Ride Around Australia: Cyclist reaches Geraldton to raise funds for youth mental health and the environment

Lachlan AllenGeraldton Guardian
Ben O’Neill with the team at headspace Geraldton.
Camera IconBen O’Neill with the team at headspace Geraldton. Credit: The Giant Benjamin Project

Ben O’Neill has reached the first main stop in his cycling journey around Australia, passing through Geraldton earlier this week to raise funds and awareness for youth mental health and the environment.

As the founder of the The Giant Benjamin Project, Mr O’Neill is raising money for charities headspace and Bush Heritage Australia, through his 16,000km ride around the country.

He departed from Fremantle on May 1 and reached Geraldton in six days, a total journey of 464km.

Mr O’Neill said he chose these charities because “the bush is where you find head space.”

“I was just fortunate that the manager of headspace Geraldton’s partner was actually the State manager for Bush Heritage. So I got to catch up with two very important people,” he said.

As the first main stop on the trip, he took the opportunity to re-supply and also managed to make it down to the Railway Platform market on Sunday morning.

Ben O'Neill with members of Bush Heritage Australia.
Camera IconBen O'Neill with members of Bush Heritage Australia. Credit: The Giant Benjamin Project

“I got to interact with the local community there, which was great,” Mr O’Neill said.

“The Project received some donations and new followers on its social media pages, and I even ended up meeting Senator Linda Reynolds who purchased a copy of my book.”

Mr O’Neill said his book, titled Searching for Pearls, details his own story moving through and dealing with mental health challenges and spending a lot of time in nature in remote parts of Australia - everything from cattle stations to the pearling industry in WA.

His next stop is Shark Bay, 700km north of Perth, where he’ll be visiting Bush Heritage’s Hamelin Station Reserve on Malgana Country—202,644 hectares of biodiversity and just one of the 39 nature reserves that the not-for-profit organisation manages for conservation under its vision to keep healthy Country, protected forever.

He will then continue north to Carnarvon to resupply.

“The ride’s probably going to take about eight months.”

“I’ll be engaging with headspace centres around the country and visiting Bush Heritage reserves to see what work they’re doing and learning about what inspires these wonderful people,” he said.

To donate visit https://www.mycause.com.au/p/275276/the-giant-benjamin-projectbush-heritage-and-headspace-donations.

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