Friday, 30 September 2016


Stats for the day by Brett Goebel
Distance: 199 kms
Ride Time: 8 hours 8 min
Ave Speed: 24.8 km/h
Max Speed: 71 km/h
Climbing: 2275 metres
Min Temp: 16 degrees
Max Temp: 26degrees

Road Kill by Roger
1 bag of bones, 1 Turtle, 2 dead magpies, Steve Richo Richmond got hit by a magpie, but it's not on Strava so it didn't happen and Diesels Garmin.

Guest Speaker
Julie Andrews tonight shared with us her Smiddy story and how the loss of her Brother in 2004 and her Godmother this year affected her and made her passionate about helping Smiddy and the Mater search for a cure.

Category Jersey
Was won by Julie Andrews for being so selfless and putting herself in the van at times today so as not to hold the peloton up. Also for her passion for fundraising and for just being a beautiful lady who wants to help where she can.

Welcome to the first blog for the inaugural 4 Day Smiddy Challenge. This new ride on paper looked to be a cracker of a course. As I sit and write this at 5:30pm in the small town of Woodenbong, which is located close to the QLD/NSW border, with a cruel 199 kilometres in my legs, I can ascertain that day one lived up to the reputation bestowed on this event on paper.

With not one word of exaggeration, it's just not in my nature, we were treated to climbs so steep that nose bleeds were a common occurrence, headwinds so strong that the top section of Mt Lindsay was blown over our heads and landed with a thud in the paddock that had 16 cows in it - true story, dirt roads so rough that holes swallowed half the peloton before the other half even noticed, and I kid you not, tar roads and wooden bridges that rattled our bikes and bodies so hard that fillings were dispensed from riders teeth and bikes were reduced to just the frames as the wheels packed it in and rolled off into the paddocks.

I was the last to arrive into Woodenbong after the final long arduous 72 kilometre climb to finish off a bloody tough day in the saddle. Okay it may have been 7.2 kilometres but it felt like 72, so I'm calling it 72. Anyway I arrive and there are bodies and bikes spread out across the lawn, collapsed bodies on the steps that lead up to the pub entrance and a spattering of schooners soothing parched lips. I quickly joined them as I wanted to be part of the definitive Smiddy portrait, and besides that I noticed Liam was doing video shoots of the group and I wanted to be part of the movie action and grab my two seconds of fame. After ten minutes, warm bodies started to cool down and a movement was started by one rider and the rest of us lambs followed, to be engulfed by the warmth inside the comfy country pub.

Now I am so excited about what happened next that I have skipped the entire day out on the road as I can't wait to share with you this most exciting news. Okay for those of you out there reading this that want a road report this is for you. Exciting news to come very soon. Can you wait?

We had egg and bacon rolls thanks to UQ pool and Andy Loney and Jeannie and her awesome soon to be husband, who's name I can't remember and Jeannie is going to be reading this and will kill me when I go back to work next week and Michelle Herlaar. Thanks heaps awesome human beings! We got to have two team photos, one without Alex King and one with Alex King... I'll let him explain where he was... Captain Kev gave Andy Loney the honour to ring his infamous cow bell that has been in the family for over 2000 years, or was that 100? Anyway we dodged the thunderstorms that hit the entire world overnight and once again, in true Smiddy tradition, we rolled out right on time at 5:45a.m for our stated 5:30a.m start. Our small and elite, 20 strong peloton of Smiddy 4 day trail blazers sprinted out of the University car park at the same pace as day one of the Tour De France. Heart rates soared, lactic acid hit leaden legs immediately and the first crack of the day happened by an unnamed rider in the first kilometre. But don't worry we got the pace under control after the first 142 kilometres and all will be good when half the peloton can't get out of their swags tomorrow morning.

81 kilometres was covered in quick smart time and a great average of over 27 kilometres an hour. Our morning tea stop at the Beaudesert Race Track was devoured in record time as 19 of the 20 riders fell face first into the food. The 20th rider missed out as there was just no face falling room left. From there we hit the first 250 kmp/h headwind as we made our way to our lunchtime stop at Running Creek at the 128 kilometre mark. Now the team at Smiddy are delightfully wicked some time and in this case they planned a lunch stop just before the climb up to Lions Head. 72% gradient climb, combined with belly full of food, end result; there was as much spew on the roads from the riders as there was cow shit on the roads from - yes you guessed it, the cows... Nice work team Smiddy. Love your work.

A regroup at the top, a few photos taken and baby wipes handed out freely to clean what was left of lunch off the riders jerseys. Team Smiddy plan for everything so nice touch with the baby wipes guys. The descent down after climbing to the height of Everest was disappointing as it went down for 500 metres and then continued to climb. Finally when we got to the descent it was so rough that dental and bikes did what I have already touched on above.

Getting to afternoon tea was an adventure in itself, again more roads that made the Paris/Roboix race in Europe look like a walk in the park and that headwind increased to 275 kmp/h. It was at this point that the Mt Lindsay thing happened. A huge thank you to the trouble that the road crew went to in putting on this afternoon tea for us. They decided that us riders MUST have shade, so the pop up tent was erected and 8 of the 12 road crew were given 30 seconds shifts, two on each corner, to hold the bloody thing down. The road crew not holding it down were free to do other important things like sit on each corner of the tarp that was put out for the riders day bags. With dedicated road crew like this I can't wait to see what lies ahead for the next three days.

So finally back on the bikes, 30 kilometres to go to get to Woodenbong and our ever faithful headwind is now messing up our hair at 300 kmp/h. Then that 72 kilometre climb and me coming in last with Brucey Baby Frazer and Stephen Richo Richardson pipping me on the line. Man it was close!

So there you have it, are you happy now? Can I tell you my most exciting news now please? Okay for the first time in 11 years of Smiddy events we had our huddle inside the pub around the pool table. Now how Australian is that. My only mistake was giving the honour of taking the first day huddle to Roger Hawley and Bretty Goebel. Half an hour later they were still telling their life story and the riders and road crew arms were cramped into permanent hugging position. Which is not a bad thing if you like hugs.

All in all we had a most amazing day, a tough one for sure, but that is Smiddy, it would not be a Smiddy event if the word tough did not come into it. Sure a few of the riders had to jump into the van, but hey it was always a short stay and they live to ride another day. From what I saw today I can honestly say each and every rider put their heart and soul into completing today's stage and you could not ask for more that that.

A special mention to the Richardson family, all six of them, which included two really cute little boys with tiny Smiddy shirts on them, who followed the peloton for the entire day. Thanks heaps for your support, not just for Brad and Stephen but they were rooting for all of us out there as they continued to pop up in the most obscure locations.
Road crew were once again bloody ridiculously awesome and I loved that at afternoon tea they had to move camp due to stirring up a bull ants nest thanks to Brooke doing burn outs in the hire van!

Tomorrow we have some special guest bloggers and all will be revealed tomorrow. I can say this though, they are world class and can actual write sensible stuff, unlike yours truly.

Take care.


Saturday, 3 September 2016


Stats for the day by Brocky Yates and Brett Shipp
Distance: 139 kms
Ride Time: 4hrs 21
Ave Speed: 32km/h
Max Speed: 85 km/h
Climbing: 576 metres
Min Temp: 20 degrees
Max Temp: 28 degrees

Blog Dedication to Adam and Maria Smiddy - See below

This final blog I would like to dedicate to my mate Adam Smiddy, gone now for ten years but still very much alive within my heart and soul. Also to his dear Mum Maria Smiddy, who is back in Adam's arms as of May last year. Two people from the one family; a small family of four, the most special of all families, the Smiddy family, four beautiful humans cut in half by a disease we are desperate to eradicate. I miss Adam and Maria each and every day, and through these wonderful Smiddy events we are keeping their memories alive.

Blog Reading
Thank you Anthony 'Richo' Richardson for reading out today's blog. Quite a few times Richo has thanked me throughout the past seven days for starting this ride and that he was honoured to be part of it. I know that he had a bad fall off his bike not so long ago. So to come back into a moving peloton for eight days, bringing with him a cold, he has done extremely well and earned this honour.

Anne Clarke Rings The Cow Bell
The final ringing of Kevvy's 100 year old infamous family cow bell was rung by our host in Anne Clarke. Anne was extremely close to Maria Smiddy and I know she was absolutely delighted and honoured to send the riders on their way with this beautiful tradition.

Prior to roll out the last big pack up of all the trucks and vehicles began. With the rain last night starting in the early hours of this cloudy morning, the dry swag scenario we were hoping for did not eventuate. What this means is all the swags now need to be taken off the truck in Townsville and dried out in the afternoon sun in the car park of the Mercure Resort.

I am back in the car until the first leg to morning tea at Reid River at 76 kilometres. The rider group have just stopped for a water/toilet stop at 48 kilometres by the side of National Highway A6. Conditions are perfect being overcast, 20 degrees and a gentle tailwind pushing them steadily forward.

Morning Tea Festivities
Getting to morning tea is always a treat for the riders, for the road crew have a massive purge of anything edible left in the ladies food truck. It is the last time the road crew feed the riders as lunch is provided by the lovely ladies of CWA at Woodstock. All the old hands know not to stuff themselves at morning tea, for the feed at Woodstock is a gastronomical delight, and many a rider has walked out of there two kilograms heavier over the many years they have been looking after us.

It's All About Habo
At morning tea I asked Brooke if she could organise a photo of all us ugly blokes that have grown the beard for this ride, which she did. Then tonight, lined up in the same order another photo but once the shave down is complete. The change is remarkable and it takes years off a riders appearance, well for me it does, as for Habo, he is always going to look like an old man! Oh and while on the subject of Habo; apparently he did catch Ken and Damien in the sprint last night. When the blog was read out in Charters Towers by David Smiddy and he didn't get a mention he was seething, spitting chips, cranky as Larry, silly as Jilly, so I hope this amends some of that unhappiness old mate - even if you did still lose to Damien! Ha. Ha!

Feelings Of Joy And Sadness
Even though I am not in the peloton at the moment I know exactly how the majority of them are feeling right now. Sad/happy. It is a weird feeling as you are extremely proud and pleased to have got to this final day and you do not want it to end. But then you want it to end, so that the soreness goes away and you get to reunite with your family and friends.

Afterwards there is a sense of fulfillment but also of emptiness. You long to be with your blood family, but at the same time your heart and soul wants to be with your Smiddy family.

A mild feeling of depression can be felt at this stage and it does pass in time, but I always suggest that the rider or road crew set themselves another immediate goal. Whether that be another Smiddy event, or another goal that you wish to reach for.

For me, I know I get to do it all over again in four weeks time when the Half Smiddy Challenge begins, so those feelings are not as strong these days. That was not always the case when in the first five years of Smiddy rides we had just the one event. So reach out guys to a mate and sign up for something to get those senses tingling.

Woodstock to The Mercure
As I write this I am back in my room at the Mercure and the 11th edition of this emotional roller coaster of a ride has finished safely as we achieved our goal of riding from Brisbane to Townsville over eight days. The lunch at Woodstock went down as suspected and we all pushed off a few kilos heavier. A few family members of the riders turned up here and shared lunch with the crew. The rain held off and the kind tailwind remained. We had one stop at our Bottlemart sponsor hotel, The Sun, for a quick celebratory drink.

Just as a side note, when I joined the peloton at morning tea, until we rolled into the Mercure at 2:15pm was a 95 kilometre stretch. And get this, partly due to the great conditions, but also because this group of riders were so strong by this stage of the game, that section of pave the average speed was 34.8 km/h for 95 kilometres! Bloody impressive stuff. It was also great to see that every rider did the entire distance today.

After the Bottlemart drinks we got a sponsor photo and rode the short distance to the Mercure, where we were greeted by family and friends. There was plenty of hug and congratulations going on for a good 15 minutes, before I surprised the group with a Chuddle. Not long after 95% of the riders and crew ended up in the pool. Belly flops and 'bombies' were of course the order of the day.

Getting in early meant family time for those riders whose love ones flew in, drinks by the bar for others, an afternoon kip for the weary, and the truck, and Smiddy cars, repacked for their journey back to Brisbane.

Ten Moments Throughout The Past Eight Days I Am Grateful For
Each night our guest speaker and their reasons for being part of this journey. I take my hat off to you and thank you for being so brave to show your emotions through your heartfelt words spoken each night. David Smiddy's talk last night on Adam I will never forget.

The past four days Mother Nature ramped up the heat and and wind. Each day the riders responded. Each day I was in awe of this amazingly strong bunch of riders. How lucky we are at Smiddy and the Mater Foundation to have these guys and girls join the rapidly expanding Smiddy family.

Smiddy riders, if they complain about anything on the ride, it is normally body aches and pains. So the biggest complaint I heard amongst riders for this trip was of a sore butt. Which reminded me of a story from the 2008 edition when Haylee Lewis, super strong rider but was suffering from an incredibly painful butt, asked me back then; "Sharky is it possible to die from a sore butt?" While it was funny at the time I am happy to say; "to this day we have yet to lose a rider to this ailment."

Smiddy traditions. Original ones and new. I cannot explain in enough words how important this is to me. Mess with any single one of our traditions and it would cut me like a knife. I thanked the riders and road crew for this last night at Charters and would like to thank them again through this blog for their understanding and for respecting these traditions.

Our road crew and especially David Smiddy, for each year allowing this event to continue. We, the riders, are in awe of your sacrifice to give up 8 days of your time each September and we are indeed extremely grateful.

Every year the local communities step up and nothing is ever too much. Their kindness and incredible generosity is amazing. Our billets at Biloela, Clermont and Blackwater we will never forget. This event would not be possible without this never-ending support each year. Thank you!

The bonding between the Smiddy riders is a joy to behold. Complete strangers becoming like blood brothers warms my heart to no end. 32 riders who would do anything for their fellow rider. I am indeed fortunate to being able to call you my friends and thank you for taking up this immense challenge. Hold your head high when you tell people you are a Smiddy rider, as it is the highest compliment anyone can give you!

Every once in a while, on the completion of a special Smiddy event, I throw in a Chuddle. A Chuddle is my combination of a Huddle and a Cuddle. David Smiddy is always in the centre, while everyone else creates a tight circle around him, and while it may all look a little silly to outsiders, I love it for the energy it creates. This energy is my gift -our gift- to David, which I know helps to get him through those tough times ahead until the next Smiling for Smiddy event.

I know the lads love the go-at-your-own-pace sections throughout the eight days of riding. The final one of the entire tour was down the range coming out of Charters Towers at the 80 kilometre mark. With a tailwind the lead group saw speeds of 85 km/h plus and we all arrived at the bottom breathless and exhilarated from the effort.

And finally, but in no way any less important than any of the other nine points above, thank you to all the love one's and supporters of their chosen Smiddy rider. For without you and your kind donations and support there would be no money coming in for cancer research.

Thanks everyone for your ongoing support over the past eight days. I am going to give you a well deserved rest from reading this blog, but only for one month, as that is when the four day Half Smiddy Challenge begins. We still have places available if anyone out there got motivated through these blogs.

Take care all.


History of Townsville

Traditional Landowners
Traditional owners and custodians, the Bindal and Wulgurukaba People are the first people to have lived in the Townsville region.
When Europeans first arrived in Townsville, they presumed that no one occupied or owned the land because there were no boundaries, marked by farms or fences. However the Bindal and Wulgurukaba Peoples had been living here for many, many generations. Archaeological sites near Townsville have been dated over 10,000 years old.

The Bindal People
The Bindal people call the country “Thul Garrie Waja”. An important symbol for the Bindal people is the shooting star. They believe that wherever the star fell, or the the direction the star fell meant there was either danger coming or someone from that direction was in need of help or in danger.

The Wulgurukaba People
The Wulgurukaba people call their country “Gurrumbilbarra” Wulgurukaba means “canoe people”. An important symbol of the Wulgurukaba people is the carpet Snake. Wulgurukabas creation story tells the story of the creation snake that comes down from the Herbert River, went out to sea creating the Hichinbrook Channel and down to Palm and Magnetic Islands. His body broke up leaving parts along the coast. The tail of the snake is at Halifax Bay, his body is at Palm Island, While his head rests at Arcadia, Magnetic Island.

In 1819, botanist, Alan Cunningham and Captain Phillip Parker King were the first Europeans to record a landing in Cleveland Bay. They collected botanical specimens to take back to England.

In 1846, James Morrill was one of 14 crew members on board the barque, the Peruvian which was shipwrecked on the Great Barrier Reef. Cast ashore near Cape Bowling Green 42 days after the wreck, he was the first European to inhabit the area for an extended period of time.

In 1864, John Melton Black, then in partnership of Robert Towns, despatched Andrew Ball, Mark Watt Reid from Woodstock Station (south west of Townsville) to search for a coastal site where a suitable port could be established. Ball's party reached the mouth of Ross Creek in April 1864 and they set up camp below the rocky spur of Melton Hill (near the present Customs House on the Strand). After further exploration of the surrounding area, Ball returned to Woodstock Station and reported the discovery of a site for a settlement.

The first party of settlers, led by WA Ross, arrived at Cleveland Bay from Woodstock Station on the 5th November. Andrew Ball helped establish the settlement that would become Townsville.

During 1865, the first road to the hinterland was opened. This provided pastoral properties in the hinterland with direct access to the Port.

The first sale of allotments on Cleveland Bay was held at Bowen on the 31st July. James Morrill was permitted to select and purchase an allotment at an upset price.

Cleveland Bay was declared a Port of Entry on the 23rd September 1865

In 1876 Harry Butler and his family came to Picnic Bay and became the first permanent white settlers on Magnetic Island.

In 1876 the Anglican Diocese of North Queensland was founded and the census listed the population as consisting of 1148 females and 1527 males.

In 1876 the North Queensland Pastoral and Agricultural Association was formed. The first show was held in 1876 at the Botanical Gardens Reserve. The industrial and horticultural exhibits were displayed in the old Supreme Court building on Melton Hill which was then the School of Arts.

In 1878 construction began on Townsville's first prison. The prison was situated in North Ward and was superseded by a new prison at Stewarts Creek (now Stuart Creek) in 1891. The original prison's administration block is now used by the Central State School and parts of the prison wall can still be seen in the grounds of the school.

A major fire destroyed a number of commercial premises between Stokes and Denham Street in 1877. A second fire in 1878 damaged the Town Council offices, with a large number of Council records lost.

In 1879 the Thuringowa Divisional Board was created. The board covered an area of approximately 3219 square kilometres. The area included Ross Island, Hermit Park, Magnetic Island, extended to Crystal Creek to the north; to the Burdekin River in the south; and to the top of the range near Mingela.

The first bridge from Flinders Street to Ross Island (now South Townsville) was completed but subsequently dismantled as prior to its opening

In 1866, Robert Towns, entrepreneur and businessman agreed to provide financial assistance to the new settlement. Although he only visited Townsville briefly, the settlement was named Townsville in his honour. Towns died in 1873. A memorial to him is located at the top of Castle Hill.
Townsville was declared a municipality in February 1866, with John Melton Black elected first Mayor of the new municipality.

It was also the year the first steamship arrived in the port.
A boiling down works was established at Hermit Park, sugar plantations were established at Hyde Park and Hermit Park, and a cotton plantation was established at Railway Estate.

The first newspaper, the Cleveland Bay Herald, was distributed on the 3rd March 1866 and in the same year, the West End Cemetery was established. It operated as Townsville's General Cemetery until 1902.

By 1868, Townsville was the major port and service centre for the Cape River, Gilbert, Ravenswood, Etheridge and Charters Towers goldfields. The pastoral industry extended further to the west, and the sugar industry expanded in coastal towns both north and south of Townsville. By the end of 1867, Townsville’s population was approximately 300 people.

In 1869 the National School opened in North Ward. It was located near the Leichhardt Street and Eyre Street roundabout.

In 1873 increased maritime activities prompted an attempt to develop the western side of Ross Creek seawards along the line of the present breakwater. When the attempt failed the Government stepped in to improve existing harbour facilities.

The first mail steamer arrived via Torres Strait.

In 1873 James Burns set up a mercantile business in Townsville. When he went into partnership with Robert Philp the manager of his Townsville operations in 1877 the business became Burns Philp and Company.

From 1868 to 1872, Townsville's population grew to around 2000 people.
1876 - 1879

In 1876 Harry Butler and his family came to Picnic Bay and became the first permanent white settlers on Magnetic Island.
In 1876 the Anglican Diocese of North Queensland was founded and the census listed the population as consisting of 1148 females and 1527 males.

In 1876 the North Queensland Pastoral and Agricultural Association was formed. The first show was held in 1876 at the Botanical Gardens Reserve. The industrial and horticultural exhibits were displayed in the old Supreme Court building on Melton Hill which was then the School of Arts.

In 1878 construction began on Townsville's first prison. The prison was situated in North Ward and was superseded by a new prison at Stewarts Creek (now Stuart Creek) in 1891. The original prison's administration block is now used by the Central State School and parts of the prison wall can still be seen in the grounds of the school.

A major fire destroyed a number of commercial premises between Stokes and Denham Street in 1877. A second fire in 1878 damaged the Town Council offices, with a large number of Council records lost.

In 1879 the Thuringowa Divisional Board was created. The board covered an area of approximately 3219 square kilometres. The area included Ross Island, Hermit Park, Magnetic Island, extended to Crystal Creek to the north; to the Burdekin River in the south; and to the top of the range near Mingela.

The first bridge from Flinders Street to Ross Island (now South Townsville) was completed but subsequently dismantled as prior to its opening major flaws in the mechanisms of the drawbridge winches were discovered.

Friday, 2 September 2016


Stats for the day by Brocky Yates and Brett Shipp
Distance: 197 km's
Ride Time: 7:13:35
Ave Speed: 27.35 km/h
Max Speed: 48.20
Climbing: 1068 metres
Min Temp: 14 degrees
Max Temp: 36.8 degrees

Blog Dedication
Auntie Marie Barker, Olivia Sawarde - See Below

My most favouritest Auntie Marie turns 67 today, which is a happy occasion for the Smoothy family. Marie at this point in time, is facing a health crises in her life, and out of respect to her I will not say any more. I know she'll be reading this, and I want her to know how much we all love her beautiful bravery and for being the most upbeat positive lady we have ever come across.

Olivia is a young lady who no-one in the Smiddy family will know or has heard of except for Mr Smiddy and myself. You see we had morning tea with a fellow Smiddy rider in Paul Dawson a week ago. His best friend in Freddy Sawarde, who he has been buddies with since their school days and are now in their early 50's, just lost his beautiful young 18 year-old daughter last Friday. Olivia's funeral is today and I know Paul and Freddy and their families are grieving deeply. Our thoughts are with Paul, Freddy and Marie today.

Blog Reading Dedication By Mr Smiddy
Blog reading tonight was done by David Smiddy. Last year he and my Auntie Marie teamed up to read out the blog. He said that he wanted to dedicate this blog reading to Auntie Marie, who he respects immensely and knows she is not well and sends all his love.

Words Of Adam By Mr Smiddy
I asked David if he would speak some words about his Son Adam on this 10th anniversary year of Adam passing away. The beautiful man thought long and hard but finally agreed to do it tonight in Charters Towers. His heartfelt words about Adam touched every single person in the room and the tears flowed freely. Our hearts went out to the big man. We are all in awe of David's strength and bravery for what he does each and every year by coming onboard these Smiddy events which continually open wounds that are still trying to heal.

Beautiful Words By Mel Speare
Thank you Mel for getting up tonight and speaking about your Smiddy life since 2012. The story of your Mum beating cancer, your husband fighting it as we speak and all the Smiddy events you have participated in over the years, along with the money raised you should feel so very proud of your involvement.

Brooke Rose - Canadian Rum and Dry Please
Tonight's proceedings was run by last nights extremely popular blog reader in Brooke Rose. This lovely Canadian, with the booming voice that I do not need to wear my hearing aids for -bless her voice box- and did such a great job last night that Killer asked her if she would take on tonight. Of course she said yes because that is what Brooke does, says yes and then smashes everything she does with her incredible, vibrant and contagious energy. Thank you Brooke.

Aliens Again At Belyando
Our stay at Belyando Crossing is always a short affair but a memorable one. A few more lasting memories were added to the gene pool last night, although for those riders that stayed up past midnight their memories were erased due to Aliens visiting the camp site. It must have been the Aliens as what else would erase memories?

Mandy Rings The Bell
Roll out for the group was 6:45 on another glorious morning that infused you with a great-to-be- alive type of emotion. Our host at Belyando has always been Mandy and her partner Hog. While Hog is no longer with us due to passing away in 2010 to cancer, Mandy is still very much involved. After a group photo with Mandy and the two Hog Cup winners from yesterday in Ken and Robyn, Kevvy invited Mandy to ring the cow bell.

The Man Who Actually Does Not Stink
So the cow bell was rung, and as I was sitting out the mornings stage, I stood there clapping along with all the road crew sending the riders on their way. I then realized I was meant to be in the lead car with Mel and Shayne as they drove off into the distance. The good thing to come out of this was I got to jump in the car with Stinky Dave. So for the morning I get to share what it's like hanging with the man who has the most unappealing nickname in the entire Smiddy family. I often wondered how Stinky got his nickname and I have never once asked as I am scared of the answer. Thankfully at this very moment his smell is not offensive and we are getting along fine.

Ramblings From Belyando To Morning Tea At Capsize Creek
The road out here is dead quiet, especially at seven in the morning. Stinky and I were chatting and and he said he expected it to be a quiet start to the day. Well it was for the first hour then the action began. First up Andrew Hancox punctured, a quick change of a front wheel and a minute later he was back on the road trying to stay with the 'Kenny Freight Train Express' ride back to the peloton. After the first wee and hydration stop Julia joined us in the car, unable to keep up with the peloton. We pushed off and not long after, Bruce Frazer was out, as the hills and crosswinds made their presence felt. Bruce is still trying to get over a persistent flu and sounded terrible as he was hacking up flem in the back seat of the car. Within ten minutes, with a smile upon his face, he kept repeating the same word over and over again, Cherie, Cherie, Cherie as he drifted off to sleep. See my Facebook page to see Bruce asleep. Exciting stuff!

Not five minutes later Dr Koala was out as the fatigue of the ride continually catches up with him and is made worse once the climbs begin and the winds picks up. Stinky each time gets out and puts the bike on the trailer attached to his car. This time Dr Koala got into Kevvy's car while Stinky picked up his bike. Just five minutes later and Stephen Townsend was out suffering fatigue from a Smiddy tour that is excruciating in good conditions and murder when the weather turns bad. All in all they are doing an exceptional job and time in any of the cars is not defeat, it is smart, as they get to fight another day by being smart and listening to their bodies. Last exciting thing before morning tea was when a flasher was standing by the side of the road hidden behind an umbrella. He popped out from behind the umbrella and surprised the rider group, who thankfully remained upright as they realised it was Mr Smiddy, the immature one in David and not Allan. Thankfully David had clothes on when he revealed his intentions.

At morning tea an impromptu huddle was formed by all the riders and crew. Kenny Woods Grandma was to be buried this morning and due to getting phone reception he also received news that a close friend of his had passed away yesterday. He was very distraught and thanked the group for our support. Ken once again rode on and will use the next stage to help him with his grief.

Morning Tea To Lunch at Campase
Captain Kev relegated me back to the lead car for this next leg. He warned me that Stinky lived up to his nickname from 10 a.m. and as I was a mate he did not want me to go through what lay ahead. Thanks Kevvy. And thank you Stinky for allowing me to share the life and times of a rear, rear car driver. I enjoyed it immensely.

The run into lunch at 122 kilometres is along mostly flat roads with those annoyingly 1 to 2 percent gradient slow gradual climbs that linger for kilometres at a time. The riders are riding into the same wind as yesterday off the right nose and the temperature is gradually climbing into the mid 30's. It is a tough stretch into lunch. And for that reason I find myself getting very closely acquainted with Dr Koala, who is sitting in the middle of the back seat, while Cherie, who is on photographic duty today, fills the other seat. With Mel and Shayne in the front seat we have a full car and they just informed me that Stinky is not lonely as well thanks to the fine company of Stephen, Julia and Bruce.

Lunch to Afternoon Tea at Policeman Creek
This stage is always a welcome one due to the road surface improving and the trees denser to block out a little of the annoying wind. It was along this stretch that the strangest thing happened when a random non-Smiddy rider rode past the peloton absolutely stark naked. As he disappeared into the distance he stood up to sprint faster and the whole peloton spewed in unison.

The riders have broken the camels back by the time they roll into afternoon tea. You can literally smell Charters Towers from there and the small surge of adrenaline felt, is partly for that reason, but also attributed to the final sprint of the tour coming up just 15 kilometres out from Charters. This hotly contested extravaganza was called off at the last moment because the riders had battled a headwind for most of the day and the ride leaders were concerned with the group safety.

Peloton Plug
Today I joined the riders from lunchtime onwards to Charters Towers. The wind was up and it was pretty well on the nose. Now normally if the wind is that strong a six man peloton form at the front and those six strong man take the brunt of the wind for the entire peloton. Not today as a rolling peloton ensured that saw each and every rider do their turn in front for just a few seconds at a time. Your turn came around incredible quick and the pace was hard but manageable. I kept waiting for the call to 'slow down' or 'ease up', but it never came. Man these guys and girls are so incredibly strong and they should all be very proud of what they have achieved not just today but over the past seven days.

Thank you to the few riders that needed to pull out and join either Kevvy, Stinky or Mel and Shayne in their respective vehicles. You guys took one for the team and allowed everyone to finish into Charters Towers well before nightfall. I know it is gut wrenching watching from the car but your selfless acts are truly appreciated by all.

The Sprint That Wasn't On But Happened Anyway
This is the first time in nine years that this has happened, but thanks to Kenny and Damien, who decided that the tradition could not be totally wiped, they launched an attack with three kilometres to go. All the players in the peloton responded, but being caught out unaware, we had no hope of latching on to this Dynamic Duo, although Ben Hola and Scott Manning went close. Damien got it in the end and I have a feeling his good mate Kenny may have gifted it to him. Nice work guys.

Huddle By Peter, John, Dick, Shane, Fred, Or Was It Brock?
The huddle this afternoon was taken by Brocky Yates. I picked Brocky because all week we have been playing this game where we both pretended to forget each other's name and each rotation we would call each other by another name. We literally went through the entire alphabet and Brock ended up by winning this very mature game as I was disqualified when I started calling him girl names. Anyway mate you earned it not just for that reason but for all the amazing work you have put in for Smiddy over many, many years. Four Midi Smiddy events and two or three Challenge events. Not to mention all the fundraising and recruitment you do in the background.

Rotary - John and Anne Clarke
Once again our hosts tonight were John and Anne Clarke, who are volunteers at Charters Towers Rotary and their team in Wilma Gibson President Of Rotary and fellow Rotarians in Nev Steel, Theresa Thomspson, Robyn Donovan, Tom Dempster and friends of Rotary in Leslie Elliot, Brenda Elliot and Maz Howman.

Each year this amazing group of individuals cook up a storm, both for dinner and then breakfast the next day for the entire team at no expense to us. Thank you to all, we are are very much appreciative. John is also the principal at The School Of Distance Education and it is where we spend the night each year. The grass here is so green and lush and like sleeping on the plushest carpet made by man.

A big welcome to the three school children here tonight helping out from Charters Towers Interact Club. Which is a training ground for young people to eventually enter Rotary.

Category Jerseys Recipients - Robyn Lever
I have saved this until tonight to present Robyn Lever with her special jersey as I really wanted her to wear it on the final day. She exemplifies the Smiddy spirit so perfectly. So modest and patient and caring and understanding and never demanding. Has fundraised for Smiddy, along with Sean, since 2010. Surely one of the nicest purest ladies we have ever had on tour. Congratulations Robyn.

Andy Loney
And finally this next jersey goes to a man who has been there for us since his first Smiddy event as a volunteer back in 2010. Has been involved in at least ten Smiddy events or training weekends. Has does amazing amounts of fundraising, manages to score significant items that we then get to auction off. Is one of the most calming influences in the road crew. Is extremely respectful, quiet and a human being that deserves some recognition for what he does. So tonight he got some in the way of this Teamwork, Mateship and Spirit jersey. Congratulations Andy Loney.



History Of Charters Towers

Charters Towers, the town they call ‘The World' was born to the sound of thunder and flashes of lightning.

Hugh Mosman, George Clarke, John Fraser and horseboy Jupiter had been prospecting away to the south of what is now Charters Towers when their horses scattered during a fierce thunderstorm.

It was while searching for the horses next morning that the first Towers gold was discovered. The discovery point was just near the modern day intersection of Mosman Street, Rainbow Road and Black Jack Road and was at the end of the year 1871 or the very beginning of 1872.

The party returned to Ravenswood to register their find which they named Charters Towers.
Charters: for W.S.E.M. Charters, the Gold Commissioner - the big man from the Cape (Charters was said to be about 6'6" tall and weighed some 20 stone).

Towers: because of the conical shaped hills in the vicinity of the discovery.

A rush of ‘fortune seeking men' quickly followed and a small settlement named Millchester formed on the water at Gladstone Creek. By the end of 1872 some 3000 souls inhabited the new field. The alluvial men left early on for the Palmer River discoveries but the hard rock miners remained, seeking the gold in the deep veins underground. Charters Towers rather than Millchester soon became the main settlement.

The goldfield did not reach its peak of gold production until 1899. During the period 1872-1899 the place changed from a rough settlement with bark and calico buildings to a thriving City of some 25,000 inhabitants.

The City, by that time, had properly formed streets, some wonderful houses and many grand public buildings lining the two main streets. A plentiful supply of water for domestic and other purposes was pumped to the town from a Weir in the Burdekin River about 9 miles to the north. Underground electricity was also supplied to parts of the main town area.

Literally 100s of shafts were sunk during the lifetime of the field and the ore raised was processed through many large Treatment Batteries. It is estimated that 6,000,000 ounces of gold was won in the first 40 to 50 years of the life of the Towers.

All religions were strongly represented on the field and in 1890 the miners could quench their thirst in no less than 65 hotels registered on the field.
Sports, music and the arts all had fantastic followings. It was said that everything you might desire could be had in the Towers. There was no reason to travel elsewhere for anything. This is why the town became known affectionately as ‘The World'.

The decline of mining following World War I saw the population shrink and the town become the supply centre or hub of the Dalrymple Shire as well as the educational centre for students from all over North Queensland

Thursday, 1 September 2016


Stats for the day by Brocky Yates and Brett Shipp
Distance: 176 km's
Ride Time: 6:36:00
Ave Speed: 27.1 km/h
Max Speed: 56km/h
Climbing: 861 metres
Min Temp: 12 degrees
Max Temp: 36.4 degrees

Blog Dedication
Brad Hartmann, Geoff Honey and Justin Jelonkovich are all Smiddy riders. They have all passed away in the last year. Everyone involved with Smiddy have been rocked to the core with these tragic occurrences. Therefore today's blog is dedicated to these three fine gentlemen.

Captain Kev and His New Lead Vehicle
Roll out today was for 7:30a.m. Our luck with the weather was holding as we pushed off with our lead vehicle being local Clermont business man Lochy Burnett and one of his enormous prime movers. Captain Kev was the co-driver of course and Stinky Dave became a human step, while someone else gave Kev a good shove to actually get the little fella into the truck. This has become a custom to get the riders out of town and in the process having some fun thanks to Lochy's generosity each year.

Mother Nature Has Been Kind
Today's course is the ultimate day to be on a bike and I was not going to miss a second of it as I decided to ride the entire day. It is now 5:45 in the afternoon and I am tapping away madly to get this blog done in time for the usual nighttime Smiddy festivities. As Youngy said to me, just keep it short and sweet, so that is my goal.

The road to the morning tea stop was simply perfect; great road surfaces that roll out as far as the eye can see. The beautiful Australian outback scenery is simply stunning due to the amount of rain they have had out here. For so many years, at this time of the year, when we have travelled through, it has resembled a dust bowl. So it is just so awesome to see the country in the shape that it is in right now. To see pockets of water, dams that are full and reservoirs glistening in the sunlight is good for the soul and I feel really happy for the locals out here that have been doing it tough for so many years. The only downside to this news is that the road kill count was nearly non-existent, due, I think, to the fact that there is no need for the animals to graze close to the road where they know the foliage is always greener.

A Quick Wrap Up From Morning Tea To Lunch
At morning tea the road crew put on another awesome display of food. This trip, so much food has been donated in nearly every town we have stayed in. I get the feeling that by the time the tour ends we are going to be left with an enormous amount of food, so riders eat up!

The predicted wind kicked in early and was with us all day on the right side of the nose. In other words a cross-wind. Thankfully it wasn't stupid strong and the peloton was still able to average a good speed of some 27 kmp/h. The temperature creeped up to our hottest day since we began in Brisbane and my Garmin said it peaked at 36.6 degrees. Water and Electrolyte the rider group went through by the bucketful.

The group once again rode well together into lunch, the calls were constant, the pace consistent and the crop-dusting went to a whole new level today! I don't know what Habo and Youngy ate last night but whatever it was it died in their guts and tried to get out all day.

Lunch was at a mound of dirt called Laurel Hills. The usual shenanigans took place with past riders sneaking heavy rocks into other rider day bags. This is the place where a group photo is taken with all riders and road crew on top of that dirt mound and where David Smiddy informs the group that they are to carry their day bags to the next stop. He does this tradition to remind the riders what the first three riders went through in 2006 doing the ride unsupported. Not one rider opted to not carry their bag. Beautiful!

The Hog Cup
We have always finished with an A, B and C graded sprint into Belyando Crossing. A few years ago we started to call it the Hog Cup, as the owner of this road house lost his battle with cancer. His name was Hog. Now a perpetual trophy sits in the road house and each year the winning male and female names are added to the trophy. Today in a close sprint with Damien, Shippy, and Habo, Ken Woods took out his second win of this tour. Robyn Lever of course won once again because she is a bloody legend and no-one can beat her! Nice work again Robyn. One day you will have to let us in on your secret...

Huddle By Allan Smiddy
Thank you Allan for taking the huddle this fine afternoon. I was meant to ask Allan earlier today if he would not mind taking the huddle and as I was having so much fun riding with my friends I totally forgot. As the huddle was forming I asked Allan and he stepped up brilliantly. He talked about how few people in Australia have the name Smiddy, 12 he said in Queensland. But after six days on the road he admitted that he now sees the Smiddy family numbering in the hundreds. He was, of course, referring to the extended Smiddy family of riders, road crew, donors, sponsors, supporters etc.

Fun Times With Lofty and Robyn
Lofty and Peter Hickey tonight run the nighttime proceedings and as expected, delivered was a hilarious cycling quiz affair that had us all in stitches of laughter. The great thing with Belyando Crossing is that it gets back to just us, the road crew and the riders. There is no phone coverage, swags are our accommodation, spirits are high and alcohol is consumed to help celebrate six successful days on the road. It truly is a special place and some of the most memorable Smiddy social moments of the entire tour have happened right here at Belyando Crossing.

Jersey Recipients - Shayne Ritchings and Scott Manning - Allan Smiddy
Shayne for breaking his hand and still fronting up for road crew duties and doing it all with a smile. Scott has been battling with an injury since early in the tour but refuses to give in or get in the van. Both lads are great friends and worked extremely hard to raise up over $12,000.

Allan Smiddy took ten years to finally get permission from his work to get a week off at this time of the year. He had to use some of his long service and give work two years notice. Allan is very popular with the riders and road crew, he works hard and is such a likable and friendly gentleman. Being the younger Brother of David the resemblance is definitely there and like David has a heart of gold.

Guest Speakers
Tonight we heard from Serge and Sydsey. Serge spoke of his reasons for doing this ride and the battle that his Wife Emma is facing as she fights a stage four terminal Melanoma. Chris Sydes spoke of suicide prevention and depression and offered any rider any help they may need now or in the future.

Road Kill by Rambo
Ian stepped up to deliver road kill tonight as Serge and and Sydsey needs a breather.
As there was not much out there he decided to count mature things like dead cars, old shoes and the occasional roo. Thanks Rambo for having some fun with it and entertaining us tonight.

Conversations in the peloton
To finish this blog tonight I just wanted to pass on to you some of the conversations I had with the riders and road crew today, which helped to pass the time. Warning... Immaturity about to commence.

Krista Page - We spoke about a giant mound that was covered by grass, which was quite obviously a giant human being that passed away 2000 years ago and had a huge belly due to eating all the trees.

Sean Lever - Taught me a joke, I practiced on other riders. He overheard me and was not pleased. This apprentice has his work cut out for him before Alyssa pops out a little person for me to practice my Dad jokes on.

Robyn Lever - Asked me what was my most favourite place to stay in the entire world. I told her it was her home as she lets me eat her secret stash of Manuka Honey that not even her husband is allowed to touch.

Dr Koala - Said to me he was honoured to be given the chance to experience this event. This was said as he was dehydrated, delirious from the heat and wobbling all over the road.

Brett Shipp - Said that he thought just maybe I did not love him as I had never shared a Homestay family with him and I. I assured him I did and that he could set up his swag in my room tonight.

Chris Sydes - Offered to carry the rock that was placed in my day bag. Nice one mate.

Serge Simic - Today when everyone took off their day bags Serge decided to ride the rest of the day with it on. Why Serge? I said... "Because it's actually quite comfortable and sits nicely on my back", he replied. Okay I thought and rode on to the next person.

Scott Manning - I would say Blah, Blah, Blah, Scott would reply Yackety Yak, and I would respond Etc, Etc Etc. This happened every rotation for the entire day. Very deep and meaningful are Scotty and I.

Mick Young - "Sharky, we better start thinking what rider day bags we are going to put rocks in at lunchtime."

Sammi Jo - "Sharky please don't tell anyone but please, please, please can I nominate Allan Smiddy for a jersey?" Your secret is safe with me...

Brooke Rose - "Sharky, please keep this to yourself but I just wanted to tell you first that I am going to sign up to ride this event next year." That's awesome and my lips are sealed...

Cameron Habermann - "Hey Sharky, bleep, can I Bleep, Bleep, Bleep you when we get off the bikes as I am feeling Bleep Bleep and need some Bleeping." I replied No!

Andrew Hancox: "Sharky thank you allowing me the privilege of doing this ride and for speaking last night." My heart went out to this guy, wow, what a lovely thing to say when really the privilege is all ours!

Ian Mallyon - Wow was this guy happy today. On every rotation Ian said this; "Sharky this ride is awesome, I am loving today, thank you so much!" I said to Ian, "Was yesterday awesome?" He replied, we don't need to discuss yesterday!"

Brett Shipp - "Clearly excited by being in the lead bunch to the line at the Hog Cup. "Sharky I went too soon."

John Martin - John was doing it tough going into morning tea. "John do you need a rest in the van?" "Bleep off, no bleeping way, never going to get in the bleeping van!" I decided then was the best time to go for a wee.



Belyando Crossing History

Located 220km south of Charters Towers on the A7 (Gregory Developmental Road). The roadhouse is located at Belyando Crossing and offers a shady picnic area to customers passing through. Fish for redclaw in the local creeks. Camp the night and marvel at the stars. Visit the historic grave site. Nearby Lake Buchanan is a large, flat salt lake.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016


Stats for the day by Brocky Yates and Brett Shipp
Distance: 199 km's
Ride Time: 6:49:18
Ave Speed: 28.1km/h
Max Speed: 56km/h
Climbing: 831metres
Min Temp: 14 degrees
Max Temp: 30 degrees

Blog Dedication
Don and Lee Forbes - Blackwater Ambassadors and Smiddy Supporters.
This lovely couple own Village On Blaine and have supported Smiddy since 2008. Not only do they provide breakfast free of charge for the entire crew, but also provide a packed lunch for everyone. Unfortunately Don is not well and could not attend our function last night or the send off this morning. The big man, with a heart of gold, is battling cancer as we speak and is extremely unwell. Our thoughts are with Don and Lee and his family and our appreciation of their kindness over the years is off the scale.

Blackwater - Comet - Emerald Capella and the loss of 'The Fat Controller'
Well here I am, back in the lead car with Mel and Mick and old mate Anthony Richardson, who is sitting out until lunch as he just can't shake the consistent flu he has had since the start of the ride on Saturday. Anyway I am a little bit sad, but also a hell of a lot happy. Sad because I lose -the whole team loses- our lead car man in Mick Farrag at Capella, which is our lunchtime break at 135 kilometres. Mick has to return to work today at Grasstree Mine, which is near Middlemount an hour's drive away. Mick's Role there as Control Room Operator is one of great importance. The only way I can describe his role at work is to ask you to think of the 'Fat Controller' in 'Thomas The Tank Engine' cartoon and there you have a perfectly apt description of what Mick does! Thank you my dear 'Fat Controller' friend for keeping us all safe over the past four and a half days.

The happy side of this morning came about because I got to roll with those fine bunch of Smiddy riders for 80 kilometres into our morning tea break and Denison Sate School visit at Emerald. Our six-am scheduled departure from the Police Citizens Youth club saw Lynlea O'Neill sending the riders on their way with the ringing of the cow bell right on Smiddy time at 6:10a.m.

Village On Blaine Gluttony
For that first part of the ride the chatter was all about the Village on Blain smorgasboard breakfast. The kitchen there opened at 4:45 am and has every dish imaginable, including ice-cream, which 'Slippery' talks up every year and gets excited about it, but doesn't actually eat any as he is worried about his waistline! Actually thank goodness for the ice-cream still being on the menu, as 'Stinky Dave' has been 'Cranky Dave' since day three when the Thangool School visit excluded hot sausage rolls from their exhaustive list of treats. He stressed for two further days that the ice-cream at Village on Blaine may have also suffered the same fate. So a huge thank you Don and Lee Forbes for keeping 'Stinky' Dave', 'Happy Dave'.

Weather Gods Still In A God Mood
Once again we were gifted with near perfect conditions with a 14 degree temperature thanks to the low cloud cover and our ever faithful present tailwind that saw the peloton average 30 km/h into Emerald. So far this trip has been one of always being on time or ahead of schedule, and this morning was no different as we rolled in a good 20 minutes ahead of the 9:15am expected arrival time on the day card. Sure conditions have been great but the riders are also very strong and happy to apply the pressure to the pedals. Nice work lads.

Denison State School Visit and Free Coffee!
Today at our first toilet stop Cherie delivered some very exciting news that two past Smiddy riders, that live in Emerald, had organized a surprise coffee van for everyone on tour. Derek Hedgecock, who just completed the Adelaide to Uluru ride with us and was our poet each night, paid for the coffees, while old mate Tim Huston talked his mate into bringing his coffee van to the school. Orders were taken at that toilet stop and hot coffees awaited us after we had finished entertaining the kids. Thank you to Brooke and Dr Koala for helping to whip the kids into a frenzy as we took them through a dry land triathlon as a reminder of Adam Smiddy love of competing in triathlons. Great to see Ray Smith pop in to say hi. Miss you mate!

Thank you Derek and Tim and Gerry for organising the huge morning tea and letting us take all the leftovers with us. Oh and a special message to Tim and to your beautiful Wife Gerry, a huge congratulations on the birth of your latest little baby boy. I'll soon be joining you and then we can talk nappies and poo and important baby stuff... Can't wait!

Time Out With Richo - Saying Goodbye To Farragio
Spending some time with Richo in the back seat of the lead car as we make our to Capella for lunch, a medium cross headwind is making the going a little tougher for the rider group but they are hardened now, both mentally and physically, after five days on the road. Rich Anthony 'Richo' Richardson tells me each year he looks for something a little crazy to do that involves sweat, blood and tears. Mate you have come to the right place! He sat out this section from morning tea to lunch and is biting at the bit to get out there for the final run into Clermont. As Mick and Mel do their work in the front seat I am going to take a few minutes off from this blog to work on a little surprise for Mick... See below.

Goodbye Mick and Sharky Poem
It was here at Capella that Smiddy rider Jennifer Penfold and her good friend Carol Steel, drove out from Mackay to share lunch with the crew. Jennifer did Challenge last year and Adelaide to Uluru this year, while Carol is the Wife of Ron Steel, who completed the original ride with me in 2006. They were warmly welcomed by the group. As Mick was leaving us at Capella we decided he deserved a little Sharky poem. Here it is below. Thanks Mick for the memories.

A quick little poem for our dear mate Mick
Who after lunch at Capella, to work, he must return quick

Just wanted you to know how special you are
The best buddy we could have, the best by far

We understand that you must leave us now
But who will step into your role. Who will know how?

You have set a tall order for the next to sit next to Mel
They could be as awesome as you, or it could all go to hell!

But mate don't you worry about us, we'll be fine
Keep an eye on the blogs, We'll pay out on you from time to time

Thanks again champ for stepping up to the plate
Your support for Smiddy surely does rate

I'll leave you with this thought
The smiles that you brought

Came about because you wore your heart on your sleeve
You cared about this group, and I know how hard today it is for you to leave

The only way I could express how we feel about you Mick
Was through this poem, short and quick

Salt of the earth you are by far
For 4 days we followed your path, our guiding star.

Thank you for keeping us safe our beautiful friend
Our hearts are now broken, but they'll surely mend.

Actually mine is okay already old mate
Now get out of here, on the road, for work, don't you be late!

If you change your mind
Clermont, us, you will find

Your Smiddy friends drunk tonight at the bar
After another long bloody day of riding that endless tar!

Love Sharky and crew.

Welcome Shayne Ritchings
With Mick departing us for richer pastures we welcome the inclusion of Shayne from Mackay, who was the rider meant to ride with us but broke his hand a week out from Challenge. I am excited that Shayne will get to salvage something from that huge disappointment by joining us for these last four days. He is in the back seat of the lead car next to me, with Cherie now taking over Mick's role as navigator, alongside of our magnificent Mel, doing an awesome job as driver since Brisbane. Shayne is learning the ropes this afternoon and once he has earned his certificate will be handed the reigns as Mel's assistant. Good luck mate and welcome on board.

Clermont Ramblings
Not until afternoon tea did I get back on the road to complete the last 20 kilometres into Clermont. The rider group were in good spirits and finished strongly into a small but enthusiastic reception from the local community. After some beers and platters of food at our sponsor hotel the Commercial, the huddle was taken by two great mates from Victoria in Peter Vogt and Graham Lucas. Peter owns a Bottlemart pub in Victoria and signed up for the ride after convincing Graham it would be a good idea. Graham was telling me he agreed straight up but not having any idea of what he had actually signed up for. Thanks lads for the fine job you did taking the huddle.

Thank You - Thank You - Thank You
Thank you to the following people for making our stay in Clermont so special. Firstly road crew Jenny Frazer for reading out tonight's blog. Actually today I was told a funny story how Jenny was separated from her husband Bruce on the Biloela night. She didn't complain though as she got to share a billet with a young lad who is not half bad looking in Kenny Woods. Their Homestay hosts that afternoon took both of them on a joy flight in the plane he had in his shed on the property, as you do and all perfectly normal!

Thank you to all the Homestay hosts for looking after all the Smiddy crew. To Johnny Martin for making the ten year Challenge frames for auction, which required upwards of 80 hours of work.

A big thank you to our hosts at the Commercial Hotel in Marie and Roger Vine, who are a Bottlemart pub and have looked after us forever and a day.

A huge thank you to Dawid Pretorius, general manager of Glencore's Clermont Mine and is responsible for sponsoring the meals for all present tonight.

Thank you also to Jess Hodge for organising the billet's and helping Marie Vine with the dinner tonight.

And lastly a heartfelt thank you to Danny and his Wife Pauline Mackay, who have been my homestay hosts for nine years now. Danny is also the music man in town and provides the entertainment every year for this Smiddy function. A huge thanks mate and please can I book my bed for a years time?

Messages and No Phone Cover
Any messages of support please shoot through to me at marksharkysmoothy@gmail and I'll read out tomorrow night in Belyando Crossing. Oh, and we will have no coverage tomorrow so don't worry if you get no blog on Thursday night, or more importantly, if you don't hear from your riders on tour.

Jersey presentations
Tonight the jerseys were presented to Ben Hola for the great work he has done keeping all the bikes ticking over. Also it was a unanimous decision that David Smiddy had earned the right to win a special jersey for so many obvious reasons that I am not going to list them here otherwise I would be writing for two hours.

Road Kill Update
Last night Sergio and Sydsey were sacked by Youngy for their performance these past four days. Yet here they are tonight, once again doing the road kill count. For which we are all grateful because they are awesome! 1 Budgie with yellow and green spots, 10 bad smells, mostly from the peloton and Habo, 2 possums, 1 Galah, 9 Roo's, 1 blood splatter, 4 bags of bones,

Take care everyone.


A History of Clermont

The 1916 Flood is Clermont's most iconic event. Striking suddenly after a rain depression, the flood washed away Clermont's central business district and claimed at least sixty-five lives. It is still known as Australia's second worst flood in terms of loss of life. Visit the 1916 flood marker on the corner of Capricorn and Drummond Streets to view the height of the flood waters and read the names of the citizens who perished.

The Piano in the tree in Capricorn Street (opposite Ivan Bettridge Park) is an eerie reminder of the height and ravaging force of the flood waters. Although it's a replica today, there were originally three pianos found in trees after the 1916 Flood. A mass grave of the flood victims is also located in the Clermont Cemetery.

Clermont has a rich mining history and as the first inland settlement in the tropics is one of the most historic towns in Central Queensland. The first European to pass through the Clermont region was Ludwig Leichhardt, a Prussian explorer and scientist who came to Australia to study its rocks and wildlife. This was in 1845 on the first of three major expeditions exploring northern and central Australia.

Jeremiah Rolfe was one the first European settlers in the area and established a station west of Clermont in 1854 on Mistake Creek. Rolfe christened the creek on realising that his station was not on the Belyando River as he had presumed.

It wasn’t until the discovery of gold in 1861, sparking one of Queensland’s major gold rushes, that the population started to grow. A rudimentary hotel was built in 1862 for the influx of miners and Clermont was proclaimed a town the following year.

Copper mine at Copperfield, Queensland, ca. 1910. Photographer, GC Pullar
Clermont's mining industry continued to grow in 1863 when Peak Downs Copper Company began mining Queensland's first rich copper lode just 5km south of Clermont. The municipality of Copperfield grew around the mine. 17,000 tonnes of refined copper were produced at the smelters over 15 years.

Both towns boomed in the 1860’s but by the 1880’s, due to falling copper prices in London, Copperfield’s population was halved. Today Copperfield is marked only by a single remaining brick smelter chimney.

Clermont faired better but being built next to a lagoon on low lying ground the town was subject to substantial flooding. Following the most damaging and tragic flood in 1916, the decision was made to relocate the town. Many of the wooden buildings, including the hotel, were moved by steam traction engines to higher

Moving the Leo Hotel, Queensland, ca. 1917. Photographer, GC Pullar
Since the early discoveries of copper and gold, silver and coal resources have also been successfully mined and mining still accounts for nearly 40% of employment. The region produced 400,000 ounces of gold from 1878 to 1956. The 1980’s saw the discovery of a number of new gold deposits and new mines were developed at Pajingo, Wirralie, Yandan, Lucky Break and Belyando. The district also hosts the coal mines at Blair Athol and New Clermont, all testimony to the rich mineral potential of the region.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016


Stats for the day by Brocky Yates.
Distance: 240 km's
Ride Time: 7:51:00
Ave Speed: 30.6 km/h
Max Speed: 70 km/h by Brocky
Climbing: 1306 metres
Min Temp: 7 degrees
Max Temp: 30 degrees

Road Kill by Serge and Sydsey.
1 Dead thong, 125 Roo's, 7 bad smells, 6 of which was from Sydsey, 1 flat Acubra, 1 squashed gumboot, 1 Echidna, 1 feral cat, 1 future road kill in a joey.

Tonight Serge and Sydsey were sacked after a unanimous decision by all the riders and road crew. Two new road kill counters will be unveiled tomorrow night. Exciting hey?

Blog Dedication
The two people in the two stories below I would like to dedicate this blog to.

Noel Duthie
An hour ago we arrived at our morning tea stop at Dululu and were told the news of Noel Duthie passing away after 93 years of living life on this earth. He was survived by his Wife Glady's. Noel and Glady's have lived in this tiny community for most of their lives. Each year they joined us for morning tea and made a generous donation. Their absence this year was inconspicuous, so Kevvy and Sammi-Jo made a beeline for their house and returned to share the sad news with the crew. Each year Noel looked a little worse for wear and we nicknamed him 'Kevvy's Dad' for they both sported a lovely long white Father Christmas beard. Noel and Glady's were passionate to our cause as they lost their daughter to cancer. Thank you Kevvy for the lovely words you said to the group and to the riders for their respect and giving a moments silence to another fallen comrade.

Ken's Grandmother
More tragic news greeted us at that morning tea stop when we were told that Ken Wood's Grandmother passed away this very morning. Ken was very close to his beautiful Grand Mum and it hit him hard. He opted to continue to ride and while we all know he'll be hurting inside, his time today on the bike is probably the best place for him to pay his respects to his Grandma.

Biloela To Dululu
Alan McTaggart is as Scottish as they come and each year, on a Monday morning in August, gives up his sleep-in, to send the riders on their way with the mystical and magical tunes emanating from his bagpipes. The send off was topped off by the support of the billet's that we all stayed with last night. Sadly this morning we said goodbye to Brenton Cope and his Father David, who have been our police escort for the past three days. Brenton knew Adam Smiddy well and has been involved with this event ever since that first ride in 2006 either as a rider, a donor or as a police officer. We are very fortunate to have his support and friendship. Thank you Brenton and David Cope.

The buzz in the peloton, after a night spent in the company of Biloela and Thangool locals, is always at an all-time high. Everyone chats away about their billet's, the hospitality, the nice beds, the cooked breakfast and so on and so on. Once again the peloton was greeted with superb, perfectly clear conditions, and the 30 kilometre run into our first toilet stop at Jambin was simply magic. In the early years Jambin was where we stayed the night as we rode straight through Biloela. Jambin is a very small community that consists of a pub, a town hall and of course people's homes. The riders used to sleep in the hall on mattresses that the locals would donate for that one night. The function was at the pub and many hangovers from the a.m. drinking-fests was the end result.

The next 33 kilometres to Dululu went Smoothly and as always the road crew were a welcome sight as we devoured everything in sight. After hearing the news of Noel and Ken's Grandmother, the peloton continued on towards their lunchtime stop at Dauringa mindful of a morning tea they'll never forget.

Quality Time with Kevvy, Kylie And Ella
Today I have had the pleasure of sharing a seat in the rear vehicle with Kevvy and our head Physio in Kylie Baldwin and student Physio Ella Kenafake, who is in her final few weeks of training before graduating in December. For any Physiotherapist to participate in a Smiddy event as a rider/practitioner is a huge task, as my old mates Tony Ganter and Cameron Schrembri from Allsports Physiotherapy Practice in Jindalee have found out in past Challenge events. Kylie is riding as much as she can while trying to conserve enough energy for treating the riders throughout the day and into the night. Ella is also a rider but for this trip is here for her Physio skills. We are indebted to the girls for giving up a week of their time and I know they are keeping quite a few of the riders going who otherwise would be out injured. Thank you Kylie and Ella.

Police Escort Keeps Us Safe
We have now reached the Capricorn Highway and waiting for our local police escort in Sargent Paul Jones from Duaringa Paul has been incredibly supportive over the years and always gets us as far as our afternoon tea stop at the small community of Dingo. The Capricorn Highway is notorious for accidents, and for the Smiddy group, this section is the most dangerous of the entire trip, due mainly to the frequent oversized loads on top of the thousands of normal mining trucks, utes and cars that frequent this highway every day. So to Paul we are deeply in gratitude for his amazing support.

Two New Mates For Kevvy
It is here that our car is boosted in numbers by two riders in Dr Koala and Julia Shaw; both riders have needed some Kevvy or Stinky company over the last few days at various points. While they have trained hard over the months, the reality of this journey is that it is one of the toughest tours in Australia and not to be taken lightly. Any weakness in anyone will be brought out by constantly riding 200 kilometres per day. They are both itching to get
out at the lunchtime break, which is just a few kilometres away. The riders are making awesome time thanks to the tailwinds and mild conditions and have been slightly ahead of their schedule all day. For Julia and Dr Koala this is their first Challenge event and has been a real opener. Dr Koala just commented that the reason the peloton are making such good time is because he is not in the peloton!

Time Out With Sargent Paul Jones
The riders rolled into lunch 15 minutes ahead of schedule and Kylie, Sammi Jo and Ella went straight to work working on those riders that needed some injury management. I am now in the police car with Paul and and he is regaling me with stories of death and destruction that has happened on this road and told me it is the reason he has come out for the past nine years to look after us as he sits within 20 metres of the rider peloton protecting them from behind. Kevvy now hangs back, with Stinky still behind Kevvy waiting to take any additional riders on board should they pull out. Paul just shared with me two incidents, one that happened in 2009 involving a head on with a semi and a ute. The highway was closed for 18 hours as the truck caught fire and because it was carrying a fertilizer known as urea, if it had of exploded, which luckily it didn't, the blast would have taken out all the windows in the town we just had lunch in some two kilometres away! Apparently the heat was so intense that it completely melted all the rims on the three trailer road train. Unbelievably both the truck and ute drivers survived.

After this next story I am starting to get nervous being on this road. A year ago a middle aged driver was traveling along the highway speeding as he overtook another car with a car coming from the other direction. The driver pulled in to quickly avoid a head-on collision, lost control, rolled and slammed into a tree. The ironic side to this story is when Paul arrived he found an old speeding ticket and recognised the writing as his own. Sure enough, three weeks prior, this now dead gentleman, that should have known better, received that speeding ticket from Paul and paid the ultimate price for speeding yet again.

Icecreams and Maria Smiddy at Dingo Afternoon Tea
We have just rolled into afternoon tea at Dingo and my time with Paul has come to an end. Actually Paul's time with us has also come to an end as he hands over the reigns to Senior Constable Dorinda Freeman. Thank you Paul for the small insight to your life as a country policeman. A little plug for Mick Farrag, Paul commented on what an excellent job you did calling the traffic up front. He was very impressed. I told him you were trained by the best in Captain Kev.

Dingo is important stop for David, the road crew and myself, for it was here, at this very stop, many years ago, when the ride used to start in September and the heat and headwinds hit the group hard, that Maria Smiddy surprised the group with icy cold ice-creams. It was the lift the shattered group needed, and ever since that year, this stop is now synonymous with beautiful Maria and ice-creams.

Flying Into Blackwater and Inspirational Huddle
Luck has been with the peloton for four days now with such amazing conditions and thanks to favorable winds today the group averaged an amazing 31km/h, and arrived into Blackwater so early that the Homestay hosts, as organized by Lynlea O'Neill, long time Smiddy supporter and our local ambassador here in Blackwater, were caught unaware and arrived to pick up their riders 30 minutes after we arrived. Which was no big deal as we spent time taking a very special huddle, taken by Ken Woods, who dedicated it to his Grandmother. His best mate Damien Peale, backed him up with some awesome words and was there doing what his does best and supporting a friend in need.

Our stay in Blackwater, like Biloela, is made incredibly special due to the local community coming out in force to billet the riders. A huge thanks once again to Lynlea for going to so much trouble to make us all feel so welcome. It was nice to surprise Lynlea when we got in early, rather than often arriving late due to the inclement weather in past years.

Tonight's dinner at the Golf Club needs to be mentioned for the fact that we were originally meant to pay for the dinner. But thanks to Lynlea's amazingly handsome, extremely talented and Rambo like physique in Ian O'Neill, who just yesterday rang BMA Blackwater and asked if they would cover the cost involved, and BAM! $1,500 saved for Smiddy and the Mater. Thank you Ian. Legend mate!

Category Jersey Winners
Tonight the team at Smiddy wanted to recognize three exceptional ladies, who without their healing hands, many of us would be a quivering mess. Therefore Ella, Kylie and Sammi Jo were asked up tonight to accept their jerseys with a rousing cheer from everyone present. The girls get to wear them all day tomorrow and hopefully realise just how much we appreciate all that they do for us.

Guest Speaker
Tonight we heard from Stephen Townsend, who spoke of his emotional journey through life and the loss of many important family members in his life, especially the loss of his Mother. He reflected on when he spread her ashes in the ocean that the current kept returning them to shore and he thought that was his Mum's sense of humour and love of life that she wanted her Son to have.

Tonight Mick Young and Cameron Habermann stepped up and run the proceedings, giving the Smiddy team a break and in the process doing a very fine and funny job. Thanks lads and I can't wait until Belyando Crossing when Lofty and Peter are let loose. Will they top tonight's efforts by Youngy and Habo? I'll let you know.



History of Blackwater
Six major open cut coal mines and one underground dot the landscape surrounding the town and provide its main employment opportunities. The town is also situated close to the Blackdown Tableland National Park which lies to the southeast and Blackwater coal mine located south of the town. Emerald is 74 kilometres (46 mi) to the west.

Blackwater is named after the Blackwater Creek which apparently was first observed to flow with black water, believed to be caused by the local coal deposits.
Coal deposits were discovered there by Ludwig Leichhardt on his expedition from Moreton Bay to Port Essington (now Darwin, Northern Territory) in 1845.

Leichhardt saw "beds of coal indistinguishable from those on the Hunter at Newcastle".

It wasn't until over a century after Leichhardt first discovered the beds of coal at Blackwater that the town saw major coal mining development. With the opening up of several coal mines near the town in the 1960s, Blackwater's population rapidly increased as people searching for work flocked to find employment in the town's booming mining industry. There were 77 people living in Blackwater when the 1961 census was recorded. This increased to almost 2,000 when the 1971 census was recorded.

The town's population peaked in the early 1990s with 6,760 people living in Blackwater in 1991. Since then, the population of the town has gradually waned. In the 2011 census, there were still over 5,000 people living in the Blackwater community.

Blackwater Post Office opened on 19 July 1877.

Notable people from Blackwater
Olympic track cyclist Anna Meares was born in Blackwater in 1983. In 2012, Anna Meares had a street named after her in the town when Meares Street was constructed as part of a new subdivision in the centre of Blackwater.

Australian television personality, actor and comedian Josh Thomas was born in Blackwater in 1987 but moved with his family to Brisbane soon after.

Australian rugby league players PJ Marsh and David Taylor both grew up in Blackwater and have represented various teams in the National Rugby League co

Monday, 29 August 2016


Stats for the day
Distance: 164 km's
Ride Time: 6:03:02
Ave Speed: 27.1 km/h
Max Speed: 71.5 km/h
Climbing: 1490 metres
Min Temp: 3 degrees
Max Temp: 24 degrees

Road Kill Count by Sydsey and Sergio.
45 Roos 10 bags of bones, 25 Uf smells, 4 foxes, 1 turtle, 1 cannondale bike

Day three of the Smiddy Challenge has always been my most favourite day of the entire tour. Here's why...
The course is beautiful, with rolling hills for most of the day and a ten kilometre climb up the Monto Range.

What goes up must come down, and the descent is one that the lads are let loose on to go at their own pace, and that pace is ballistic! The grins from ear to ear at the bottom where we regroup is testament to the fun that takes place.

School visits, not one but two. Firstly at morning tea the small school of St Teresa's State Primary School, which is a warm up school to the bigger primary school at Thangool in the afternoon. At each school we deliver a sun-safe message and have some fun with the riders who get their faces painted with zinc by some of the students.

The Thangool 15 kilometre sprint after the school visit, is a chance for the faster riders to let off a little built up steam from patiently chugging along at Smiddy pace for the majority of the ride. It is a hotly contested go-at-your-own-pace session, with the first male and female receiving the coveted stuffed toad as a reward for their efforts. And yes they are real stuffed toads mounted to a plaque!

The afternoon tea at Thangool is the culinary highlight of the entire eight days on the road. This is thanks to the parents of all the children cooking up a storm for the riders. After gorging yourself on everything imaginable, so much food is left over that we are invited to take the rest of it on the road, which normally lasts an additional three days of eating!

The community of Biloela and Thangool extend their country hospitality like no other town I have ever experienced. Each and every person on this journey, riders and road crew. Are billeted with a local family. How unbelievable is that? And how beautiful is it that these families open up their homes to us! For seven years now this community have been doing it and I am still gobsmacked each year.

To finish off the most amazing day these astonishing local people, and their local businesses, then put on an incredible function at the Thangool Racing Club. All costs are covered by the community and even more money is raised for the Smiddy and Mater cause thanks to their generosity.

So you may now be getting an inkling of why day three is pretty special to me. I know there will be no-one here tonight, as this blog is being read out, that would disagree with me.

6:30a.m. Roll Out In Three Degree Temperature
Today we left the Eidsvold Showgrounds to the delightful sound of Kevvy's cow bell being rung by Allan Smiddy. The riders have pulled up well from their first two days in the saddle and were straight into a good rhythm as the average speed checked in at 29km/h for the first 20 kilometres. Our scheduled stop, as per our day cards that we carry in our back pockets and are handed out by Mr Smiddy each morning in quick-draw fashion, at St Teresa's had us arriving there at 8:45 and we were right on time at 8:55a.m.

School Visit at St Teresa's Monto
The visit went well with Krista Page doing an amazing job with the kids. The zinc off was a hit with the ten riders, who were chosen by the kids, definitely not getting burnt faces today. The principal, Chris Ferguson, asked the school captains to step forward, who made a lovely presentation of a Smiddy money tin that had $250,00 from a school disco that the school organised. How gold is that? The Shark Hat made an appearance as well, with many of the children remembering Shark from previous years. All the riders then presented each little person with a special commemorative Smiddy wrist band.

Cherie Nicolas, who is our program manager for Smiddy, was so overawed by her first Challenge School visit, that she jumped on her bike, complete with helmet but forgetting a minor part of her cycling attire, thankfully not her pants but her bike shoes! The thing with Smiddy rides is that there is always someone watching...

Today I rode that first section into Monto, but not until I successfully displaced all the empty beer cans that were affixed to my bike last night while I slept. You can tell when the group is bonding extremely well once the practical jokes begin, and boy have they started early on this trip! Old mate Slippery James Schneider found his pajama pants around his ankles and his Velcro bag straps not done up prior to roll out. Anyway I am back in the lead vehicle tapping away on this blog since leaving the school. I am so excited that tonight we can deliver a blog to this wonderful community of Biloela and Thangool that is about the actual day we spent on the road and not about the day before. Thank you to Peter Hickey for not saying no to me when I asked him to be the blog reader for this special night.

Epic Efforts Up Monto Range
Once again, the inform Scotty 'Pup' Manning, tempo'd his way to the top of the ten kilometre long Monto Range. He makes each climb look easy and I will be interested to see how he goes in today's King Of The Toad out of Thangool go-at-your-own-pace session against the likes of our track rider in the group James Schneider. Robyn Lever, is climbing like a seasoned pro on this journey, and once again was the first female to the top, ahead of a vast majority of the lads. Nice work Robyn.
Sean Lever, who has a internal hernia and advised by his doctor to take it easy, (riding to Townsville is easy right and perfectly normal when you have a hernia...) just couldn't help himself, when on the climb and descent, he had a little play and was fourth rider to the regroup spot at the bottom of the descent.

Lunch By The Side Of The Road
So back in the car and feeling extremely envious of the riders and the sweat on their brows and their silly grins from having their fun on that little hill. I'm good and I'm happy for them but... how dare they have a good time without me! Ha, ha! Just kidding... Old mate Peter Hickey is my company in the back seat for this leg and we will both get back on the bikes after lunch for the run into Thangool school.

Today's lunch spot is just a little dirt patch off the side of the road, the perfect distance out from Thangool to kill some time so that we make the school visit at our designated time of 2:15p.m.
Thanks road crew for the fine job you do each time of feeding us.

Thangool School Visit
The kids always come out and high five the riders as we enter their school. For nine years we have been visiting Thangool and watching them grow up over the years has been amazing. One young man named Axle, I saw him from grade one right through to grade seven and last year he was gone. I miss Axle and I miss the questions he use to ask, like the year he questioned why we didn't do the ride on our motorbikes! Which I thought was a very good question. I ponder that one often when suffering in headwinds and heat. Once again Krista and I had some sun safe fun with the children and our own Dr Gary "Koala" Leong delivered his own unique message. Thank you to the State School P&C ladies for once again providing enough food to feed an army, actually make that two armies!

King Of The Toad
Three graded bunches take off a few minutes apart and 15 kilometres later are reunited a whole lot sweatier and tired than when they started. Who would think after riding over 600 kilometres that riders would be interested in killing themselves in a sprint... But I guess they are Smiddy riders and they like suffering. The King and Queen of the Toad went to a man who controls the peloton from the back of the pack as he watches over us as a shepherd does with his flock. We are very lucky to have this great man back for the third year in a row. A huge congratulations to Kenny Woods.

Queen of The Toad
Robyn Lever is proving to be unbeatable, and the thing is this lady does it all with a smile and does not even know that she is racing or climbing hills fast. She just keeps beating all the lads oblivious to the damage she is doing to all our egos! Nice work Robyn. A deserving winner.

Community Huddle
The huddle was huge today with all our billets joining in. Which was taken by local bad boy in Cameron Habermann. For a trouble maker he delivered some really nice words. From there it was on to our billet's homes for a well deserved shower and a change of clothes, a quick cup of tea and a chat with our hosts and onto the Thangool Race Track for the big community function.

As per usual the function was the greatest ending to the greatest of all days on tour. Thank you once again Biloela and Thangool communities for making the Smiddy crew feel so extremely special. By opening up your homes and attending this function you too are part of the amazing Smiddy journey that for ten years now has gifted us with unbelievable stories of human kindness. Kindness that comes from people such as each and every person that is here tonight. Thank you on behalf of the Smiddy riders, road crew, Smiling for Smiddy and the Mater Foundation. Your actions are responsible for helping people less fortunate by connecting with us and our cause.

Guest Speaker
Michelle Herlaar tonight spoke of her husband Herman Herlaar who passed away from Melanoma. Herman was a most inspirational man that did road crew for this ride back in 2010. He was also instrumental in helping to grow Melanoma Patients Australia. Thank you Michelle for sharing Herman's story.

Jersey Presentations
The first jersey was awarded to Cameron Habermann for a few reasons. 1. Because he is a real team player, always helping out where he can. 2. He is actually a nice bloke. Contrary to popular belief. 3. He is a champion for the Smiddy cause coming back for his second Challenge event in a row. And 4. But mainly because he is a local from here in Biloela. Meaning tonight, in front of his home crowd he gets a few more cheers than if we gave it to him on any other night.

The second jersey went to a quiet achiever in the group. A real nice bloke doing his first Challenge event. The big guy has a heart of gold and definitely possesses the Smiddy spirit. On day he had a fall that saw him have to do some van time, but since then has never looked back and is getting stronger every day. Congratulations went to Stephen Townsend.

And that's a wrap for day three of this arduous eight day tour. Five to go!


History of Biloela

Town in the heart of a rich mining and agricultural region.

Biloela is a rural service centre located 594 km north of Brisbane, 127 km from Gladstone and 173 metres above sea-level. Due to its location at the intersection of the Dawson and Burnett Highways, the town is well supplied with accommodation and eating facilities.

Biloela's economy is driven by pastoral and agricultural enterprises and by the local coalmines, although, mercifully, it could never be described as a mining town. Specifically, local income is generated by annual livestock slaughtering, cotton production, dairying, wheat, sorghum, lucerne and other grains and cereals.

The Gangulu tribe, who inhabited the region prior to European settlement, named the area Biloela after their totem: the white cockatoo. The first European to explore the area was Ludwig Leichhardt in 1844.

This was during an exploration expedition from the Darling Downs to open up a route to Port Essington. His reports encouraged the settlement of the area by pastoralists.

Thomas Archer, a friend of Leichhardt's, selected the region that is now known as Eidsvold Charles Archer moved further north and settled in the Biloela/Callide area. Other early landholders were the Leith Hay family, the Browns, H.C. Corfeild, James Reid, John Ross, Alex McNab and Frederick Barton. However, the town was not gazetted until 1924 and the railway arrived the following year.

Coal was discovered in the area in the 1890s but it was not developed until 1942 when an open-cut mine was established on the site of the old Callide station.

Today Biloela is a modern town characterised by very broad streets and a well-established business centre. There are few old buildings apart from Grevells which looks like it was once an old picture theatre.

The Big Valley Story, an interesting account of the history of the area, was published in 1974 to celebrate the town's fiftieth birthday. In 1994, a routine burn-off at Kroombit Tops uncovered a B-24 Liberator Bomber, lost in 1944.