BVRT hosts Mission pilgrimage

The entire team of walkers and supporters of the pilgrimage in the journey to a sacred location in Cherbourg, 'The Ration Shed'

Somerset towns along the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail have played host to a pilgrimage by the Brisbane-based charity Emmanuel City Mission.

Celebrating Easter while keeping the focus on its original meaning, ECM team members, supporters and participants journeyed from Merivale Street in South Brisbane to Cherbourg in the South Burnett region, crossing the finish line of their 300km trek on Good Friday.

ECM director and founder Roby Curtis said the homeless service has been operating for a decade in Brisbane, and over this time they had met many Cherbourg residents.

“Through there we’ve established really good relationships with many people, including up to 35 per cent of our daily visitors who are First Nations people,” Mr Curtis said.

Mr Curtis said travelling the rail trail was a highlight of the journey.

“We jumped on at Pine Mountain and from there used the rail trail for a number of days ’til the Nanango Stock Routes,” he said.

“The first night was at the Fernvale Hotel for dinner. We like to make sure we’re eating at the local establishments, and the Fernvale Hotel was a great host for a group of 35 people.

“Being close to Brisbane, some of the supporters came out for tea and we had a First Nations presenter for some table talk around culture and their story.”

The pilgrimage spent its second night at the Toogoolawah Showgrounds.

“It was a very soggy day and evening and they gave us access to one of the pavilions to put our swags down,” Mr Curtis said.

“The Toogoolawah Showgrounds couldn’t have been nicer to us.

“We trekked on to Linville and had dinner at the hotel that evening and staying across at the adjacent campground.

“It was a great night at the Linville Hotel. They made us feel very welcome.”

Mr Curtis said the trail was extraordinary.

“What a sensational route with the variances and the different sorts of terrains and tracks,” he said.

“Most of us city slickers had a coffee at Brisbane Valley Roasters, and there were so many good coffee stops along the way in the towns.”

Mr Curtis said they met many supportive locals along the route.

“There was overwhelming support from people in conversation and even a bit of financial support for our homeless work from people who we met in towns along the way,” he said.

““We don’t receive government funds. This is one of three major fundraising events, we rely on the kindness of people like Lachlan Furnell.”

Queensland Cricketers Club CEO Lachlan Furnell was among the group that embarked on the pilgrimage.

About four years ago, Mr Furnell created the initiative Beyond the Boundary, which donates to various community charity organisations.

As part of this outreach, the Queensland Cricketers Club provides 320L of milk, 40kg of protein (chicken or beef) and 30L of sauce-based mix each week to Emmanuel City Missions, to help the volunteers in the kitchen provide a warm and filling meal to those in need.