Camino de Sydney | Route 5 | Hurstville via Kogarah Bay to Botany Bay
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For this Camino I decided to take a journey through more familiar territory and wanted to view it with fresh new eyes. As the quote from Marcel Proust goes “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
So often we dream of travelling to some exotic far away land or do actually travel there and think this is the only adventure we can have – somewhere, some place else. One that allows you to escape from your everyday life. It is so easy to miss what is in your own country, city and even backyard. Things are so familiar you literally shut your eyes and senses. So I chose to open my mind, heart and walking shoes to the pace of the familiar and see through new eyes. Walking is one of the best vehicles as you can seek out those meek places that you may have passed by in a rush.
My journey began from Hurstville station, 16 kilometres South-West of the Sydney CBD. According to the 2011 census, more than half of its residence are reported as Chinese. According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald “It is the only suburb across all of NSW where one community of non-English migrants outnumbers everyone else combined.” Vibrant and bustling along Forest Road and surrounded with high rise. Yet you walk barely a kilometre away and the landscape changes dramatically to low rise and the quiet of the burbs.
An easy walk through Blakehurst and over to Carrs Park I started to see glimpses of one of the main river systems in Sydney – The Georges River. Historically the river was a focal point for Aboriginal life and culture in the southern Sydney Region. In the early 1800’s European settlers migrated to the areas along the river and it was an important transport route. Along Kogarah Bay I passed a castle like home “Ellesmere” and always wondered about its history. I later found that it was formerly owned by Joseph Carruthers NSW Premier in 1904-1907 and happily shared the river bank with a neighbouring aboriginal camp.
Meandering around close to the Captain Cook Bridge the river became wider opening up its mouth to the panorama of Botany Bay. Presenting beach after beach in which I gladly bathed in along the way. I sat and enjoyed a conversation with some locals about the wild life, of their sightings of dolphins, whales and eagles.
I saw signs of a lovely lady that had left her journey on earth the day before this. Bound for another journey elsewhere. Her zest for life and kind giving qualities were an inspiration to many. I saw her first name initial on the sand and an angel floating in the clouds and this inspired me even more to enjoy the most simple of moments.
This Camino brought me a greater understanding that no matter where we are, in the same old place or on a adventure somewhere else, there is always new to be found. Each day is like no other. You may never meet the same people again, see the same cloud shapes or birds or weather the breeze. Or for that matter see a pink jelly fish, shells washed up on the sand and swim so many times! All is constantly new and changing. We can see the world with new eyes each and every day by allowing ourselves to receive it, to rejoice in it and to live each moment to the full.
I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which I walked the Eora People of the Kameygal Clan. I would like to pay my respects to the Elders past, present and future.
What is the Camino de Sydney?
I had heard of many pilgrimages around the world, like the Camino de Santiago in Spain. People walking for 7-8 hrs a day for a month or more, walking on a route that had been laid out for many years. Here you would soul search, ponder life, make friends and connect. I liked this idea but I also like the idea to discover what is close to you as well. And that is why I thought of simple walks around Sydney where I live. My objectives would be to:
- Walk to different spots around Sydney
- Use this as a time to reflect
- Speak to people along the way
- Help anyone that needs assistance
- Observe, inquire
- Well be a bit of a pilgrim – Sydney style