Lennie's famous ride adds a new bronzed chapter
TUGUN author Beryl Ferrier is hoping to be at the unveiling of a bronze statue of her elder brother in October.
The township of Leongatha in Victoria has commissioned the memorial for its famous son, Lennie Gwyther, who was born in 1922.
Lennie attracted national fame when in 1932 he rode his pony Ginger Mick from his home in Leongatha to witness the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge - a distance of 1000kms unaccompanied.
"He left when he was nine and he had his 10th birthday on the way home," Beryl said.
On the 75th anniversary of the opening of the bridge, author Mary Small saw a photo in the Bridging Sydney exhibition of Lennie, titled The Lone Rider.
Inspired by the image, Mary wrote a book, Lennie's Ride, and asked Beryl to contribute a chapter about her family's farming life.
"During his journey, newspaper reports of his progress made him so famous that he was invited to take part in the grand procession after the official opening," Mary wrote of Lennie's amazing trip.
Beryl, aged 92, has expanded on Mary's account with her own book, published last year, called Lennie Rides On and Reflections.
She is not surprised by her brother's endurance and toughness, inherited she thinks from past generations.
Their ancestors endured great hardships when they came to Australia from Prussia in 1839.
Lennie's bond with his pony Ginger Mick was strong.
"The horse was foaled on the same day as my brother was born, and they grew up together," Beryl said.
Asked what he thought of his long ride, Lennie said simply, it was "no big deal".
He went on to serve in the RAAF and died in 1992.