Yalari Commemorative Walk to Cherbourg


Barambah Aboriginal Reserve was established in 1904, from gazetted land from Barambah Station in the South Burnett area of south-eastern Queensland. In 1905 the Durundur Aboriginal reserve near Woodford closed down and many of the Aboriginal inhabitants walked for three months travelling the 148km overland to Barambah Aboriginal Reserve, later renamed Cherbourg in 1931.

Over the years since 1905, thousands of Aboriginal people from all over Queensland were either forcibly taken to Cherbourg, or were born there and came to call the area ‘home’. Today, Cherbourg is the third largest aboriginal community in Queensland.

Yalari’s Founding Director, Waverley Stanley’s family are from Cherbourg. His parents were both born and educated at Cherbourg. His grandparents were all taken to Cherbourg during the 1930’s and 1940’s from Chinchilla, Springsure and Croydon in Queensland and from Lake Nash in the Northern Territory.  His great-great-grandmother, Nellie Thomas, was one of the original people who travelled to Cherbourg in 1905 as a teenage girl. She lived to be 106 years old.

It is in honour of the Indigenous people’s strength, courage, leadership, and endurance, as well as the historical and cultural significance of that first ‘walk to Cherbourg’ in 1905, that Yalari holds the, ‘Commemorative Walk to Cherbourg ’.

The Purpose

Yalari offers Indigenous children from regional, rural and remote communities across Australia the opportunity for a first-class secondary education through scholarships to attend some of Australia’s leading boarding schools.

Through the gift of education, Yalari provides young Indigenous people with the ideas and skills to help them pursue their goals and dreams. We currently have 170 students involved in our program.

The Yalari Commemorative Walk provides an opportunity for our students to experience the qualities of resilience, strength, courage, leadership and endurance in an event that not only takes a strong commitment from them to complete, but also provides the cultural backdrop of those who have gone before them and walked to Cherbourg in 1905.  These same qualities will, in turn, enhance the life-changing opportunities that today’s Yalari students are receiving in their first-class education at our partnership schools.

Yalari scholars enjoy the times when they can get together and catch up. We try to provide as many meaningful get togethers as possible, preferably once a year, either at the Orientation Camp, the Year 9 Central Australian camp, the Year 10 and 11 university camps,  and every second year the Cherbourg Walk. Creating opportunities for Yalari scholars to support each other now, and well into their future lives, is vitally important for the wellbeing and success of the scholars individually, and Yalari’s mission to support the children holistically.

The Walk

The 100km walk (slightly shorter than the original route due to logistical challenges) is held over six days during the September school holidays. Working as a team is an important part of the walk; therefore the ideals of teamwork, mateship, leadership and strength will be fostered before and during the walk in an endeavour for our students to model those same qualities that, historically, the original Cherbourg people needed to draw upon to create their own sense of community. The cultural and historical significance of the walk will be something for all the students to understand and appreciate, regardless of where they come from in Australia. In some cases, the history of Indigenous people’s displacement in other states is similar to that of Queensland whilst in other places, it is very different. By walking in the steps of their ancestors and the elders of yesterday, the students will gain an empathy with the past struggles and triumphs that allowed them to live their lives of opportunity today.

The walk will ensure that there is minimum impact on the environment while we encourage and promote a sense of community within the group and with the local community groups along the way.

All participants and support staff arrive in Kilcoy in preparation to begin the six day walk the following day. Yalari organises all travel arrangements for students to and from home or school.

The journey retraces the original route walkers travelled in 1905. Accommodation will be camping in tents along the way. The maximum kilometres travelled each day will be 30km. Most days are about 20 km.  The walk will be completed as the teams walk the final 10km into Cherbourg and are joined by Yalari supporters, volunteers, guests and family.

The Team

A maximum number of 50 Yalari students participate in the six day walk. The walk is not-compulsory and students are required to apply, gain permission from parents and prove that they are engaged in some form of regular training for the walk.

Yalari staff and volunteers will support with transportation, safety, medical assistance, food preparation, leadership guidance, groups leadership and campsite setup. It is envisioned that there will be a total of approximately 80 adults and students on the walk.

For general information please contact:

Kylie Bennett
Student Development Coordinator
07 56658688
For media enquiries please contact:
Alison MacKenzie
Communications Manager