PO Box 31, Red Hill, Q 4059


Our Story

The Club was started by Father Willie Hayes and Raoul Mellish in January 1958 and incorporated in March 1992. In 1957, Father Hayes was assigned to the Brisbane Parish of Yeronga, where he met Raoul Mellish, an experienced bushwalker. In September 1957, while Willie and Raoul were climbing one of Raoul’s favourite mountains, Mt Beerwah in the Glasshouse Mountains, their conversation turned to the idea of a Catholic bushwalking club to cater for both the spiritual and physical needs of bushwalkers. One aim was to have a club that catered for Sunday 's Mass attendance. On the last Sunday of October in 1957, a notice appeared in The Catholic Leader, inviting interested people to contact Fr Hayes. 

Proposed Catholic Bushwalking Club for Brisbane

 In recent years, bushwalking has become a popular pastime for many Australians. Brisbane already has two bushwalking clubs, providing,in various ways, an outlet for people who have felt the urge to really get out into the open, and discover the beauties of mountain and bush in their natural and unspoiled states.For some years now, Sydney has had a variety of bushwalking clubs, including a vigorous Catholic Club. It is felt that a similar Catholic Club should be formed in Brisbane. There are many places within easy distance of the city which would be suitable for one day trips. Properly organised, full weekend trips could also be arranged in such places, for instance at Lamington Plateau, where Sunday Mass is often provided.Having received His Grace’s approval for the formation of a Catholic Club in Brisbane, it is proposed, a sufficient number of interested people forthcoming, to hold an inaugural meeting in early January of next year. If anyone interested would contact Father Hayes of Yeronga and leave with him the necessary personal details, he or she will be advised in due course of the date and place for this meeting. In the meantime, arrangements could be made for a preliminary outing, so that prospective members may get to know one another. (http://catholicleader.com.au/) A follow up notice appeared on 5th December on page 15 of The Catholic Leader advising that the first outing would be to Mt. Tibrogargan on Sunday 1st December 1957. 

First Outing of Catholic Bushwalking Club 

On last Sunday, 1st December, Father W. Hayes and twenty-six other prospective members of the proposed Brisbane Catholic Bushwalker's Club went for a day’s outing to the Glasshouse Mountains. This was the first outing of the new Club.The site chosen for lunch was a spot beside a pool near the foot of Mount Tibrogargan. In the afternoon a group of twelve, including six of the girls,succeeded in reaching the top.Visibility from the top was poor owing to the amount of bush-fire smoke in the atmosphere. The only commanding features of the view were the delicate spire of Mount Crookneck and the graceful mass of Mount Beerwah standing out like ghostly silhouettes. On returning from the hot, parched slopes of the mountain, the most welcome feature of the day was the long, refreshing swim in the shaded pool. In the cool of the evening. The pleasantly tired party rounded off the day’s activity with a leisurely walk to the station to catch their trains.It is proposed to hold the inaugural general meeting of the Club on Thursday, 16th January, 1958. All those concerned note time and venue of this meeting.Plans are being made for the first official weekend outing which will be held at O'Reilly’s Lamington Plateau, on the long weekend at the end of January, where Mass will be provided.In the meantime others interested may leave personal particulars with Father Hayes, Yeronga, phone JW 2134. http://catholicleader.com.au/). The trip was attended by 27 people and could be viewed as the day on which the Club began. The first meeting was held on Thursday 16th January, 1958 and the Brisbane Catholic bushwalking Club was officially founded. The Club’s constitution was modelled on the Catholic Bushwalking Club of Sydney and its patron, Our Lady of the Way, was adopted by the Brisbane Catholic Bushwalking Club.

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.
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