After 24 years restoring the Gateway Island parklands, Parklands Albury Wodonga have handed the stewardship of this significant regional park to the City of Wodonga.
Almost 400 hectares were gifted to Council by the Commonwealth and Victorian State governments, as of November 2023.
Parklands are very proud of what we have achieved as a community Committee of Management for Gateway Island over the past two decades. With many thousands of volunteers, the in-kind support of local businesses and service clubs, philanthropic donations, fundraising and grants, the transformation of the island has been very much a community partnership.
In early days the land looked very different, with cleared cow paddocks used by the old dairy farms right to the river’s edge. Our initial task was to fence the restoration areas, remove old farming infrastructure and revegetate with native species. Now the restored areas rate a biodiversity score of 86/100, provide significant natural habitat and recreation opportunities for our community.
Community achievements with Parklands on Gateway Island over the past two decades include;
- The creation of 15km of public walking trail circumnavigating the island. This involved fencing, removing woody weeds, revegetation, fabricating and installing pedestrian access gates and numerous boardwalks to allow all-season access;
- The High Country Rail Trail ‘Tree Top Trail’ linking Wodonga Rail Trail to the Wagirra Trail in Albury along the old rail line, involving the restoration of five rail bridges to allow pedestrian access;
- Establishing the Gateway Island Community Farm with the regional CALD Community
- Interpretive signage along walking trails and wetlands featuring First Nations stories and artwork and local history;
- First Nations artwork along the sealed River Red Gum trail;
- Clearing many hectares of woody weeds, particularly False Acacia to restore native habitat;
- Establishing a native botanical garden;
- Installing nest boxes to support arboreal mammals, resulting in an increasing population of endangered Squirrel gliders;
- Numerous community events such as pram-a-thons, dog runs, the Murray Marathon running festival, expert-led walk & talks, spotlighting night walks, seed collecting workshops, citizen science workshops, First Nations bush crafts workshops and park stewardship mornings to list but a few.
Our website documents many of the people and organisations who supported this restoration work over the years. Parklands would like to express our great appreciation to you all for joining us on the journey to improve the biodiversity of Gateway Island and make it a place for our community to connect with nature. While the work of caring for nature is never done, Parkland’s official role in the restoration of Gateway Island is.
We commend this very special part of Wodonga to the care of Wodonga Council.