Saturday, July 22, 2017

There's no towbar on a hearse... You can't take it with you

 There's no towbar on a hearse; You can't take it with you.
Those were the wise words of Mathew Reilly, owner of Reilly's Irish pub in Burra, South Australia state.
"My great-granddad was from Ballyjamesduff, County Cavan, Ireland." So said Mathew. He seemed like an interesting character and even called himself 'One of the last pioneers' I had  two further questions..
"What do you think of Australia, your country?" I asked him.
" I love it because it's all I know"
Fair enough.. I thought, I couldn't expect more. Then,  I was curious to know more..
"How would you change your country?" That was a loaded question, for I knew he was not a fan of politicians, but still Mathews answer was interesting.
"There is nothing more dangerous to society than an educated nitwit , that's right... I can teach a parrot to talk, but at the end of the day it's still a parrot... I'm 73, a hardworking man, still out drilling minerals, and believe me that's hard work.
I wish the younger generation would want to learn how to work harder. And why should I pay taxes to keep fools going?
I sent my boy Jimmy to a Protestant school to kill the hate; hate towards the Brits. Because I did not want him to grow up with the same hate that I did."
I asked him what did he mean and was told that he spent too many days sitting around a dinner table with his folks who talked about their hatred for the Brits..
"That hate, for Cromwell, and all that followed was in our blood.
"My Irish Catholic family had acreage of 30,000."
I wondered how it was that during famine times in Ireland why that land would have been taken from them. I had many more questions to ask, including..  If he was sure that his family weren't  Protestant, perhaps through marriage that their thread changed?"

Next day, I had planned to walk on from Burra towards Morgan. However, when Mathew offered me and another man called Andrew a chance to visit his farm. It was an offer I jumped at. So, I took another rest day, I am getting so lazy 😅
First he treated us to breakfast in the St. Just Cafe. Burra is a small historic copper mining town for it once boasted Australia's largest mine and produced 5% of the worlds copper. Now with a population of 1,000, it's a shadow of its former glory.
After breakfast we experienced just a sliver of the tough life of a rancher. Armed with a shotgun Mathew drove us out his 10,000 acre farm in his pickup truck.
That morning a cow had given birth to a calf. Unfortunately, the calf didn't make it and the cow was suffering badly. The technique farmers use to save cows from dying is to encourage it away from lying down on the ground. For the cold surface would paralyze the animal. Straps dangling from the raised fork lifts extended forks and wrapped around the stressed cows body. Mathew had been prepared to give the cow a humane end with a bullet but was impressed as it seemed to be a fighter. Instead, he would check on it during the day before deciding if he needed to put it out of its misery.
As we looked on at the poor animal we were told that:
"Normally when they put their head to ground they are throwing
In the towel.. That would be the end for its hind legs would soon paralyses."
Other sad-faced cows looked on in sympathy and then Mathew went on to say.
" Sheep would just keep on grazing totally unaware of any distress. Whereas, cows realize what's happening. That horned cow over there also made it through after a recent miscarriage. And just to prove that cows do have emotions.. It sat in a depressed state and barely moved for two weeks."
On the way to the farmhouse I asked a bit about the economics and was told that the current market rate for a cow is in the region of 1,500 Australian dollars, about a thousand Euro; or 2,000 dollars with the calf. Stressed cows aren't sold on for meat, as apparently its too tough to eat, more suited for mince meat. Mathew said that he would give it away to anyone that wanted it for free, but most people would be to lazy.
The market value of sheep is only 200 dollars.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tony Mangan        19 July 2017
Hi everyone! Sorry for the lack of updates. I have been partly lazy and have other had other issues to deal with.. 

For those that don't know.. I paused my walk last week as Michael Gillan, my great crewman across Australia picked up hernia problems. Because of this we drove the 700 kms back to his home in Melbourne so as he could see a specialist. Muscle damage was diagnosed and he has to wait three months for an operation. 

He was so disappointed at having to finish our road trip and tells me he misses the road already and that he hopes to fly to Sydney for my Australian finish. Previously, I mentioned that I was considering an extension in Australia, i.e.: up the east coast to Cairns. Now, I think I will revert to my old plan and finish in Sydney, whenever that is! I thank Michael from the bottom of my heart. He has done a fabulous crew job for me and I will miss him badly.

Because of this I had to fly to Auckland, New Zealand - whereI had previously sent on Karma, my cart. Thanks to my great mates Sue and Alan Knox (pic 1) for minding it and also for great hospitality there. My cart is wrapped up for the airport in pic 2.) 

I left the rest of my baggage, ie: tent, sleeping bag etc at the St. Just Cafe in Burra. It was the nearest town to my route and there was no point in me taking it all when I went to pick up my cart. Thanks to Sandra the kind cafe owner for minding this stuff for me.
No automatic alt text available.

Tonight, Wednesday I am back in Burra and am staying in the towns campground. It's about 30kms up the road towards Booborowie to the location where I paused my walk, at km post 15. See my usual marking technique in Photo 11, A plastic bottle taped to the post, hi-tech, lol 😀

Tomorrow I will hitch a ride back to my route: at km 15, where I finished last week and walk to Burra town and spend another night in the campsite. Then on Friday morning I will get my cart and walk on, on my own. 

Mega, Mega thanks to Sputnik Sputnik - Pic 4 for reaching out to solve a huge problem that I had: getting back to my route from Adelaide airport. as it was 160 km off of my route. He kindly picked me up from airport and brought me and Karma back to Burra .. 

It turned out that Sputnik is also the marketing director for Australia's finest running and outdoor apparel, a brand called ioMerino as modeled by yours truly 

Image result for ioMerino  @    http://iomerino.com/
 😂
Merino is a wool from a breed of sheep of the same name and is super warm. Other Merino qualities are that the material doesn't stink or collect bacteria as it pretty much wicks odour and bacteria away! This is important for me as on a walk like this I am often obliged to sleep in the clothes I walk in as in some locations showers are a rarity!

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing, beard and outdoor Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, sky, outdoor and closeup
Amazingly, I was only looking at this Merino stuff the previous day but it was way out of my price range! So I was over the moon when Sputnik asked ioMerino for a sample for me! What can I say... Thanks so, so much, I am delighted.
 😀
People are so good. Get well Michael Gillan (Pictured 7-10) and thanks everyone. Special thanks to Patrick Mc Donnell for also reaching out to me too; as he also offered to pick me up from the airport and drop me back to my route!

See all the pictures here...  https://www.facebook.com/tony.mangan.14/posts/10155687745154642

Sending healing thoughts to Michael Gillan

Taken from my Facebook page. Hi everyone, The following is a Facebook post. For technical reasons I apologies that I can't post photos here. So, as text is better than nothing I will persevere with this blog. Continued thanks to Scott Richards for setting this blog up for me 😀

Hi everyone! Sorry for the lack of updates. I have been partly lazy and have other had other  issues to deal with..
For those that don't know.. I paused my walk last week as Michael Gillan, my great crewman across Australia picked up hernia problems. Because of this we drove the 700 kms back to his home in Melbourne so as he could see a specialist. Muscle damage was diagnosed and he has to wait three months for an operation.
He was so disappointed at having to finish our road trip and tells me he misses the road already and that he hopes to fly to Sydney for my Australian finish. Previously, I mentioned that I was considering an extension in Australia, i.e.: up the east coast to Cairns. Now, I think I will revert to my old plan and finish in Sydney, whenever that is!  I thank Michael from the bottom of my heart. He has done a fabulous  crew job for me and I will miss him badly.
Because of this I had to fly to Auckland, New Zealand - whereI had previously sent on Karma, my cart. Thanks to my great mates Sue and Alan Knox  (pic 1) for minding it and also for great hospitality there. My cart is wrapped up for the airport in pic 2.)
I left the rest of my baggage, ie: tent, sleeping bag etc at the St. Just Cafe in Burra. It was the nearest town to my route and there  was no point in me taking it all when I went to pick up my cart. Thanks to Sandra the kind cafe owner for minding this stuff for me.
Tonight, Wednesday I am back in Burra and am staying in the towns  campground. It's about 30kms up the road towards Booborowie to the location where I paused my walk, at km post 15. See my usual marking technique in Photo 11, A plastic bottle taped to the post, hi-tech, lol 😀
Tomorrow I will hitch a ride back to my route: at km 15, where I finished last week and walk to Burra town and spend another night in the campsite. Then on Friday morning I will get my cart and walk on, on my own.
Mega, Mega thanks to Sputnik Sputnik - Pic 4 for reaching out to solve a huge problem that I had: getting back to my route from Adelaide airport. as it was 160 km off of my route. He kindly picked me up from airport and brought me and Karma back to Burra ..
It turned out that Sputnik is also the marketing director for Australia's  finest running and outdoor apparel, a brand called ioMerino as modeled by yours truly 😂
Merino is a wool from a breed of sheep of the same name and is super warm. Other Merino  qualities are that the material doesn't stink or collect bacteria as it pretty much wicks odour and bacteria away! This is important for me as on a walk like this I am often obliged to sleep in the clothes I walk in as in some locations showers are a rarity!
Amazingly, I was only looking at this Merino stuff the previous day but it was way out of my price range! So I was over the moon when Sputnik asked ioMerino for a sample for me! What can I say... Thanks so, so much, I am delighted. 😀
People are so good. Get well Michael Gillan (Pictured 7-10) and thanks everyone. Special thanks to Patrick Mc Donnell for also reaching out to me too; as he also offered to pick me up from the airport and drop me back to my route!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017


Thanks to Laarni, Mads and co for this interview. Please click on the link. I had difficulty in the Australian outback getting photos to him. However, as you can see they have gone through my websites and pulled out a good selection










1 July 2017
Tony Mangan is extreme. Not only have he cycled around the world. He has also run around the world – and now he is walking around the world!
In this interview he shares why he is finally living his dream, so let’s find out more about Tony and learn from his tips on how to run and walk around the world.

 Click Here to read the rest of the article  



 

More Articles by: Laarni

Articles by: Laarni 
Articles by: Laarni



Friday, June 23, 2017

Australia's aboriginal hyphenated-people.



I would never get a job as a Las Vegas card dealer, for I talk so much. Walking from the Nullarbor roadhouse I shuffled my feet like a pack of cards and that day I dealt out fifty-two kilometre aces. I was on the same stretch of road, a 1,200 piece of a the Australian jigsaw that my fellow world runner friends Tom Denniss and Kevin Carr had run along a couple of years before. 
Tom sends me frequent texts telling me what to watch out for. He has generously sponsored a steak dinner for me and Michael when we arrive in Ceduna. That day, I also stopped to talk to an Irishman called Timmy who was originally from Co. Clare in Ireland. He has been living here for eleven years and was on his way to the Northern Territories to buy a farm. 
The night before Michael drove off the road and into a clearing behind some bushes to give us cover while camping. It was no different to any other night, except this time he hit a patch of soft sand which was deeper than normal. In the morning we spent five hours digging, jacking up his car, and putting rocks below into the sand.  Unfortunately, his Toyota Corolla front wheel drive was stuck badly and we only made minor progress.
Thankfully, two young lads who were driving by came to our rescue. They worked at high speed finishing off our donkey work. The younger one called Blain cut up some dead eucalyptus branches. First he removed the leaves as they are slippery. These branches were pressed into gaps between the rocks which I had put into place earlier. Sam jumped into the car and with an aggressive reverse movement he stuttered the car in reverse back about thirty metres onto a slightly harder patch of sand. Then he managed to do a u-turn. The three of us then pushed. With another big effort, and much to our delight Michael's car was back on the road. Thanks lads, it was so good of you to stop. They wouldn't take any payment, just a kilo bag of licorice all-sorts! Karma will repay you big time one day.
Having dealt out a big days walking the day before the remaining half-day after our digging ordeal, I also dug deep and slapped out a sloppy twenty kilometres. Then another small chip day, for my tired feet felt like they were sticking to the road like strips of velcro.
  I was also stopped by a twenty- something year old man from Delaware, USA called TJ Weisenberger ll. TJ has a great attitude and loves traveling. He has been on the road for three years. In Australia he is working as a fisherman for almost a year.
When he stopped and jumped out of his pickup I was a bit confused for here was a man with an obvious American accent saying. "I saw your Irish flag and had to stop because I couldn't drive by one of my own people!"
It turned out that he has never been to Ireland and that he was on his way to Perth to pick up an Irish passport at our embassy there for he had just obtained Irish citizenship due to his grandmothers birth in Co Cork. Since Brexit there has been a rush on Irish passports by people who qualify. He told us that there used to be a waiting list of about eight weeks to process citizenship application. Now, it's six months. Just then Michael caught up with me, so we all stopped by the side of the road for a cup of TJ's espresso coffee. Michael now calls him O'Weisenberger ll. Ireland's latest adventurer has a big dream to ride a horse across Mongolia.
I walked on towards a (now closed down) former aboriginal run road house in Yalata. A sign mentioned the closure was due to asbestos construction materials which were discovered in the roadhouse. I am sure this was important and much-needed source of employment for local aboriginal people. 

From my conversations with many Australians I regretfully report  little sympathy for their indigenous people. Though they make up 2.5% of Australia's almost 25 million population. It seems to me they are almost hyphenated-Australian people in a country of 'them and us.' It's only fifty years since they were even included in the Australian census.

Others  speak of Australia being one of the most racist countries in the world and how the white man has crapped all over the aboriginal culture. Constantly, I  have to listen to stories about how they are ALL drunkards and stories of domestic violence and how they just take big benefits and won't work. While I am walking there are days when aboriginals stop and with big smiles check to see if I am okay. Unfortunately there are few too many that seem to make it through the loops and hoops to a better life.

It's to Australia's shame that there is little integration and how the Australian government doesn't appear to embrace aboriginal  culture as much as New Zealand proudly does with its Maori culture.

Indeed, I have read a BBC report  that there is absolutely not one mention of the word 'aboriginal' in the Australian constitution.

Recently, near Ayers Rock there was a First Nations Convention where some 200 plus leaders from aboriginal groups from all around Australia discussed recommendations to be submitted to the government with the possibility of having the Australian constitution altered to recognize aboriginal culture and also those of the Torres Strait  Islanders. This would then have to be put to a referendum to the Australian people to vote on. 

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten "respectfully declined" invitations to the convention, saying they did not want to influence the outcome.
The possibility of negotiating a treaty, and removing clauses criticized  as racist from Australia's founding document were discussed. This included two so-called "race provisions" which allow the states to disqualify people on the basis of race from voting, and allow laws to be made based upon a person's race.
Mr Turnbull has also spoken about Australia's Stolen Generations, a government policy of assimilation that was in place until the late 1960s.
"Today, we again acknowledge the Stolen Generations - those Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who were forcibly removed from their parents simply because they were Aboriginal. Again we say sorry," he said.
"We acknowledge that this removal separated you from your families, from your lands and your languages and cultures that for 50,000 years your ancestors had protected and cared for. We acknowledge the continuing deep personal pain that affects your lives and those of your families."

  One cop told me that he and two other officers have to patrol an area the size of Ireland. Most of his calls are in response to drunks  and domestic violence on fenced-off aboriginal lands which white people need a permit to visit. Several people have also mentioned that there is no violence directed at white people and that the most serious crime would be asking someone to purchase take away alcohol for them. I asked some questions about this and though some alcohol does get in it seems that most communities have a voluntary ban. Whereas, aboriginal people are served in bars I have been told that they are refused take-away purchases as local watering holes generally respect the voluntary community bans. Many years ago there was a total alcohol ban. This was later reversed when rights activists took an anti-discrimination lawsuit. Unfortunately, it seems that alcohol mixes badly with the aboriginal dna.

When I arrived at Nundrooo roadhouse I stopped for a hamburger meal. We got chatting to the manager an Indian man. He had previously studied in Australia ten years ago and then he took up the opportunity to run the roadhouse when it was bought by another Indian man. That was just one of seventy businesses his boss owns. Michael and I noticed that he was trying to look after petrol, shop, bar sales in addition to taking and serving restaurant orders. Not only was he overworked for his poor wife was preparing the meals in the kitchen. So as to catch up on my writing I decided to take a rest day there. Over breakfast to his credit Michael offered to help out in the kitchen. Michaels gallant offer was politely refused, it seemed that help was on the way as another Indian man was flying into Ceduna airport that very morning. The manager was pretty stressed as his own car was out of action after he had hit a  kangaroo a few days earlier. Now he was facing a $400 taxi fare for his new employee. It was 150 kilometres to Ceduna yet Michael offered to pick up the new employee. A phone call was made and the young man got out of the taxi just a couple of kilometres into his journey. At the roadhouse the manager mentioned that with that savings he could live in India for six months.
I had a good days work and after we paid for our expensive dinners we retired to our tents in the half empty motels campground knowing we ha done our bit for Karma.
After my rest day I brought myself out to play on the road. Like two children gone wild my feet cranked out 39, 37 and 40 kilometre days. I walked past some small homesteads, farms and even green grass and sheep. And I met yet another Irishman, Patrick from Mayo who has been living in Australia for most of his life.
Next morning, we stopped for breakfast at a picnic site in picturesque Penong. That means rocky water hole in aboriginal speak. It's also famous for having Australia's largest windmill. Though it's barely a village, it was the largest community we passed through in a month. Michael surprised my with a burger and a choc ice.
On the road I saw camels grazing in yet more emerald green fields. I wondered if those fields were irrigated using nearby salty sea water. Australian roadhouses operate by a serious of generators. On the Nullarbor drinking water is usually desalinated, an expensive process. Sometimes water is brought by water tank vehicles or rainwater is used.
That night we enjoyed our first campfire for we had run out of propane for our stove.
Wednesday, June 21st, the southern hemisphere's shortest day of the year we arrived in a small town called Ceduna. On the way I was stopped by a man who escaped from former Czechoslovakia 37 years ago.  Milos Krejci was a former champion amateur cyclist in the Iron Bloc country. He told us how the Czechs and Russians used sport for propaganda reasons. He spoke of an easy life as an athlete and lived in luxury doing little else but competing for seven years. Perhaps, Milos realized that a comfortable living would only last as long as his cycling career for he planned his escape to the west. His plan was simple, he bribed immigration officials. As many officials were loyal to their party it was not easy for the average person to find a bent official. Due to his sporting contacts he was able to find one. All it took was two bottles of whiskey to get a holiday visa for him and his family to get to Yugoslavia. Once in Belgrade he successfully applied for political asylum in the Austrian embassy. He came to Australia as he said it is the furthest place from Czechoslovakia. Once there he was put up in a hostel and given welfare assistance. Not happy with that Milos wanted to find work as a plumber. He said that one good thing about the communist system was the training that people received. Though he could do the work he couldn't speak English. Searching the Australian telephone directory he found a Czech man with the same name. That man was able to help him find a plumbing job where some workers spoke his language.
Ceduna has a population of a couple of thousand. I decided to take couple of rest days and am in debt to my friend Brefine Early for  contacting his friends Rob and Pauline Price. Unfortunately, Rob was out of town but we were made welcome by Pauline. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

A typical my world walk day

A typical day. 
Our rest day in Eucla roadhouse was spent exploring sand dunes around the area. Thanks to Rasa, the roadhouse manager for providing me and Michael with two nights in their motel. We also walked to the coast, which is called the Australian Deep Bight. One man told me that technically it's the Southern Ocean, an ocean which has escaped my knowing until now. It's where the Indian and South Pacific Oceans merge.
Back on the road we crossed to South Australia state. At the state line strict quarantine laws are enforced to prevent the spread of fruit flies which can destroy an entire industry. As a result heavy fines are enforced for talking fruit across state lines. Many people just dump huge quantities of fruit out onto the road, a pity they couldn't leave them for someone at one of the many rest/picnic areas dotted along the highway. These rest areas are rarely more than ten to fifteen kilometers apart. Most evenings we camp at one as Michael has a terrific guide book which tells us their locations. That way we can plan most of our stops. Usually, Michael stays behind me in the morning and catches up about two or three hours later. In that time he packs up our tents, boils water for my thermos and does some of his own work on his laptop. Sometimes he reads a book which can then be exchanged for another one in the roadhouses. When he catches up with me I could have as many as fifteen kilometers walked. Then I usually stop for breakfast. He will do his own thing for an hour as he enjoys walking into the fields and looking around at old fossils and observing bird life. I prefer him to crew from the back rather than me walk to him. That way if I have any major problems I can just wait for him rather than walking on. After about two or three more stops in which I should have about 25 kilometers walked I stop for lunch. Most days I have noodles which are cooked from the hot water from my thermos. In between I snack on candy, biscuits or something else as our car has no food shortage due to our massive food shop we made before the start in Perth. Yes, I think I overdid that, too much food, a first world problem indeed. After lunch depending on where the next decent picnic site is Michael will either stay behind for another couple of hourly passes or go on ahead. The weather has been comfortable, so that is never an issue. Sometimes near the end of the day I ask him to go on ahead (by as much as ten kilometers) and find a camping place in a rest area or wherever. That's a typical day, but it can vary. There have been many days when I finish in darkness but as traffic is light and I am well lit up I feel safe. Michael usually waits for me to arrive before we pitch our pop up tents. Every day is different and my daily distances depending upon how I feel, where the good camping places are. Or even how many days  I decide to walk to the next roadhouse in.
When I arrive at our campsite we take turns cooking dinner which almost always consists of pasta packaged meals. Well, Michael cooks most nights. Our biggest daily decision is if we will mix our pasta meal with a can of beans, spaghetti or corn. The latter usually wins, occasionally its canned beetroot or even chicken breast chunks. There were many nights when we retired to our tents at seven pm, other nights I drink copious amounts of peppermint tea while we listen to music from my iPhone music app. Those nights when we burn the candle at both ends its still only eight thirty!
Many nights I awaken and think it must be almost time to get up only to discover it's still only about 11pm or midnight, for the nights are so long. Despite all this I still find it difficult to get up each morning. We set the alarm clock for 6:30 but I usually snooze for an hour and break camp with a handful of snacks and a cup of lukewarm coffee made from the leftover water from my two litre thermos.

At the South Australia border we were stopped by Timmy, a bricklayer who is originally from county Cork in Ireland. So we went into the Border roadhouse for a memorable chat. That night Michael and I camped at the top of cliffs overlooking the ocean. We chatted to some so called grey nomads who traverse the country in their RVs. These senior citizens like to escape from the 'cold climate' in the cooler months for a few months on the road. Michael jokes that there is a caste system in Australia; as those in the top end motor homes  or plush caravans with expensive SUV's pulling them are at the top of the ladder. Below them are those who sleep in their camper vans. We, in our tents are the bottom of the social barrel, the scum of the road!
Next day I walked through 15,000 kilometres and thanked Michael for preparing a special sign to commentate it. That 'milestone' took fifteen months and ten days. For those that like comparative statistics that was only a few days slower than when I ran my 15,000th on the world run. On that global run I did take more rest days when I ran my 15,000th on the world run. On that global run I did take more rest days.  
The ever-changing scenery on the Nullarbor continued to impress me with what seemed to be a never ending array of strange and unknown shrubs, plants, trees and the occasional flower. One day a dingo walked across the road in front of me and then into a field, way beyond the limits of my zoom lens. By now kangaroos were a thing of the past and thankfully I saw few skeletal remains. That 12 hour, minimal-stop day my feet of dreams walked 48 kilometres. I followed that up the next day when I walked feeling like a king of the road and saluted 50 kilometre post soldiers who stood to attention precisely 1,000 metres apart.
Then I arrived at the Nullarbor roadhouse and noted that the so-called treeless area which the whole plain is name after is in fact just an area of thirty kilometres around the roadhouse.