Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Outer Circle 3

My third walk of the old Outer Circle Railway Line linear park began at East Camberwell Station. I have already walked to East Camberwell from Fairfield. Check back on the first post for the map.

The section from East Camberwell to Ashburton was connected to the City to Box Hill line, now the Belgrave and Lilydale lines, and electrified in 1924. Some sections were single track but it is now dual track until just before Ashburton. I caught the train to East Camberwell and set off on a pretty warm day.

The walkway from the station seems to pass through a private development. More likely public access was maintained when a private development went ahead on public land. It may be units for retired folk.

To the right of the walkway was this gazebo in a locked private garden.

To use railway parlance, the down Alamein train has just passed over the top of the up line. There is a good bit of over and under here as lines sort themselves out to head in different directions.

I would guess it was about here where the Outer Circle Line was disconnected so many decades ago. The alignment and lie of the land just seem right, but I have no other evidence apart from vague maps.

The first station is Riversdale and I am about to cross Prospect Hill Road.

Closer view of the station.

The houses are quite substantial. This is known as a Californian Bungalow, sometimes abbreviated to Cow Bung. It is fairly original looking condition.

This is one of about four signal boxes around Melbourne that still have operators because trams cross the railway line and apparently in this modern computerised age, a train and and tram can't intersect without human interference. While they are quite high tech, it appears that some of the equipment is original. The operator still throws levers but they are all electric now. I crossed Riversdale Road to the eastern side of the line but what appeared to be a council depot blocked my path, so I crossed back to the western side. I believe a spur line used to run off into the council depot.

When there is an outward curve on a platform, as a train arrives, the shutter rises to give the train driver a cctv view of people boarding and alighting from the train. We don't have guards on Melbourne trains to signal to the driver that all is well to start.

Frog Hollow, a decent sized park.

The kind of house and garden only money can buy.

And another.

These two are a bit odd. Real Tudor, you know!

The Outer Circle linear park is part of the Anniversary Trail. The anniversary of what?

Willison Station, known as Golf Links in its early days.

I am now at Hartwell Station. I took a wrong guess and veered away from the line after Hartwell Station, originally called Hartwell Hill.

I took a break from the sun and had some nibbles and water in Toorak Road. I knew what was coming, a hill. Toorak Road is not really the most restful places, but there was shade. Local gay male readers of a certain age may recognise the Hartwell Railway Bridge very well.

Yes, a hill to climb. It was not that steep but I am from Melbourne, not Sydney. I don't have the right leg muscles for hills.

'Tis a very odd thing that I had forgotten where the bridge over the railway line was after Burwood Station. I thought it was closer and I would be able to get a decent photo. It is too hot to go back. I had walked on a path to your left along the railway line. Burwood Station was formerly known as Hartwell.

It is certainly a decent cutting.

The up train from Alamein is approaching. Note the signals on the left. We lived adjacent to them.

Our old house in Prosper Parade. It did not have a second storey when we lived in it and nor a double driveway. The area was known as Burwood but after we left, the suburb changed its name to Glen Iris. I reckon that would have added $10,000 to the price. We bought the house from the original owner, a widow, who assisted, or maybe hindered her husband with the design. I would describe the exterior as faux grand. Note the Jacaranda tree to the right. It will be in full bloom now. The falling leaves and the falling blooms drove us crazy, but the pleasure of seeing it in bloom compensated.

We lived here from about 1988 to 1991. We spent a bomb on renovations, with knocking down solid brick walls and all that is involved. Mortgage interest rates were 17.5%. Most of the garden has been changed but there are still some familiar plants. I am pleased to notice that the three years I spent eradicating oxalis was successful. A dab of liquid glyphosate with an artists paint brush on each leaf eventually killed the tiny bulbs that spread madly if they are disturbed by a garden fork.

I wonder if the current owners know they have to poke wire into the small  porch roof drain pipes to keep them clear and prevent flooding. I cannot remember if this Japanese Maple was here when we were or not. Fed up with the expense and time needed to maintain a large house, we sold and moved to a unit, mortgage free, although that did not last long.

There is the railway signal, right across the road from our house. The line soon becomes single track and trains would sit at this signal and wait for the preceding train to clear the single line. I learnt that a red over red signal means stop and wait until a green over red signal appeared. 

There wasn't a made path when we lived here, just a track. R used to park his car in the shade of the trees. His car was vandalised one night. Hard to believe in such an area.

The nearby Summerhill Park, where we often walked our two dogs.

There were certainly no lorikeets around back then.

Before Ashburton Station is a siding, where trains were stored overnight until they became vandalised way too often. (originally called Norwood)

The two tracks down to one.

With one more station on the line, Alamein, the single line passes under High Street.

Off peak the Alamein train operates as a shuttle to Camberwell Station where you change to a city service with a waiting time of a minute or two. I remember the convolutions well from when we used to catch the train. The shuttle train I caught back to Camberwell was late, and so I missed the city connection and had to wait 12 minutes for the next. Here is another of the shutter blinds covering up cctv screens. I don't know that the signals are all about.

It might be too far for me to walk in one hit, but the next section I will walk is from Ashburton to Hughesdale.


  1. I enjoyed that walk, thankyou very much!
    There's a chappie on a FB group who's asking for info as he's making a TV doco on Le Outer Circle...could be interesting.
    Ashburton - Hughesdale is a good un, but, again, take plenty of water, there's a couple of hills - but, omg, the billabongs in the park are superb :)

    1. Jayne, thank you. I find it a bit puzzling about making a doco about the Outer Circle. There won't be any film footage and only some poor photographs. I would watch it of course, but I can't see it going ahead.

      Thanks for the hills alert. I shall take my speedos and have a dip in the billabongs.....ah, forgot, R has banned me from wearing speedos. Too old indeed!

  2. An interesting post. I doubt I would have the stamina for such a long walk, but I enjoyed taking it with you from the comfort of my chair!

    Thanks for letting me know about the bridge Andrew, I've edited that post with (this time) the correct info giving recognition to you for it. Not only did I have the wrong date, I had the name wrong. I can't believe I didd that, I must be slipping - getting doddery in my old age!

    1. BFG, I walk slowly and take plenty of 'need to take a photo' breaks. I feel shame at my lack of fitness. Actually, it is that my feet get sore that stops me walking further. My job is a sit down one.

      Well, I got the date wrong in my comments on your post too. Your edit had the correct year. It is a very old bridge, but being built to carry heavy trains, has survived to it being able to carry heavy trucks.

  3. Loved this walk. Megathanks.

    1. Thank you EC. I hope you are enjoying your 'home alone' time.

  4. I'm tired now just thinking about all that walking, time to put my feet up and find something cool to drink, I'm learning a lot about Melbourne from you.

    1. Merle, you probably now know more about the Outer Circle line than most Melburnians. The walking is an effort, but also makes me happy that I made the effort.

  5. It looks like a lovely leafy area. I love that Japanese maple. I killed mine :(

    1. Ah yes Fen, the leafy suburbs. After we left our Burwood unit to live in Balaclava, our neighbour suggested we wanted to be more among our own kind. She meant no harm and even though she is in her late eighties, we still receive a card from her at christmas.

      Maples grow slowly. I think it must have been there when we lived there, but I can't remember it.

  6. That was a trip on the memory lane ! Your former house looks beautiful ! I love to travel in a train, at least you see something of the landscape !

    1. Gattina, it was quite nice inside. It had a formal lounge room and a formal dining room, but we never really used them and sat and watched tv in the kitchen area which had a bar bench to eat at and comfortable lounge chairs, unlike the antique one in the lounge room.

  7. Isn't it nice to see a home you loved and being taken such care of continuing to be loved and cared for! That "Cow Bung" (I'd never heard the term) is known in the USA as California Craftsman. Also Arts & Crafts style. Southern California is filled with them. (We had one in San Diego that was built in 1924.) As for the "real Tudor," I remember those in many neighborhoods in NY. They called them "Mock Tudor," which I always thought kind of peculiar.

    1. Mitchell, I never thought about it, but yes, it is nice to see the place well looked after.

      The Californian Craftsman is a fine and solid house, but they tend to be quite dark and gloomy inside.

      We have the odd mock Tudor, but not many. Few enough for me to want to take a photo.


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