New Creswick Heritage Walk takes in University of Melbourne Creswick Campus
University of Melbourne’s Creswick campus is one of two new private land partners included in the Creswick Heritage Walk, which was launched in December.
The Creswick Heritage Walk is the latest addition to the Goldfields Track, which unites the gold rush towns of Ballarat and Bendigo. It connects the heritage-listed La Gerche walking trail to the Goldfields Track, which until now could only be accessed separately and then by car.
A special feature of the Creswick Heritage Walk is that it’s a three-way public, private, and community partnership. Most heritage trails go through public land and are ultimately managed by the public landowners, according to Gib Wettenhall, the President of the Great Dividing Trail Association (GDTA).
“The Creswick Heritage Walk adds a whole new dimension. Besides Parks Victoria and the Hepburn Shire Council, we have brought two new private land partners on board – the University of Melbourne and forestry giant Hancock Victorian Plantations,” says Mr Wettenhall.
“This has allowed us to link a chain of cultural and natural heritage features that were previously only separate fragments. We have united them into one beautiful whole which I like to think of as a chain of linked jewels.”
Gib Wettenhall speaking at the Creswick Heritage Walk launch at the gates of the University of Melbourne Creswick campus.
Starting at the centre of the town from the Visitor Centre, the Creswick Heritage Walk is an 8.5 km circuit, which will take the average visitor two to three hours. It encompasses La Gerche’s 135-year-old stands of conifers and extensive oak gully managed by Parks Victoria, broad views from atop the Hancock Victorian Plantations’ Creswick pine plantation, and winds through the original goldfields architecture and arboretum within the University of Melbourne’s Creswick campus.
The arboretum features a collection of trees that have been nurtured for over a century by scientists ranging from plant geneticists to mathematicians. In addition, the campus buildings are home to the Creswick Campus Historical Collection: more than ten thousand artefacts of forestry education beginning from 1910, when the campus was built.
The campus is the first stop on the Creswick Heritage Walk. Covering 15 hectares of land, the University of Melbourne’s Creswick campus is located between native and plantation forests, the Victorian Timber Training Centre, and Creswick Landcare Centre. It is Australia’s only dedicated forest ecosystem science campus.
Deputy Mayor of Hepburn Shire Council Don Henderson acknowledges the need for Creswick to develop its own distinct attractions and identity beyond the spas and indulgence of Daylesford.
“Just as Hobart has the MONA Museum, the Creswick Heritage Walk could become part of a mega-package of walking tracks and bike trails that act as an economic driver for the region,” he says.
The Creswick Heritage Walk map is available at the Creswick visitor centre.