StreetO at Footscray Central

The Maribyrnong Council requested Tuckonie to make this map and organise  an event in 2009 in order to draw people to the area.  There was another experimental event in the 2010/11 season before we were started running Western Summer events there. The starting area was car park in the centre of the map.  This had the advantages of a toilet, plenty of parking and competitors could be sent in all directions.  There are a lot of little lanes and pathways which make it technically interesting.  The disadvantages are that the adjacent area can be busy with car and pedestrian traffic.

There is a park in the eastern corner which a few A Graders visited briefly.  It has a car park with 20 spaces and no toilet. After eight events it was decided to try starting from this park. People were warned at the in advance that there was no toilet and advised of alternate car parking.

Then on the Thursday the Weather Bureau warned of the major rain event and issued a preliminary flood warning for the Maribyrnong River, along with most other Victorian rivers.  Three controls were beside the Maribyrnong and three others were very close.  The start and assembly area is in the flood plain.  So we faced the possibility  of course changes, moving the start or even cancellation of the event. By Sunday afternoon it was clear that the Maribyrnong was not going to flood although the car park was reduced to 10 spaces due to flooding.  By Tuesday the car park was dry.

Those doing the shorter courses had a choice of staying in streets or taking the scenic route which many chose.  This meant taking paths through wetlands overlooking three lagoons with waterbirds, then passing under a bridge carrying several metropolitan and country lines. They were then faced with a giant statue rising out of an island in the middle of a lagoon beside a Chinese temple. An old industrial area is being filled with massive new apartment blocks.  Further south was Footscray’s arts precinct with a group of dancers practicing outside. Then the standard gauge railway line emerges from a 1928 tunnel to cross the river.  City Loop wasn’t Melbourne’s first underground railway tunnel. Most competitors then would have had to go past Franco Cozzo’s Furniture store before getting back into the housing area. It was a change from the usual run through suburban housing. We hope competitors thought that the new area was worth the inconvenience.

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