By Eric Martin
The annual St Joseph’s Church, Subiaco Parish, Camino Salvado Pilgrimage walk from Subiaco to New Norcia is set to take place once again for 2019.
Scheduled from Sunday 25 August to Sunday 1 September, and then again from Sunday 8 September to Sunday 15 September, the Camino Salvado is a pilgrimage conducted under the auspices of St Joseph’s Church, following the tradition of the famous Spanish Camino de Santiago, from Subiaco to the unique monastery town of New Norcia.
Organising Committee spokesperson Graeme Wishart said pilgrims walk in the spirit of Dom Rosendo Salvado, a pioneering monk from Santiago, Spain, who established the monastery in New Norcia.
The modern walk trail travels 180km from metropolitan Salvado Rd, Subiaco, to the Benedictine Monastery town of New Norcia, a pilgrimage that takes seven days to wind its way along the track followed by then-Father Salvado in 1846 as he made his way out to the Victoria Plains of WA and its traditional owners, the Murara-Murara.
At the heart of the Camino Salvado pilgrimage is the story of Western Australia’s indigenous people and the efforts of one man to make sure that they were equipped to deal with the sudden change that was about to overtake them with the advent of settlement.
The story of the then Fr Salvado is the story of the Murara-Murara, as the conversion, teaching and care of his indigenous flock was the focus of his life’s work and gained him recognition within the wider secular community as a tireless campaigner for indigenous rights.
Not only was he elected as the Protector of Aboriginal Natives in June 1887, he also influenced the amendment of the 1871 Bastardy Act and the 1874 Industrial Schools Act to ensure that White fathers were financially responsible for their Aboriginal children; and guaranteed the education of such children by helping to establish the legal guardianship of missions.
Then-Fr Salvado taught the Murara-Murara western concepts of property and ownership by learning indigenous culture and combining the two in a manner that made it relatable: the Murara-Murara soon became skilled in all the traditional elements of European farming, many of them becoming first-class ploughmen, teamsters and farm workers, helping the 200 monks to develop New Norcia into the largest sheep producing area in the state.
The Murara-Murara even became the heroes of the cricket field with New Norcia’s indigenous team walking the 180kms to the game before thoroughly trouncing the English Settler’s team each time they played.
“We follow his inspirational journey of 1846 to connect with country and community,” Mr Wishart explained.
“The pilgrimage is an opportunity to travel lightly, to walk free of the daily routines, to meet people, to make friends, to enjoy and celebrate God’s creation,” he said.
“An opportunity to participate, Mr Wishart explained, in the travelling, the conversations and the silences to reflect on the journey of our lives.”
The pilgrimage attracts a variety of people, Christians and non-Christians of all ages, who participate in this unique Australian Camino.
For more information and registration connect via the website www.caminosalvado.com or contact 0418 742 701.