Walking can be a solitary and silent pursuit but it can also be a social and collaborative experience – especially when undertaken as a form of walking journalism known as #CroakeyGO.
Please join us for our next installment of #CroakeyGO, with a walk on Kaurna country in Adelaide on Sunday 22 October.
It is co-hosted by the South Australian branch of the Public Health Association of Australia and is being held in association with the SA State Population Health Conference on Saturday 21 October.
Details of the walk’s itinerary will be posted closer to the time, and you can find out more and register your attendance here.
Walking journalism aims to provide a platform for place-based discussions about health and wellbeing. It is powered by our collective and connective networks that help with amplifying and widening the discussions beyond the physical event.
On the day, follow #CroakeyGO to join the walk virtually and to follow the discussions and interviews. We welcome your participation and comments.
On the day, we will hear from Tirritpa Ritchie, a Kaurna man, Lecturer in Allied Health: Aboriginal Health at the University of South Australia, and deputy chair for Indigenous Allied Health Australia. He will talk about his experience in introducing a walking classroom through Kaurna country for the Primary Health Care Course in the Occupational Therapy program.
Reporting from #CroakeyGO in Melbourne
Below you can see some of the photos, interviews and reflections from a #CroakeyGO walk in Melbourne, on the country of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation, on Saturday, 5 August (read more about the itinerary here).
The video interviews undertaken during the walk had a total of about 900 views on the Periscope app alone, and can now also be watched at “Croakey TV”, as well as below.
Introducing #CroakeyGO walkers
Dr Therese Riley: working with communities, modelling and influencing prevention systems
Darren Lewin-Hill: calling for a Housing First approach
Dr Ben Veness: on healing environments
Dr Helen Schultz: on mandatory reporting of health professionals
Melissa Sweet: what is #CroakeyGO and social journalism?
Snaps and selfies
See more photos at the @WePublicHealth archive (check the week of 31 July entry).
Reflections from walkers
Dr Helen Schultz, psychiatrist and doctors’ mental health advocate
Met up with dear colleagues that I haven’t seen for a while with us all being so busy – the beautiful walk and the pace we walked at meant plenty of time for conversations and laughter – sorely needed when working in challenging busy roles.
Carmela Ferraro, Doctors for the Environment Australia
Even though I was only able to walk with the group part of the way because of a prior appointment with my dear mum, I enjoyed the activity immensely. It was great to meet face to face the people that populate and drive Croakey Blog. Putting a human face to online platforms is a rare treat.
The concept of walking and talking with citizen and professional health journalists in a natural setting was a master stroke. The connection with nature and each other while discussing health matters was illuminating and rewarding. I spent much of my time along the walk speaking with a thoughtful and companionable Nigerian student, Emmanuel, who is studying public health in Melbourne. I learnt much from our discussion about the issues facing the people of Nigeria, and also realised how little I knew about this area of the world.
On my way home through the tall scrubby path along the gently murmuring Merri Creek, I wondered if talking and walking through natural environments could be the antidote for so many things that ail society: ill health; tribalism; loneliness; etc. Yes, please let’s do more walks — there are plenty available in suburban Melbourne. Perhaps one for every season?
I am an international student from Nigeria currently studying public health at master’s level in Australian Catholic university (ACU). I heard about CroakeyGO walking journalism in class, so I went to do a background check on Croakey and saw a lot of valuable publications and articles suitable to my field of study and that convinced me to attend the program because there is a lot to learn from such activities and it is an opportunity to meet with professionals and keep fit.
I arrived at Rushall station at 10:15 and I met a lot of very nice and friendly people. We started out with a brief introductory interview, introducing ourselves and stating our public health interests. We commenced the walk from Rushall train station through the Merri creek trail where for the first time, I got to see the Merri stone labrynth, we also walked past Dights Falls, which was a crossing place used by the Wurundjeri people at the junction of the Merri Creek and Yarra River.
I had the opportunity of speaking with Carmela and Dr Ben and they were very helpful with explaining how things work in Australia because at the time of this discussion I had just stayed two weeks in Melbourne.
I had the opportunity of listening to Dr Therese Riley speak on how chronic disease could be prevented using systems approach, she mentioned how health care facilities in Melbourne have stopped the sales of soft drinks in their vending machine as a way of promoting health and NSW Health’s new Healthy Choices in Health Facilities policy framework. She also mentioned it as a way of preventing obesity and type 2 diabetes. This is one initiative that seemed quite new but a necessary step because diabetes is a common chronic condition people suffer from in my country and very few people manage and survive the condition but yet such policies are not even Implemented to save lives.
Although I came with an interest to learning things about urban reproductive health, I ended up making friends, learning a valuable health promotion strategy and policy which could help people in my country suffering chronic conditions associated with sugar consumption. I also made memories that would last a life time.
I could have walked all day, well at least for a few more hours! It was such a great way to meet with Croakey friends and contributors, some for the first time in real life (not just on Twitter). Walking in itself lends itself to different conversations, similar to advice I heard once from US child trauma expert Dr Bruce Perry of the benefits (he was talking about parents and children, and being in cars) of being ‘present, parallel and patient’ (although we played around that concept a bit with the odd bit of tweeting and Periscoping so was maybe more talk than walk in the end!).
But also walking along the route – the rich history of the Wurundjeri people and, from more recent times, of the Abbotsford Convent but also landmarks along the way for social housing and homelessness, mental health, and more – prompted other conversations. I loved it, and the rain held off. Thanks so much to all who joined us. Hope we can do it again.
Raf Clements, 13
The highlight for me was stopping off at the Merri Creek Labyrinth. It was so interesting to look at and I loved walking around it. I’d actually sprained my finger before the walk and it made me forget about it!
Ruby Clements, 16
Walking alongside the Merri Creek and Yarra for an hour is nice enough in itself, let alone with Lentils As Anything and the rest that Abbotsford Convent/Collingwood Children’s Farm offer waiting for you at the end.
It was lovely to step out to a break in the wet and cold Melbourne weather on a fine day for a walk through Wurundjeri country with an eclectic and diverse group of individuals drawn together with a common interest. Sharing the path with lycra, prams, joggers, wheels, wildlife and wallies, it was a beaut opportunity to walk and talk. (Daniel works in the area of criminal justice and is married with 4 children, whom he loves dearly – almost as much as he loves The Sydney Swans Football club).
Francis Quarshie Senanu Dzakpasu
I am a Public Health Student at Australian Catholic University, Melbourne campus. I am from Ghana and I have worked as Biomedical Scientist in Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Ghana and also as intern doctor in Hebei North University First Affiliated Hospital, China.
First of all, I will like to thank the organisers and all the participants of the walk and most importantly our lecturer, Dr Penelope Smith for her introductory lecture in public health (health promotion), telling us the resources available to get information regarding public health issues especially in Australia and introducing Croakey to the class and encouraging everybody to follow them on Twitter. It is through her that I had this memorable opportunity to take part in CroakeyGo.
Being in Australia for just a fortnight, the walk was my first social activity I have engaged in aside my academic work. My participation in the walk did not only resulted in meeting and socializing with friendly people who are experts in public health and professionals with diverse experience in their fields but also resulted in broadening my horizon as a student in public health about issues and problems in health promotion campaign in different population groups and some social interventions issues and how to address them.
The walk started with a live Periscope interview where all the participants were asked to express the public health issues on their mind for the week. As a health professional, what motivated my coming to Australia to pursue a course in public health was the high rate maternal and infant mortality in my home country Ghana, so infant mortality in Ghana was the main public health issue on my mind for the week. After listening to the interviews of most of the participants, I realised that organising activities like this and sharing them on social media by professional groups is an effective way of promoting health and is a peaceful way of protest to send messages to policy makers.
My experience in the walk was awesome and full of fun. Some participants came with their family and they were playing the oval ball along. How I wished it was the round ball, which I like so much, I could have also played. I had a long chat with Dr Ian during most part of the walk and he told me a lot about the county where the walk took place; the cycling and his experience of riding bicycle on the Merri trail. There was an intermittent stop over along with Periscope interviews which were Twittered live to the general public.
During the interviews, I learnt a lot about the important role that social journalism plays in public health. Some of the conventions and the interviews shared were about public health interventions strategies. For example, Dr Therese Riley talked about an intervention programme aimed at stopping hospitals selling sugary beverages at health facilities. Furthermore, I learnt that provision of social amenities like public transport systems in every community will encourage people to walk from their houses to transport stations and stops, hence encouraging healthy lifestyle. On a conversation about infant mortality and maternal health, Dr Therese Riley said, in addressing the problem it is also important to look at the mind set and the cultural and religious beliefs of the community.
The CroakeyGo walk is a lovely activity, which brings people together to exercise, share their ideas and experiences and also educate the general public far and wide on health matters of public interest. The walk, if possible should be globalised as it has a huge potential to influence public health policies. I will therefore ask all CroakeyGo followers and subscribers to take the opportunity to join the walk. We all want to hear your experience and the public health issues on your mind for the week.
• Read more articles in the #CroakeyGO series.