Twenty-nine people from as far away as Perth,  joined the 2019 Camino San Francisco from Friday 9th  to Sunday 11th August 2019.


The weather was absolutely perfect for walking, the scenery sublime, the company convivial, the food extraordinary and best of all, the flies were in hibernation!


The 2019 Camino San Francisco route took a different course to previous Caminos. This year it started at the Cathedral with the walking of the Cathedral Labyrinth after which participants walked to Monsignor Hawes’ Hermitage in Cathedral Avenue. Then it was aboard a Camino bus which took the walkers to St Peter’s Greenough, the last parish of Monsignor Hawes before he departed Australia in 1939 to “retire” in the Bahamas. Mrs Roma Parker stamped the pilgrims Camino passports and then it was onto the Camino bus driven by Mr Norm Reynolds and all headed out to the picturesque Ellendale Pool. There Mrs Jane Whitaker had lunch ready for us to fuel up on before the “hard but enjoyable” part of the Camino proper started, namely the day one walk of 25km from Ellendale Pool to the Hawes’ designed St James Church, Kojarena. There we were greeted by Mrs Monica Clune who stamped out Camino passports.


A little weary from their ambulatory exertion, the pilgrims retired to Echidna Park Sporting Club for a welcome hot shower and a wonderful hot meal prepared by Mrs Jane Whitaker and Lex Pace. Some pilgrims had brought along their own design label Camino wine which gave a special touch and charm to the evening meal.


After a night sleeping under the Milky Way displayed in all its magnificence, pilgrims woke to bacon and eggs, cereals, tea and coffee and then headed off for the second day 25km camino walk from Echidna Park to Our Lady of Fatima Church.


Crossing flowing East Chapman River streams in which some chose to sooth their aching feet, a picturesque river crossing where lunch was waiting was a welcome sight and place of rest. But there was still some more walking to go, so re-energised, the pilgrims headed off for the last 10 or so kilometres to Nanson. Arriving at Monsignor Hawes’ designed Our Lady of Fatima Church and associated Convent, the pilgrims were welcomed by local parishioners Winnie and Ray Bowman and Maureen and Ron O’Neill, who did the honours and stamped our Camino passports.


Then it was back to Echidna Park where after the most welcome of hot showers the pilgrims were wined and dined in magnificence by the ladies of the Yuna CWA with the assistance of a couple of their husbands.


After a good night’s sleep, Sunday morning saw everyone hop aboard the Camino bus and we headed off to the 80th anniversary celebrations of Our Lady of Fatima Church and Convent. This was a wonderful and memorable occasion with around 120 people filling to overflow this unique Church/School building of Monsignor Hawes.


After the Nanson celebrations, it was onto the bus again for the final act of the 2019 Camino San Francisco, namely a short 5 km walk along McGauran Road, East Yuna, to what is called “The Mass Site”, a place where in his early years in the Diocese of Geraldton, Monsignor Hawes would ride out by horse the 50 or so kms from Mullewa to provide Mass and the Sacraments to the McGauran and other families of East Yuna in what then would have been a very isolated area – some say it still is!


At the Mass Site there is a memorial built by Mr Duncan McGauran in 1983 which has now for most years since hosted a commemorative Mass and picnic for the people of Yuna and any others from round-about and Geraldton who may wish to enjoy the tranquillity of the area and its wildflowers, not to mention the billy tea, damper and friendliness of the people of Yuna.


On arriving at Yuna, the pilgrims had their passports stamped eagerly by the children of Yuna. After this, Bishop Michael Morrissey presented to the pilgrims their Camino Certificates that verified they had participated as a pilgrim in the 2019 Camino San Francisco.


All this was possible due to the dedication and assistance of the organising group, namely, Susanne Warr, Jane Whitaker, Deacon Tam Duong, Fr Robert Cross, Lee Poletti and Lara Sampson. A very special thanks also to our caterers (previously mentioned), Midwest Traffic Controllers (for loan of a traffic control vehicle, signage and preparation of the Camino Traffic Management Plan) and to Ian Grant of Echidna Park Sporting Club for the use of their wonderful facility over two days. Finally, a thank you to Genny Saturos at the Diocesan Office for her administrative assistance.


The 2019 Camino San Francisco was the third Camino to be conducted under the patronage of Monsignor Hawes Heritage Incorporated and planning is already underway for the 2020 Camino San Francisco given its popularity.


If you would like to register your interest in participating as a pilgrim in the 2020 Camino San Francisco please contact Fr Robert Cross,