Ian "Rattles" Retallack is a truly inspiring bloke. Humble. Salt of the earth. True blue. Any idiom you can think of that defines the Australian identity.
But none of those sayings truly do this "Aussie battler" justice.
Starting out in Boyanup, a small town 195km south of Perth, Rattles set off with his mate Russ - a loyal Kelpie cross; and his two horses Matt and Paddy, who were tasked with powering a vintage iron and wood wagon.
His goal? To circumnavigate Australia and raise funds for Cancer Council WA.
After an epic journey spanning over 18 months that saw him travel to Esperance, across the Nullarbor, through South Australia, to Shepparton in Victoria and Tamworth in New South Wales - Rattles is back.
Reaching the halfway mark of his journey and facing a truly daunting prospect of taking his animals through drought-stricken, sparsely-populated territory, Rattles decided it was time to call it a day. The journey had started to take a toll on his own health, so we're thankful that Rattles listened to his body and decided to pull up stumps - declared 6000km, not out.
Despite his shortened trip, he has provided CCWA with a gift that we will be eternally grateful for. Over the course of the journey, he raised a staggering $60,000.
Let's break it down to see just how amazing that is:
- $10 for every kilometre travelled
- Over 6000km travelled
- An average of 25km per day = $250 per day
To honour his incredible achievement, Rattles attended a morning tea at Westgate where humbled staff had the chance to welcome him back and hear some of his incredible tales.
"I didn't have to pay for a single night's accommodation," Rattles recalled.
"I hardly paid for any meals. The whole way I had truckies and other people filling up our water, bringing hay and carrots for the horses. Everyone was so generous."
Prior to the journey, Rattles was worried the coveted Australian identity had diminished in recent years, but was happy to rediscover it in the bush.
"I thought, as Aussies, we'd lost our identity," he said. "But no. Out there (in the bush), I found out we hadn't. The people who donated and helped me were just battlers too."
You need only look to his Facebook page - Rattles Ride for Cancer - and you'll get a sense of the impact he's had on the people he's met.
From Ryno - "It was as absolute pleasure meeting Ian, his dog Russ and 2 horses Matt and Paddy. I have nothing but admiration and respect for what you're doing and the reasons behind it mate."
From Jayne - "Look out for this special human being everyone he is one in a million."
On behalf of everyone at Cancer Council WA, well done and thank you Rattles!