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35 YEARS OF THE CATHOLIC WALKING CLUB Tom Buykx, May 1986

For the purpose of forming a Catholic Walking Club, a meeting will be held at ‘Roma house’, Elizabeth Street, City, on Tuesday, May 1st at 8 pm. Catholics interested in bushwalking are invited…

I owe this quote to the Editorial in the Club’s 10th anniversary issue of The Catholic Walker, and I owe the opportunity to write this little item to those ‘Catholics interested in bushwalking’ who got this Club off the ground and have kept it going for thirty-five years now.

What did they foresee, back in 1951? In those days the bush was – in present day terms – incredibly large and wild, and not far from Melbourne. Day walks were made in the Macleod area, weekend walks near Healesville and Warburton, and you could start a ten day extended walk just a little out of Mansfield or Licola.

How things have changed! Roads and jeeptracks penetrate the bush deeply, and there is much less bush to be penetrated. Extended walks where you would not walk on roads nor meet other people for days and days are now impossible in Victoria. However, a mitigating factor is the easy access to ‘big time’ areas for weekend walks, (and bush roads do make convenient cross country skiing routes).

People too have changed and so it has to be. We have grown older (and wiser?), some of us are no longer able to do what we used to do, and a number of our members have died and returned to their Creator. A second generation is now active in the Club, doing the things their parents used to do. A third generation comes along on certain walks, innocent of the ‘seriousness’ of bushwalking.

In one aspect, though, people are still the same. There is this strong friendship among members, whether of 35 years or perhaps only three months’ standing. That friendship is of course due to our love of the bush, in the first place. But to maintain that friendship we must continue to maintain ourselves as ‘CATHOLICS interested in bushwalking’, that is keep up our strength of faith and hope and love as Catholics. It is our relationship with God – through prayer, Mass and Communion – that is the only lasting basis for the mutual love that binds us in this OUR Catholic Walking Club of Victoria.