Riding the High Country Trail
August 9, 2012
An air of anticipation filled the Trawool Valley Resort on Saturday, 4 August as people arrived for the John Wallis Foundation community event on the newly opened Goulburn River Rail Trail. A sense of celebration mounted throughout the day, from the meetings and greetings of people as they arrived and gathered to the picnic at the end of the ride.
The weather was perfect for the occasion: mild and sunny with a touch of spring in the air. The scenery is beautiful – rolling green hills surrounding the river valley. This is the country of the Taungurung, the first people to inhabit the land in which John Wallis grew up. Several generations earlier, John’s forebears had pioneered this area for farming. The McCarthy family who lived near the Wallises when Father John was a boy, welcomed participants. Anthony McCarthy briefly shared a few memories from those times. Bernadette Wallis mss presented a brief sketch of Father John’s family background, his life as a priest in Tasmanian and his founding the Missionary Sisters of Service.
After the formalities, participants moved to their respective starting places for their 25 km bike ride, their 10 km run/walk and their 4.5 km walk. Support people moved to their various places along the way, to provide directions, ensure the safety of participants and cheer them on.
The lovely grounds of the old Yea railway station provided the finishing point for the riders, runners and walkers. They were welcomed with a sausage sizzle being prepared by some of the members of the Yea Catholic parish. People relaxed in the warm sunshine.
Much gratitude is due to all who played a part in making the day such a great success. The prime mover for the event was Joe McCarthy of Lay Marist Ministry who also put great energy into its organisation. Other members of the McCarthy family were corralled into various support roles. The John Wallis Foundation Board and Missionary Sisters of Service were also involved in the preparation and running of the event.
The event was a community effort and it generated a sense of community among all who took part in it. At the end of the day, many expressed the hope that this would become an annual event. That said it all!