The Latest Footsteps Newsletter from South Australian Recreation Trails Incorporated (SARTI) and the Lavender Federation Trail
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Not every day is spent building the Lavender Federation Trail, after all we want everyone to know about and enjoy walking the trail. There are times the members of SARTI stop to promote the trail. Seen here earlier in the year at the Walking Season Open at Belair. You can also see a glimpse of the new trail promotion banners.

Footsteps Newsletter

Volume 16, Issue 3 - November, 2017
In this issue:
  • Walking SA Awards.
  • Churchill Fellow Terry Lavender OA and Appeal
  • Walking The Lavender Trail - Manoora to Murray Bridge
  • Planning Ahead: SARTI at Mintaro
  • Trails, Livestock and Dogs.
  • Bits and Pieces.

Walking SA Awards:-

SARTI was the recipient of several awards at the Walking SA Awards evening on Thursday 12th October at Bowden.

The entire text accompanying each of the awards has been reproduced in this newsletter. The number of recipients now receiving Footsteps has more than doubled over the past few years. We thought it may be of interest many receiving this newsletter about the history of the Lavender Federation Trail and the procedures SARTI undertake during the design, planning and construction of a trail. 

2017 Special Recognition Award - Group / Organization.

Graham Hallandal accepting the Walking Award on behalf of South Australian Recreation Trails Incorporated from Wendy Keech, Chair of Walking SA.

The award citation reads:-
South Australian Recreation Trails Incorporated (SARTI) has been building walking trails since 1999. The major project of the 100% volunteer group has been the Lavender Federation Trail.

The Lavender Federation Trail is now an established part of the walking trails network of South Australia involving many thousands of hours of work by a small, dedicated group of volunteers. The concept of the trail came into being after a group of walkers began to look for interesting walks in the hills to the east of the Mt Lofty Ranges and found to their surprise a wealth of good walking country. With high ridges, dramatic gorges, stately peaks and sweeping panoramas never explored by walkers before. This resulted in a series of public meetings being held which resulted in the formation of SARTI (South Australian Recreation Trails Incorporated) and the establishment of a volunteer Management Board.

The aim of the SARTI Board was to build a trail from Murray Bridge to Clare and on the way, passing near small towns so they may enjoy economic benefits from users of the trail. Originally called the Federation Trail to celebrate the centenary of Federation in 2001, it had its introduction to the public in September 1999 when around 200 walkers traversed a section of the proposed trail from Murray Bridge to the Monarto Recreation Reserve. After the death of Terry Lavender, the first Chairman of SARTI & a strong driving force in the trails establishment, the trail was renamed the “Lavender Federation Trail in 2004.

Local cooperation & involvement
The policy of SARTI from its beginning was to have representatives on the Board from local Councils as well as representatives from the walking community. The support from all five Councils has been exceptional both in monetary and in “in kind” support.The policy of SARTI is to work closely at all times with local landowners & keep them fully informed. Before a new section of trail is commenced, the local Council sends a letter to all landowners adjacent to the proposed route of the trail with SARTI contact details if they have any concerns. The cooperation of local landowners has been excellent. Initially, some are naturally skeptical about strangers walking along unmade road reserves adjacent to their property. After a section of trail is opened however, most welcome the extra “rural watch” assistance & find walkers take care of the outdoors they enjoy and some are now our biggest supporters.

Much of the Lavender Federation Trail traverses private land with the approval of the land owner. On one section of trail between Dutton & Eudunda, the local land owner offered their property as access for the trail, built the trail and will maintain it.

Local Benefits
The object of the SARTI Board has always been to route the trail as near as practical to smaller rural towns thereby giving an economic benefit to area. Many hotels, accommodation facilities, restaurants and food outlets adjacent to the trail have reported increased trade that they can attribute as coming from walkers using the Lavender Federation Trail.

Several large groups, some traveling from other states, have walked the entiretrail in one continuous walk over several weeks utilizing local accommodation and facilities each day. Articles contributed by participants have appeared in several national walking and outdoor magazines.

When a new section of trail is opened, local organizations are invited to take part in the organizing and running of the event. Local volunteer organizations cater for those attending thereby raising funding for local projects and local businesses set up displays. Usually around 200 attend these openings. The opening of the Truro to Eudunda section of trail opening event was a recipient of an Australia Day Award for the best community event in the Goyder Council Region in 2015.

In the future
Trail construction for 2017 is now well underway.

It is planned to construct a section from Manoora to Mintaro and then onto Watervale in the Clare Valley by the end of 2017. At Watervale, the Lavender Federation Trail will connect the Riesling and Rattler trails to the Heysen Trail thereby opening around 1700 km of continuous interconnected trails together. From Watervale the Lavender Federation Trail will head north to Clare via Spring Gully Conservation Park, its planned finishing point, 320 km from Murray Bridge.

At Murray Bridge a section of the 450 km Murray Coorong Trail will share part of the Lavender Federation Trail.

Ian Pool, South Australian Recreation Trails Incorporated.
2017 Winner Award Category: Special Recognition Award – Individual 

Ian Pool accepting his Award from Wendy Keech, Chair of Walking SA.

Major contributor preventing the Lavender Federation Trail from stalling in 2004.

The Lavender Federation Trail originally a part of Terry Lavenders vision of a long distance walking trail predominantly to the east of the Mt Lofty Ranges by 2004 had reached Tungkillo after planning started in 1998/9. By then, Terry, the first Chairman of “South Australian Recreation Trails Incorporated (SARTI), the body formed to build the trail, had lost several of its key personnel driving the project including Terry.

It was looking extremely likely that the project would fold and Tungkillo would be the end point of the trail.

An appeal was made to walking groups for volunteers who were prepared to save the vision of Terry Lavender and others who also had the same vision.

Ian Pool was one of those who came forward. Over a decade later, Ian is still deeply involved in SARTI.

Walking Trail development in South Australia.
Ian became involved in planning the future route of the Lavender Federation Trail with other new volunteers in 2004. He then volunteered as “Trail Development Manager”. This involved initially looking at maps with local regional representative and Local Government representatives on the SARTI Board for possible routes the main trail could take. This was followed up by “on the ground” inspections and discussions with local land owners seeking their opinions. This then developed into a policy of holding public meetings in areas where the trail was planned to go. The meetings included a PowerPoint presentation of the trail and its background and ensuring that the Lavender Federation Trail was a project community driven and, following the ideals of Terry Lavender, the route was designed to go through or a near as possible, smaller towns assisting in their economy. The results of these public meetings were outstanding with many landowners suggesting more suitable routes giving better views or locations more suitable for walking. In many instances, the suggested alternative route was on their property.

Consultation with the relevant Local Government staff was also taking place at this time generally together with the relevant Local Government representative on the SARTI Board.

In addition, the main trail is planned to go through a Conservation Park in the Clare region so consultation with park authorities & park friends group are part of the planning process.

As a resident of Adelaide, Ian traveled considerable distances as the trail moved further from the city often requiring multiple day stays in the region where trail planning was being undertaken.

Building Trails.
Not content with planning trails, walking along all the planned sections multiple times, Ian has also assisted with other volunteers building the trails. This involves installing markers, stiles over fences, assisting with purchasing materials from local businesses and all the other jobs the building of a trail involves. In many cases, there is no vehicle access and steep terrain so star droppers, concrete, water & stiles have to be carried into location.

Since Ian’s involvement in 2004 at Tungkillo, SARTI has built to date, 295 km of trail and Ian has been involved in the majority of this construction.

Chris Bushell, South Australian Recreation Trails Inc. / Walking SA / ARPA Bushwalkers.
2017 Winner Award Category: Special Recognition Award – Individual 

Chris has made significant and ongoing contributions over the past 13 years to South Australian Recreation Trails Inc (SARTI) who have been developing and implementing the Lavender Federation Trail. With his past work with ARPA Bushwalkers: and Walking SA he is recognised for this Special Recognition Award.

ARPA Bushwalkers committee member 2002 and 2003 and Convenor 2004 to 2006.
Led 26 bushwalking camps mostly in the High Country in Victoria and NSW.
ARPA Bushwalker’s rep on Walking Federation (now Walking SA) then Chairman 2004 to 2007.
ARPA Bushwalkers rep, board member then chairman South Australian Recreation Trails Inc. 2004 to present day.

These are achievements too long to list in this newsletter but an outstanding contribution by one person. 

Chris was unable to accept the award in person as he was returning from the USA.

Churchill Fellow Terry Lavender OA and Appeal

2016 was a special year for the Churchill Fellows of South Australia. It was the 25th anniversary of the awarding of a Churchill Fellowship to Terry Lavender OA to study the development of recreation trails and their impact on tourism in England, USA and Europe. 

Terry’s fellowship built on the very significant foundation that he had already established within the trail walking fraternity. He was assigned the task of delineating and marking the routes and trails throughout the Mount Lofty and Flinders Rangers and was instrumental in establishing the Friends of the Heysen Trail and other walking trails. Terry and his volunteers marked the Heysen Trail completing that task in 1992 six years after the formation of the Friends. He was also responsible for the marking and mapping of the Mount Lofty Walking Trails in the Barossa district and part of the Onkaparinga area. 

Terry was the first chair of the South Australia Recreational Trails Inc that still remains today. He subsequently formed a company Lavender Trailmaster to provide guide services to interstate and overseas tourists, school groups and local bushwalkers along and beyond the trails he was commissioned to develop. He produced various maps and a number of books for publication concerning the walking trails of South Australia. 

Terry was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the 1994 Australia Day Awards. The Lavender Federation Trail that runs through the Murraylands, Adelaide Hills and Barossa districts was named in his honour. 

Terry died on 9th January 2004 leaving this remarkable and valuable legacy. This legacy continues to inspire South Australians and enable them to access and enjoy our beautiful natural bush.

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust has undertaken to recognize and perpetuate the work of some of our outstanding Fellows.  As such the Churchill Fellows Association of South Australia would like to build on the work of Terry Lavender by raising funds to create a one-off fellowship titled The Terry Lavender Churchill Fellowship — To investigate ways to develop, improve, manage and promote outdoor recreational trails and pursuits to be awarded in 2018.

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust has kindly undertaken to match any funds raised dollar for dollar. The cost of a Churchill Fellowship is now $26,000 so our target is to raise $13,000.

We launched this fundraising at a Churchill Chat and lunch at the Uraidla Hotel  on Sunday 20 August 2017 where we celebrated the achievements of Terry Lavender and heard how hiking is being used to benefit Australians young and old and the opportunities that hiking provides. 

If you would like to make a donation please go to this secure website

Photo: The 25 bushwalkers from Maroondah Bushwalking Club in Melbourne became the first group to enjoy the views from Quinn Gap toward the Tothill Ranges on the newest section of the Lavender Federation Trail.

Walking The Lavender Trail - Manoora to Murray Bridge

A keen group of 25 bushwalkers from Maroondah Bushwalking Club in Melbourne recently walked the Lavender Trail from Manoora to Murray Bridge over thirteen days of walking in September 2016. Ably led by fellow member Di Gablek, we were the first group to walk the newest section of this most interesting walk, from Manoora to Eudunda. 

A number of the group had previously walked sections of the Heysen Trail and so were familiar with the work of the late Terry Lavender OAM, the architect of both trails, and the excellent work done by volunteers in the design, construction and maintenance of these lengthy trails that traverse diverse landscapes in rural SA. We were equipped with the four published maps and had received helpful advice re route changes and walking the newest section.

We chose to base ourselves at Tanunda Caravan Park for the first eight days, relocating to Mannum Caravan Park for the final five walking days and used car pooling and shuffling to access the walks. These two towns were popular bases, providing friendly comfort and numerous local points of interest.

Although we hit unseasonably inclement weather, with flooding reported in parts of the Adelaide Hills (our boots were certainly muddied and our wet weather gear put to the test) this did not detract too much from our enjoyment of the trail.

At Manoora we were given a friendly sendoff by a local committee member of the Trail, two farmers, two dogs and a load of sheep. Our spirits were high as we tramped along quiet back roads absorbing the idyllic rural vistas of patchwork green crops interspersed with the bright yellow hues of canola; as we negotiated our first stile, the first of many, too many to keep count; as we lunched with the soft humming accompaniment of giant wind turbines and felt the gentle breezes, the cause of the soft rippling effect in the mature crops around us; as we picked our way along a soft, grassy ridge following the line of wind turbines and looking toward the Tothill Ranges, and then as we encountered our first real climb through Webb Gap to conclude our first day.  We had noted with interest that a small part of the trail was shared with the Heysen Trail.


The Preamimma mine and a long abandoned stone cottage complete with a separate bread oven reminded us of days gone by and we played ‘Spot the animals’ as we walked by the expansive Monarto open range zoo. Excitement mounted as we followed the Adelaide Melbourne railway line, walked through the very attractive Rocky Gully Conservation area, under the railway bridge, past the Mobilong prison, the prolific bird life of the wetlands and finally along the Mighty River Murray, its banks swollen by the recent rains, to Sturt Reserve, our destination in Murray Bridge.  We had walked a total of 267 km.  Coffee and cakes were in order!

Walking through Rocky Gully towards Murray Bridge

We felt privileged to have been able to experience so intimately the diversity of rural SA; from the ancient granite rock outcrops and gorges concealing secrets of aboriginal lore to the relics of earlier days, reminders of the tenacity and hardships of pioneer life, to modern day farming communities, extended varieties of crops, wineries, horse studs, sheep with their alpaca minders and contented cattle.  Our experiences were everywhere enhanced by chats with local farmers and townspeople, curious as to our progress but welcoming and forthcoming with local insights.  To be amidst Nature is an exhilarating experience and the native wildlife, majestic gums and Spring wildflowers were a treat.  Lingering memories such as these beckon our return to explore more of SA’s secrets.

We are indebted to all who have contributed to the development and maintenance of this trail and express our appreciation to the landowners who have so generously allowed access to their properties, making the trail not only possible, but so much more enjoyable and interesting.

Colleen Rowe
Maroondah Bushwalking Club website
A big thank you to Colleen for sending this great story and photos.


Trails, Livestock and Dogs:-

Many trails or sections of trails SARTI builds traverse private property. We have established close relationships with many landowners who have assisted us.

It was disturbing to receive a report from the owner of the land surrounding the Sanderston Trail that he had intercepted a group of people who had left the marked trail onto his property but had unleased dogs with them running uncontrolled near sheep. What was also of concern that when challenged by the owner of the property, they didn’t see what the problem was?

It appears that those responsible were not dedicated walkers but someone driving around, spotted the interpretive sign at the beginning of the trail and decided to exercise their dog. 

Incidents like this are unfortunate but it does show that those of us who value the trails network in this state need to be vigilant so trails aren’t closed because of the actions of a small minority.

The Sanderston Trail was a long term undertaking involving SARTI, Mid Murray Council, ORS and the land owner over 12 years. A 2 meter wide trail access was established. SARTI will now be placing the back section of the sign which gives the conditions of access under the front section of the sign.  

In addition, a bold “No dogs permitted” sign will be attached to the stiles at both ends of the trail.

Planning Ahead: SARTI at Mintaro

South Australian Recreation Trails Inc (SARTI) members meet with Mintaro Residents Association to work out where the trail will go and how to do it. SARTI has always worked closely with the local communities and has been rewarded by offerings of the best walking experiences possible.

Bits & Pieces:-

  • Are you a “Friend of the Lavender Federation Trail”?
    Memberships are available from just $10 PA, a small outlay to assist in maintaining the over 400 km of trails SARTI has under construction and opened since 1999.
    Membership details are on the web site and you can join on line for one year or multiple years.
  • Volunteer Maintenance Team Needed - Preamimma Mines and Fendlers Road, Monarto
    Can you help? Volunteer teams maintain the trail network and we have a section currently without a maintenance team between the Preamimma Mines and Fendlers Road, Monarto. 
    SARTI will supply all tools required. 
    Contact George Adams via the website form - choose 'Trail Maintenance - George Adams' from the drop down menu.
    or email him at for details.
    If you are interested in becoming involved, talk to George.
  • Fire Season Started from 1st November.
    Please note that the trail is closed on "Fire Ban" Days. 
    Care should be taken on all days during Fire Season.
    With a major fire starting in the vicinity of the Worlds End Gorge camping area on the weekend, (prior to fie ban season) this year is looking to be one that all walkers need to be cautious of thier whereabouts and planning.
    Many sections of the trail are considered 'remote' and do not have mobile phone access or limited services. (this can have the effect of flattening your battery quickly, which will accelerate any issues you have with communication). Tell people where you will be walking and expected times, carry adequate water and supplies. Snakes have been prevalent already. With care and planning you can still enjoy walking in warmer weather.
    You can find a good resource "Risk Management and Safety"
    on the Walking SA website 


Are you receiving this newsletter indirectly via a club or friend? Why not receive a copy direct and get all the latest news direct to your computer or mobile device?

The Lavender Federation Trail website home page  gives easy access to subscribe or unsubscribe. Don’t forget to tell us if you change your email address via the link at the bottom of this email, 'update subscription preferences' at the bottom of this newsletter
“Footsteps” Newsletter is free. Reproduction of all or part of this newsletter by any organization may be permitted providing permission is first obtained from SARTI.

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Graham Hallandal
Editor (Footsteps),
Lavender Federation Walking Trail.
South Australian Recreation Trails Inc.,
Post Office Box 1052,
Murray Bridge, 5253, Australia.


Carto Graphics

Unley based Carto Graphics has supplied SARTI with all the Lavender Federation Trail maps and given us great support including coming to all our Trail Openings with a display. See Website

Footside Farm

Overnight accommodation, Farm visits by appointment.

Refurbished ‘Barn’ for sleeping space. Toilet/shower close by.  Ample room for tenting.Catering options from self catering to fully catered country style with the option of featuring native foods. See Website

Fully Escorted Tours 2018

Easy Travel & Cruise's

Vietnam Treasures - Feb 2018, Sensational South Africa - Mar 2018, Trans Mongolian Rail Adventure - July 2018, UK Walking Tour - Aug 2018, Splendours of South America - Sept 2018
Download PDF info sheet
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