In the early 1970’s, the Albury Wodonga Development Corporation instigated an ambitious urban development project with a vision that included significant linking parklands based on the unique, bio-diverse nature of the region.
Initially, the various parcels of land were owned and/or managed by a range of organisations which included the Albury-Wodonga Development Corporation (AWDC), the Victorian Department of Conservation and Environment, and the NSW Department of Land and Water Conservation
Planning required significant input not only from the landowners, but also from interested community members, various service and special interest groups, commerce and industry. In the first step of the process, a management committee met periodically to develop a framework for the management of the regional parklands. Early management and administration was undertaken by AWDC.
In September 1996, a plan detailing the landscape and open space strategy for the region was completed. This plan was based on the vision of establishing ‘the most magnificent regional parklands in Australia’ – a task to be delivered by a community based Committee of Management in partnership with the Albury Wodonga community.
In January 1997, Parklands Albury Wodonga was incorporated in both states and the Committee of Management became the Board of Directors. In 2004, Parklands became a company, limited by guarantee.
Since this time Parklands Albury Wodonga Ltd has implemented a strategic open space plan in the Albury Wodonga region, developing relationships with community organisations and business, securing government and philanthropic funding and coordinating with partners to deliver significant environmental and social outcomes. With the support of the community Parklands has:
- Restored native vegetation to 3,300 hectares of degraded hill country surrounding Albury-Wodonga (McFarlanes, Federation, Huon, Baranduda and Nail Can Range area), involving erecting more than 130km of stock exclusion fences; planting hundreds of thousands of native seedlings; removing hundreds of hectares of woody weeds by hand and undertaking considerable broadleaf weed control,
- Delivered hundreds of community engagement and education events and Ranger led volunteer programs to community members of all ages and abilities, providing innovative and accessible opportunities to connect people with nature,
- Supported regional community, Landcare and Friends groups to achieve their aspirations for environmental restoration, outdoor recreation, community gardening, climate change action and sustainability,
- Created many kilometres of recreation trails, built lookouts, facilities and information shelters, installed wayfinding and interpretive signage and park maps,
- Maintained 74km of the Hume and Hovell Trail in NSW,
- Restored river frontage along the lower Kiewa River, portions of the River Murray in the Gateway Island and Padman Park areas, and important tributaries including Six, Seven, Eight and Nine Mile Creeks,
- Developed the 120km High Country Rail Trail (revegetation, trestle bridge restoration works, construction of new footbridges and upgrades to existing footbridges; track surface upgrades, signage, barriers and railway platform restoration works),
- Restored and conserved 18 heritage buildings at the Bonegilla Migrant Experience Heritage Park; developed visitor services; produced information booklets, website and promotional information; organised Back to Bonegilla community events and secured National Heritage listing for the site.