Photo: Sean Lally bikepacking from Melbourne to Sydney
Sean Lally has a long history of activism. As a lawyer, he chose to work at free community legal services in Sydney’s Inner West, Marrickville Legal Centre and Youth Law Australia.
Interacting with many people who had faced disadvantages, Sean was motivated to fundraise for a charity that provides access to resources for those who need them.
“The Indigenous Literacy Foundation stood out to me because I thought the mission of addressing the scarcity of books in remote Communities, and the emphasis on translating books into First Languages, was admirable,” says Sean.
After two years of lockdowns, Sean wanted to escape the city and reconnect with nature by “bike-packing” as far as he could.
“And so the idea was conceived! I would cycle from Melbourne’s Federation Square to the Sydney Opera House to raise awareness and funds for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.”
Sean’s journey took him through many towns, including Traralgon, Bairnsdale, Bega, Ulladulla, and up to Sydney, riding a total of 1,200 kilometres on his bike!
Photo: Sean en route to Sydney
Reflecting on the journey, Sean notes that he faced several challenges during his ride.
The app he used to map out his route took him off-road, which added many hours to his trip. The weather was also a big challenge, with heat and rain both being common last summer. Sean was faced with 38 degree days, followed by flooding of tracks and paths.
Sean reflects that some parts of the journey were particularly difficult.
Photo: Icey roads along the journey
“I had neither bargained for nor anticipated the degree of difficulty in cycling from Orbost to Delegate via the Bonang Highway and the NSW border in a single day. It was essentially an uphill slog the entire day. Even the Kookaburras seemed to be laughing at me!” he explains.
Reaching Goongerah, Sean realised that he had run out of water and there was none for miles. Luckily, he was able to find a closed school that had fresh water. This tiny school had only supported 11 students when it was operating. Sean was able to hydrate and find a payphone to confirm a place to stay.
Sean also had to overcome the challenge of his phone, also being his navigation device, breaking on day seven of the ride. However, he met some kind people who offered him food and accommodation while he found a replacement.
Photo: Sean rode through many different landscapes and terrains
Despite these challenges, Sean was glad he undertook this incredible journey.
“I am absolutely elated that my fundraiser was so well received within my network of contacts. I am also heartened that a greater awareness was raised about the scarcity of books in remote Communities, and of the fantastic work of the ILF,” explained Sean.
Sean says that the ride was the most gruelling physical challenge he has ever undertaken. He also says that “I am thrilled I could connect to an organisation as admirable as the ILF, and that the ILF’s mission could be furthered by the bike ride.”
ILF’s mission was certainly furthered by Sean’s incredible efforts, as he fundraised over $2,000 for remote Communities! This represents more than just the money, but the gifting of more than 200 books to children who have little access to literacy resources in some of the remotest parts of Australia.
We would like to thank Sean for his incredible fundraising efforts and support. We are extremely grateful that we were chosen for this significant donation. If you are inspired by Sean’s story, check out our Fundraising Hub to see how you can get involved.
Photo: Sean arriving in Sydney