. Whenever I’m on it, either riding my bike or walking, it really does gladden my heart. I like to think of the rail trail, as my ‘happy place’. I’m sure it brings much happiness to the residents of Axedale also, as it’s existence enables families to exercise in safety, away from the traffic. I love seeing others enjoying the trail as much as I do.

The O”Keefe Raiil Trail is a disused train line between Bendigo and Heathcote, a distance of approximately 45 kilometres. Axedale is situated about halfway along the trail. Trains stopped running in 1956. The disused trail remained unused until the first section of The O’Keefe Rail Trail was opened in 1993. There are plans in place for the trail to continue on from Heathcote to Wallan. It is envisaged that in the future it will be possible to ride the entire distance, from Bendigo to Melbourne, on the O’Keefe Rail Trail. I truly hope that I’m healthy enough to do it, when the time comes.

OKeefe Rail Trail

When I was living in Axedale, I loved being able to ride or walk outside the front gate, and almost immediately, be on the rail trail. As a keen cyclist and walker, I’m a passionate advocate for the O’Keefe Rail Trail. The safety of the rail trail is perfect for families. Cyclists also feel safe on the rail trail as they are separated from the traffic. I would have appreciated having a rail trail, such as The O’Keefe, so that my children and I could have ridden our bikes in peace and safety.

axedalethenandnow.com

As an added bonus, The O’Keefe Rail Trail is very scenic. Venturing along the trail, you will pass through many different types of scenery. There really is much to see, including nature reserves and box ironbark and yellow bark woodland reserves. Very little remains of the former train stations along the trail, but where possible they are marked with station signs.

Axedale – Then and Now
axedalethenandnow.com

History on the Rail Trail

In 2018 a traditonal railway goods wagon, which was once used by the Railways, was placed on the rail trail, to honour the railway line. The railway wagon was covered with graffiti, but has since been restored by volunteers.

axedalethenandnow.com

Bike Repair and Water Stations

The Friends of the Bendigo Kilmore Rail Trail have installed to bike repair stations on the trail. One of these is situated at Axedale Park. These stations provide a rack for hassle free bike repairs, repair tools and a foot inflated pump for pumping up tyres. This repair station is a great asset for the Axedale community as well as the rail trail, as locals are able to use it for their bike repairs. Situated near the repair station is a potable water station, which can also be used by the community.

axedalethenandnow.com
axedalethenandnow.com


http://www.railtrails.org.au/trail-descriptions/victoria/northern-victoria?view=trail&id=100
http://www.bendigokilmorerailtrail.com
http://www.heathcote.org.au
http://www.bendigoregion.com.aiu/explorebendigo
O’Keefe Rail Trail brochure
O’Keefe Rail Trail A4 map

©2021 copyright. All rights reserved axedalethenandnow.com

The Axedale Platypus

The Axedale Platypus is a sculputre that sits alongside the Campaspe River on the Axedale Riverwalk. In 2013, the Axedale River Reserve was rejuvenated, and the platypus was an addition that was made at the time. The reason for choosing a platypus as the sculpture to depict Axedale, was because native playpus are known to inhabit thie Axedale section of the Campaspe River.

environment.nsw.gov.au

Victorian artist, Yvonne George was the artist selected to create a sculpture depicting “an exciting aerial view interpretation of a platypus, moving through and creating, rippled water movements” – axedale.com.au

Before the form of the statue was decided, the artist held an outdoor workshop at the River Reserve, with residents, who gave her their inpu, and contributed ideas towards the design of the statue.

The finished statue is made of steel and stands over two metres tall. If you are on the Axedale River Walk, which is abutts the Reserve, and forms part of the O’Keefe Rail Trail, you cannot miss the imposing presence of The Axedale Platypus.

Along with the installation of the Platypus structure, at the Axedale Riverwalk, there are now native plantings, new picnic tables and benches.

The Axedale Riverwalk is a beautiful and peaceful place to visit in any season, and while there, I never tire of looking at this sculpture. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen a platypus in the river, but I always look when walking or riding by.

From: The Riverine Herald, Saturday, 07 March 1908, Page 2

ROCHESTER.
PLATYPUS IN THE CAMPASPE
Friday. March 6

In yesterday’s “Bendigo Advertiser” a paragraph appeared, re the finding of a platypus at Axedale, and also stating that the animal is rarely found in Victoria. There are numbers of Ornithorinchi, in the Campaspe, in the neighborhood of Rochester, and on any evening, they can he seen disporting in the deep holes, by anyone who can keep quiet.

The rivers in Gippsland, notably the Morwell, Tyers, Tarwin, and the Traralgon Creek are alive with them. In the Morwell river a dozen can be seen at a time in one hole. There is also a goodly number in the Merri and Hopkins rivers at Warrnambool. The Gellibrand and Carlisle Rivers, in the Beech Forest are a favorite haunt. Dozens of streams, which the writer has visited, contain the animals, but they are generally to be found away from towns. – The platypus is far from being extinct in Victoria.

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This sign can be seen on the Axedale Riverwalk

*Ornithorinchi – refers to Ornithorhynchus anatinus which is the species name of the platypus, sometimes called the duck billed platypus. The platypus is a semi aquatic, egg laying mammal.

Sources:
ROCHESTER. (1908, March 7). The Riverine Herald (Echuca, Vic. : Moama, NSW : 1869 – 1954; 1998 – 2002), p. 2. Retrieved February 24, 2021, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article114862518
wikipedia.org

©2021 copyright. All rights reserved axedalethenandnow.com

O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon

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Recently, a previous post, the O’Keefe Rail Trail  was highlighted. This has become a very popular cycling trail from Bendigo, through Axedale and to Heathcote.  Axedale is a major destination, as the halfway point. Many ride the route Bendigo-Axedale-Bendigo, with more experienced riders riding the entire route and return.

Last Sunday, 1st May, the inaugural O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon was held and as the article in the McIvor Times, below, shows, the event was a huge success. There are plans to make it a permanent event on the calendar of Fun Runs.

Another win for the Axedale and Heathcote communities. Big congratulations to all who competed.

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Transcription: Runners from all over the country braved unexpected cold, wet and windy conditions to tackle the rail trail course on the historic O’Keefe Rail trail joining Bendigo and Heathcote.

Eighty-two marathon runners braved chilly early morning conditions at Bendigo’s Catholic College in Junortoun after a long night of wild weather across the district, led out by pacer and current Victorian marathon champion Brady Threlfall.

Another 460 people also ran in the other events including the quarter and half marathons to bring the total to 552 participants overall.

District runners enjoyed a home course advantage, with 13 year old Jamie Cook of the Bendigo Harriers Athletics Club in his first marathon coming home the winner in a fantastic time of 2.34.10 prompting many to comment they could be looking at a future Olympic champion.

Cook said he was overwhelmed by the win, which he wasn’t expecting considering he was running in his first competitive marathon against far more experienced runners, but was also delighted with how the race progressed.

“I was a bit worried because I thought it might get a bit lonely out there on the trail, but there were so many spectators and volunteers out there cheering us on, it was a great run.

“The conditions were tough with a really big head wind, but it was good to get out in it. It’s important on a course like this one to hold yourself back at the start because it’s a challenging course and you risk not having the energy to finish,” Cook said.

The women’s race was won by Sarah Jalim of White Hills and a member of the Bendigo University Athletics club, who was running in her 10th marathon.

Jalim finished eighth overall behind the top seven male runners, and with the assistance of Threlfall in the later stages of the race, achieved an impressive time of 3.12.26, beating her previous personal best time by 18 minutes.

The times of the winners highlighted the O’Keefe Rail Trail could be considered the fastest off-road, nonbitumen marathon in the country.

The placegetters in the men’s marathon were Kennington based runner Stephen Freemantle in a time of 2:46.49. Third place and 45+ winner was David Meade, a past Australian Triathlon Champion, in 2:53.25 and another local Bendigo athlete from the Bendigo University Athletics club. In second place for the women’s race was another Kennington based runner Els Viester running a 28 minute personal best with a time of 3:30.11 and another member of Bendigo University. Castlemaine resident Karina Taylor was third with a time of 3:47.34 and also first in the 45+ female category.

The most popular event on the day numbers wise was the unique Ekiden Relay supported by Bendigo Stadium over the Marathon distance, one of only two relays in Australia run over the marathon distance.

A total of 29 teams with 7 runners each had 203 athletes battle out the unique event with runners waiting at change over points along the trail for their chance to run.

The Ekiden was won by one of the four teams from the ‘Eaglehawk Athletics Club’ in this case the Men’s team in a time of 3:06.45.

Second place was the ‘Castlemaine Park Runners C Team’ just behind the winners in 3.08.12, while third place was a local team called ‘The Year Of’ made up of Bendigonians.

The comradeship of the event was evident with several teams joining their last runner to all cross the line together in a show of unity.

A total of 112 athletes started in Heathcote for the 21.1km half marathon, sponsored by the Athletes Foot, Bendigo.

Runners ran out just past Lake Eppalock into a stiff head wind and returned back the same way with a tail wind to the finish.

Ben Fahy was the winner in a time of 1:21.21 from Bendigo Harriers athlete Ben Stolz 1:22.50 and another Bendigonion Luke Crameri 1:25.01.

Victor Cook of the Bendigo Harriers was first in the 45+ age category with a time of 1:32.29.

The women’s half marathon was won by Rebecca Cladingboel of Moama in a time of 1:32.53, while Mia Franzmann of Shepparton was second and winner of the 45+ age category in 1:36.04, and Jacinda Herrett of Wharparilla was third in 1:38.49.

Another 80 runners ran in the challenging quarter marathon course over 10.558 km’s from Heathcote.

Star local athlete and Victorian state representative Matthew Heislers from the Bendigo University Athletics Club won in a fast time of 37.12 as well as taking out the Under 18 event.

Sean Williams of Edithvale 39.12 was second and Philip Barrett of Essendon third 41.44.

The women’s Quarter Marathon and also the Under 18 event was won by state representative and one of the brightest rising stars in distance running Taryn Furletti.

Just 13-years-old, the Seymour teenager from the South Bendigo Athletics club ran exactly 44 minutes.

In second place and also winner of the 45+ age category was Vicky Gunn 45.32 of Moama from Cindy King 46.02 of Edithvale.

A total of 43 runners and many of them juniors took part in the O’Keefe Mile and it was the girls that won the day with Bendigo Harriers athlete Zahli Drummond winning in a time of 6.24.

The first boy over the line was Oscar Fox in the Under 11’s in a time of 6.35, while other age category winners were Isaac Willits (U15 boys), Georgia Smith (U11 girls), Jude Barrett (U9 boys) and Renee Ford (U9 girls).

The final race was 500m for the 8 years and under runners, with 32 youngsters eager for their time to shine on the O’Keefe Trail.

Even the challenging conditions the weather threw at the district with its deluge in the early hours of the morning and its resulting mini floods, ferocious winds, rubbish and debris thrown about did not deter the runners and their families, event director Sandra Slatter ecstatic with the success of the event.

“Securing Mandalay Resources as the gold sponsor of the event for three years to ensure its financial future is vital for it to be viable”, Ms Slatter said.

“With 188 participants coming from outside the region as well as the locals to participate, the race is attracting participants from all over the state and country and bringing significant funds into the region.

“True community spirit was ignited with over 100 people volunteering, the vast majority locals from Heathcote, to ensure the event ran effectively.”

 

Read more here   about the O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon from the point of view of a competitor. Jane Anderson from  Toolleen Country Retreat Boarding Kennels ran her first marathon, very successfully.

*Toolleen is about 10 kilometres from Axedale.

Sources: mcivortimesnewspaperdirect.com     and  jane.run