Nat’s Track upgrade launched following major revitalisation works
Published on 04 May 2022
A major upgrade of Nat’s Track has been formally launched in honour of late Frankston student, Natalie Russell.
Natalie’s parents, Brian and Carmel, family members and recent State Upper House MP, David Limbrick, who was Natalie’s partner at the time of her passing, joined Frankston City Council Mayor Nathan Conroy for the launch.
North West Ward Councillors Kris Bolam and Sue Baker, Council CEO Phil Cantillon, Council Director Communities Angela Hughes and senior Council officers also attended along with representatives from Peninsula Kingswood Golf Club, The National Golf Club and students and staff from John Paul College and Monterey Secondary College, as well as local primary schools.
Seventeen doves were released at the launch in honour of Natalie.
Brian Russell said: “We are humbled and proud Natalie will be remembered in this way. It’s something the people of Frankston will use – not only the school children, but all people.”
Mr Limbrick said: “The revitalisation of Nat’s Track means Natalie will never be forgotten and is a great milestone for healing our community.”
Mr Limbrick said the tragic events not only profoundly affected dozens of people who knew the victims, but also many people who did not know them.
“Ever since this time, the people of this area have proven that they are overwhelmingly good people who look after each other. We are a big-hearted community – I love south-east Melbourne and the people who live here,” he said.
Natalie Russell was murdered in 1993 on her way home from school and Nat’s Track was subsequently named in her honour in 1999.
Council has invested approximately $300,000 to improve safety and amenity along the popular student thoroughfare, which joins Skye Rd in Karingal (near John Paul College) to Monterey Secondary College in Frankston North. The track is bordered by Peninsula Kingswood Golf Club and The National Golf Club.
The State Government also contributed $65,500 towards the project for works including fencing, plumbing and CCTV.
Mayor Conroy said: “Council is proud to have invested in upgrades and a wide range of works including resurfacing and realignment of the track, new fencing, CCTV and dog waste bins located at both ends of the track.
“It’s been wonderful to see our local schools involved in this project and I commend students from John Paul College and Monterey Secondary College for their great work painting and installing the planter boxes along Nat’s Track.
“Other works include park benches located at both ends of the track, landscaping, decorative art pieces along the fence line and the beautiful sculpture, launched earlier this year, at the Skye Road end of the track.
“All of these improvements could not have occurred without the patience, support and care provided by both Brian and Carmel Russell for which we are deeply grateful,” he said.
Mayor Conroy thanked all those involved in the Nat’s Track upgrade, adding: “The launch is a great illustration of what can be achieved when we all work together.”
He particularly acknowledged the support of the State Member for Frankston, Paul Edbrooke MP, and longstanding advocacy of Cr Kris Bolam.
Mr Edbrooke said: “The upgrades to Nat’s Track complement the State Government’s $32 million investment into the Frankston North Education Project, which is improving the educational facilities and outcomes in our community.
“The safety of our community is our number one priority and it is great to work with Council and show how different levels of government working together can achieve great things in our community,” he said.
John Paul College Principal John Visentin said: “John Paul College welcomes the necessary upgrading of this important thoroughfare for students and others in this community, which indicates the importance of safety for all users from each of the schools and organisations involved in the project.”
Mr Visentin added that the sculpture unveiled earlier this year was “an incredibly powerful and appropriate tribute to Natalie Russell, commemorating a young student full of life and promise who was taken from her family and community as she made her way along the track”.
Monterey Secondary College Principal Peter Langham said: “Monterey Secondary College’s participation in the Nat’s Track project has developed tangible links between our VCAL students, ground staff at the neighbouring golf courses and Frankston Council staff.
“Being a pivotal part of the planning from the outset has meant that students feel a real sense of contributing to their local community by working on this local asset. As a by-product, five students have been offered further work experience opportunities at the golf courses to develop their skills as School Based Horticultural Apprentices. This is a win all around for our broader local community,” he said.
Peninsula Kingswood Golf Club Caretaker Brendan Day said: “It’s been great to see people coming together to achieve this outcome. The upgraded track looks fantastic.”
Mr Day acknowledged generous support from the Peninsula Kingswood Golf Club Committee of Management and added it had been heartening to see students involved in the project.
The National Golf Club Operations and Membership Manager, Jeremy Watson, said: “It’s been an all-around great effort to get this project completed.
“A community partnership involving a collaboration of businesses, clubs and individuals who care about what we do here in the City of Frankston. The National Golf Club is proud to have played a part,” he said.