GPW: Our Week in Adelaide

We had a fantastic week in Adelaide with non-stop events, MP visits and media opportunities.  This blog aims to share those experiences with you in the form of a diary of our experiences.  So many people went out of their way to make our stay in Adelaide a success and we have tried to acknowledge them all in this blog.

Sunday 21 April – Our Official Arrival into Adelaide

I walked from Prospect to North Adelaide on my own in the pouring rain and was met by a journalist from ABC Online. I thought it was going to be just another interview where he took notes and wrote an article so I was a little surprised when he started talking into a microphone as if we were on-air. The article he then published online and the accompanying audio of my interview is one of the best bits of media we have had so far. Check it out on the ABC Website.

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I then continued on to North Adelaide where I was met by a number of supporters from Habitat for Humanity, The Global Poverty Project  and Bright Futures Child Aid & Development Fund. We were also joined by escorts from the SA Metro Fire Services and SA Police. During the walk through North Adelaide and past the Adelaide Oval we were filmed by news crews from ABC and Channel 7. Our final destination was the Torrens Parade Grounds where we were also met by supporters from Oaktree Foundation.

It was fantastic to see so many people come out to support us and welcome us to Adelaide considering it was raining most of the morning!

You can view the ABC News report on their website.

Monday 22 April – Rest Day?

Our first rest day in quite a while so Wendy spent the day doing all the domestic stuff such as washing and grocery shopping as well as catching up on emails etc whilst I started writing my speech for the ACES dinner on Friday. In the eventing we went to dinner with Wendy’s extended family and I met many of her cousins for the first time.

Tuesday 23 April

20130423_02_matt-with-nick-champion-mpWe met with Nick Champion, Federal MP for Wakefeild at his electorate office near the Munno Para Shopping Centre in Smithfield. We discussed a wide range of topics relating to, and impacting on, foreign aid including the role of diplomats, accountability, effectiveness of aid programs and refugees. Nick indicated that he thought we would see an increase to foreign aid but stressed that he felt the capacity of AusAid and the accountability of aid programs also needed to be addressed.

We then moved caravan parks to be closer to Adelaide and checked in at the Adelaide Shores Big 4 Caravan Park in West Beach (near Glenelg). It is a massive park with camping, powered sites, cabins, dormitories, a pool, jumping pillows and playgrounds – all right next to the ocean!

In the evening we went to Oaktree’s Generate program meeting where I talked about the walk and why we decided to become a poverty ambassadors. It was great to share our story with so many young and enthusiastic people. We then joined the Australian Combined Emergency Services (ACES) football team for their presentation dinner and listened to two amazing guest speakers. Dr Griggs, head of trauma at Adelaide Hospital, talked about his time in Indonesia helping with the first response to the 2004 Tsunami. Jason Austin who became a paraplegic as a result of a motor bike accident involving drink driving shared his amazing and inspiring story describing his injuries, recovery and life after the accident but also reflecting on how the culture of drinking within football clubs impacted on his life and how he now tries to educate people about the dangers and realities of drink driving.

Wednesday 24 April

We spent the morning shopping for clothes for the pre-game function at the Port Adelaide game. The invite specified no denim so I guess that rules out trackies!! In the evening we caught up with the ACES and ADF teams at their combined dinner. I had to duck out part way through to speak to the RESULTS national volunteers’ telephone hookup. The dinner also gave us an opportunity to catch up with Darren Adamson, the General Manager of Port Adelaide Football Club and Peter Rhode, the Football Operations Manager, and thank them for all the support their club have given our walk.

Thursday 25 April – Anzac Day

Unfortunately we missed the Dawn Service at Glenelg as Wendy was feeling a bit unwell and we really needed to catch up on sleep. We had an appointment to meet a legend of the Queanbeyan Tigers Football Club at Glenelg and when we arrived we were surprised by the General Manager of the club who had actually flown over from Canberra to catch up with us (a Legend in his own right but not quite who we were expecting!). We had lunch with him and then had to pop into Adelaide for a photo shoot with the Advertiser (click to see article). He spent half an hour taking dozens of shots but unfortunately the one he chose to print is a little “soft” for my liking!

We spent the afternoon and evening catching up with the General Manager of The Queanbeyan Tigers and met up with the ACES team again to watch the Essendon v Collingwood game on TV.

Friday 26 April

20130426_02_matt-on-abc-online-footy-showIt was quite a busy day today. I made a guest appearance in an online footy show for ABC Online and then we joined the ACES football team for a visit to the Adelaide Children’s Hospital. Seeing what some of these children go through in their treatments for burns, cancer and other health issues really puts your own life into perspective. They loved having members of the Emergency Services come and visit them and were quite interested in my journey too. It’s great to give back to the community in this way, even if it’s only a little distraction from their pain.

Click here to watch the ABC Online footy show.

20130426_matt-with-mark-butler-mpWe then met with Mark Butler, Federal Member for Port Adelaide to discuss the Government’s commitment to foreign aid, refugees and a number of other topics. He gave us great encouragement by saying that the efforts being made by groups such as ours and the recent Oaktree Roadtrip are having an impact in Parliament and was positive that it will make a difference in the long run.

In the evening I was guest speaker at the ACES team meeting at the Adelaide Fire Station.

Saturday 27 April

We had a fairly quite morning getting ready to hit the road tomorrow and then headed out to AAMI Stadium. We met up with the guys from the Australian Combined Emergency Services (ACES) football team again and I ran water for the team for the first half of their game against the ADF All-Stars. It was an awesome experience running out onto AAMI Stadium and also being a part of the Anzac Day commemorations before the game.

Wendy was invited to the ACES team’s super box where she met, and had the opportunity to thank, the Chief of the SA Fire Services. ACES won their game which was fantastic. We then met up with d’Arcy Lunn from the Global Poverty Project and Dan Ryan, the UN Youth Representative and joined Port Adelaide sponsors at a pre-game function.

The main game kicked off and it was not looking good for Port. During the half time break, the four of us plus James Kavanagh from the Queanbeyan Tigers (playing in the ACES team) and Rod Campbell from the SAMFS (Coach of the ACES team and organiser of all our fire services escorts) went onto the ground where we did a half-lap of honour carrying a large Make Poverty History banner in front of a crowd of over 26,000 people. I was interviewed by the ground announcer most of the way around and it was all filmed and shown on the big screens around the ground. At the end they presented me with signed footballs from both Port Adelaide and West Coast.

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It was an amazing experience for all of us and even more so given that Port Adelaide came back from 38 points down at the start of the second half to win the game by 5 points. A massive thankyou to the Port Adelaide Football Club, a fantastic community minded organisation.

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