Find out the latest news about the Track and the Foundation before you set off for your next walk.
14 September 2023
On 13 September 2023, we celebrated 25 years since the official opening of the 'new' Bibbulmun Track in Albany.
Over 140 people attended the final event to recognise and thank the many organisations and individuals who contributed to the development of the Track and those who continue to support and maintain it.
The highlight of the event was welcoming the walkers who had set off from Kalamunda on 14 July. The last-minute downpour couldn't dampen their spirits as they walked up York Street accompanied by the Albany Pipe Band and around fifty other walkers who joined them for the last leg.
The end-to-enders took a moment to celebrate their achievement with family and friends at the Southern Terminus before the official celebrations began at the Town Hall.
Steve Sertis, who led the 1000 kilometre walk was elated “It has just been fabulous the whole way, and to finally reach Albany is amazing. The parade was amazing, the bagpipes, the people on the sides of the streets clapping as we paraded up York St."
Annie Smith, said “I just want to do a U-turn and go back!” Annie was one of nine who completed the journey. Along the way they were joined by another 70 people who walked a section, and community members and schools on the approach into each town.
During the event, Jesse Brampton, Peter Bidwell, Jim Freeman and Wes Fokkema were awarded Honorary Life Membership in recognition of their significant contribution to the Bibbulmun Track and to the Foundation. We will profile these people in the coming weeks. In the meantime, Jamie Thanoo, reporter with ABC Great Southern, captured interviews with Jim Freeman and walk leader Steve Sertis. The article can be viewed here.
Sincere thanks to the City of Albany for hosting this event and to everyone who joined us!
We also want to thank everyone who has supported us, with special recognition for our dedicated BTF volunteers, and Lotterywest and DLGSC for supporting all the community events, local walks and other activities surrounding the celebrations.
6 September 2023
Support the Track and WA's Black Cockatoos
This year is the 25th Anniversary of the Bibbulmun Track.
Help us raise much needed funds for track maintenance, with 10% of funds raised going towards Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre, helping save WA's Black Cockatoos.
If you donate $100 or more - email us your receipt if you wish to receive an exclusive Bibbulmun Track headsox (Value $32 with a range of colours) and enter the draw for a chance to win one of five Nemo Equipment Moonlight Reclining chairs. These chairs were lightly used when Paddy Pallin surprised our end-to-end walkers as trail angels.
For a tax-deductible donation, click here.
Why donate to the Bibbulmun Track Foundation
Walking on the Bibbulmun Track is free and we would like to keep it that way.
Your donation will help us to continue to maintain, and improve, the Track and facilities, and conserve the environment through which it passes, to ensure that this wonderful resource is available for future generations to enjoy.
Funds are used to:
- Repair and maintain the 49 sleeping shelters, water tanks and other facilities along the Track.
- Install water bars or steps to stabilise the Track to prevent or repair erosion.
- Replace or improve signage after bushfires or when damaged.
- Prune vegetation and remove fallen trees to keep the path clear.
- Realign the Track as required to improve the experience for walkers.
Much of this work is carried out by our volunteers who contributed over 23,000 hours to Track maintenance over the past 12 months!
This has to be one of the most accessible and well-maintained tracks in the world. You can see the love that people have for the Track every step of the way.
Kirah, Werribee VIC - End-to-Ender 2023.
Ready to Contribute? Donate now to make a lasting impact on both the Track and the preservation of WA's magnificent Black Cockatoos.
6 September 2023
On Tuesday 29th August, the community gathered at the Walpole Hotel-Motel to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Bibbulmun Track. As the Southern Terminus from 1989 to 1998, Walpole has always held a special connection to the track, with the Walpole Workcamp even being established to work on the track – work that continues to this day!
A bit of background on the Track: On 13 September 1998 the new Bibbulmun Track was officially opened in Albany. The Track had been significantly realigned, extended from Walpole to Albany and upgraded with the addition of timber shelters at the campsites.
An official function was held at the Bibbulmun Track Southern Terminus to open the Track and farewell a group of walkers, 11 of whom completed the first end-to-end. Along the way, they were accompanied by sectional walkers. The event was called Bib Walk ‘98.
In 2008, the 10th Anniversary was celebrated by an end-to-end walk starting in Albany.
Even though the official celebration isn’t until 13th September, the Walpole Hotel Motel was packed with people eager for some good food and a cold drink, especially for those walking the track, headed by Steve Sertis, Event Manager for the Bibbulmun Track Foundation serving as the lead guide for the walk.
Upon arriving at the pub, The Weekly caught up with Steve for a quick chat where he expressed how pleased he was with the event. Citing the large number of community members who arrived to show their support and of course, the incredible food provided by the proprietors Kris and Nate, which, I understand, was made entirely from local produce.
Despite the damp weather and grey skies that have become familiar to us all over recent weeks, the sun was shining, and the walk went smoothly with no one getting wet, although there were a few faceplants!
Entering the pub, we were greeted with songs from the wonderful Rob V of Dig the Dust fame– who provided the room with an ambience that made it easy for people to chat. Huge thanks are owed to Jenny Willcox, Dave Tapley and Robyn Christian for their incredible work organising the event, it couldn’t have gone better!
I think Jenny Willcox accurately expressed why the event was organised in her speech: “Today, we gather here to celebrate a milestone that encapsulates the very essence of our deep connection with the land and the spirit of adventure that resides within each one of us. As we stand before the 25th anniversary of the Bibbulmun Track, we are reminded of the remarkable journey that this trail has undertaken, shaping lives, fostering camaraderie, and etching stories of resilience and exploration onto the canvas of Western Australia's natural beauty.
As we take this moment to reflect on the journey that has brought us here, I am reminded of the vital role that the town of Walpole played in the inception and evolution of this iconic trail. Walpole, one of the nine towns that proudly cradle the Bibbulmun Track, holds a special place in the heart of this trail's history. It was here, in the year 1998, that the concept of the Bibbulmun Track was given life. The same year witnessed the establishment of the Walpole Prison Work Camp, a significant endeavour that would provide the workforce essential to erect the walkers' huts and bridges, and to extend the track's course as it reached towards Albany.
The journey has not been without challenges, forging a path through rugged terrain and untamed wilderness demands both determination and vision. However, it was with a collective spirit that the Walpole Community Resource Centre stepped forward, becoming the first registered "Friend of the Bibbulmun Track". The commitment and drive that flowed from this community served as the guiding light that led us through the darkest of forests and the steepest of ascents.
As we stand here today, the Bibbulmun Track stands not merely as a trail, but as a symbol of our unity with nature and our shared pursuit of the uncharted. Its corridors have echoed with laughter, stories, and the footsteps of countless adventurers, each contributing to its legacy, each leaving their mark on its path. Through sunlit days and moonlit nights, the Bibbulmun Track has been our canvas of discovery, inviting us to uncover the untouched corners of our world and to rediscover our own strengths.”
Before I end this article, I would be remiss if I failed to thank Kris and Nate of Walpole Hotel for not only hosting the event but showcasing such an array of local produce for the spread of food. It was delicious guys, thanks!
The day would not have been possible without the generous financial support of Lotterywest, together with Walpole CRC, Walpole Op Shop and the Shire of Manjimup
Regan Marsh, Walpole CRC
4 September 2023
Saturday saw the annual Donnelly Field Day take over Tom Road Campsite, where 13 willing volunteers and Macca from DBCA carried out several tasks in and around the campsite. Several vollies arrived Friday night, welcomed by several groups of walkers, so they enjoyed the patter of rain on tents throughout the night in preparation for the day ahead. The rest arrived early the next morning, ready for action.
The principal task was the construction of a new step between the shelter and the table and fire pit, removing the small slope which could be a slip hazard. The team also incorporated a seating area next to the fire pit - which should be a highly sought-after luxury after a long day on the Track. The team also constructed a new tent site to assist the growing popularity of the section.
The toilet, shelter, and tables received a new coat of oil, gutters were cleaned, all steps and trails in the campsite received some infill of gravel and woodchips, and the signage received a new coat of paint.
A small group also joined Macca to clear and repair a nearby bridge and relocate a track sign to a more visible location.
Everyone pitched in during the day, you can view all the photos from the event here - well done to all.
24 August 2023
When the Long Gully Bridge was destroyed by fire in 2016 the replacement, Bilya Djena Bidi, was built downstream opening to walkers in 2017. It was, for convenience, connected to the existing Track using mostly long boring 4WD roads popular with campers whose 4WD vehicles dig deep holes spanning the entire track width, treacherously deep when water-filled in winter.
The spectacular views of the previous alignment were lost. Add to that the flooding risk when Bell and Chalk Brooks met the Murray River in flood near Tumlo Plantation and walkers had little choice but to wade chest deep through muddy flowing water.
The Foundation’s 2017 Vision Survey highlighted members’ strong desire for the Track to be realigned away from roads. So, a small team of Support Volunteers (SVs) set to work with a list of candidate sections and since 2019 have been steadily constructing realignments after obtaining approval through Parks & Wildlife’s Disturbance Assessment System, DAS. DAS requires documented planning and stakeholder liaison to ensure that all environmental and heritage values are considered and adequately addressed.
Fast forward to August 2023 and, after exhaustive route selection away from roads and including wonderful high points, and DAS, a team of SVs has completed Campaign 1 readying 6.1km of trail. Add to that the sections constructed by a specialist contractor and we’re on the downhill run, so to speak.
The majority of the 17.7km realignment should be ready for walkers by mid-2024 so look for further announcements.