An inquest into the disappearance of a mother-of-five in far north Queensland has heard she planned to walk alone to a pub on the day she vanished.

A mother-of-five who vanished in far north Queensland in 2005 would regularly hitchhike, an inquest into her disappearance has heard.

Kathleen O’Shea, 44, who was living in Melbourne at the time, had been staying in the Atherton Tablelands, inland from Cairns, for the birth of her grandchild when she disappeared on December 29, 2005.

Friend Naomi Canuto told a coronial inquest in Cairns on Monday that Ms O’Shea left her house that day and planned to make the three kilometre journey to a pub in Atherton by foot.

“I wish I’d realised that it would be the last time I’d see her,” she told the court.

Ms Canuto told the inquest that Ms O’Shea, who she described as being like a sister, had regularly hitchhiked in the past, although she didn’t know whether she had on the day of her disappeared.

“She believed in God and her luck and that’s what it felt like that she’d be safe because of the person she was,” Ms Canuto said.

Another friend, Grant Laurence, also told the inquest that Ms O’Shea was known to hitch rides.

Ms Canuto said she had no idea what happened to her friend, but didn’t believe she was still alive.

“My mum had a secret hope that she’d just lost her memory,” Ms Canuto said.

“I just feel in my heart I don’t think she’s probably with us still.

“She couldn’t stand to be away from her kids for this long.”

Mr Canuto said Ms O’Shea would never leave her young children alone, was a good mother and was excited about the birth of her grandchild.

“She had the gift of the gab and liked singing Irish songs and telling jokes,” Ms Canuto said.

Ms Canuto’s mother, Loma, who also lives on the Atherton Tablelands, said Ms O’Shea’s son, whose partner was pregnant, was “mortified” after his mother disappeared.

“From the happiest moment of his life a nightmare comes,” she told the inquest.

The inquest is set to continue on Tuesday.