Sculpture unveiled at Nat’s Track to commemorate Natalie Russell
Published on 17 February 2022
A memorial sculpture has been unveiled in honour of late Frankston student, Natalie Russell.
Natalie’s parents, Brian and Carmel, and family members joined Frankston City Council Mayor Nathan Conroy, North West Ward Cr Kris Bolam, Council CEO Phil Cantillon and senior Council officers at the Skye Road entrance to Nat’s Track to unveil and view the sculpture. Representatives from Peninsula Kingswood Golf Club also attended the unveiling.
The memorial bronze sculpture was created and installed in consultation with Natalie’s family. It features a school bag adorned with a local flower – 17 everlasting daisies to celebrate Natalie’s 17-years of life.
Brian Russell said: “We think it’s absolutely beautiful. It could not be more expressive. It tells the tale of an innocent schoolgirl going to and from school.
“I am impressed with the whole upgrade to Nat’s Track. It’s fantastic and been worth the wait,” Mr Russell 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.
Mayor Conroy said the sculpture was an important tribute to Natalie, adding that other vital works and upgrades at Nat’s Track provided great benefit for the wider community.
“New sustainable lighting and beautification of the area will complete the track’s upgrades and significantly help to further increase the safety of students and residents. The memory of what happened to Natalie and other victims will forever live on in the hearts and minds of our community, so it is critical that it is well maintained,” the Mayor said.
Council has previously invested significant funds 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 Long Island National Golf Club.
North West Ward Cr Kris Bolam noted that Nat’s Track provides an important connection between Frankston North and Karingal, and enhances the health and wellbeing of residents.
Cr Bolam added: “This is part of a range of significant upgrades and we’re looking forward to celebrating the completion of other works including new fencing, wayfinding signage and the installation of planter boxes featuring artworks by local students soon.”
Peninsula Kingswood Golf Club and the National Golf Club also each replaced 100 metres of fencing along the track with the support of a $20,000 Council grant. Funding has also been provided to display artistic panels along the Track in the future.
The track has also been repaved to improve wheelchair and bicycle accessibility.
Peninsula Kingswood Golf Club Caretaker Brendan Day said improvements to the track had resulted in increased usage, adding: “It’s great to see mums with kids in prams, families walking their dogs and more people on pushbikes.”
Council allocated $185,000 for improvements at Nat’s Track in the 2021/22 Capital Works Program Budget. Council initiated the works following consultation and overwhelming community support.