Historic dream to come true

TrainingJulyHave you ever really wanted to do something, however never had a chance? Well I’m finally going to retrace the steps of an iconic Australian bush rescue, and at the same time raise money for charity Drug ARM Australasia to reduce the harms of alcohol and other drugs.

On the 9th of September, I’m walking in the footsteps of legendary bushman Bernard O’Reilly by attempting 37 kilometres in one day through steep rainforest jungle and creek crossings in Queensland’s Lamington National Park.

Eighty years ago this year, O’Reilly set out into the rugged rainforest of the McPherson Range and found the smouldering wreck of the Stinson aircraft after it had disappeared ten days earlier. It was Australia’s first air tragedy. Five men died as a result of the crash in 1937, however O’Reilly saved the lives of two others, and so became a household name with headlines around the world.

I’ve wanted to follow in his footsteps all my life, ever since as a three or four-year-old at a slide night, at the original O’Reilly’s guesthouse, I looked up in awe at old Bernard O’Reilly who humbly talked about the feat. It included amazing bush craft, navigating by moss and the angle of trees against the prevailing winds, and the superhuman efforts of those who stretchered the survivors to safety. Dad repeated the story many times, one he’d heard as a boy, and it quickly achieved legendary status for me, even though it happened a generation before I was born.

What are your dreams that you’re yet to achieve?

I’m excited to be making the hike in this anniversary year, and especially to raise money for the charity Drug ARM which helps people build a better life. The photo here shows me training in the Green Mountains this week, in country through which I’ll be climbing in eight weeks time.

You can donate to Drug ARM now at give.everydayhero.com/au/stinson-hike-for-health and follow the preparations at www.facebook.com/StinsonHikeForHealth.

I’ll be posting stories right here at HistoryOutThere.com.





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