Australia 4 November: Goolwa, SA - Mannum, SA

The Murray, Sri Chinmoy Peace River

An auspicious day dawned.

We enjoyed a great night's sleep at the Port Elliot Beach House YHA.

The hostel was fully equipped with all the amenities and housed a relaxing environment allowing us to fully recharge for our next journey.

Our heartfelt gratitude to Richard and Anthea of the hostel for allowing us to stay here at no charge – another example of how people from different walks of life can contribute to and be a part of the Peace Run. Thank you very much Richard and Anthea – truly a great hostel in a beautiful location.

We woke to an overcast and windy day. Being on the South Coast, winds gust directly from Antartica causing quite cool conditions. Today was no exception.

The team gathered at the ‘Dart Barge’ under the Hindmarsh Bridge for the inauguration ceremony of the Murray River as a Sri Chinmoy Peace River. The River had been dedicated as such in 1993 but no official plaque had been offered, so today was going to be the first of 5 plaques to be unveiled along the Murray.

The Sri Chinmoy Peace-Blossoms program started in 1986, and since then over 1000 landmarks, cities and places of interest have been dedicated worldwide by the appropriate authorities in the name of peace and harmony. The Taj Mahal, Niagara Falls, Mt Everest, Sydney Opera House and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park have all been dedicated to peace as "Sri Chinmoy Peace-Blossoms".

The Torch arrives.

Today in Goolwa we welcolmed the Mayor, Kym McHugh, some 40 children from the local Primary School and members from the local community.

It was windy and cold but warm in our hearts as the Mayor spoke about the community and the river. Kym, who has worked in the council for 25 years including being Mayor for the last 19 years, has been a strong spokesperson for the plight of the Murray River’s health and sustainability, both on a State and national level. He and other members of the community are very passionate about the life-blood the river brings to the region.

Two senior students from the Goolwa Primary school read out a lovely poem dedicated to Peace that was composed by one of the students.

Peace Run Poem

International friendship, Oneness, Cultural understanding
A peaceful world is all we ask
We will join together to pass the torch of knowledge,
We will be respectful and polite with this task
To everyone around us we lend a hand,
A hand to help make a difference,
A positive difference for our land
Community, city, country, continent,
We all have dreams to stand up and unite
Poverty, hunger, war and poor treatment
We will make them disappear with all our might
We will run, we will jump
We will do whatever it takes to make this world full of fun,
We will skip, we will fly,
We will come together to join the Peace Run

Amber Foxwell. Yr 7 Goolwa Primary School.

Other students had done some wonderfully colourful and artistic drawings for peace which they showed to us enthusiastically.

The Peace Runners sang one of Sri Chinmoy's many songs dedicated to world peace called ‘A New World of Peace’ which the audience liked a lot.

The plaque was unveiled.

Prabuddha read out the wording on the plaque, which reads:

As a final part of the ceremony we offered Kym the Peace Run Torch-Bearer Award for all his dedicated work in the community.

This was one of Kym's last functions he would be attending to as Mayor as he retires in a few days.

Everyone got to hold the Peace Torch.

Final group photo...

After the Peace-Blossom ceremony, some of the team visited the school children’s school to offer a presentation to two other classes.

After the nation guessing game they asked us many questions about the run.

Learning the songs with the actions is always fun!

Feeling peace inside our hearts.

Certificate of Appreciation.

There was a mini relay run around the perimeter of the recreation building. Children love running with the Peace Torch.

Today we bid farewell to two more of our team: Prabuddha Nicol, who started with us in Uluru and was the team captain ffrom Uluru to Adelaide. He will be missed for not only his 27 years of experience in Australia with the Peace Run, but also as someone who brought the team together and as a dauntless runner who clocked many a km in many a day of extreme heat ...

... and Padmanandana Marek, our coordinator for the last four days bringing us into Goolwa – who ran the first two km out of the school this morning ...

Our girls team then ran the 35 km as far as Strathalbyn.

While our girls team had been running, the combined boys teams had driven ahead to Strathalbyn and run to the small country town of Callington ...

... where we met with students of the local primary school. The school has about sixty students.

Watching the Peace Run DVD.

We encountered many smart questions and comments.

As usual we again lost our bid to win the country guessing game and sang the Peace Run and World Harmony run song to them ...

... with everyone joining in with the actions to the song.

Although they were may be small in numbers, they showed us their great capacity to house harmony and peace in their hearts and school.

The ceremony was led Grahak in a very interactive manner.

After running with the Torch, the students sang us a lively rendition of "You Can Count on Me".

Back to the road, to run 37 km as far as Murray Bridge North School, our next engagement.

Today’s distance was surrounded by a vast belt of wheat farms which extends into southern and eastern New South Wales.

The density and vastness of the seemingly endless wheat fields showed how unconditional is our Mother Nature in feeding us season after another.

We were also surprised to see a lot of snails in this dry region.

We encountered some strong wind which made us work very hard in keeping our torch lit and in running fast.

When we reach the school, Grahak Cunningham switches seamlessly from running mode ...

... to presentation mode.

The whole team was able to converge at the Murray Bridge North School. The school organised the ceremony with nearly 300 students, ranging from year 2 to 7.

Grahak again did a great job in presenting the ceremony by giving them a memorable picture of the peace run.

We found a receptive audience.

Revving up for the song with actions.

Feeling peace in our hearts.

Holding the Peace Torch and making a wish for peace.

It was nearly the end of the day and spirits were high.

Back on the road for our final running today, to Mannum.

We all arrived into Mannum late afternoon ...

... and followed the crowd down to the river.

We had a chance to walk along the Murray and wonder at this ever-changing river. We have only seen it at the mouth merging with the ocean – here it commanded the scene.

There was another contribution made to the team by the manager, Kevin Ballmeyer, of the local Woolworths at Murray Bridge who gave us a $30 shopping voucher for the team.

A big thank you to Cheryl-Ann and Peter who kindly offered the whole team accommodation in their historic Hotel Mannum for the night. With a big balcony looking out over the river and in the centre of town it was a real treat to be staying here. Thank you so much!