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Drop-in to learn about RidgeWalk

Published on 02 May 2019


Yarra Ranges residents and visitors are can learn more about the RidgeWalk project in a series of public events to be held in the hills through May.

The sessions, being held in Kallista and Kalorama, will be a chance to learn about the project, see the proposed route and chat with staff working on RidgeWalk ahead of the Draft Master Plan’s release in June.

Read about the background of RidgeWalk

Yarra Ranges Mayor, Tony Stevenson, said that conversations with community members had shaped the project to date.

“RidgeWalk will be so much more than just a trail through the hills – it’s going to be a space for education and culture, bringing to life the stories, art and landscape of the Dandenongs along a 39km trail.

“Through 2018, staff and consultants spoke to residents and visitors about art, history, transportation, recreation, parking and tourism, to gather feedback and start creating the draft Master Plan.

“That feedback has been vital – we’ve had community and history groups help shape the route and share their knowledge, to help us make this project the best it can be.

“I encourage everyone to come along, hear more about this project and share their thoughts with us, so we can keep doing just that.”

Drop in sessions

Drop in sessions will be held at:

  • Grants Picnic Ground, Kallista Tuesday, 14 May, 8-11am
  • Karwarra Gardens, Kalorama Saturday, 18 May, 1-4pm

An information night for artists will be held at:



RidgeWalk is now fully-funded, thanks to funding from the Federal Government ($2.3 million) and its Regional Growth Fund ($3.5 million), the State Government’s Growing Suburbs Fund ($2m) and Council ($2m).

The project will tell a story about the environment and landscape of the Dandenong Ranges and how artists and the community have responded to life in the area.

Council commissioned Bronwyn Hanna History & Heritage to undertake a Cultural Study in 2017, to inform the RidgeWalk project.

The draft route for the trail has been created by consultants from Arterial Design and Urban Initiatives, who are also creating the Draft Master Plan.

The route will include connections and upgrades to existing tracks, as well as the development of new trails.

The current draft has multiple entry points, and connects Upper Ferntree Gully, Upwey and Belgrave to Montrose and Mt Evelyn, through Ferny Creek, Sassafras, Olinda, Mount Dandenong, Kalorama, Kallista and Sherbrooke.

The trail route will be a key component of the Draft Master Plan.

Community members will be able to share feedback on the Draft Master Plan when it's released in June.

Click here to read a summary of the Cultural Study (PDF, 127KB) or the proposed route for RidgeWalk (PDF, 2MB) , click here.

RidgeWalk is one of the four Rivers and Ridges projects, including the Warburton Community Recreation Precinctthe Yarra Valley Trail and the Warburton Mountain Bike Destination.

Project background

8 result(s) found

  • Background


    Led by Yarra Ranges Council, RidgeWalk brings together diverse partners including the Wurundjeri Council, Parks Victoria, VicRoads, local businesses, cultural institutions, schools and community organisations. The project is fully funded to $9.8 million dollars, with contributions from The Australian Government, Victoria’s Growing Suburbs Fund and Yarra Ranges Council.

  • History and culture

    History and culture

    RidgeWalk will connect townships physically, through a series of trails and pathways, but it will also highlight the connection between story, community and place to give visitors a deeper cultural experience.

    The Dandenongs have been a place of Aboriginal culture for at least 40,000 years. Working with the Wurundjeri Council and the local Aboriginal community, the project will explore the region’s precolonial and post-European Aboriginal history and culture.

    RidgeWalk will place these traditions and stories at its centre, including the responses of Aboriginal people to colonisation and ongoing community practice to the present day.

    There are numerous iconic Australian art works that feature the Dandenong Ranges, including William Barak’s “Ceremony”, Eugene von Guerard’s “Ferntree Gully in the Dandenong Ranges” paintings, landscape paintings by Heidelberg School artists such as Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton, modernist landscape paintings by Fred Williams, who lived in Upwey, and the art of Yorta Yorta artist Lin Onus who drew on the rainforest around his home in Belgrave as inspiration for his art.

    In 2017, Yarra Ranges Council commissioned a cultural heritage study aimed at examining the historic and ongoing dialogue between art and landscape in the Dandenongs. 

    Developed in collaboration with local historic groups, both the cultural heritage study and the Aboriginal heritage study serve as a thematic guide for RidgeWalk.

  • Art


    Art, both historic and contemporary, are central to RidgeWalk. 

    RidgeWalk will provide a way to interpret and reflect stories surrounding the thriving cultures, rich histories, distinctive ecosystems and unique townships of the region.

    RidgeWalk will feature permanent works and a rotating contemporary art program of new media, sculpture and performance.

    Works will be site specific and conceptually fit within the project’s overall theme of art and landscape.

    This framework is designed to establish and maintain consistency along the trail, so that a clear narrative remains at the core of the ongoing creative response.


  • The environment

    The environment

    RidgeWalk will promote responsible use of the forests and is an opportunity for education and celebration of the significance and diversity of the natural environment.

    The project will increase collaboration between Council, Parks Victoria, traditional owners of the land and local environmental groups to ensure its conservation and sustainable use.

  • The trail

    The trail

    The proposed trail route for RidgeWalk was established through extensive community consultation and rigorous site evaluation to determine the best option in terms of user experience, local connectivity, accessibility to node and artistic sites, minimal environmental impact, and proximity to existing parking infrastructure and public transportation.

    The project proposes new trails and upgrades to paths that will be consistent with the natural environment.

    Click here to view the proposed trail route (PDF, 2MB)

  • Universal access

    Universal access

    Many sections of the walk have been designed to cater to visitors with diverse abilities.

    However, due to the steep gradients, some parts of the RidgeWalk are not universally accessible.

    The location of nodes and artistic sites have been identified with consideration of their universal accessibility to ensure all users can enjoy the rich cultural experience of RidgeWalk.

    These sections will be flagged on maps and along the trail to inform users of the trail conditions.

    All signage, interpretation and digital guides will be developed with consideration to various abilities.   


  • The Master Plan

    The Master Plan

    The purpose of the Master Plan is to detail the vision of the project. It will provide instruction, inspiration and guidance for the design, construction and ongoing educational, tourist and community engagement opportunities within the project.

    The Draft Master Plan will include:

    • Detailed map of the route
    • Cultural framework outlining project narrative and core themes
    • Design approach outlining layers of interpretation methods
    • Concept designs for nodes and artistic sites
    • Technical summaries of associated reports and assessments for

    traffic, parking and movement and economic modelling

    The Draft Master Plan will be available for community consultation in June.


  • Timeline


    The project timeline features a number of stages.

    Master Plan
    February 2018-April 2019


    • Cultural Study
    • Aboriginal Cultural Study
    • Initial community engagement
    • Cost Plan
    • Parking, movement and transport assessment
    • Financial and economic impact assessment
    • Secondary community engagement
    • Stakeholder endorsement 

    Detailed Design
    April 2019-September 2019


    • Permits and approvals
      • Bushfire management
      • Ecological assessment
      • Cultural heritage
      • Aboricultural assessment 
      • Site surveying
      • Detailed drawings for path infrastructure
    • Curatorial and Activation Plan
    • Nodes detailed design
    • Wayfinding and signage detailed design

    September 2019-late 2022


    • Artists briefs
    • Nodes documentation
    • Wayfinding and Signage Plan

    Construction Phase
    September 2019-late 2022


    • Trails and path upgrade
      • Artworks
      • Breakaway zone
    • Wayfinding and signage

    Click here to see the RidgeWalk Timeline Document (PDF, 129KB)

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