New outdoor gym equipment in Talbot in Victoria’s north-west is being taken up enthusiastically by the community, improving health and connections.
“We got more adventurous each time as it’s good exercise but it’s very hard on the legs.”
While her legs might think differently, Maria Van Roosmalan, has welcomed the new outdoor gym equipment to Pioneer Park in Talbot, a charming town located in the heart of the Goldfields between Clunes and Maryborough. The new equipment is keeping the community both active and connected.
With a population of under 500 people, tiny Talbot is big on community participation. A monthly farmers’ market is back in full swing, showcasing the region’s best seasonal produce and bringing in hordes of people spilling out around the town’s centre and historical buildings.
Fellow local resident, Lindsay Hazelman is planning to help set up the market stalls, preparing the big reopening since a hiatus due to Victoria’s restrictions. He and his wife, Helen, also aim to use the gym equipment 2-3 times a week and fill a gap, following the postponement of the local strength training program.
“It’s a very peaceful spot and the equipment is easy to use,” Helen said.
Talbot’s new equipment includes a cardio bike, stretch station, body pulls and push ups stations, chest and leg presses and an elliptical trainer. While it’s mostly seniors who use the gym as part of their rehab programs, the equipment has also attracted groups from nearby communities.
“The other day, we saw a school group from Clunes using it – their teacher said they visit every two weeks to get their students moving,” Helen said.
Central Goldfields Shire Mayor Cr Chris Meddows -Taylor says there is excitement for the gym across all ages and people with different fitness standards.
“As our two markets reopen this month, I can only imagine the queue of visitors keen to experience it,” Cr Chris Meddows-Taylor said.
“Truly, it’s a winner all round.”
Living in Talbot for 45 years, Helen says the equipment is inviting and encourages visitors to stop in the park and try it out. It’s nestled alongside the children’s playground right in the centre of town.
“It’s such a nice and much needed addition to our town and really complements the farmers’ market and community gardens,” Helen said.
Helen and Maria joined the local community to provide input on the development of the equipment, committed to making Talbot a regular pitstop, especially with its historic train station now a plant nursery with collectables and railway memorabilia.
When not using the equipment, Helen and Maria are active locals often going for bike rides and swimming sessions.
“That’s if we’re not busy stopping to look at wildflowers and birds while riding,” Helen laughed.
Maria’s use of the equipment has brought her closer with her neighbour Jacqui with whom she usually plays lawn bowls, now catching up three times a week to try the different equipment stations and becoming more adventurous each time.
“I’ve had both knees replaced so the strengthening that comes from using the equipment is really beneficial,” Maria said.
“We’re definitely getting fitter, we couldn’t last five minutes on the elliptical trainer before, but now we can.”
The outdoor equipment is part of a Victoria Government $150,000 investment from the Healthy Heart of Victoria initiative and is a Loddon Campaspe Regional Partnership priority project that supports communities to be more active by investing in small infrastructure and activation programs.
The Central Goldfields Shire Council encourages the community to observe COVID safe hygiene when using the gym equipment. This includes continuing to wash hands regularly, and using hand sanitiser before and after using any community facilities.
Things to do in Talbot
Talbot Farmers’ Market and Town Hall Market
Date: Every third Sunday of the month.
Time: 9am – 1pm.
Talbot Arts and Historical Museum
Location: Camp Street, Talbot.
Opening Hours: Sunday 1 pm – 4 pm, Tuesday and Wednesday 10am – 4pm or by appointment.