Happy to lend a hand
The ‘Tasmanian biker with the dog on the back’
PETER Maddox’s life has been anything but mundane.
A boilermaker and dairy farmer who’s travelled through 53 countries on a motorbike, voyaged to Antarctica on a research vessel, volunteered with South Passage, as a DJ on community radio and for the past three months with Blaze Aid in Mundubbera.
Not only has he become a familiar face on the flood devastated farms where’s he been fencing, he’s also spoken about his adventures to members of Mundubbera’s Lions and Rotary clubs.
Locals refer to him as the “Tasmanian biker with the dog on the back” and appreciate all he’s contributed since his arrival in February, but he’s just happy to be able to help.
“What’s 12 weeks out of 61 years?” he said.
“To see a fence up and a smile on a farmer’s face is all I need – it’s been a good experience and I haven’t finished yet.
“Mundubbera’s a fascinating little town – people make a town and Mundubbera has a good bunch of resilient, kind people who make you feel welcome.
“Good food, good memories, hot showers – it’s like Christmas.”
Following the loss of his dairy farm in Tasmania during the time of crippling 23% interest rates in the late 1980s, Mr Mad- dox bought a motorbike and travelled for four years through South America and Africa.
Carrying a small tent and bedding, he camped wherever he felt safe, and he saw a great deal of poverty.
“I had some experiences of people with knives and muggings but I have a good natural instinct when it comes to people and that was a great benefit to me during my solo travels. I don’t stop if I don’t like a place.”
Mr Maddox’s voluntary work has made a difference in many lives. He has volunteered many times on South Passage – a 30.5m gaff rigged schooner purpose built in 1993 to give young people aged 14–17 a unique experience at sea.
Since its maiden voyage more than 40,000 students have sailed on South Passage and Mr Maddox has seen many young lives turn around following the experience designed to allow teenagers to take control, build confidence and achieve together.
“Being at sea changes people; I remember one lad who, as soon as we’d docked, went straight to a phone box and called his dad to apologize for the 14 years of grief he’d given him.”
Mr Maddox hasn’t yet made plans for after the Mundubbera Blaze Aid camp closes but is confident he’ll know when the time comes.
No doubt he’ll go on to make a positive difference inmany more lives.
FINDINGFENCES: PeterMaddox with Bilby straining a fence at Tookawhyle after recovering the barb wire fromunder a mountain of debris.