Premier announces first annual Martin Walk from Parramatta to Sydney
December 9th, 2022
In 2023, there will be a children’s walk from Parramatta Square to Martin Place, as an echo of, and to honour, the walk that the brave 12-year-old James Martin regularly did in 1832 and 1833, to get to high school in Sydney from his home in Parramatta.
The modern walk will be done in 1 km relays. Political leaders from all sides will be participating, one for each section of the walk. In Martin Place, there will be a celebration, whose details are being worked out. Any ideas you have for the celebration will be welcome. We already have the enthusiastic support of the NSW Department of Education.
The walk will officially be called THE JAMES MARTIN CHILDREN’S WALK.
In the 1830s, there were no public high schools as we now know them, so at age 12, with no high school in Parramatta, Martin resolved to walk hours every day from Parramatta to Sydney to get an education, a decision which opened up the rest of his life.
It’s that focus on education and opportunity that has seen the Premier, the Hon. Dominic Perrottet, announce the first Annual Martin Children’s Walk from Parramatta to Sydney that will be held next year after the state election.
‘This walk will commemorate the extraordinary efforts made by the young James Martin in 1832-4 to walk to school in Sydney from home in Parramatta in order to attend high school,’ said the Premier.
This will be an inspiration to all kids from all backgrounds to understand the importance of education, and to believe that they too can achieve great things with enough determination and hard work.
The Hon. Dominic Perrottet, Premier of NSW
The Leader of the Opposition, Chris Minns, said:
‘I enthusiastically endorse the Annual Martin Children’s Walk and look forward to participating in the New Year,’ said Mr Minns. ‘I very much support the message it gives that this country offers hope to young people of any background and circumstances that they can achieve their dreams.’
The Lord Mayor of Parramatta, Clr Donna Davis, said:
" We are delighted that James Martin, the Premier from Parramatta, the boy who rose from servants' quarters to become Premier and Chief Justice, is being recognised in the ANNUAL MARTIN CHILDREN'S WALK. James story resonates with the people of Parramatta. We are proud that the hub of Sydney, Martin Place, is named after a Parramatta boy, and we are thrilled that the Walk celebrates the closer bond between Parramatta and Sydney"
Supporting the walk is Luke Fulwood, Principal of Macarthur Girls High School in Parramatta.
‘We’re all about instilling confidence in young women from Western Sydney in their capacity to achieve. This walk is a great reminder to students that you can achieve great things in Australia, no matter where you start,’ says Mr Fulwood.
In terms of how the walk will work, Dr. Azarias explains.
‘Kids and political leaders will do the walk-in relays,’ says Dr. Azarias.
‘It will start at Parramatta Square, where one of the two statues of young James Martin walking to school now stands, and finish in Martin Place, where the statue’s twin stands in the grand boulevard which was named after him by Henry Parkes.’
Also supporting the walk is the Lord Mayor of Parramatta, Councillor Donna Davis.
‘We’re delighted that James Martin, the Premier from Parramatta, the boy who rose from servants’ quarters to become Premier and Chief Justice, is being recognised in the Annual Martin Children’s Walk,’ says Ms Davis.
‘James’ story resonates with the people of Parramatta, so it makes sense to start the annual walk in our city. The Council will be offering all possible support.
‘We’re proud that the hub of Sydney, Martin Place, is named after a Parramatta boy. We’re enthusiastic that the Walk represents and celebrates the closer bond between Parramatta and Sydney.’
Watch the unveiling below