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Until we get a better idea this discussion page will be monitored by Tony Blackmore. He undertakes to publish all messages, only removing truly negative comments. These will be kept and available for viewing by "critics".

Send your message, hyperlink or other reference along with your preferred publication name to ahblackmore@acslink.net.au

As of March 15th it's a fairly one-sided discussion.

Railway threadStartLatest
Fence threadStartLatest

Are you ready for the long haul?

As I progress with identifying threats to our park project I discover nineteenth century thinking such as the need to apply for a licence and pay an inspection fee of possibly $400 or more to replant the abandoned garden beds on Jewell Station. ( A Vic Track requirement) This is unacceptable.

If a licence is sought for revegetating any area - seats, paths, BBQ facilities, memorials, artwork or any other permanent fixtures are not permitted.

Access to railway land can be obtained through other means such as leasing but this gets away from the notion of a partnership between Vic Track and the community.

This is by way of a warning that there will be many ingrained policies and practices that will have to be overcome.

If the going gets tough there is an answer. If the social media can get credit for the Arab spring, it can be used to see that public land under the custody of whatever authority gets used for the best public benefit.

AHB March 31st

Who knows the facts about occupancy, custodianship and ownership?

The 1998 study mentions the cost to Moreland City of acquiring land from Vic Track. This would be meaningful if land was intended for substantial permanent constructions, but in the case of this park it can be argued that this usage of railway land is beneficial to Vic Track and its client Metro Trains and that there is a case for them to pay for the park development.

Finding the right people with whom to discuss the railway position is a continuing saga. I am waiting today for the Department of Transport to nominate the right interface. I did speak to a person who asked for me to email what the idea was about - I included the park url - and he would find the right person.

Email sent on March 20th. Now waiting.

AHB March 20th

More width without getting wider

There are hundreds of metres of the bike track where there is a solid wall or high fence immediately next to the track. Given space to move the track 600mm away from the wall adds an effective 300mm added to the width of the bike track. A rider can go right to the edge of the track where the walls would have kept them at least half a handlebar width away.

The 600mm can be planted with appropriate low plants.

AHB March 20th

How close to the rails can we plant?

The 1998 study quotes Bayside Trains as allowing planting no closer than 3 metres from the nearest rail. The reason is to allow for sleeper replacement and weed clearing.

The same study discusses areas where the bike track fence is closer than 3 metres and describes how the wires on a preserved pine post and rail fence can be easily removed for sleeper work. From later statements it is reasonable to expect that this was accepted by Bayside.

An answer:

  • A fence such as weldmesh has easily removeable panels if needed for sleeper work.
  • The aim will be to prepare for planting, and choose such plants that weed clearing will be eliminated or greatly reduced.
  • There is another requirement that sightlines for signals are not obstructed by trees. This seems easy to satisfy.

AHB March 20th

What makes a high class fence?

The aim is to give that park a distinctive character above that achieved by excellent funtional characteristics and thriving plantations. The suggestion to exploit railway history is part of this.

There needs to be something iconic, a symbol or colour, style of park furniture etc. that will be firmly connected to the park and mark it wherever it appears. I can see it like a virus where a bit of land is acquired or otherwise available and our park virus takes over.

The fence doesn't need to be of stainless steel, but it does need a lift above simple weldmesh (for example). The poles can be colorbonded in the park colour and given a special pole cap, the top folded rail can be reinforced in a distinctive way.

Please don't think I'm selling weldmesh, it's just convenient for discussion.

AHB March 16th

Why stop at Moreland Road?

Good question, but there are good answers. Firstly the stretch from Park to Moreland is the oldest and probably the shabbiest and therefore has a strong case for resurrection. Secondly the cost of doing the lot from Park to Upfield would be of such magnitude that those who will be opposed on financial grounds would have a very large dollar figure to threaten the project with.

AHB March 16th

Local business and fences

A key feature of the proposal is the high quality toddler proof fence along each side of the rail tracks. I have suggested weldmesh as typical because the pedestrian rail crossings are an easy to view example, but that is not a definite choice and is perhaps at the bottom end.

Elsewhere I mention the rejuvenated 1.8kms of dual-use track in Joondalup, WA. The original fence was made from preserved pine poles and rails with sheep mesh to fil in the space. The new replacement has sealed hardwood uprights with stainless steel caps, 75mm satin finish, stainless steel top rails and multiple stainless steel cable infillers.

This may be a bit extreme but our goal should - at least - aim for somewhere between weldmash and the West Coast version.

Assuming 2x2kms of fence required and an existing quote for installed weldmesh of $240,000, the per-panel cost is $144. Allow for the higher aim and settle on $200 per panel. There is an opportunity for local business to sponsor (pay for) 1,666 panels. That's not too big a call when divided between all of the businesses operating in the park environs.

AHB March 16th

Architecture and Landscaping

As part of the process of getting this proposal accepted we should identify particular problem areas and apply a maximum brainstorming effort.

My understanding of "brainstorming" is that there is no right or wrong idea and nothing ridiculous. The example below is just off the top of my head and may appear to be nonsense. Don't think of it that way unless you can come up with other approaches.

For a good example consider the east side approaches to Brunswick Station and some reasonable design objectives.

  • The existing station building and platform structure will remain intact, although some bricked-up windows may be restored.
  • Southern boundary is the Albert Street kerb and similarly the north boundary is the Victoria Street kerb.
  • The western boundary is defined by the walls of the buildings on the west side and the Railway Hotel.
  • Within these bounds consider there is a clean plot and the facility to do substantial reshaping.
  • The ultimate objective is:
    • Improve cycle, through-pedestrian and commuter traffic flow and safety.
    • Create a stimulating, plant-based environment.

AHB March 15th

A Peoples Republic?

"Brunswick in Melbourne's inner northwestern suburbs has a long-standing history of resident activism and has been euphemistically known as the 'People's Republic of Brunswick' (Woodcock et al 2009).

Local resident groups have connections to the metropolitan-wide association known as Save Our Suburbs (SOS) and activism has included resistance to intensification and high-rise development."

MAPPING NEIGHBOURHOOD FIELDS OF CARE Ian Woodcock, Simon Wollan, Kim Dovey The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Railway history and the preservation of artifacts.

The park contains many physical reminders of rail days gone by. Spur lines heading off to where? Sidings where trains have unloaded what? and so on.

We should be thinking now of what should remain in place, be removed or re-mounted in a central display location. Take the large white gates as an example. They have real historic value but there are so many there could be culling without much heartbreak.

And think of the gatekeepers' jobs. Waiting in those cute little huts with brick fireplace and outside toilet for the signal to close the gate. Is there an account of this occupation? It won't be too late to interview and document the stories from an old hand.

AHB March 14th


A meeting is being planned for early April for all interested people. If you aren't contacted directly check back here and as soon as available the date and venue will be posted.

AHB March 11th

Railway authorities

A few weeks back I felt that it was necessary in developing this Park idea that any objections that could be removed be removed as early as possible. I set out to get the rail authorities to at least make an in principle "No objections so far" statement.

Vic Track seemed a likely starting place and it was. They referred me to Metro Trains Melbourne, who after 11 days of "research" and forgetting what my MTM case number was all about, referred me back to Vic Track they thought; or maybe it was Department of Transport; no - try Vic Track first.

Vic Track on this second approach said it was Department of Transport. A DOT spokesperson, after the apparently statutary 10 days of research was able to say that they were heading off for 2 months away from the office and someone else would get in touch with me. That was the week ending March 9th.

My new approach: Assume rail authority acceptance and if they object aim higher.

AHB March 11th