Walk My Way walks hand in hand with those who were at the beginnings of Christian witness and service in Queensland.
Those who are doing the first ever ‘Walk my Way’ event from Noosa to Coolum, are following a journey first travelled in the name of the Lord, by the very first Christian mission workers to arrive in Queensland.
On the 20th March, 1838, a community of 20 Christian women and men from Germany, arrived on strange coastal beach, known today as Redcliffe. These people were the first free settlers in Queensland and they had been commissioned to travel across the seas to establish a mission station. Since 1824 Brisbane had been established as a convict colony, with about 100 women and men. They called their mission ‘Zion Hill’ and it was located in present day Nundah. Their children were born as the first ‘free settler’ children in the State of Queensland.
This community of Christian women and men of Zion Hill, had come to serve the local Yaggera peoples who were the aboriginal inhabitants in the region. At the same time, they sought to serve the people of the colony, both the guards and convicts.
What has this to do with the Sunshine Coast? The first Europeans to come to the Sunshine Coast were actually three escaped convicts. When the Zion Hill missionaries arrived in Nundah, they travelled to befriend the aboriginal people in the northern areas. They journeyed to the regions of the Sunshine Coast, meeting up with various groups and in a short time, they became familiar with many elements of the Yaggera language.
At this same time, the officers of the British Colony in Brisbane were required to survey the region of the north coast and so they turned to the Zion Hill missionaries who were the first Europeans to become familiar with the local geography. The first surveyor of the entire Sunshine Coast, including Noosa and Coolum, through to the Hinterland and even to the Bunya Mountains, travelled in the early 1840s, with Missionary Schmidt or Missionary Eipper from Zion Hill.
This is some of the story of the women and men of Zion Hill who served the local aboriginal peoples and the people of the local European colony. They came here in faithful response to the word of the Risen Lord Jesus who said, “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8). From the comfort and security of their homes in Germany in the 1830s, they could not have imagined anything more like the “ends of the earth” than South East Queensland.
In a very, real way, the ‘Walk my Way’ journey follows the example of these early Queensland Christian workers who came to reach out in love to their neighbour, to serve in the name of Jesus. As Eipper and Schmidt walked the journey of service in those early days of the Sunshine Coast, we ‘walk their way’ for the sake of others.
We pray God’s blessing on those who are taking part in this extraordinary and wonderful project of ALWS.
Pastor Paul Smith,
Bishop, Lutheran Church of Australia, Queensland District