Parents follow backpacker son’s footsteps from WA to tragic end in Victoria
“He loved Australia”: The Canadian parents of Jesse Munroe (pictured) have retraced their son’s final journey. (Supplied: Mike and Brenda Munroe)
The parents of a Canadian backpacker who died in a triple road fatality have travelled from the coast of Western Australia to central Victoria, following their son’s footsteps to his tragic end.
Jesse Munroe, 21, was one of five backpackers in a car that smashed into a line of trees on Boort-Kerang Road in the early hours of August 27 last year.
Mr Munroe’s best friend Scott Goebel and the German driver, both 21, were also killed in the incident.
A 19-year-old British man and 29-year-old German man were airlifted to hospital and recovered from their injuries.
The five occupants of the vehicle had been working on a farm on the outskirts of Boort; they were on the way home from the pub when the accident occurred at about 12.30am.
Mike and Brenda Munroe had not seen their son, Jesse, since May 2016 when he left for an Australian adventure.
“He loved Australia — he wanted us to come and visit him and we didn’t know if we would get around to that,” Mrs Munroe said.
“We never thought in a million years that we’d be doing it like this.
“It’s not something you should be doing for your child.”
The Munroes followed the same path their son took – from their hometown of Comox in British Columbia, to Margaret River in Western Australia, through to Boort in central Victoria – meeting many of the friends and employees he connected with along the way.
“Travelling to Australia was something that I felt very strongly about,” Mrs Munroe said.
“I really wanted to meet and thank the lovely people that have been affected by our loss as well.”
‘Travelling together forever’: Boort remembers triple fatality
Scott Goebel, 21, died alongside his best friend Jesse Munroe near Boort, in central Victoria. (Supplied: Mike and Brenda Munroe)
On the night before they left Australia, the couple had dinner with a group of people Jesse and Scott were socialising with just hours before their death.
“It’s something we all do, they were having a good night,” Mr Munroe said.
“It just happened that they got in an accident.”
The bond between Jesse and Scott has been immortalised on a bench at the edge of Lake Boort.
The attached plaque features a Canadian flag and the line ‘travelling together forever’.
“They were only 34 days apart,” Mrs Munroe said.
“They were best friends from 10 years old.”
Before he left for Australia Mr Munroe built a cross with Scott’s father, Mark Goebel, which has been placed at the crash site.
The two couples were camping together in Canada two weeks before the news of their sons’ death.
“They are very dear friends,” Mrs Munroe said.
It was Jesse and Scott’s love of camping and the many lakes they visited at home in Canada, that prompted Ms Munroe to select Lake Boort for the tribute bench.
“The perfect place for the sunset”: The memorial seat erected at Lake Boort in memory of Jesse and Scott. (Supplied: Mike and Brenda Munroe)
Boort local Paul Haw was among a handful of volunteers behind its installation.
He never met the young men but said their deaths had rocked the wider community.
“It’s right on the walking track on the east side of the lake,” he said of the bench.
“It’s in a perfect place for the sunset and there are an incredible amount of birds on the lake, so it’s nice.”