Sunday, January 05, 2014

Outer Circle Line Day 4 The Final

It was forecast to be 23 degrees with a cool breeze, along with it being first day I have had free for nearly a month, which made it the perfect day to complete my walk of the old outer circle line from Fairfield to Hughesdale.

Walk 1 was from Fairfield to East Kew.
Walk 2 was from East Kew to East Camberwell.
Walk 3 was from East Camberwell to Ashburton.
Walk 4, this final one, was from Ashburton to Hughesdale.

I caught the train from Flinders Street Station to Camerberwell and changed to the Alamein shuttle train. Unlike the last time, the change of trains went smoothly. The train passed by the sweet little and graffiti free Willison Station.

I left the train at Ashburton and discovered a little wall garden growing on the High Street bridge.

Looking back towards the city where the line widens to double track from single track. There is a siding to the right.

Ashburton used to be our local shops when we lived in the area. It was, and appears that it still is, a good and quite busy shopping centre. I noticed that are now many places to have coffee and food that weren't there in the early nineties.

I have seen these markers in places where you aren't on a road, such as at Albert Park Lake and along the water front at Spotswood. They make sense as it is difficult to identify your location by street names when you aren't near a street.

Alamein Station, the last station on the line. It was built in 1948 when the line was extended to service the new government built housing commission estate. Of course there was the original line that ran from Ashburton to Waverley Road Station, but that was fully removed in 1940, the steel used to to make bullets to shoot at the Hun and Japs.

There are still some of the original Housing Commission houses but most have been altered almost beyond recognition.

A quite neat original.

While it offended many good housing tenants, a politician was heard to proclaim that you can easily tell which houses are rented and which ones are owned.

This is much more like the current housing standard in Ashburton, many being built on the bones of the original housing commission stock.

Good to see the railways keeping up with the latest technology.

Whoa, someone has nicked the train track. I am not sure of why there is a fibre optic train cable running along where a train hasn't run for 100 odd years. I knew of some staunchions south of Alamein Station, I had no idea they stretched for about one kilometre, complete with power lines.

The photo on this information board would be taken not too far away from where I was standing in the photo above. It was most likely farmland, maybe with some cows, perhaps an orchard or two and market gardens.

Through the trees I could see Sacre Coeur Girls School in Glen Iris and the Eureka tower at Southbank. I am about ten kilometres from the city.

This is the last of the staunchions.

The wires drop down into Gardiners Creek valley and disappear, I assume underground. The original train line to Waverley Road Station crossed the valley on Black Bridge. So why is there a kilometre of staunchions that have never seen a train? Clearly there were serious thoughts of extending the line when the Alamein extension was built.

From The Argus, 1947. Mr M. J. Canny, one of the Rail- ways Commissioners, said yesterday that the name of the new station had not yet been decided (Alamein). The new line might eventually be extended three-quarters of a mile to East Malvern, along the old Outer Circle route.

This photo from the State Library was taken in 1926 and shows the timber Black Bridge over Gardiners Creek valley, long after the trains ceased to operate.

There is certainly some good infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians. The path then curves to the left....

....and here I am on the bridge over Gardiners Creek. A little upstream from here Scotchmans Creek joins Gardiners Creek. To the right of the visible path is the Malvern Valley Golf Course. I have seen this land underwater in the 1980s when the creek flooded. It was quite spectacular.

A billabong with an appreciative wading bird. I crossed the golf course, protected from round white missiles by high wire fencing, open at some parts.

The bridge over the Monash Freeway to East Malvern Station is quite new. Note it is walled in over the freeway to prevent the youf dropping things on cars passing by below.

Ramps lead down to the station platform.

No one knows what a freeway looks like, so here is a photo. After crossing the bridge, I became a little confused as there seemed to be two linear parks. I followed the wider one, but I discovered something later that may be relevant as to why there are two linear parks and which the train may have run along.

I reached Waverley Road. In the 1980s this was rough and open parkland along where the Outer Circle Line ran. The then City of Malvern decided to turn it into an urban forest. Thirty years later, that is exactly what is there. I remember our dog running through the newly planted park with its many native bushes. It now feels very much like Australian bushland.

I wasn't aware of this, but within the Urban Forest are the embankments for platforms of the Waverley Road Station. I think I worked out where they were. A duck doesn't mind that this billabong water is a bit murky.

T'was very peaceful and pleasing to see that dog walkers kept their pets on leashes so as to not scare any wildlife.

I crossed the 'Great Three Chain' Dandenong Road from the City of Stonnington to the City of Glen Eira and entered through this attractive rustic gateway into the last section of the Outer Circle line park. To the left across the road is the southern end of the Urban Forest and the hoardings hide an area that used to be a large car sales yard.

There was so much seating along the linear park from City of Booroodara, through the City of Stonnnington into the City of Glen Eira, but very very few seats in the shade. Why? I had just come across one under a lovely shady tree, but there was a boy on his bike staring up into the tree and looking for something, right at the seat. I didn't think it would look good if sat there. Fortunately I came across this shelter and had a rest, some nibbles and a drink.

Is this not a splendid golden elm?

You can see I am back in the posh area. A very grand house peeps down on me.

I would say this house is quite new, but decorated in the Federation Style, and very nice it is too.

Drinking fountains now often have a dog drinking tap, but mostly not a bowl below. This one is very well done.

A play area for children but there was a girl sitting in part of it, thus again a child in the way of a better photo.

Here I am at the end of my journey, roughly near where the Outer Circle line joined the now Pakenham and Gippsland line.

Up the ramp to the modest Hughesdale Station and off home.

I have since seen a map and learnt that there was also a north west curve connecting the Outer Circle Line to the mainline at East Malvern. Could that be the reason for two linear parks south of East Malvern Station? Probably not, just a thought.

I am very excited to learn via Jayne, that a documentary on the Outer Circle Line is in production. I can't wait.


  1. Thanks for taking us on a walk around the Outer Circle Line. It must have been a fun experience. I only have to be away from blogging a few days and I miss heaps of your posts. So I have been catching up. I like your variety.

    1. I enjoyed it very much Diane. It is a decent walk but with a focus.

  2. What a great walk!
    When I was back in Norman, it was kind of disconcerting to see how much things had changed. I suppose a part of me had believed it would still be the same.
    The Elm is gorgeous.

    1. Rubye, Norman seemed smaller too than you remembered? Elms are my favourite tree, after Japanese Maples.

  3. Ahhh, this is why you were in our backyard at Hughesdale the other day, catching a twain with a revolting gourmet.
    I've cycled that track a few times, it's really good, only takes about 1 hour to get into Flinders St via the path leading up along Gardiners Creek, so pretty in places.
    That Ashburton Bike shop is great! Really superb service and friendly attitude all around, highly recommend it.

    1. Yes Jayne, I would have walked a little further and knocked at your door for a cuppa, but I had walked quite far enough for the day. When Bone Doctor was living in Murrumbeena, she usually cycled to work at Epworth or Royal Melbourne using the bike path. For some reason the path does not seem to go under Glenferrie Road, I have noticed. I don't thing the bike shop was in Ashburton when we lived nearby. Good to hear your recommendation.

  4. Your two very grand houses look amazing, one that we can fully see and one that we can only guess at. Which street were these two houses in? I would love to go and have a look.

    1. Looking at the Melways now Hels, the Federation style one is on the corner of Gilsland and Wilson Streets, Murrumbeena and the older one I think is the last house in Wahroonga Crescent.

  5. Nice. I really enjoy seeing the results of your travels.

  6. Looks like a lot of variety on that walk!! The bird is a White-faced Heron (why did they ever change the name from Blue Crane??!!) if anyone cares ... I think the wall garden is SO cool - but I wonder who harvests all the stuff??!!

    1. Red, I didn't know they were the same bird. I think the wall garden is quite self sufficient.

  7. I enjoy walking around the suburbs with you, I lived my childhood out in Fairfield but the one in Sydney I didn't know there was one in Melbourne.

    1. Thanks Merle. Fairfield is not a big suburb but well known enough here.

  8. This is interesting for me to see what lies on the outskirts of your town. There seemed to be some thought put into the planning to include open park areas as well as the residential parts. I assume the increase in road usage meant the decline of rail expansion.

    1. Fun60, the parkland was all a result of the outer circle line and a lack of any will to do anything with it after the trains ceased to run. I assume the government gave over the land to local councils. Yes, cars saw an end to expansion of heavy rail, even though people are now clamouring for rail improvements. The closed parts of the outer circle line were never economic from the beginning.

  9. "No one knows what a freeway looks like" hahahaha! you joker.
    This was quite a pretty walk for your last stretch. I used to be able to walk that far...
    I really like the idea of a bowl for dogs at the drinking fountains, here in Adelaide a lot of cafes put out empty icecream containers with water in them near the outside tables for dogs to get a drink while their owners have their frothy frou frou coffees.

    1. River, I am getting better at these longer walks. My feet don't get so sore. It is quite an attractive part of town. For a while we even had our own cafe for dogs.

  10. Regarding the stanchions having south from Alamein, they were installed in the 1950s as part of upgrades to the railway electrical system - they carry cables from the substation at Ashburton to the Glen Waverley line:

    1. Marcus, I thought that was probably the case and I guess the Vic Track fibre optic cable runs between the two lines. So although the staunchions carry power, clearly there were still thoughts of extending the line in the fifties.


Before you change something, find out why it is the way it is in the first place - unknown.