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Ready to beat the blues

10 July 2014

Officer in Charge at the Jabiru Fire Station Mick Hutton saddled up and ready for his fundraising adventure. PHOTO: MIKE MARTIN Officer in Charge at the Jabiru Fire Station Mick Hutton saddled up and ready for his fundraising adventure. PHOTO: MIKE MARTIN

JABIRU locals are rallying around local firefighter Mick Hutton as he prepares to join in the Black Dog Ride, raising money for Lifeline and awareness of depression and suicide prevention. On July 26, Mick will be one of 65 motorcyclists setting off from Shelly Beach in Sydney on the around-Australia trek. 

Donations in support of the ride have been pouring in at the fundraising site But ‘hero’ is not a word that sits comfortably with Mick.

“I’m reluctant to use that term,” he says. “I’m just an everyday dad.” Officer-in-Charge at the Jabiru Fire Station, Mick says he “won’t know a soul” on the Black Dog Ride. “The way I look at it is I’ve got 64 new mates to meet. It is for a worthy cause, and it gives us an opportunity for adventure and to build contacts with people across Australia. The ride is supported by Lions Club Australia, who are providing meals, and Holden Australia, who have donated two brand-new Colorados as support vehicles, and we’ve been given support by Bikes Only, who are transporting our motorbikes across to Sydney.”

Mick’s ride will be a BMW 1200 GS Adventure, a bike made famous by Ewan McGregor in the TV series ‘Long Way Round’. “He got sponsorship – I bought mine,” Mick laughs. “All the incidental costs for the ride are borne by the individual participants, so I’ll just pay for my own fuel and just go. It’s going to be an excellent adventure.”

The first leg from Sydney will see the bikers head out to the Great Dividing Range to their first stop at Glen Innes. Then it’s up the coast to the north, across the Top End, down through Broome and the west coast and across the bottom of the vast continent back to Sydney.

Mick and the boys will be travelling through Jabiru around August 3-4 for the long weekend, where they will be accommodated at Anbinik Kakadu Resort, the newly revamped Lakeview Caravan Park. “Parks Australia have also waived the park fees for us, so I’d like to acknowledge them and thank all those who are supporting the ride,” Mick said. “We will have a media person travelling with us, so it’s also a great opportunity to promote the region.

"We’re also being supported by our CEO at the fire service, John McRoberts, who is also the Commissioner of Police. John will be providing in-kind support, meeting us at the Barkly Highway, and escorting us into Tennant Creek and up to Darwin. He rides a bike as well, and this links in with his cause, Beyond Blue.”

Mick has been the Northern Territory contact for Dads In Distress (DIDS), acting as a conduit for people to seek suitable help. He describes depressions as a “scourge that pervades our modern world”.

“It’s never far away, and is all too easy for people to slip into it,” Mick says. “In the Territory, I’ve had five work colleagues, all in the age group of 40 to 50, who have taken their own life. These aren’t guys I’ve known as acquaintances – these are people who I’ve had tea with at their place.

“For me, the Black Dog Ride is about adventure, supporting a good cause, meeting new people, and saying ‘yes’ to life.”