OUS Victoria - Walking the Camino

In 1985, fewer than 700 people did it. In 2010, a record number, 272,703 people, completed it. Our speaker at the OUS Victoria lunch on Friday, 13 November at the Kelvin Club in Melbourne did it with his son in 2011, a year when nearly 180,000 other people completed it.

In case you haven’t guessed, our speaker - our own member Dr Sanjiva Wijesinha - was describing the pilgrimage known as the “Camino de Santiago de Compostela” or the “Way of St James” across northern Spain, from St Jean Pied de Port in the Pyrenes in France to Santiago in Galicia, Spain.

Sanjiva, originally from Sri Lanka, but now living in Melbourne, Australia, and working as an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University, was accompanied by his son, Shivantha, who lives in New York, working as a lawyer, actor and musician, on the six-week, 800 kilometre trek. 

Sanjiva brought to life many of the adventures he and Shivantha shared along the way, and spoke about how the pilgrimage had laid the foundation for a new relationship between father and son. 

His talk was illustrated with pictures of fabulous scenery and great architecture, culminating in the massive cathedral of Santiago where a mass for pilgrims takes place every day at noon, and the giant Botafumeiro is swung in spectacular fashion to fill the whole cathedral with incense. 

A number of people in the audience had themselves walked the Camino, or parts of it, and found Sanjiva’s address brought back to life a great wealth of happy memories.

Sanjiva mentioned his book about his pilgrimage written in 2014, Strangers on the Camino – A Father, a Son – and a Holy Trail published by Vijitha Yapa Publications, Sri Lanka.

Following his talk, several OUS Victoria members now have a signed copy!


Richard Thwaites (Wadham, 1960) - OUS Victoria

Dr Sanjiva Wijesinha and his son Shivantha