Walk Round Australia

                        BROTHERHOOD AND BLISTERS 1969
Last week our guest speaker was no other than our illustrious President Gerry Greenway, who spoke very eloquently to his captive audience about the Apex walk around Australia which he formulated and coordinated in 1969.
Gerry was 34 years young and a member of the Blackwood Apex club when, participating in a local walkathon, his overactive mind started working overtime and he decided that it would be a novel idea to extend his walking ambitions beyond our borders.
At that time he hadn’t decided the why or wherefores of this rash decision, but it was destined to become a major money spinner for Apex and its eventual charity,Autism Australia.
The path to any brilliant scheme must come with the approval of both zone and National conventions and much to Gerry’s great relief his ambitious idea was approved.
Local sponsors were quickly procured, namely Claridge Motors, BP and the National Bank who donated $2,000 towards a prize for the person who could guess closest to the total distance covered at the end of the walk.
Claridge motors donated a fully fitted out sedan and BP donated the fuel.
Gerry reminded us that these were the days before computers and mobile phones and every single walk in all of the States had to have map references and local coordinators with whom he liased by trunk calls and copious plane flights using a map and pins from his mother’s sewing box.
Nine months of planning went into this ground breaking event and at all stages the weather was also a major consideration.
It was decided that the walk would proceed in a clockwise direction from SA to WA,  eventually passing through each state with many local mini walks on the way, ensuring that as many local Apex clubs as possible could participate. Highway 1 was the major arterial route it would follow.
Support was rallied by the RAA, a bus company and local airlines.
Barry Ford, a banker from Perth, volunteered to participate the whole way which assisted enormously in the overall communication of information to all participants.
Here in Adelaide, Robin Millhouse, a local politician, and also the Lord Mayor supported the cause and local TV coverage was solicited.
The East coast of Australia was the most densely populated section of the walk, so in NSW QLD and VIC many minor road networks evolved so as many small clubs as possible could be included.
 In the NT, one of our Hyde Park Rotary stalwarts, namely Neville Highett, our incoming president, walked with other Tennant Creek locals and on this occasion, he provided us with several colourful anecdotes of his experiences and those of several of his fellow walkers. Gruesome tales of pigs, donkeys, bones and death added to our interest in the evenings presentation steadfastly ensuring no one could comfortably finish their meals.
All in all with combined input from both Gerry and Neville we were left mesmerized by how one man’s crazy imagination and vision conceived in simpler times and with rudimentary communications, could result in such a wonderful result for such a worthy cause.
The sum of $120,000 was raised which in present times would add up to roughly $1,000000.
A total of 9,380 miles or 15,097 km were covered and the Topic of Autism had now presented itself to everyday Australians and would result in more research, more staffing and wider public awareness into the future.
Well done Gerry you crazy visionary for having the courage and fortitude to follow through on your dreams and never being afraid to “give it a go".