Page 652 - Week 02 - Thursday, 16 February 2017

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Upgrades to this trail will ensure that residents can continue to use the area for recreational activities without putting the natural environment at risk. Community input into the alignment has helped it to ensure the trail is sustainable in terms of its route, usage and management into the future.

The upgrade has delivered a range of safety and access improvements to the trail. New seating and picnic settings have also been installed to provide opportunities for walkers to take in the great views. The trail connects Gillespie Park to points of interest, including the junction of the Molonglo and Queanbeyan rivers, the original Queanbeyan railway bridge and historical river crossing points.

The new trail is largely flat and is a lovely place for adults, children and pets to meet old and new friends as they roam the natural environment. The Oaks Estate river corridor heritage trail also tells stories of our history. Last year marked the 180th anniversary of the building of the Oaks property near the junction of the Queanbeyan and Molonglo rivers. This property was heritage listed in 2015.

In 1836 after Europeans first entered this area in 1822, Robert Campbell from Duntroon built the first substantial stone house in the Queanbeyan district. There are stories about this property on signs at Gillespie Park and along the river.

But, of course, well before then for at least 20,000 years the Aboriginal people inhabited the area. New interpretive signs have been installed along the trail for users to learn about this interesting cultural heritage as well as local sites and the natural environment.

The Oaks Estate community was at the centre of this opening and the event wrapped up with a guided walk by local resident Karen Williams. Karen was a great contributor to the signage along the path and author of Oaks Estate: no man’s land, which was published in 1997.

I encourage walkers, families and pet owners to make the most of our long, warm days at the moment to explore the Oaks Estate river corridor heritage trail. It is a wonderful outdoor resource where you can immerse yourself in the natural environment while being active at the same time.

Menslink fundraiser

MR MILLIGAN (Yerrabi) (5.25): It was my privilege to attend the Menslink big night out at the Southern Cross Club in Woden at the end of last year. Menslink is an organisation that I have been supporting since 2012. This evening was held to raise money for Menslink’s free support programs in Canberra. I want to speak briefly here today to highlight the ongoing importance of the work of Menslink in Canberra.

The evening was a 70s-themed night with 370 attendees who were well entertained by the band Smooth Ops and comedian Tom Gibson. During the evening we heard from Kelly, a mother of a teenager who has been greatly helped by the volunteers and mentoring provided by Menslink.

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