In the evening I got ready to walk in to Newcastle, which seemed very far prior to setting off. We learned to make paper cranes and heard the story of the little Japanese girl, Sadako who wanted to fold 1000 paper cranes so that her wish for world peace would be grated.
At first light on Wednesday, we got up and prepared for our day of walking. Before we left Bundabah, we stood in a circle and listened to the story of the message stick, which the walkers carry with them to give to Kevin Rudd. The story of the message stick is about sustainability. At the bottom of the stick is a campfire that people gather around to listen, learn, share and spend time together. The smoke from the campfire rises up the message stick and signifies a message. There are footprints, dots and circles up the message stick symbolising the footprints of the walkers and the footprints of the people who have walked these song lines for generations before and of those who will walk these paths for generations to come. At the top of the message stick is a Grass Tree, which is a symbol of sustainability. The grass tree has many, many uses including; the roots can be used to make a medicine for period pain, the sap for glue and incense the spikes can be eaten when young and can be used to make woven baskets and brooms, the stem can be used as a spear and the nectar of the flower can be used to make a cordial. If one plant has all these uses, then we do not need to ravage the earth… What a true and powerful message!
We set off from Nelson Bay with our peace and anti-nuclear flags, inspiring the locals to stop and ask us what we were doing. The morning walk was very pleasant, with June, Cassie and I walking and Dawn driving the support vehicle. We where aiming to get to Bob’s Farm out along Nelson Bay Road. After about 10km, we stopped for lunch on the side of the road with Dawn having set up a yummy spread for us. How refreshing to have a good meal after a morning’s walk!
We had nowhere planned to stay for the night, when we stopped to buy some local vegies from a road stall where local girl Alison was working. We were invited to spend the night with Alison’s family, who live at Bob’s Farm. We walked for the rest of the afternoon to Alison’s place, which we were told had scarecrows out the front and could not be missed. At around 5pm we saw the scarecrows and had come to the home of Alison’s family.
What a lovely family! We spent the evening cooking a meal to share and talking about sustainability. The family had grey water, compost and got their vegies locally from farms in the area. I had blisters because I had not brought good shoes for the walk – I learnt my lesson there! We set up tents on the front lawn and slept very well.
The next day Alison walked with us up the road to see us off, and we began our walk to Stockton, where we would catch a ferry across to Newcastle. After a days walk we arrived in Newcastle and set up to stay the night at La Paz with local Newcastle activists. On Friday we did more media releases and I screen printed lots of shirts for the evening’s event.
Suspension Café is a great little venue and we had a really enjoyable evening. Uncle Arthur of the Kattung people gave his blessing to the walkers to walk through his ancestral Pambalong lands, Aunty Peta spoke about freedom and raised the point: how do we use public servants i.e. politicians etc and make them listen to our concerns – the language and words we use is powerful if we know the right words to use.
We watched the documentary Climate of Hope by Scott Ludlam, which is a short and informative look at nuclear power and the dangers of the nuclear industry. We had delicious soup made by Jeffo and cakes made by Fiona and Tia. We had a wonderful night.
The next day, a group of around 10 people walked with the women out of Newcastle to see them off on their way.