Why Join a Club?

equipment The Brisbane Catholic Bushwalking Club Inc enables walkers to go beyond the recognized tourist spots. Its sixty plus years of experience provide a breadth and depth of knowledge. Walkers have a common passion and provide great company for one another. The Club’s procedures and conventions promote safety, confidence and leadership skills.

Types of Walks

Day Walks depart from Brisbane in the morning and return the same day. The walks are often on graded tracks and can involve walking to the summit of a mountain.

Overnighters usually occur in areas some distance away, where one night’s accommodation allows a longer day for walking.

Base Camps involve camping or cabin accommodation from which day walks depart and return.

Through Walks require walkers to carry all gear and pitch tents at different spots each evening.

Annual Walks include the Mt Barney Walk and Mass each Exhibition Wednesday, an Easter Monday walk with another local bushwalking club and Shepherds’ Walk with the local historical society in Beaudesert. A combined bushwalking clubs’ base camp, known as The Pilgrimage, is held each September.

Difficulty of Walks

Each walk is described according to the following Grading System to indicate the degree of difficulty.

Distance Terrain Fitness/Endurance
Short: under 10km per day 1 - Smooth reasonably flat path 1 - Basic - Suitable for beginners.Up to 4 hours walking. Flat
2 - Graded path/track with minor obstacles 2 - Basic - Suitable for beginners. Up to 4 hours walking. Minor hills
Medium: 10-15km per day 3 - Graded track with obstacles such as rock, roots, fallen debris or creek crossings 3 - Intermediate - Suitable for fit beginners. Up to 5 hours walking and/or minor hills
4 – Rough, unformed track or open terrain with obstacles such as rock, roots, fallen debris or creek crossings 4 - Intermediate - Suitable for fit beginners. Up to 5 hours walking and/or up to 300m gain/loss
Long: 15-20 km per day 5 - Rough or rocky terrain with small climbs using hands or rock hopping 5 - Moderate - Up to 6 hours walking and/ or up to 450m gain/loss. Agility required.
6 - Steep, rough or rocky terrain with large climbs using hands or rock hopping 6 - Moderate - Up to 6 hours walking and/or up to 600m gain/loss. Agility required.Extra-long: over 20 km per day
Extra-long: over 20 km per day 7 - Climb/descend steep rock using hands or footholds. May be some exposure. Good upper body strength needed. 7 - High - Up to 8 hours walking and/or up to 750m gain/loss. High fitness, endurance and agility required.
8 - Climb/descend near vertical rock with exposure. Climbing skills may be required. 8 - High - Up to 8 hours walking and/or up to 1000m gain/loss. High fitness, endurance and agility required.
9 - Sustained climbing or descending of vertical or near vertical rock with exposure. Advanced climbing skills and good upper body strength required. 9 - Challenging - Up to 12 hours walking and/or over 1000m gain/loss. Very high fitness, endurance and agility required.
Example: M48 is a medium walk, 10 to 15 kilometres long, over unformed, rough ground with obstacles. The walk is hard or strenuous, requiring fitness, agility and endurance.

Undertaking a Walk

  1. Walkers nominate to the leader at the monthly meeting, by phone or email at least two full days in advance.Nominations are accepted at the discretion of the leader and in accordance with the Club’s Constitution.
  2. The leader invites some walkers to drive and be reimbursed financially. Walkers who do not carpool each pay $2.
  3. Walks depart from St Brigid’s Church Car Park at Red Hill. Cars can be left there on Saturdays and Sundays.
  4. If walkers need to withdraw after nominating, they need to advise the leader promptly.
  5. All walkers are expected to be punctual, to heed the leader’s instructions and to stay together as a group by maintaining visual contact with the walkers in front and the walkers behind and by re-grouping at intersections and on other occasions. One nominated walker, the tail-end-Charlie, walks last.
  6. Everything taken in on walks must be taken out again. This includes all rubbish and used toilet paper.


The Club carries Personal Accident and Public Liability Insurance which covers financial members participating in Club events. Visitors and members’ children are not covered and are required to complete a disclaimer Visitor’s Form, before walking. Bushwalking can be dangerous. Participants take part in activities at their own risk, take responsibility for their own safety and need to use care, common sense and good judgement. The leader should be advised, at the time of nomination, of any medical conditions which could possibly affect the walker or others on the outing. This does not imply acceptance of responsibility by the leader or by the Club. All members carry a completed Emergency Contact and Medical Information Form, which can be handed to paramedics should an accident occur. Each walk has a nominated Emergency Officer whose phone number is included in the Jilalan. Should the walk’s return be delayed, communication between the leader and the family members of walkers occurs through the Emergency Officer.

The Emergency Officer System

  • • The Emergency Officer is the first point of contact for any emergency involving an outing and needs to be contactable at all times during an outing.
  • • All walkers should carry the Emergency Officer’s details and ensure that family members also have them.
  • • Prior to an outing, the leader contacts the Emergency Officer to advise details of the walkers, the drivers, car shuffles and car parking locations as well as any changes to the plans.
  • • Walkers who are late to the meeting point and unable to contact the leader can phone the Emergency Officer.
  • • At the conclusion of an outing, the leader contacts the emergency officer to report the safe return of all walkers.
Delays: An Emergency:


equipment Walkers should wear comfortable clothes, hats and good walking shoes or boots. Equipment is best carried in a backpack. Essential equipment includes two litres of water, food for lunch and snacks, rain protection, a warm jacket, a first aid kit, a torch, sunscreen and a completed Emergency Contact and Medical Information Form. Toilet paper is also recommended. Additional gear for basecamps and through walks includes camping gear, cooking and eating utensils and additional food and water. Specific requirements should be discussed with the leader. The Club has some tents and through-walk packs for hire to members. Enquiries can be made with the Outings Secretary.

Walk Costs

These are designed to cover the reimbursement of drivers and depend on the distance driven to and from the start of the walk. Drivers do not pay. Reimbursements are calculated by the Treasurer. As of 2017:

Distance in kms Cost per passenger
0 -50 $5
51- 100 $10
101 - 150 $15
151 - 200 $20
201 - 250 $25
251 - 300 $30

Examples of Walks

Annual Mt Barney Mass

Each year, on Exhibition Wednesday, Club members and visitors are welcome to join the climb of Mount Barney and the Mass in the saddle between East and West Peaks. Mount Barney is located within the Scenic Rim Region in South-East Queensland, approximately 130 kilometres south-west of Brisbane. It forms part of the McPherson Range, is a popular destination for bushwalkers and is often regarded as one of the most impressive parts of the Scenic Rim. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount Barney

The climb and Mass have been an annual pilgrimage for the Brisbane Catholic Bushwalking Club Inc since 1960. For bushwalking pilgrims, mountain tops can be places where the seen and unseen worlds are closely connected and inhabitants of one world can momentarily touch those of the other. A pilgrimage is a journey to a sacred space where one can connect with a deeper faith and where one can encounter the goodness of God. (https://www.franciscanmedia.org/an-irish-journey-into-celtic-spirituality)

The first climb was on 17th August, 1960. Fifty-eight members and visitors participated. The celebrant was Father Willie Hayes, co-founder of the Club. Byron Moss reported on the event in the Third Annual Report of the Club in March 1961:

Setting out from a campsite a short distance from the Bushwalker’s Ridge (now known as Peasant’s Ridge), on a bright sunny morning, the main party of 40 reached the saddle between East and West Peaks at 11.30 am, selected a site and set up a satisfactory altar of flat rocks a short distance up East Peak. There the necessary equipment, vestments etc. (which for carrying purposes had been divided among the various members of the party in order that everyone might participate more fully in the event) were made ready.

The location was one of beauty and inspiration to the participants in the Mass which commenced at noon following the arrival of the second party numbering 18, which had ascended by way of North Ridge. Peter Lillis and John Power served at the Mass. During Mass Father Hayes spoke briefly of the important events through the ages which had taken place on mountains and of the significance of the present Mass.

Afterwards a cairn of stones was built to mark the spot on which Mass had been celebrated and permission has been obtained from the relevant authorities for a plaque commemorating the occasion to be affixed to this cairn.

At the time of the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the first climb, Raoul Mellish, the other co-founder of the Club, recorded, in the Mass Booklet, the events relating to the laying of the plaque.

On the Saturday afternoon of May 13, 1961, a brass plaque commemorating the Mass said by Fr Hayes on Mt Barney on Exhibition Wednesday of the previous year, was set in the rock used as an altar. This rock has now come to be known as the Mass Rock.

The inscription on the plaque reads as follows: Holy Mass was said here on 17-8-60 by Rev. Fr. W. Hayes first president chaplain of the Brisbane Catholic Bushwalking Club”.

As Mt Barney is a National Park, special permission for this was obtained from the Minister for Forestry and Agriculture. The work of setting the plaque took most of the afternoon, as the rock had to be cut back to a level recess and drilled to take the holding screws, and it was not until the last ray of day was shafting golden on high battlements of the mountain, that the job was completed. Also set in the rock just below the plaque was a metal Club badge left at the site last Easter by Father Hayes who was paying his last visit there before going to Ireland. A logbook in a muntz metal container was left at the site and its opening entry reads: A record for all those who pass by this place on the magnificent mountain. Commenced Saturday May 13th, 1961.

The party spent the Saturday night in the old University Hut with a roaring log fire to take the chill out of the early winter air. At dawn on the Sunday morning, on leaving the hut, John Power and I were struck with the sight of the Morning Star shining large and bright in the grey sky just above the crest of East Peak somewhat towards the North Peak. It was a strange coincidence for us to see the Star in this position from behind the East and North Peaks, the reverse of the way we had visualized it for the Club badge.

As we started to climb the dark slope of the East Peak to gain the summit for sunrise, the West Peak was just beginning to turn golden under the first light of the day, while overhead two great eagles were planeing in the updraft of the fresh cold air blowing up the slopes of the mountain. This was the inspiration of the poem which John Power wrote in Ireland, just before commencing his studies for the priesthood at the Abbey at Loughrea, County Clare.

  • See! She softly sheds her light,
  • Hung in the filmy veil of night;
  • And smiles with sweet serenity,
  • To guide us into the portals of eternity.
  • She, the evening star, our Queen,
  • Before all ages, promised she had been;
  • And ever, more shalt never cease to be,
  • Through her, may yet we know, the Infinite Majesty. By Fr. John Power.

Anniversary of the First Catholic Priest in Australia

The following is an excerpt from a reflection Fr James O’Donoghue recently had posted in in Ipswich Catholic Community parish newsletter on Good Shepherd Sunday. 10 May 2020:

Two significant anniversaries occurred recently. Firstly, it is 250 years (a quarter of a millennium) since Captain James Cook in the Endeavour entered Botany Bay on 28 April 1770. Secondly it is 200 years since the first colonial government authorised Mass was celebrated in Australia. On 3 May 1820 the ship Janus carrying the first official Catholic chaplains arrived in Sydney. It is known that the first actual mass had been celebrated by convict priest James Dixon transported from Wexford, Ireland. Jeremiah O’Flynn arrived in Australia in 1816 but was deported after a few months. Fathers John Joseph Therry and Phillip Connolly were authorised by the government fifty years later than the arrival of James Cook’s expedition for the establishment of the Catholic Church in Australia. Although Joseph Banks, the onboard botanist found at Botany Bay a virtual paradise of flora and fauna, the first settlement was several miles north. It continued to be referred to as Botany Bay. The first Catholic bishop responsible, Dr Slater, based in Mauritius off the African coast, called it Botany Bay when calling for missionaries to fulfil the need in 1817-.

Fr John Joseph Therry is rightly called the founder of the Catholic Church in Australia. When Fr Connolly went to Van Dieman’s land (now Tasmania) he was the sole priest 1820-1826 John Joseph Therry was born in County Cork in 1790. (the same year as my great, great, great grandfather was born) Therry became a priest for the diocese of Kildare and Leighlin. His vocation story bears the hallmark of his predecessor St Patrick many centuries before who had a vision of his fellow countrymen to care and spread the Gospel. One day in the marketplace, Therry saw a waggon being drawn along. It was loaded with his fellow countrymen bound in chains and handcuffed. He was told they were bound for Botany Bay. He went and bought 30 prayer books and threw them in the waggon and on the spot, he decided to join his fellows on the other side of the earth to save their souls. It is through the efforts of his colleague, the forcibly deported Jeremiah Oflynn that he made it out to Australia for his ministry. Needless to say, times were hard as this was a decade before the English Parliament voted for Catholic emancipation. As Catholics were a significantly oppressed group there were difficult negotiations with the government. Prior to his arrival in Australia, Catholic convicts were forced to attend Anglican services for refusal gave punishments such as placement in the stocks and flogging.

The 250th anniversary of James Cook’s legendary voyage up the coast of Australia will pass largely uncelebrated as all the significant events such as a trip by the replica Endeavour have been cancelled. The story of the foundation of the Catholic Church remains even less known and celebrated. I am inspired when I contemplate the courageous efforts of the early pioneer priests such as John Joseph Therry and Phillip Connoly in such harsh unrelenting conditions. For amongst the convicts and free settlers they mirrored the care of the original Good Shepherd. Therry was indefatigable in visiting the sick and dying and doing a thousand things for the poor and struggling.

Three decades after Fr John Joseph Therry, Fr Eugene Luckie arrived in Limestone (now known as Ipswich) in 1849. He is known as the first Shepherd in this region. On this World Day of Vocations, we are promoted to think of what our own calling is and what is important. I never could have imagined that I would be ministering during the shutdown of the pandemic - no public masses worldwide apart from the live stream. We can recall the shepherds and pastors who have cared for us over the years from Ireland, Europe and native born and now the “new world”. Let us give praise and thanks for all the good shepherds in our midst, diligently protecting us from the dangers of the spread of Covid-19.