The Walking Volunteers are a group of individuals who enjoy exploring areas on foot.
They aim to assist others to share in this pleasure, an aim which is summed up in their slogan: ‘It’s exhilarating and healthy’
They believe that walking is one of the most effective and economical ways to:
- combat obesity
- fight pollution, and
- reduce congestion on our roads.
What they have achieved
- Commencing in 1999, and then known as the North Sydney Walking Volunteers, they worked with North Sydney Council to develop a 45 km network of six connected circular walks, each with its own brochure.
- In 2001 they saw the need and designed a Lane Cove to Harbour Pathway to be built in connection with the Lane Cove Tunnel project.
- In 2002 they started identifying the many little known pedestrian laneways, steps and routes throughout North Sydney. Many pedestrian opportunities, such as lanes and steps at the end of streets shown as ‘no through way’, lanes hidden behind walls and gardens or made to appear private were documented.
- In 2003 a working relationship was established with Willoughby, Lane Cove, Mosman and North Sydney Councils to map and sign pedestrian routes disregarding Council boundaries and to display each others’ brochures. Since then, Hunters Hill, National Parks and HarbourTrust have joined in.
- In 2003 they assisted STEP Inc in the production of two new Walking Tracks maps, ‘Bungaroo & Roseville Bridge’ and ‘Northbridge & North Harbour’.
- In 2004 they assisted the Hunters Hill walking volunteers in the production of ‘Walks in Hunters Hill’ brochures. Hunters Hill then joined with them and became the North Shore Walking Volunteers.
- In 2004 they produced the ‘Walking North Sydney’ brochure.(New edition 2008 being finalised) This publicised the pedestrian opportunities and encouraged people to walk to work, school, the shops, picnics etc. The opportunities are being signed with location maps. The brochure brought together the wide range of Council’s walking publications, which are now downloadable from its website. The brochure won a 2005 Local Government Award, and is being copied by the City of Geneva, from whom one of the ideas in the brochure originated.
- In late 2004 DIPNR offered funding to extend the area they covered, and this has resulted in between September to December 2005 the release of three Regional Brochures, A Harbour Circle Walk, Harbour to Great North Walk and Harbour to Spit Walk and (the latter being jointly funded with Mosman and North Sydney Councils). To produce these brochures the Volunteers have worked with ten local councils, three State and one Federal body, an example of how volunteers can work in partnership. The Volunteers are now known simply as the Walking Volunteers.
- These three brochures, together with the Great North Walk, the Harbour to Hawkesbury Track and the Manly Scenic Walkway make up a comprehensive network of over 400 km of walking tracks which might become the model for further expansion. www.planning.nsw.gov.au/harbour click Walking Sydney Harbour. The main routes are being marked by the Volunteers with the internationally recognised ‘yellow bar’ system, and posters advertising the Network are being installed. They have been so popular there has been two updates and reprints, now jointly funded by the partner bodies, of a further 300,000 copies.
- In late 2005 working with HarbourTrust, Mosman Council & National Parks a joint brochure Walking Middle Head – Taronga to Balmoral.