History of the Bywong & Wamboin Greenways Project
Public demand for riding trails in the Bywong (originally known as Gearys Gap) and Wamboin locality first arose in the early 1980s, and in 1985 the Yarrowlumla Council established a working party to develop a Shire-wide approach to a Greenway network that resulted in the Council adopting “Access to the Countryside” as their Bicentennial theme in 1988.
In 1989, the then Geary’s Gap Community Association (GGCA), now the Bywong Community Inc, developed a case for the establishment of the first Greenway in the area. The GGCA held public meetings as part of the public consultation process. As a result of community action and support, the Yarrowlumla Council provided an initial grant to establish the first Greenway in 1990. Two key residents in developing the concept and negotiating with Council, were the founder of the local Pony Club and later Shire Councillor, Suzanne Ridley and the late Julian Thompson.
In 1991, the Yarrowlumla Council established a Steering Committee to recommend a network of Greenways and to advise on general land use, fencing and any associated issues. Another role of that committee was to liaise with adjoining landowners and to advise them of the proposal. It also became evident to the steering committee that the conservation values of many sections of the Greenways were very high. This was because most proposed Greenways were Crown road reserves. As a consequence, they were protected from clearing, and where fenced, from grazing.
This added considerable impetus to the creation of the Greenway network, as they would provide wildlife corridors that are now recognised as essential to the welfare of flora and fauna. Strong support and technical advice was received from well known local environmentalist, Geoff Butler.
In 1995, the Yarrowlumla Council implemented a pilot Greenways project in the Bywong and Wamboin locality.
A maintenance committee was established as a permanent s.355 management committee of council.
GRoW : Expansion of the pilot Greenways network
2010 – More than 30 people attended a meeting on 20th April 2010 to share information about the existing Greenways network in Bywong and Wamboin and to discuss what could be done about improving the network and potentially expanding it.There were many excellent contributions from a wide range of participants and the overall mood and outcome was extremely positive.
The outcome of the meeting was to form two groups – the Friends of the Greenways to support Greenways maintenance and potential development, and to have a smaller Greenways Renewal Working (GRoW) Group to develop a clear strategy for maintenance and possible development of the Greenways.
2011 – The first community public walk was organised by GRoW, and held in September 2011.
2012 – Link from Warramunga Close/Woolshed Lane (Track 2) with Norton Road opened in August 2012, and included an open day and a community walk.
2013-2016– An annual program of community public walks (Happy Heart walks) were organised by GRoW and held each year.
2014- The Donnelly Links tracks between Millyn Road and Donnelly Road were re-opened for public use. New Greenways signs were erected at either end, and money was fund-raised by the GRoW group from the community to pay for these signs erected by Palerang Council.
2014 – A Green Army arrived in winter to do rehabilitation works for the greenways network – planting trees and re-routing some tracks to reduce erosion. A collaboration of user groups- Bywong Community Association, Geary’s Gap Landcare, Geary’s Gap Pony Club, PLANS , s.355 Committee and GRoW- in the area had prepared a plan of works in collaboration with Palerang Council, in anticipation of the Green Army arriving.
2016- A public meeting was held in November to discuss a master plan for the Greenways.
2017- The last community happy heart walk was held on Australia Day January 2017.
2017- Preparation of the greenways master plan was discussed between the s.355 Committee and GroW, and draft plans were prepared.
2018– A Greenways Master Plan (Version 1.1) was published in December 2018.
All Greenways website pages are currently being maintained by Nora Stewart. GroW group. Last updated 22 August 2020.
You can find us on FaceBook – Greenways Bywong and Wamboin