The MacKillop Woods Way - First Steps Forward




The envisaged MacKillop Woods Way has been planned to traverse the south eastern corner of the Australian continent via locations which have a significant historical and cultural importance to the lives and work of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop and the pioneering priest Fr Julian Tenison Woods. The route shown will be a viable way for both walkers and cyclist to make their pilgrimage mostly along minor roads, established rail trails and walking paths without the needs for a purpose built way to be constructed from scratch. The MacKillop Woods Way has now been endorsement by the Congregational Leadership Team at the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart based in North Sydney, as well as some given Catholic Diocese. In its early years of development there has been great enthusiasm from local communities and a willingness to embrace this ambitious pilgrims' way.



Following in the Footsteps of Saint Ignatius - My Camino Mapping Project 2015


From early April to late June in 2015 I embarked on an ambitious pilgrimage halfway across Europe – it taking in the recently established Ignatius Way which runs from the birthplace of Saint Ignatius of Loyola in the Basque Country to Manresa in Catalonia. This predominantly walking pilgrimage in its entirety covered some 1115 km on foot along Spain's - Camino Francés, Camino del Ebro and Camí de Sant Jaume, as well as France’s - Chemin des Piémont, Chemin des d’Arles and Via Domitia before crossing the Col de Montgenévre en route to Turin along a branch of the Via Francigena. As it is clear this journey was not towards Santiago as such, but instead took into account my long term goals into eventually reaching Jerusalem and to an extent this peregrination was closely following in the footsteps of Saint Ignatius -founder of the Jesuit Order.

Walking the Aussie Camino 2014



The first official pilgrims to walk the Aussie Camino (route incorporated into the MacKillop Woods Way) was lead by Luke Mills (center front) assembled for a group photo at the Mary MacKillop Heritage Centre in East Melbourne on 5th April 2014. Here we had a special pilgrim mass, were given our own scallop shell in the spirit of the Way of Saint James, a guidebook and pilgrims' credential prepared by Luke Mills and myself as a memento and record of one's pilgrimage (see below)

My 2012 Preliminary MacKillop Woods Way Bicycle Tour

       


Into the void I went...My preliminary Australian camino bicycle tour took me 1700 km from Port Augusta SA to Ballan Victoria in search of a suitable Way for bicyclists to take when concerning historical links to the life and work of Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods. I chose sections of the long distance Mawson bicycle trail as a potential route for the MacKillop - Woods Way.

The Chemin d'Arles: My 1400km Pilgrimage from Arles to Santiago de Compostela. 2013



In 2013 I undertook my longest walking pilgrimage of 1388 km from Arles, in the south of France to Santiago de Compostela. My journey through France took me along the GR 653 long distance walking trail or better known as the Chemin d'Arles - where many curiosities were encountered.

A Long-Haul Pilgrimage: Singapore to Cape Finisterre by Bicycle 2008 / 09



In 2002 I got on my bike and cycled from my home town of Melbourne to Darwin, crossing the Australian Outback in 90 days. I was preparing for an ambitious bicycle tour which would take me from North Cape in Norway to Cape Town in South Africa. As things turned out, I landed a job in South Korea teaching English, and after completing my work there in mid-2004, I needed a real holiday. I decided to travel, using various modes of transport, across Siberia and southern Europe to Spain. There I began a 750km winter walk on the Camino de Santiago, starting at Saint- Jean-Pied-de-Port. Gradually I decided that one day I would undertake a more challenging pilgrimage, by bicycle.

A Tasmanian Pilgrimage in Conclusion of the Cape to Cape Tour in 2010


During the planning stages for my Cape to Cape Tour (South East Cape, Tasmania - Cape Finisterre, Spain) it had been in my intentions to begin the journey from the "polar opposite" land point to Cape Finisterre. South East Cape / South Cape Bay located in Tasmania's World Heritage South West National Park are but a couple of hours walking distance from Cockle Creek - the most southernly road destination in Australia. As I had already bicycled in 2002 from Melbourne to Darwin and was well into the advanced planning stages for my Cape to Cape Bicycle Tour I thus decided in 2008 to leave the "starting point" to last! Sometimes extended journeys cannot be done physically in a single linear fashion. However as much as possible I kept to my objectives for making the Cape to Cape realizable and therefore in 2010 I eventually completed the journey with my Tasmanian Pilgrimage. Instead of using the bicycle I decided that I would go on foot.