From the 28th-30th July 2023, 40 Walkers followed in the footsteps of John Cyril Hawes in the outback Murchison, where Hawes began his priestly ministry in Western Australia in the summer of 1915.
The journey began at Hawes landmark building of international importance, St Francis Xavier Cathedral Geraldton, where Passports were distributed and stamped, Pilgrims toured the Cathedral, walked the labyrinth and departed via coach to the ringing of The Geraldton Bells, in convoy with Fr Robert and his Caravan, The Mini Bus and Luggage trailer and the mobile Toilet.
During the journey to Mt Magnet, the group stopped off in Yalgoo for lunch.
They were later hosted in Mt Magnet by the St Brigid's Pastoral Leader Cathy Jones and Parishioners Karen & Adrian Morrissey and Jan and Paul Jones.
Before dinner, the group travelled to a site of strong cultural significance to the Badimia people 7 kms outside the Mt Magnet town known as The Granites. They were welcomed to the area on behalf of the Badimia people by Cecilia Kelly.
Dinner was served in the Parish Centre and the Pilgrims slept in the the buildings and grounds of the Church Precinct.
After breakfast the following morning the Pilgrims prepared their own lunches before boarding the coach for the 1st days walk.
For the Day 1 walk, the Pilgrims were driven to a drop off point on the Cue-Dalgaranga road and walked 11 kms to the lunch stop where the billy was boiling and their pre-packed lunches were distributed. Following lunch they walked the final 9 kms into Melangata Station.
Pilgrims were invited to view the Station Homestead which had been designed by Hawes in 1916 for the station owner Caleb Williamson who had requested a private chapel be incorporated in the building. This is the only private residential building by Hawes still standing in Australia.
Sleeping arrangements were many and varied - camping under the stars, shearers' quarters, cook house, shearing shed, homestead, bell tents.
A sumptous dinner was served in the Shearing Shed by the owner of Melangata Jo Clews and her crew. There were crazy sock and best wine bottle label competitions.
The Pilgrims woke to a cool and foggy morning at Melangata. After a delicious breakfast served by Jo, they were transported by coach to 'The Tunnel' near Yalgoo for the start of their Day 2 walk.
A sausage sizzle lunch with freshly picked local oranges was provided along the way by Ellen Rowe and her crew from Carlaminda Station.
The walk finished in Yalgoo where local elders provided damper for afternoon tea in the grounds of the St Hyacinth's Chapel where Mass was celebrated, Passports were stamped and Camino Certificates were presented.
The group then returned to Geraldton bu coach.