A Christmas reflection
As the years roll on (for some more than others) it’s amazing that in many ways time stands still at Walkerville. At the same time as life in the city and elsewhere hurtles along at an ever increasing pace Walkerville is a time capsule for many of us. The pioneering days of limekiln miners and their families, seafarers in sailing ships. Simple unsophisticated family holidays that are not much different today than they where in the earlier 1900s, when the local farming community enjoyed this peaceful beachside bliss, which goes unchanged into the 50s, 60s, 70s until our current new millennium.
For all those who have been going back year after year with their families and friends to their beachhouses or campsites, and to all newcomers to Walkerville, the WPA wishes everyone a very happy and safe Christmas in this beautiful and timeless place. We hope once again you return home with wonderful memories of great times with good friends.
What’s cooking [or not cooking at Walkerville] at the moment
The main focus of the last 6 months has been working with “Parks” towards a solution for the landslip problems on limeburners track. At the same time we have been meeting with the South Gippsland Shire who are now the gazetted managers of Bayside Drive which is the main artery that serves all sorts of activities.
We have also had several new members join the association online and our website is consistently averaging about 200 hits per month by people wanting to know more about Walkerville.
Lines of communication between the WPA the foreshore committee, the DS&E remain as they have always been… simply non existent. We don’t exist as far as they are concerned and they refuse to engage with us. A simple request in letter to the foreshore committee of February this year asked for the dates of their meetings and an update of the new management plan proposals has of today brought a defining silence, despite promises from the DS&E that they would respond. We recognize a dead duck when we see one and will deal in the future with organizations that are less ignorant and less contemptuous of us.
Shire of South Gippsland
As a result of the shire taking responsibility for Bayside Drive many of the issues in the DS&E management plan that were previously kept from us will now go through a more transparent process with the shire which should enable more input from local stakeholders than has been experienced in the past, where 12 members of the foreshore committee where the sole arbiters of what happened [or didn’t] at Walkerville.
Issues such as recreational improvements with picnic facilities, toilets, parking, signage, photographic lookout points, landscaping and a lot of other issues outside the caravan park will be under the shires control. Whereas previously they sat (and sat and sat…) with the foreshore committee.
It is anticipated that a meeting will take place in the new year to discuss ways forward on the issues mentioned above and outlined in our recent letter to council. Some of the “horrendous” issues proposed were.
- Council and Parks Victoria working together to provide a photographic opportunity and lookout,for what is arguably one of the best views overlooking Waratah Bay and Wilsons Promontory on the “loop road” behind Walkerville… better than the great ocean road.
- Two similar lookout windows in the shrubbery on the road down the hill into Walkerville North
- Improvements to picnic facilities at the end of Bayside Drive at holt Street and the adjacent hall, and similar improvements at Waratah Street.
- A visitor “friendly” guide / orientation / historical significance / where to buy coffee / nearest café / distance to tidal river etc. etc. map at both “North”and “ South”encouraging people to get out of their car and check out the old cemetery or limekilns, have a swim at Walkerville South, which is a gorgeous little beach (weather permitting).
- Making sure water / toilet facilities are up to scratch.
- Landscaping the whole parking / turning area at “North”.
We feel none of the things mentioned above take away from timelessness mentioned in our opening address, but rather supplement the experience. Even a hundred years ago people needed basic access, toilet and water facilities for their families and needs are no different today. Making Walkerville deliberately unappealing to visitors to keep the status quo is unacceptable, managing a process of careful modest sustainable improvements is the way forward.
Parks Victoria and the limeburners track
Whereas the role of the DS&E is confined to environmental issues with little regard to the human perspective, “PARKS” have a proven track record of providing ways and means of meeting societies need to enjoy the natural beauties of our country while at the same time ensuring that these wonderful places remain sustainable for all future generations to enjoy.
There have been several meetings with Parks and local community groups about the closure of “limeburners track” due to serious land slippages. The main limekiln has also had to be barricaded off due to structural cracking in the abutments.
PARKS are genuinely exploring ways of keeping access to the cemetery by utilizing beach access, they built new steps up from the beach at the “bluff”and are currently looking at opening “limeburners track” during the dry summer period where there is less likelihood of “slippages”.
Most people [including the author] were unaware there where other kilns at “North”, to compensate for the lack of access to kiln number five, Parks have opened up kiln number one (see below photo). All in all Parks are working towards a solution which opens up more of the history of Walkerville but at the same time providing safe access. Walkerville could be a jewel in the crown for Parks Victoria and maybe the Government of the day can be encouraged to support their restoration works. Future generations will thank them.
The WPA supports Parks efforts and thanks the local manager Bill Gurnett for his inclusiveness and perseverance and we look forward to working co operatively with them in the future.
The WPA is nothing more than a voice for ALL stakeholders at Walkerville whether they are residents and property owners, or one of the thousands of campers, day visitors or guests of property owners. Constructive contributions and ideas that would benefit the human experience at Walkerville are welcome and can be directed through our website… these ideas are passed onto the relevant authorities for their consideration. They hate working in a vacuum… tell them what you think would be worthwhile.
Very few people have taken up the option as yet of sending us there favourite Walkerville photo for posting on our photo gallery for posterity. All we need is the photo (hard copy or electronic) with a caption and a year. You can upload them online here. There must be some great memories out there (even black and white) that you have to share. Give it a go.
Steve Graham – Pres. WPA