Friends of the Healesville Freeway Reserve


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Welcome to the Friends of the Healesville Freeway Reserve

The Healesville Freeway reserve between Springvale & Boronia Road is currently in a planning process for alternative use as the road will not proceed. The Community uses sections of this reserve as open space for Active and Passive Recreation. There are also several sections of endangered remnant bushland along the reserve that provide habitat for native animals.

This site aims to keep the community up to date with information regarding the consultation process and help to retain community access to the reserve following the conclusion of the consultation process. To date we have collected almost 5000 signatures (4981 if you think we should be exact) for the petition.

How can you help?

Follow us on Facebook and subscribe to the news letter to keep up to date with information.

For more information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Public consultation open from 9am Monday 12th Oct till 5pm Friday 20th November 2015


The draft report by the Heritage Consultants is now available at:


Send your comments –

By email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

By post to: Shayne Price
Team leader, Cultural facilities and programs
Arts and recreation development
White horse City Council
Locked Bag 2
Nunawading Delivery Centre




Melbourne 5.30pm Friday 27th November, at the STATE LIBRARY.

It is with great pride and much pleasure that we can announce that two of our longest serving volunteers Margaret Rackham and Amanda Simpson have had their many years of service recognised at the recent Deakin Community Awards 2015 night.


As active, founding members of the ‘Friends of the HFR’ both Margaret and Amanda have been generous, supportive and committed volunteers. We owe the success of our campaign to their hard work, as well as the work of all our other volunteer members and the support of the community at large.

No matter what the task or where the work needed to be done, they put their hand up to help wholeheartedly at every occasion. Margaret even spent several days at the State Archives and State Revenue Offices, researching the history of the corridor. Gathering petitions, letterboxing dropping, helping with the planning and running of community events, they helped with every aspect throughout the period of the campaign, now they are helping with the planning for the next phase, with the same commitment and dedication. The community owes these caring selfless people a huge debt of gratitude.


Besides the FoHFR, they also serve the community on several other community groups. Here are some of the other areas they make a contribution in -


Amanda has been a volunteer at Bungalook nursery (a community nursery that grows local native plants) for many years, she works in the nursery every week, in addition she is on the committee and puts in many hours of administrative work to help keep the nursery functioning properly. She also volunteers at three parks in Whitehorse - Cootamundra Walk, One Lake road reserve and Esplanade reserve. Through many hours of regular work she has helped to improve the biodiversity of these parks by weeding, planting and mulching. Most community members find volunteering at just one city park to be what they can manage, as it entails a commitment to attend regular working bees, how Amanda finds time to help out at three, on top of her considerable commitment to Bungalook nursery and other community work is a testament to her selflessness and generosity of spirit .

Amanda also volunteered at St Paul’s College, Kew, which is a school for children with disabilities. She helped look after the garden there and cared for the children as well. All this is done quietly, far away from the lime light and without seeking any attention. She is an inspiration and one of the most community minded people we have had the privilege to know and work with.


Margaret is one of the founding members of the Nunawading Community Gardens, which incidentally is the first and oldest community garden in Australia (something that is not that well known and we should be proud of that history). It was started in 1977 and since then, for 39 years Margaret has been involved with its running. She has been on the committee for most of that time, with only a few years when she had other commitments and was not on the committee, even then she contributed as a member.

Every year Margaret thinks nothing of driving down in her own car to farms near Bendigo to buy seed potatoes for all the plot holders, she loads some 200kg and hauls them to Melbourne, so that annually all the members have good quality seed potatoes at reasonable prices. A remarkably generous and kind act, that is extremely physically strenuous as well.

Margaret is also an active member of the Vermont garden club, Royal Horticulture Society, Vermont Bulb group. She serve on the committees that run these groups and does a large part of the organisation and back end work that keeps such organisations afloat. Through the work that Margaret does for these groups, so many people of all ages but particularly in the older demographic, are able to stay active and connected with other likeminded people who share the same interests and passions.

Margaret generously shares her knowledge and love of gardens & gardening with everyone and we are the richer for it. She is a tireless worker, never looking at how much time and effort she puts in and at what personal cost. She never seeks the lime light, if she sees something that needs doing for the group, she just gets up and does it. It is our privilege to know and work with such an amazing community minded person.

docxLabor press release

After five years of advocacy on behalf of the community, it is with great pleasure and much relief that we can tell you that the whole of the HFR corridor is soon to be protected as open space.

Two parcels were transferred to crown land to be reserved for public use as parkland in the last week before the Nov’14 election.


Labor has moved to transfer the remaining two parcels that were still zoned residential to crown land as well.

This will protect the WHOLE corridor as open space for the community long into the future.


We wish to thank Shaun Leane, who is our Labor representative in the Upper House for his support and passion on this issue, right from the early days of this campaign.

This outcome would not have been possible without his participation.


Once the transfer is complete, we will start to work with the State Government and Whitehorse City Council to set up the Committee of Management, so that the master plan can be drawn up and we can get started with getting our hands into the dirt.

Making a reality of the potential that this corridor has for the community and for the wildlife that needs it for habitat and food.


Thank you to all the members of the community for your support and for telling us what you wanted with your overwhelming vote for Open Space at every public event we have held over the last few years.

It was ultimately the weight of public support that made decision makers sit up and take notice and got us the outcome the community wanted.

We look forward to your continued participation and inputs with the implementation of the rollout.

As always we will endeavour to keep you informed at all times.

The FoHFR team.

pdfCommunity Forum report

We had a very successful Community Forum on 26th Oct’14.

Several displays were put up, two were of other road reserves – Merri creek, Fawkner and Wurundjeri walk, Blackburn. They were saved as Open Space in the 70’s and 80’s, with photos of what they looked like then and the wonderful Community and Environmental asset they have become now.

We also had displays on the policies of all the major political parties –


Coalition – 15.4 ha (43%) to be preserved as Open space, with the balance 57% to be sold possibly for housing.


Labor – 100% of the reserve to be retained as Open Space


Greens - 100% of the reserve to be retained as Open Space


It is now up to YOU the voters to decide what you want for this corridor of land. If you want it retained as Open space, choose the party of your choice that supports that position.


If you want 57% of the land to possibly end up as housing then vote for the party with that policy.

It is now in your hands!


The guest speakers were –

  • Shaun Leane – Labor member for Eastern Metropolitan Region, Legislative Council
  • Neil Angus – Liberal State member for Forest Hill
  • Samantha Dunn – Greens candidate for the Legislative Council
  • Pauline Richards – Labor candidate for Forest Hill
  • Councillors Raylene Carr & Bill Bennett – Morack ward, Whitehorse City council

Our sincere thanks go the Vermont and South Vermont Lions, who looked after the BBQ and made sure everyone was fed.

We need to thank and acknowledge the assistance and support of so many – NADRASCA, Docking Real Estate, Greenlink & Bungalook nursery, The Tree Society, The Environment Protection fund, Whitehorse Urban Harvest, The City of Whitehorse, Bellbird Dell Advisory committee, Friends of the Dell and so many others.


Most of all, thanks to our volunteers at the Friends of the HFR, who have worked so hard, with so much passion, diligence and enthusiasm.


Lastly and most importantly this campaign could not have lasted for so long without our community’s vision for the future and unstinting support to achieve it.

Thank you to the people of Forest Hill!


For a full report on the Forum click on the attachment above.

Here is a link to a video report by Unipollwatch –

On Facebook :

On the web:

The Whitehorse City Council, made no recommendation for housing on the Healesville Freeway Reserve (HFR) land in their proposed planning scheme document. On the 6th Oct Planning Minister Matthew Guy overruled that and on the 14th Oct’14 the corridor was gazetted as GRZ5. (General residential zone 5)


Just a few days later, on the night of 25– 26 Oct’14 a heritage listed uninhabited house on Boronia Rd, Vermont was burnt to the ground under suspicious circumstances according to the MFB.

The house that was burnt was called Greenways on Nethercote farm and was one of two houses on the property at 142 Boronia rd, it is a Local heritage listed property, being the oldest house in Vermont and is in the section of the HFR that the Coalition Government has identified for possible sale to developers for housing. It had no power or gas connection. It was not derelict or being used by squatters.

The site was occupied and frequently visited by people, several horses are agisted there and Box Hill TAFE equestrian studies were conducted at the site as well, more over the other house on the property, which was also uninhabited but not heritage listed was unaffected. The case is being investigated by the Whitehorse Crime Squad and we hope they are able to identify the perpetrator/s.


In a separate incident on the same night, a large banner put up on council land with council permission by the Friends of the HFR, advertising a Community Forum on the 26th Oct, was cut down and stolen despite being at that location for almost two months without incident.


The two events on the night of the 25th Oct'14 are either connected or have occurred with remarkable coincidence, given they both involve different aspects of the same corridor of land.


Lastly, in late December’13 a very large indigenous tree on VicRoads land was found to have been cut down. VicRoads was approached for information and they denied all knowledge of it.

However with community assistance we were able to establish that it had been cut on the 7th Dec ’13, it was done by a professional crew with large trucks and heavy machinery. The process took 6 hours, the fence across the area, which had signs- ‘VicRoads land – trespassers will be prosecuted’ was taken down, the tree cut, the timber and canopy mulched, the area tidied and fence reinstalled. We have photographs of this.


Despite that VicRoads continued to deny any knowledge of it, which implies the implausible scenario that an unknown tree removal company would incur a cost of several thousand dollars, trespass to do a job on a weekend,with a full crew for 6 hours for no reason and with no authorization. The community is expected to accept that explanation as reasonable and believable!!!


The location of the tree was significant; it was on what was a proposed access road to a pocket of housing on the three VicRoads concept plans for the corridor. There are several other trees in that area but no other tree was cut.


In all three incidents, the perpetrator is not known but one does not need to be a genius to figure who the beneficiaries of these acts of wanton damage and destruction will be!


The Friends of the Healesville Freeway Reserve (Whitehorse) invite you to attend


A Community Forum at Bellbird Dell, Vermont South (Melway 62 J-6) on

Sunday 26 October 2014 from 10am - 1pm at the George Road end of the Bellbird Dell.

Speeches will commence at 11am, so be there before that.


The aims of this activity are to:

  • Hear the policies of all our major political parties on the future for the Healesville Freeway Reserve.
  • Hear the response from Council / Councillors to the policies from the major parties.
  • Enable the Whitehorse community to view displays of other successful public open space schemes in situations similar to the HFR
  • Have a Q&A where the community is able to ask questions of the candidates and get clarifications on issues.
  • Assist Whitehorse community members in making informed decisions at the upcoming November election.

From 10.00 am to 1.00 pm information on other successful similar public open space schemes of will be on displayed in

Bellbird Dell Reserve (George Street entrance, Melway 62 J-6)

From 11am political representatives will be asked to make a speech on the policies of their respective parties on the future

of the reserve and answer questions from members of the community.

A sausage sizzle and refreshments will be provided.

We are looking forward to seeing you on Sunday 26 October on this important occasion for the Healesville Freeway Reserve,

Bellbird Dell and the Whitehorse community.


The Community Forum is sponsored by the Friends of the Healesville Freeway Reserve (Whitehorse) and supported by the Vermont and Vermont South Lions, Bellbird Dell Advisory Committee, Nunawading Community Gardens, The Concept 4 Preservation, Whitehorse Community Indigenous Plant Project/Bungalook nursery, Greenlink Box Hill nursery, the Blackburn & District Tree Preservation Society and the Blackburn & District Environment Protection Fund.