L’Estrange Park and the boy who walked 6,000 miles


L’Estrange Park: corner of King and Sutherland streets, Mascot. Image: City of Botany Bay

From the Sydney Morning Herald 9 June 1931:

‘L’Estrange Park, an area of about seven acres of land in the heart of the municipality of Mascot, was officially opened yesterday by Alderman M L’Estrange. … Yesterday’s official opening was preceded by a procession nearly a mile long, made up of tradesmen’s displays, tableaux, working exhibits, comic turnouts, and the like. The procession was headed by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade Band and engine. Detachments of vigoro and hockey girls, Red Cross girls, footballers, Boy Scouts and cubs, and returned soldiers added to the value of the display. Alderman L’Estrange presented an illuminated address from the Mascot Council to Doylah Chappelow, a Mascot boy, who walked from Sydney to Perth, a distance of 5,700 miles, taking 234 days in the journey.’

L’Estrange Park c1960. Image: The History of Botany Bay 1788-1970

From the Townsville Daily Bulletin 30 April 1931:

‘Doylah Chappelow, aged 24, of Sydney, left Melbourne yesterday on the final stage of a 6,000 mile walk from Sydney to Perth and back for a wager of £20. He left Sydney in September last, and since then has had many varied experiences. His hardships were increased by a stipulation in the wager that be must not beg, borrow or steal, although he could accept assistance offered him.

“A friend of mine, Mr J W Armstrong, of Sydney, made me the wager last September, and giving, up my job as a painter, I left Sydney, on September 13th,” Chappelow explained. “My sole possessions were a khaki-shirt; and shorts, a pair of socks, a pair of steel studded shoes, and a handkerchief. Now my kit weighs about 40 lbs and contains cooking utensils, a blanket, spare clothing, and even some gold specimens that I got in Kalgoorlie,” he said.

Nullarbor     Image:Heiko Volland

Crossing the Nullarbor Plain on his way back from Perth to Adelaide, nearly cost him his life. He left Rawlinna in a shade temperature of 110 degrees with a gallon of water in his bag, with 46 miles of desert to cover to the next railway camp at Haig. When he was only half way, all his water was gone. He killed a rabbit with a stone, and ate it raw to allay his thirst. He had to remain at Haig a fortnight to regain his strength, as he lost 19 1b. He broke the walking record from Adelaide to Melbourne by doing the distance in ten days.’

Message written on a placard which Doylah wore strapped to his back during his walk:
‘To Perth or bust; — the public I trust; every little helps.’

Paula Grunseit
Librarian: Local History/Community Engagement



3 thoughts on “L’Estrange Park and the boy who walked 6,000 miles

  1. I met Doylah a few years before he died – I was introduced by his daughter Sue Parnaby from Lithgow NSW . He had quite a few photos taken from a box brownie I also viewed and photocopied the illustrated presentation – I also have a copy of him with the placard he wore


  2. Doylah Chappelow was my fathers cousin. We are both descendants of John and Elizabeth Chappelow who arrived from the UK in 1849 with four children settling on the south bank of the Cooks River,now Arncliffe near Wolli Creek. They were fishermen, limeburners and established a dairy farm which became the site of the Streets Ice Cream Factory. David, the second son moved to Botany.


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