Thursday, November 25, 2004

Bouquets to...

wheat, originally uploaded by Ampersand Duck.

I'm giving this one to Jean Mulvaney again (sorry, no trackback, scroll down). I went to her funeral a couple of days ago, and got my facts straight about her epic bicycle ride. It was in 1946, with three other girls. They started from Melbourne, and no one gave them a big farewell, because they thought they'd give up within the month. One did; another stopped at Adelaide. Up at 80 Mile Beach in north WA, Jean and her friend had to get off their bikes, leave their gear, carry the bikes to the other end of the beach, then walk back and get their gear. The two young women worked their way around, taking on all sorts of jobs. At one point Jean worked for a couple of weeks as a crocodile shooter. Her friend stopped somewhere in the NT or the top of QLD, having met and fallen in love with someone on a station. Jean wasn't daunted by the lack of company. She kept going, working and riding her way down the East coast alone until she made it back to Victoria. The whole trip took well over a year. Her family and friends know good chunks of the story, but she never thought it interesting enough to write down in great detail, and so the whole adventure dies with her. And that's only one small part of an incredibly rich and purposeful 81 years. Can you see why I'm going to miss her?

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