As many of you know, i have been taking loads of household goods to the Nulla Nulla Land Council in Bourke who distribute amongst their clients who are some of the most disadvantaged indigeneous communities in New South Wales at least. Bourke Shire is roughly the size of the country of Belgium and just 4000 people inhabit and the population is about 1/3 indigenous.
Imagine living in a remote community and being 100km from the nearest hardware store and a light fitting or tap breaks . Even if you have the money, which most don’t being on welfare it will likely cost you $50 round trip to get a $5 light fitting. This is why when i ask George pictured below just what he needs for these communities he says “Anything!”. One of the most clever little mockumentary series i have ever seen is called “Bush Mechanic” and its follow up series “Black as” which shows a group of indigenous boys travelling through central australia and Northern Territory, getting old cars working with ingenuity by taking different parts from other old vehicles of different models to make one work kind of to get them from place to place with much hilarity (you can find on youtube) so i have been taking anything i can because i know some clever person in the mob will probably make it work for something perhaps not what it was originally purposed for. I love doing this for myself at my bush property, repurposing stuff and giving it a second life. Recycling is a kind of passion of mine too.
On my last trip to Bourke i asked George if there was a community that would like a gym set up as i have collected enough weights and gear that has been upgraded in our place to furnish a gymnasium for one of these communities . Obesity and boredom are a big factor in indigeneous communities and people like George are doing their best for his people. Sometime in July through September, i will be loading up the truck with as much as i can and make the trip to Weilmoringle and i would like the club to get behind the project so there’s three ways you can help;
- Donate weights equipment – If you have weights, boxing equipment or machines such as exercise bikes, treadmills or any other working exercise machine or equipment i will organize to pickup.
- Come with me ! I am looking for a buddy to help me load equipment at my Rylstone and to enjoy a possible once in a lifetime experience to see the Australian outback and really understand the indigenous way of life and the struggles and joys that they live with. I imagine i have too much equipment for just one trip so if we could get another truck and trailer we could set up a much better gym from from the start. The journey will take a minimum of 8 days so you have to be prepared to take a chunk out of your life and go walkabout.
- Help me raise some money to upgrade our own equipment especially our tatty dumbells so that i can improve and refresh our equipment and take the older stuff to Werilmongle. I will be offering memorabilia items such as signed Tim Tszyu vs Jack Brubaker framed pictures plus auction items and of course straight up donations are welcome too.
Finally i think i have been doing these trips with household goods, tools etc to give away to Bourke for about 8 years and along with sending sports gear to places like Zambia, PNG and Fiji, we have already doen some good work already. But supporting indigenous communities by taking the waste from Sydney is where my heart lies and i want this to grow to be my legacy, even more so than my work in Boxing. Some 12 or 13 years ago i went to see Ronnie Khan in about 2008 who started Ozharvest in 2004, the food rescue service that she pioneered, that is now accross Australia. I was apparently not the first person who had thought of my idea but she saw the problem as storing the goods and then getting it to the communities. So slowly for the last 10 years i have been taking stuff to Rylstone, at first storing it under tarps and bush shelters , often it getting ruined when bad weather hit, then in 2018 i bought a cheap container for $1850 and have that dedicated to storing stuff for Bourke plus my purchase of a Hilux and trailer has seen me slowly being able to take more stuff.
Recently on one of my journeys i listened to a podcast in Conversations with Richard Fidler interviewing Ronnie and in it she mentioned how Macquarie Trust helped her make the next step by funding some new food trucks and professional drivers which supercharged Ozharvest to where it is now. My dream is similar is to get an electric truck (s) to scour the council cleanups and deliver directly to the comunities without the $250 round trip it costs me in fuel each time i go. Quite rightly it has been a long hard road to get my contacts in Bourke to trust me with more than just dropping the stuff, so this trip presents a huge opportunity to see the finished results of our efforts and be able to showcase the potential to someone like Macquarie Trust.
Come with me for the ride !