Welcome Home Bob


Bob relating some of the stories from the ride


We finally caught up with friends, family and neighbours at the Blackheath Golf Club on 14th July. About 50 people got together to welcome Bob, Bill, Michael and Sallee back home, all safe and well.

For Bob and Bill it was seven weeks away, long enough.


Pauline Keyvar from Huntingtons NSW, presenting Bob and Jenny with their award.

We put on a presentation of the ride, depicted in photos and story, reflected on the achievement, and shared the little incidents that happened on the way. We also talked about the fundraising and we were joined by Graham Opie from Motor Neurone NSW and Robyn Kapp and Pauline Keyvar from Huntingtons NSW. They presented Bob and the team with a treasured momento, which we were all chuffed to receive. We might add also that Bob was appointed a Paul Harris Fellow by his Rotary Club the previous weekend. So it is good to see Bob get the recognition that he deserves.





The presentation is shown on the images below.  Photos courtesy Bill Pixton

Collage 1-12



Collage 13-24 Revised

























Whilst the night was not about fundraising per se, special thanks to Rozi Starkey who kindly donated the proceeds of the Bonville Golf package to the Darwin2Perth cause, raising some $520.

Overall fundraising currently stands at about $52,500, which is a great effort.

The Chequered Flag in Perth

Bob in Geraldton Paper

Geraldton Herald

Just picked up the local paper as we left Geraldton.

Let me tell you once we left Geraldton it really was the home straight…although we had over 400kms to go. We had a tight schedule and had to plan our trip to arrive in Perth Sunday afternoon.

We had been told there was plenty to see before Perth. Places like Dongara, Leeman, Jurien Bay, Pinnacles, Cervantes and Ledge Point. Also we were advised to take the Indian Ocean Coastal road rather than the Brand Highway. More picturesque and fewer trucks.


I only had 4 beers, officer

Ledge point beach

Beach at Ledge Point

A drink at Leeman








Our first stop only 64km away was Dongara. We stayed at one of the most delightful places Seaspray Beach Holiday Park, located right on the beach, coffee shop and restaurant, grassed sites each with an ensuite! There was a wild windswept beach all to ourselves.  From Dongara we headed south and took the Coast road, leaving the heavy traffic behind. Bob is a connoiseur of bitumen roads and he assures us this was the best. There were some great spots for sight seeing on the way and we made the effort to video Bob with the Indian Ocean in the background.  Jurien Bay was about 150kms away so Bob had an early start. As we headed into Jurien Bay Bob was pulled over by the police to breathalysed. What a hoot.   Jurien Bay didn’t disappoint. Another great spot. This whole stretch of coast is quite touristy and developed given its proximity to Perth. Ledge Point was our last stop before Perth. Another grassy caravan park and they even gave us a freebie. How good was that. Ledge Point has rugged beaches and has its own golf course and country club, where we dined that night – our last night on the road. As we were getting close to Perth the attitude of other road users seemed to change. Plenty of cranky drivers not wanting to share the road. It was stressful riding for Bob and for us in the van. Bob was getting trip tired and it seemed wise to get him off the road before we had a bingle.

And so to Perth on the Sunday afternoon. We decided not to take the van too far in and stayed at Kingsway Caravan Park about 25kms out of town. We had a lot of things to do in Perth with media and getting the van cleaned and the signage removed. We had some media commitments and the main thing was to organise our official finish in Perth at noon on Tuesday. This involved liaising with various Rotary clubs and with the local MND and HD organisations.

On the  Monday afternoon we had a radio interview with Curtin Radio and renowned journalist Jenny Seaton. We had about 15 minutes on air and spoke about the ride and the fundraising. Certainly were able to shed some light on MND and HD. It was somewhat a recurring theme in Perth how difficult it was to get mainstream media interest. We approached all three TV stations and two radio stations. Generally not interested, charity bike rides not newsworthy and they are so parochial. We were even asked if Bob was a Western Australian!  Rotary also,with some exceptions, were all preoccupied with their own projects and really did not get behind it. This is in stark contrast to the wonderful support we had from Rotary in Darwin, Broome and Geraldton.

Bob and Michael at Kings Park

Jenny Montgomery arrived the previous afternoon and Bob had abandoned us to move into a city hotel. Can’t say I blame him. In the morning, we took some photos at the Kings Park. This is a beautiful spot covering botannical gardens and national park, overlooking the Swan River and Perth CBD. A few stills and video of Bob riding through the Park.  The four of us had a nice brekkie there.

The reception at MND and HD Offices in Perth

We had speculated where to have the formal finish. On one hand we thought about Elizabeth Quay, a very public and tourist location, on the Swan River and near the CBD. Too many permits required and staff from the MND and HD organisations would not be able to attend. It seemed the right thing to do to focus on those we are seeking to help and we changed the location to the Centre for Neurological Support attached to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The local chapters for MND and HD are also located there. So at noon on Tuesday Bob put his lycra on for the last time and cycled a km into the finish. Staff from both organisations, together with some Rotarians and other friends, were there. Whilst it was a low key finish, we were surrounded by people who were friendly and supportive, and cared about what we were doing. A few short speeches, a cuppa and it was over. Particular thanks to Diane and Ken Collins from Rotary Club of Freshwater Bay, for their unwavering support and assistance.

From there we packed up, cleaned the van, gave away our excess food to needy people, dropped Michael at airport in the morning,  returned Ivan to Britz, and got our bond refunded. I took a day off on Rottnest Island, planning to fly out at midnight. Jetstar had other ideas and cancelled my flight. I was  forced to spend the night slumped at the airport for ten hours, waiting to find another flight. Bob and Jenny went down to Margaret River for a couple of days. We all needed some space.

More reflections on the trip, learnings and plans for the future to come in subsequent blogs. For now let me say it was a great experience that provides support to those who really need it. It was personally rewarding and I feel priviledged to have been part of it. Bob’s efforts, by any measure, are truly remarkable.

Photos:Courtesy: Bill Pixton

Shine Today at Geraldton

Rotary Helps Out in Geraldton

Leaving Carnarvon on the way to Geraldton 475kms and then another 430kms to Perth. We are almost on the home straight but first we had a few days to get to Geraldton where Rotary had organised two events and media.

Sunrise near Woomarel

Sunrise near Woomarel

ob at Billabong Roadhouse

Bob’s Groupies

We started early as were unsure how Ivan would perform and escorted Bob to the outskirts of Carnarvon with Woomarel Roadhouse our target. We caught the sunrise that morning.    Woomarel provided a campsite on the red dirt and not much more but I remember the little shop there was clean and tidy and the owners very friendly. We noticed quite a few feral goats around and were informed that there was a market for them. .Billabong Roadhouse promised more as it had a tavern attached and Bob looks forward to a beer after his ride. Another dusty campsite. We met a couple of ladies travelling around, who kindly made a donation and posed with Bob as he set off that next morning.     Next stop was Northampton which we were told was a proper town rather than a basic roadhouse. It was a nice little town and the site of the first government railway line in 1879 from Perth. Funny little caravan park though. Whilst Bob rested after his 180km ride, Michael and I had a quick look around town. Lot of history. They were also in the middle of a drought and a few drops of rain got them very excited. In the afternoon we made a video seeking donations.

As it was my birthday tomorrow we dined out that night in the Northampton Hotel and reminisced about growing up in Sydney and the wild things we did as teenagers. The hotel had new owners and had just relaunched their new restaurant. It was very good food and Bob andMichael made me forget being 70 tomorrow.

ABC Geraldton

ABC Radio in Geraldton

Di Gilleland and Bill

It was only a relatively short ride into Geraldton where Di Gilleland from Rotary Club of Geraldton, had gone to some trouble organising things for us in Geraldton. We parked the van at her place and we stayed in her home. She even had balloons and a birthday gift. Wow. So thoughtful.  That day we were interviewed by the local paper and ABC radio station. That night we had a combined Rotary function to attend with Geraldton, Batavia Coast and Geraldton-Greenough Clubs attending. They had previously arranged for a local not for profit community organisation Shine to talk about their youth program for disadvantaged teenage girls. It was a very uplifting presentation and something we will pursue ourselves. Bob made a brief talk about our ride and what we were doing and Rotary Geraldton made a generous donation on the night. They even had a birthday cake for me. It was very special.


The Dedication Stone

The HMAS II Memorial














On the way back to Di’s place we had a tour around Geraldton at night, particularly the wonderful monument to the HMAS Sydney II and the work Rotary did to get this project up and running. It is now a popular tourist attraction that brings people to Geraldton and informs them about Australia’s greatest naval tragedy.  Next morning Di had arranged breakfast at a sthe Dome Cafe on the esplanade. We were due to meet the TV media people but they called out to a cat stuck up a tree story. So after breakfast Bob was back in the saddle heading south to Perth. We all had fond memories of Geraldton.

Photos: Courtesy Bill Pixton