17 April 2024

A new walking trail has opened in Trawool, showcasing the region’s beauty and designed to encourage more people to spend time in nature.

Gawarn Baring (meaning Echidna Track in Taungurung language) is the result of a collaboration between Goulburn Valley Water, Taungurung Land and Waters Council and Biik Cultural Land Management. The project has been supported by a $250,000 grant from the Victorian Government’s Recreational Values program.

The 5km return track provides a new challenging path for locals and visitors alike and is also expected to boost local tourism by providing more opportunity for nature-based experiences.

The natural earthen trail has been designed in line with the landscape’s existing footprint, with new directional signage to improve accessibility and navigation.

Gawarn Baring takes people from the starting point at the Goulburn Valley Highway along the Falls Creek footprint to the historic Trawool Reservoir.

It showcases the vistas of the Trawool Valley, as well as taking people through mixed eucalypt forest, granite outcrops and creek bed areas on the outskirts of the Trawool State Forest.

As part of the project, the Trawool Reservoir has been reimagined into a new fishing destination to complement the walking track.

In partnership with Victorian Fisheries Authority, thousands of native fish have been stocked into the lake, and two new fishing platforms created from recycled materials have been installed near the reservoir’s picnic area.
Now decommissioned from the water supply network, the naturally-filling reservoir on Falls Creek was constructed in 1895 and was a key part of the Seymour district and regional railway’s water system. It features a distinctive granite ashlar masonry wall, and some of the original water supply network from the early 1900s is still visible.

Goulburn Valley Water Managing Director Steve Capewell said Gawarn Baring aimed to encourage a new generation of visitors to discover the Trawool Reservoir.

“Finding new and innovative ways to encourage people to get active in our area, while also transforming an unused water reservoir into a new destination in regional Victoria, is a fantastic outcome,” Dr Capewell said.

“We know how important accessing natural spaces and water resources is to help improve health and wellbeing, and reimagining this space into a new recreation activity is something we’re really proud to support to help increase liveability in our region.

“Gawarn Baring showcases what can be achieved through a genuine partnership that is designed to create outcomes that will leave a lasting legacy for the region and our communities.”

Gawarn Baring will also help showcase the history of the region and of the reservoir, as well as local cultural heritage. As part of the development of the project, a number of significant Taungurung artefacts were discovered in the area, particularly at the reservoir.

The earthen track has been designed, delivered and managed by Biik Cultural Land Management, in line with traditional land management practices, and has helped enhance and protect the local environment and waterway health by removing overgrown blackberry and noxious weeds.

Taungurung Land and Waters Council Chief Executive Officer Matt Burns said the Gawarn Baring trail showcases flora and fauna of Taungurung Country in a location that has been protected and improved by Taungurung land management practices.

“TLaWC is proud to launch this trail alongside our project partners, demonstrating positive results built on a shared advocacy for healthy Country that can be enjoyed by visitors for generations,” he said.  

The development of Gawarn Baring has also been supported by a number of local businesses, consultants and contractors, many of whom donated time of expertise towards the project.

Gawarn Baring has also been designed around recycling and upcycling principles, with the new fishing platforms created from reusing a floating works barge from a previous project.

In a nod to local water supply history, the walking track’s entranceway features old water pumps which have been transformed into a gate.

Visitors can find more information at gvwater.vic.gov.au/gawarn-baring