Our week travelling from Geelong to Melbourne was packed full of events, school visits and media opportunities so we will share some of these experiences with you in this week’s blog. Only five more weeks of the trip yet but still a lot happening.
Monday 13 May
Slow morning as we didn’t need to leave for Bannockburn until 10.30am! Drove about 20km and met Bindy from the Bannockburn Bendigo Bank and Tony from the Geelong Bendigo Bank who presented Matt with a signed Geelong Football. We then went and spoke to the Year 5 and 6’s at Bannockburn Primary School and joined them for a sausage sandwich or two afterwards. The Bendigo Bank put on the BBQ and the kids gave a gold coin donation which raised $69 to be added to our funds for an aid project. We then returned to Geelong and joined Mark & Roxy on Bay FM’s Drive Show.
Tuesday 14 May
We started the morning with an early interview on Bay FM’s Morning Show with Hayden and Karen at 7am. We then visited Mandama Primary School and spoke to about 75 Year 6 students before heading into town and talking to another 250 Year 8 Students at St Joseph’s College. We were also met by a photographer from the Geelong Advertiser for a photo opportunity with a few of the St Joseph’s students.
It was then a mad dash to the other side of the city to speak to about 50 Year 5/6 students at Geelong Grammar. The students have a program where they agree to do certain jobs for their parents in exchange for payment which is then pooled together in a charity fund and they decide which charities to donate to throughout the year. At the end of our session one of the students stood up and said that they had some money left over in their fund from last year and they would like to donate it to the same aid project that we choose to give our donations to once we decide on one.
We finished the day off with an interview on the community radio station 94.7 Pulse FM
Wednesday 15 May
We were joined by Tony Hamann, the branch manager of Bendigo Bank in Geelong, who walked all the way to Werribee. It was a pretty windy day and there were a few heavy showers thrown in so not the nicest weather really. The road to Werribee was always going to be a tricky one as we were not allowed on the freeway. So we took the back roads which ended all of a sudden and before we knew it we were walking across paddocks, jumping barbed wire fences and crossing train lines. So all in all probably one of the most adventurous days we have had so far. Thanks again to Tony for the company. We went to footy training at Werribee FC in the evening and then caught up with friends for dinner.
Thursday 16 May
This day was quite tough as we headed in through the outer suburbs of Melbourne. It was also raining quite hard at times and I had a few stops under cover to wait for the rain to ease. It ended up taking 8 hours to walk 25km, a distance I would usually do in 6 hours.
Wendy drove on ahead and left the car/caravan at a caravan park so she could catch a bus back to Footscray and walk the last few kilometres with me. We then caught the bus back to the caravan park at the end of the day ready to make the final journey into the city the next day.
Friday 17 May
We met with Simon from Monash University in the morning as he is doing a video piece for uni and wanted to do a story on the walk. Wendy and I then walked together through Footscray where we got our first glimpse of the city and then on into the CBD. We stopped in at the Make Poverty History Office and then met a friend for lunch before returning to the Queen Vic Markets to pre-walk a few kilometres out of town.
Wendy had to catch the bus back to the caravan park, collect the car/caravan and drive up to Coburg North where we were checked into a different caravan park for the rest of our stay in Melbourne.
During this time, I walked from Queen Vic Markets to Coburg North so we finished up about 8km ahead of schedule. On the way out of town I stopped in at the Carlton Football Club to collect the signed jumper that they kindly offered to donate to our trip as a momento of our passing through Melbourne.
Saturday 18 May
We caught the tram into Melbourne early in the morning and went to the ABC Studios in Southbank where I did a live TV interview with the Sydney studio on ABC News 24’s Breakfast Show with host Miriam Corowa. It was weird sitting in a little room all on our own, talking into a camera and not being able to see the people interviewing you.
We then made our way up to the Queen Vic Markets where we met up with Simon the Journalism student, a couple of students from MacRobertsons High and people from Opportunity To Do. We all walked down Elizabeth St in the rain but it started to clear by the time we reached Bourke St Mall where Simon set up to film us walking through. He had a perfect shot set up and had managed to stop the pedestrians but when he said go one of the pedestrians thought he meant her and started to walk in front of the camera. Without even thinking, his arm shot out and he grabbed her by the coat and pulled her back. It was so funny but we had to try not to laugh and wreck the shot! I think she thought it was funny too.
We then met up with a Fire Engine crew and Police motorbike at Flinders Lane and they escorted us around the corner to Federation Square where we were met and cheered on by our supporters. It’s the shortest escort we have had so far due to all the traffic but the Policeman even stopped the traffic for us to get to the other side of Flinders St, so it was pretty cool. We had Channel 7 filming the arrival as well as a cameraman from the Herald Sun.
We then walked around the back of Federation Square to Birrarung Marr where we were met by even more supporters and MPH had set up a stage and some marques. There were representatives from Health Australia Tanzania (HAT), CARE Australia, TEAR & Opportunity To Do with tables displaying their brochures. They had also put up a lot of the posters from St Therese’s Primary in Bendigo as decorations which was great.
Adam Cousens, singer/songwriter, played music for a few hours and we had a BBQ lunch. Matt went up to the local Buddhist festival and gave a speech and had his photo taken with the Buddha mascot. He then gave a speech back at our event and then we all adjourned to a local pub for the rest of the afternoon. A very long day but very enjoyable and a great effort by MPH to arrange it all for us. We enjoyed meeting all our wonderful supporters and reps from the different aid/advocacy groups.
Sunday 19 May
We did a bit more pre-walking today so that we can get to Albury in time. It was a nice day for walking, the best weather we have had for a fair few days. We left Coburg and headed up the old Hume Highway (Sydney Rd) on our way towards Craigieburn. We made it a just past a little village called Mickleham which is a little past Craigieburn and headed back to the Big 4 Caravan Park in Melbourne for school visits over the next couple of days.
Monday 20 May
We visited MacRobertson Girls High and spoke to a group of students including some of the girls that were part of the winning team in the Melbourne version of the Race to Save the World. We then caught a train to Mt Waverley and spoke to a group of school leaders at Avila College. They passed a tin around at the end of the presentation and raised $61.65 which they have donated to our next project which will be helping an aid project in Africa. It was a long day but well worth it to have the opportunity to speak to two groups of really enthusiastic students who are showing an interest in global issues.
Tuesday 21 May
Early train ride to Pakenham (about 70 km from where we were staying) to speak to several Year 5 & 6 classes at Pakenham Springs Primary School. We then returned to the city for a lunch with staff from Make Poverty History and Oxfam in Carlton. It was then time to collect the caravan and drive back out to just past Craigieburn ready to re-start the walk first thing tomorrow morning.
The next leg of the journey
We are due to reach Wangaratta on Tuesday 28 May and then Albury-Wodonga on Friday 31 May. Its then full steam ahead to get to Canberra for 14 June where we will spend the weekend before embarking on the final leg of the journey to Sydney for our arrival on Friday 28 June.