Teacher's odyssey to rub off on students

Ken Brown motorcycled from Sydney to Perth via the Northern coast of Australia.
Ken Brown motorcycled from Sydney to Perth via the Northern coast of Australia.

A 22,000-kilometre motorcycle odyssey around Australia's coastline fulfilled a 30-year dream for Opunake High School teacher Ken Brown.

"It was unfinished business," said Mr Brown, who returned last week from his epic journey.

Starting in Sydney, where he bought a bottle green Triumph Tiger 955, Mr Brown travelled north to Cairns, then across the dusty roads of the Northern Territory and finally down to Perth.

"I was planning on doing the trip 30 years ago," said the history teacher, who was granted 16 weeks' leave to pursue his dream.

"I had just finished uni and as people still do these days, I went to Perth to make my fortune. That's as far as I got."

During the trip Mr Brown chewed through three sets of tyres, a chain and sprockets and a battery, but he said the bike held itself together fantastically. "It's British engineering at its finest."

One of the things that struck Mr Brown on his journey was the pristine condition of traditional Aboriginal sites, which had remained the same for eons.

"I have an admiration for Aboriginal culture, the pristine water holes and waterfalls that have been the same for thousands of years," he said.

"They have a respectful culture. Sustainability is a word used a lot these days but Aborigines had that concept for a long, long time."

Although he travelled on his own, Mr Brown, who has been an avid motorcyclist all his life, said fellow bikers seemed to gravitate towards each other. "Motorcycling is a solitary activity but I did meet plenty of other people doing similar things."

Now that he's back home, Mr Brown said he planned on using his experiences to help teach his students.

"Travelling itself is a great education. And I'm looking forward to seeing the kids again."

- Jimmy Hick is a Witt journalism student

Taranaki Daily News