[by Christine Howes]
Cape York to Canberra: Alwyn’s 8,000 km Healing Walk
A First Nations man from Central Queensland, Alwyn Doolan, has walked more than 7,000 km from Bamaga – at the tip of Cape York – to Melbourne over the past 11 months.
Right now Alwyn’s Message Stick Walk is taking him across Tasmania, still on his way to Canberra, where he aims to deliver his message to the Australian Government on Monday 20 May this year.
Alwyn’s arrival in Hobart on Saturday 20 April will be an opportunity for locals to be part of a celebration and ceremony to acknowledge this remarkable achievement and hear what Alwyn has to say.
Alwyn is a Gooreng Gooreng and Wakka Wakka man who said he was walking to inspire and empower younger generations, and seek a better future for First Nations people.
The unprecedented 8,000-kilometre, 10-million step, solo journey has led him through four States and over 50 Aboriginal Sovereign Nations.
As he walks he carries three Message Sticks, each representing the three stages of this country’s journey: Pre-colonisation History, Colonisation and Healing: a new dreaming beyond colonisation.
It’s these sticks, along with a tribal lore notice, that intends to deliver to the Australian Government in May.
Message sticks are a traditional and ancient form of communication which, for Alwyn, carry the hope of truth telling and healing.
“First Nations people in Australia are some of the most disadvantaged in the world, with shocking figures in terms of health and well-being,” he said.
He said there was a long way to go, but he sensed change.
"There’s something in the air, I believe it’s the right time,” he said.
“I want to give my community hope and inspire them, I want to share the journey for people to be a part of something bigger than myself.
“I feel within my heart and soul a cycle of change must be brought about – a cycle that can be true to its core and one that can, most importantly, heal us.”
Alwyn’s progress can be tracked by regular video posts on Facebook on the Message Stick Walk page.
The Message Stick Walk aims to be an important movement where people from all parts of the country and all backgrounds can come together in support of finding a positive and healthy way forward.
Alwyn landed in Devonport in early March and is on track for his modest 450km walk to Hobart, via Launceston, Cleveland, Avoca, St Marys, Falmouth, Four Mile Creek, Chain of Lagoons, Seymour, Bicheno, Swansea, Triabunna, Orford and Sorell.
People in Tasmania are invited to get involved by walking, gathering and offering support as he travels down the east coast of Tasmania to Hobart.
In Hobart he is expected to arrive at Salamanca at 11am before gathering at Princes Park from 1pm onwards to walk to Tasmanian Parliament Lawns by 2pm.
Message Stick Walk can be supported by:
walking with Alwyn in Tasmania throughout April;
meeting him in Hobart on Saturday 20 April;
coming to Canberra on his expected arrival date 18 May, 2019;
helping to fund other First Nations people and groups to get there;
following and sharing Message Stick Walk on social media; and,
contributing to the Message Stick Walk directly (GoFundMe.com/mswalk4us).
Image: Queensland Times
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