News Release

Pushing and Pulling Their Way to Courage

Pushing and pulling handcarts, around 100 youth from the southern Perth region of Rockingham to Bunbury gathered together at the Muja State Forest to re-enact the experiences of early Mormon pioneers who travelled across midwestern US in the 1850’s.

The youth, supported by 40 adult leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints walked from Collie to Darken, a distance of just under 50 kilometres in the Muja State Forest on 5th - 8th July.

Young men and women ages 14-18 yrs, dressed, ate, and slept like the pioneers without modern conveniences and comforts of home. They braved the elements and experienced how life may have been for those early pioneers and others from the past who have sacrificed to build nations.

"That first night was the most uncomfortable night I have ever experienced", said Dante Margraf, 16 years old from Bunbury. He continues, "I was exhausted, hungry, and it was freezing cold. It rained continuously and I ended up sleeping in a puddle. Even though it was a hard night, it’s certainly not a time that I will ever forget. It made me really appreciate the pioneers and have a small glimpse of what they went through”.

The trek was designed by adult leaders to instill courage, character and commitment in the youth of today, and to help them realise that any challenge can be overcome.

At one point during the trek, the young women were separated from the young men who were doing a simulated military service. At this time, the young women pushed and pulled the heavily laden handcarts without the help of their male counterparts. With no communication until both groups were reunited, youth experienced firsthand the hardships of frontier life and the benefits of working together.

“Everything about it was challenging, especially the womens pull where the young men had to stand aside and only the women pulled the cart up a steep hill, which I think represented the pioneers’ wives who lost their husbands during that time”, said Kuulei Tangimetua, 16 from Mandurah.

All who participated in the trek came away with greater appreciation for the Mormon pioneers, whilst learning first hand that no challenge is too great to overcome when they rely on a higher source for guidance and strength.

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