Read this post for an introduction to the trail. If you wish to follow the features as you go, click on the link to the walkingmaps version at the bottom of this post or download the brochure here Walking Tracks – Avenel Historical-1
Maybe this is a bit of a stretch as a strathbogierangesnatureview post because it is more heritage trail than nature trail. However, it does include Stewart Park featuring Hughes Creek and I am confident natureview readers will appreciate the heritage side of the trail as well. Avenel is a very pretty early Victorian rural township. The trail features natural beauty, parks, gardens and period architecture while taking full advantage of comprehensive signage throughout.
A good place to begin is the town origin (1838) at Hughes Creek crossing. Park at the corner of Henry St and Scobie Street South, Avenel 3664. Informative signage for the trail begins here, including maps and Ned Kelly Trail markers. 100m uphill, find the Royal Mail Hotel (1847) Cobb & Co staging post.
Walk downhill to examine the historic sandstone bridge (1859). Ned Kelly lived in Avenel (from 1863) aged 8 to 12. He saved 7yo Richard Shelton from drowning 150m upstream. Enter Stewart Park from under the bridge. Magnificent river red gums line the trail. Hughes Creek was fertile territory for Taungurung hunting and fishing. Scar trees and artefacts mark their presence
At the corner of Queen St and Ewings Rd view the historic police residence (1870s) and Court House (1876). Also, see a Ned Kelly Trail sign. Note, if you follow this to the Kelly Farm, add 1.3km to the trail. Admire the CFA roses over the road. A cemetery visit comes later.
A cluster of churches. Consider the galvanised renovation of Avenel–Nagambie Uniting Church (1886). St. Paul’s Anglican (1913) is a picture of neatness. St Mary’s Catholic Church (early 1900s), features a grand Kurrajong tree and stained glass windows. Amongst them sits Avenel Memorial Hall (1963). Avenel Lawn Bowls Club (1959) features meticulous groundskeeping of natural grass.
Coming of the railway (1872) created businesses 1.5km from the town origins. A number remain. The Post Office (1880) is now a General Practice / Pharmacy with food service! Opposite, is the site of the original General Store (1870s). Once operated by Gadd Brothers, it sells antiques, possum and merino products. The current Post Office / store is next door.
Maintained by volunteers, Avenel Station is an enthusiast and gardener must see. Across the railway, Harvest Home (1870) presents a beautiful hotel restoration. Further down Bank St, find more historic buildings: Bank St Pizza (Bank of Victoria 1873), 1800s cottages, the domestically renovated Grain Store (1870) and church, butcher (1950s) and baker (1930s) shopfronts.
Unless you want to play golf down the road, return to the Cemetery Queen St entrance. The lawn cemetery is colourfully ornamented with many plastic flowers. Observe the grand Arthur Bayley grave. He discovered gold in Coolgardie, WA. In contrast, Ned Kelly’s father “Red” has a very modest grave site (1866).
Avenel has a proud history of fine gardens. Livingstone St presents an opportunity to enjoy more of them. Pay your respects in the Great War Memorial garden. View the well maintained cannon.
Ned Kelly went to Avenel Common School (1856), replaced by Public School No. 8 (1874). Next door is the original Teacher’s residence.
Above Stewart Park, contemplate historic markers and the grave of an early resident drowned in Hughes Creek below. The Imperial Hotel site (1872) is Avenel Pub. You might feel like refreshment. Opposite, spot the remains of Whiteman’s Garage (1936).
Return to your beginning by reentering Stewart Park. There are some high quality informational signs that really do warrant reading.
Stewart & Jubilee Park: picnic tables, BBQs
Jubilee Park: toilets, potable water, playground, pool
Dogs leashed & under control