Ken circles Australia by tractor to raise money for charity

September 17, 2014

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Ken Tuckey and his Sonalika tractor outside a Queensland pub during the first leg of a 25,000km journey.

When doctors told Ken Tuckey in 1980 he had 75 per cent lung capacity from years of house painting, he hit the road and hasn’t drawn breath since.

Now aged 76, Ken has traversed the continent on foot, by camel, quad bike, all-terrain vehicle and by tractor.

Over the decades the professional nomad has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for cancer, medical and children’s charities.

Ken and his wife Joyce are mid-way through an epic 25,000km journey around Australia by tractor.

They will be at the field days, near the vintage farm machinery display, to collect donations for CareFlight, Kid’s Cancer Research Trust, and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.

Travelling in a Sonalika DI-50 RX 50hp tractor loaned by Boorowa Developments, Mr Tuckey set out from Mudgee for the first 10,500km leg on April 18 through NSW and Queensland at a top speed of 30kmh.

He spent 350 hours at the wheel and raised $20,000 for CareFlight, Kid’s Cancer Research Trust, and Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.

During his travels, Mr Tuckey also directs people to donate online to The David Morris Liver Cancer Research Trust fund.

The couple returned to their home base of Coolah in late July and will attend the Henty Machinery Field Days in preparation for their second leg departing in January, and travelling through central Australia and across the Nullarbor.

Mr Tuckey conceded he liked living outside his comfort zone and aims to raise $50,000.

“I like to challenge myself and believe that God put us on earth for a particular reason, whatever that may be,’’ he said.

“People tell me I’m bloody crazy but the biggest challenge I have is staying home.’’

His nomadic life stemmed from a move to the central Australian desert in 1980 seeking solace after the death of his first wife to a brain tumour.

He travelled from Alice Springs to his hometown of Coolah with six camels in 26 weeks covering 2800km.

By 1988 he was racing camels from Uluru to the Gold Coast to raise money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

In the year 2000, he hit the headlines while walking a Bazadaise bull called Farole from Cobram to Rockhampton to raise money for a young cancer sufferer.

Mr Tuckey suffers from the chromosome disorder Klinefelters syndrome, and aims to inspire others suffering with disease or cancer.

For relaxation he likes to create matchstick art, once putting 440 hours of work and 48,000 matches into a piece titled “The Good Shepherd’’.

“I don’t want to sit and grow old, and die early,’’ he said.