Phil Wills his way along fa­mous route

McIvor Times - - NEWS -

HEATH­COTE was vis­ited by some­one quite re­mark­able last week.

Phil McDon­ald is walk­ing the Burke and Wills trek solo, from Mel­bourne to the Gulf of Car­pen­taria in Queensland.

Sup­ported by his wife, Su­san — who is fol­low­ing in the four-wheel-drive — the Port Mel­bourne man is hop­ing to raise $73,000 for the Fred Hol­lows Foun­da­tion.

This equates to $1,000 for every year of his life.

He’s fol­low­ing the 1860 Vic­to­rian Ex­plor­ing Ex­pe­di­tion route of Robert O’Hara Burke and Wil­liam John Wills as close as prac­ti­ca­ble and aims to av­er­age 30km a day.

He left on May 6 from Mel­bourne and walked 30km to Bulla where he stayed overnight.

On day two, he walked from Bulla to Lance­field and walked a to­tal of 48 km.

Day three he walked from Lance­field to Mia Mia and camped overnight where Burke and Wills would have camped — in tem­per­a­tures of five de­grees.

When the McIvor Times spoke to him on day four of his jour­ney he had left Mia Mia and walked to Heath­cote, then it was on to Knowsley where he stayed near the for­mer Moorabbee Ho­tel on the cor­ner of the McIvor Hwy and the Moorabbee-Fore­shore Rd.

His jour­ney is 3,200km in to­tal, with 20 rest days where he will talk to schools and com­mu­nity groups about the orig­i­nal ex­pe­di­tion and the work of the Fred Hol­lows Foun­da­tion.

“I read about Burke and Wills as a teenager and I was in­spired by their spirit of ad­ven­ture and sad­dened by the tragic out­come,” he said.

And he’s no stranger to a hard slog: Phil has com­pleted 16 con­sec­u­tive marathons and cy­cled 15,00km around the coast of Aus­tralia on a Penny Farthing.

But he said this ex­pe­di­tion will be one of the most chal­leng­ing for him.

“I’m so proud to take on the chal­lenge in sup­port of the Fred Hol­lows Foun­da­tion and help re­store sight for those who are need­lessly blind,” he said.

“I hope the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties will come out and sup­port me by spon­sor­ing my trek to help the work of the foun­da­tion.”

All funds raised will go to Phil’s $73,000 goal for the foun­da­tion.

For more in­for­ma­tion visit philsu­san­m­c­don­

Phil and Su­san McDon­ald when they stopped in at Heath­cote.

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