Alpine Walking Track.

The State Government held an interest in developing tourism in the Victorian Alps as far back as the early part of last century, which at the time were considered as “Wastelands of the Crown”.

A ministerial tour on horseback was arranged in March 1915 to develop firm proposals, but intervention of WW1 a few weeks later pushed the idea onto the back burner.

A suggestion for long-distance walking track across the Victorian alps then came from the Field Naturalist Club of Victoria in 1948.

Ideas and maps were put forward by the Parliamentary State Development Committee in 1952.

However, it seems there was little support from bushwalkers at the time so the idea languished.

So it took until 1968 for the idea to resurface again with a proposal from Maurice Harkins, Director of Tourism Victoria, and keen bushwalker.

The revised initiative for an Alpine Walking Track was accepted by the Ministry of Tourism, which then provided a sizable grant towards the project in early 1970.

Most of the proposed route crossed State forest and used many existing 4WD tracks as links to reduce costs. 

The Forests Commission Victoria (FCV) became involved in the planning, mainly through its then Forest Recreation Officer Stuart Calder.

Foresters John Morrow, John McDonald and Rus Ritchie were also keen contributors.

The FCV took the construction authority role because the challenges of building a walking track of this magnitude, in a remote mountainous location, was well suited to its experience and skills.

Work started in October 1970, and by 1976 the Victorian segments of the Alpine Walking Track were completed.

The route was marked with distinctive yellow diamond markers, some of which still exist today.

Victoria’s Alpine National Park wasn’t proclaimed until 1989.

However, it took until the 1990s for the track to extend through the Kosciusko NP in NSW to Canberra.

The AWT is now 655 km long, with about 400 km in Victoria. It starts at Walhalla and ends at Tharwa, ACT near Canberra.

It takes about 2 months to walk “end-to-end”.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/forestcommisionheritage/permalink/5405572436135729/

https://www.victoriasforestryheritage.org.au/community/recreation/556-the-alpine-walking-track.html

https://www.facebook.com/groups/forestcommisionheritage/posts/4612184598807854

One thought on “Alpine Walking Track.

  1. Peter,
    Good stuff. I walked this track in November 1976, as soon as Aldo Penbrook and I finished our final forestry exams at ANU. I wrote an article in the magazine Outdoors and have some photos, hopefully could provide if I can find them.

    John

    Liked by 1 person

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