On Monday 4th September 2017, two walkers are planning to walk out from Sydney towards Melbourne, in the hope of reaching Melbourne by Friday 6th October 2017, for the purpose of fundraising for the Kids of Gold camps.
I left Sydney as a 7 year old, lived in central NSW at Canowindra for a while, then moved to Melbourne as a 10 year old. My parents left my brother and I at Laverton where we stayed for 12 months when my parents went to Borneo. Dad flew planes across the jungles of Borneo, and we then joined him and spent 18 months living there. I came back to Melbourne with my brother and sister, and have lived there ever since!
Over the last 15 years, since 2002, I’ve been involved in a camp known as Kids of Gold. This is a camp for upper primary school children in Grades 4-6, seeking to build confidence and self esteem in their lives. The camp has 3 basic levels which children can work through, with many also going on to do a 4th level that focuses on training and developing leadership in an ongoing way. A number have come through this level and are now serving as leaders within the camp. The 4th level of course by its nature does involve secondary students, and many who join Kids of Gold when they learn of its structure, set themselves the goal of reaching Level 4 with the hope of ultimately one day becoming leaders themselves.
I am co-directing the KOG camps with Steve, and sometimes Steve co-directs with others. A few years ago, I mentioned an idea I had to walk from Sydney ( my home city) to Melbourne ( my adopted city) as a fundraiser for KOG. Steve challenged me last year with the question, “ When do you plan to do that walk, Gary? ” I was taken quite by surprise, but when I went away and thought about it, I realized that logistically, because of the huge preparation and workload involved in running any camp, such a walk could only happen if a scheduled camp didn’t run. It so happens this year that our normal October camp has been rescheduled to run in February 2018 instead, making possible a walk in September/early October 2017. From this background, the idea for the walk began to ‘grow legs’!
As well as my hometown of Sydney being involved in this concept, one of my father’s experiences in Borneo also became part of this ‘equation’. On one occasion he flew a plane into a very difficult landing strip at a place called BaKelalan. A fault developed in the engine grounding the aircraft, resulting in my father having to walk back to the mission base often through intense jungle. That 10 day walk was never forgotten, especially as my father was unable to eat much of the local food, resulting in him largely living off bananas, and losing 10kg in the journey!
On Monday 4th September, we plan to leave the Bankstown Public School ( which we would call a Primary School in Victoria), where I first attended as a 5 year old. The Principal of the school was happy for us to launch the walk from there, and is arranging for students, teachers and parents to leave with us also. One of our Kids of Gold girls, Jordyn, who lives in Sydney, will also be walking with us with her Mum at the launch, as well as some of my relatives who live in Sydney. We will head off after 9am to my former home at 124 Griffiths Avenue, Bankstown, and then on to my grandfather’s place at 850 Punchbowl Rd Punchbowl. We will then head back to the school, farewell the group at Stacey St, and then continue on our walk. It is planned to arrive back on the steps of Parliament House to complete the walk on Friday 6th October 2017.
Which route to be followed
Click on the following:
We’ll be following the Pacific coastal walk which you can get by clicking on:
From Punchbowl we’ll head towards Padstow, Lucas Heights and Heathcote, then on to Stanwell Tops and Bulli till we reach Woolongong. From there we go to Port Kembla and around Lake Illawarra, then past Kiama and Nowra and on to Falls Creek, and past Burill Lake. We’ll go through Bateman’s Bay, across the Moruya River and on to Bega. After crossing the NSW-Vic border we come near to Cann River and on to Cabbage Tree Creek and Orbost. From there we head to Bairnsdale and Stratford, then on to Sale and Rosedale, followed by Traralgon and then Morwell. Moe comes next, then Trafalgar, coming near to Warragul and on to Drouin East. From Nar Nar Goon we soon reach Pakenham and Officer, then Berwick followed up by Dandenong. On the home stretch we go through a few suburbs of Melbourne, including Malvern East and Glen Iris, finishing on the steps of Parliament House Melbourne on the 6th October. That’s the plan anyway!
List of Towns and Dates