Oxfam Trailwalker Melbourne: A grand finale to a 25-year journey to end poverty

Media Releases, Oxfam Trailwalker article written on the 26 Feb 2024

More than 4,000 people are set to embark on the final Oxfam Trailwalker event in Melbourne this weekend, as the event comes to an end after 25 years in Australia.

The endurance event will see more than 1000 teams take on either a 33km, 57km or 87km course over 40 hours, as they raise funds for Oxfam’s work tackling poverty and inequality in communities around the world.

Since its launch in 1999, around 100,000 Australians in various capital cities have tackled the challenge, collectively raising more than $100 million for the anti-poverty organisation.  The trail wends its way through the Dandenong Ranges – including Silvan Reservoir Park, Mount Dandenong, and the iconic 1000 steps – and to date for this years’ event, more than $2 million has been raised.

Matt Parker, who was born with Cerebral Palsy and is undertaking the 57 km trail using a frame to balance that is supported by his teammates at the front and back, is excited to be undertaking the challenge with his group of close friends for a third and final time.

“We have known each other for thirty years after getting involved with Lord Somers Camp. The boys asked me if I would do the Oxfam Trailwalker with them seven years ago – something I would never have thought possible!  We did it twice and loved it – all 38 hours of it.

“With the last ever happening, we are back again, just a group of mates bringing out the best in one another and having a lot of laughs down that familiar path,” he said.

Stefan Krakowiak is completing his 9th Trailwalker event, and credits hiking to turning his life around.

“Over the years, Oxfam Trailwalker has helped me to build really strong connections within the community. It has given me purpose whilst keeping me I great physical and mental shape.”

The decision to conclude Oxfam Trailwalker was announced in September 2023, with the organisation citing the importance of evolving approaches to addressing poverty and inequality.

Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Lyn Morgain reflected on the impact Trailwalker has had on tackling poverty and inequality.

“As Melbourne eagerly awaits the final Oxfam Trailwalker, we are deeply grateful to everyone who will be part of this upcoming journey, and all those who have played a part in Trailwalker’s long history in Australia,” she said.

“For 25 years, we have been blown away by the unwavering support for the fight to end poverty, and this year is no exception, with participants, volunteers, and community members joining forces to make the final edition a resounding success.

“Trailwalker may be approaching its end, but the spirit of solidarity and the commitment to creating a more just and equitable world will endure,” she said.

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Photos of teams starting their 87km walk are available from 7:30am on Friday 1 March at Pepi’s Land, Emerald.

ABOUT OXFAM TRAILWALKER: Oxfam Trailwalker has been held in Australia for more than two decades raising money for Oxfam’s work tackling poverty and inequality around the world. More than 100,000 people have taken part since the event started, raising more than $100 million to tackle poverty. Updates and more detailed information can be found on the website.

For interviews, contact Lucy Brown on 0478 190 099 / lucyb@oxfam.org.au