Hexis Australia MD Ian Parsonson and a group of like-minded, ultra-marathon athletes have signed up for the 200 kilometre Tracks in the Wilderness charity run through rugged NSW south coast bush to raise funds for 4ASDKids - a charity set up by dual-code international Mat Rogers and wife Chloe to support families with children who have autism spectrum disorder.
|Hexis Australia MD Ian Parsonson at last month's PrintEx in Sydney|
“I would love to be able to encourage 100 sign companies across Australia to donate just $100 each and we can contribute $10,000 to this worthy cause,” says Parsonson. “Having already raised almost $900 at the recent ASGA/Visual Connections Qld Golf Day, we are already on the way and confident we can get there.” You can donate here.
"The title Tracks in the Wilderness is from a book published by National Parks and Wildlife about the region and old bridle tracks in the area," says Parsonson. “There is some really interesting history and folklore from the area from bushrangers to stories of how the bushman marked their trails in the past by nailing sardine tins to trees pointing the way. They would eat the sardines on horseback while pushing cattle back down out of the hills.”
The WD Tarlinton Track winds its way more than 200km from Braidwood to Cobargo. It was forged in the early 1800s when three Aboriginal trackers showed William Tarlinton a pathway between the districts that became the major thoroughfare linking the fertile Valley to the Monaro. Tarlinton is the great-great-great-great-grandfather of Scott Page, whose idea it was to open the old track back up to the community.
|Scott Page at a recent visit to the area|
"Traditionally, local horse-riding groups maintained the track by way of use, but with restrictions on the land, the last 20 years has seen a decline in use and as a result, a degradation of the track," says Page. “As a descendant of the great pioneers I have decided to take an amazing group of ultra-athletes and run/trek this great track from Braidwood to Cobargo in September 2019. This is to bring awareness to the track and the possibilities of multi-use for the future.
“Our adventure will pass through some truly wild areas. From the head of the Shoalhaven River to Woila Ck, Tuross and Wandella. We will encounter over 50 river crossings and 200km plus of fire trail, bridle track, and original gazetted road. Each night will be spent at camping at significant spots that are directly linked to our pioneering days. Memories and signs of yesteryear will be everywhere along the track and we will document this for future visiting trek parties."
“I have visited the area three times and have connected with local bushmen and landholders who have taken me out on horseback to blaze the track using local knowledge and GPS technology.”
Parsonson and his running mates welcomed the opportunity to raise money for 4ASDKids, a charity founded by dual-code international Mat Rogers and model Chloe Maxwell to provide support services for families with children and young adults with autism spectrum disorder.
“Having traversed this path with their own child, Mat and Chloe knew of the many difficulties involved not only for the kids but for those involved in caring for them and looked for programs to make things more manageable for the carers so they were better equipped to provide greater support for their families,” Parsonson says.
Peter Smith, a spokesperson for Access for All, a community group of 400 horse riders and other interested parties, who for the last two decades argued for authorities to reinstate responsible public access along these tracks, says: "The WD Tarlinton track was originally used as a transport route for business, horses, supplies and travel, equivalent to today’s use of the Brown and Clyde Mountains.
"Cobargo town was developed thanks to this track," says Smith. "Many of us drive through Cobargo enroute to our favourite holiday haunts on the south coast, an occasional glance out the window our only interaction with the vast swathes of heavily forested national parks that stretch along the escarpment country from Nowra in the north to Bemboka in the south.
"A decision by the NSW government in 1999 to declare many parts of these national parks "wilderness", meant that unless you were prepared to strap on the walking boots and embark on multi-day hikes, much of the country was inaccessible.
"An unintended consequence of this dramatic expansion of wilderness meant that many traditional, heritage and recreational bridle tracks, especially in the Monga and Deua national parks, were suddenly off limits to non-walkers, including horse riders. Among these were the spectacular Shoebridge Track, a purpose-built route for pack horses dating back to the gold rush days connecting Nelligen to Araluen, and the WD Tarlinton Track, an ancient Aboriginal path pioneered by William Tarlinton in 1829 to move stock from the tablelands on the upper Shoalhaven River to the coast.
"At the time of the changes, the government didn't have any real knowledge that these bridle tracks even existed," says Smith.
Following a two-year trial that showed no environmental damage caused by horse riding on these specific tracks, management plans of some of these national parks were changed to reinstate access along the tracks.
Smith, who is known in the region for his encyclopaedic account of the area's most notorious bushrangers in The Clarke Gang Outlawed, Outcast and Forgotten: The worst and most troublesome bushrangers of all time (Rosenberg, 2015) is "ecstatic" that these traditional tracks are open once again to future generations of horse riders.
"It's great to see history being kept alive," he says, explaining that in the 1800s these tracks were the lifeblood of a number of towns along the coastal escarpment strip between Canberra and the coast. "These bridle tracks were hand-cut into the bush in order to transport goods to communities."
|Super Sutherland, Scott Page’s grandfather and the last of the real “Bushmen” that ran cattle through the tracks and region. He is the great great grandson of William Tarlinton.|
About 4ASD Kids Charity
In a statement, Mat and Chloe Rogers say they want the 4ASD Kids website to be an online hub for information, especially in assisting access to early intervention treatment that “we believe is critical”:
In 2009 we went public about our son Max's battle with autism. It's something that we considered very deeply but felt by telling our story we may be able to assist families with similar challenges. After the initial publicity we were so overwhelmed by the messages of support and assistance that we formed our charity, 4 ASD Kids. Our dream is to be able to change the lives of families with children battling with an Autism Spectrum Disorder by assisting them to access the early intervention treatment that we believe is critical to giving these kids the best chance at leading a normal life and reaching their full potential.
Since starting the charity 4 ASD Kids and with the assistance of a dedicated legion of supporters we have staged a series of fundraising events and activities that have provided us with the funds which are assisting families into programs.
This website is our online hub for resources and information on ASD that we have found useful or someone we know has had benefit from. It is also a forum for event and fundraising campaigns. Please take the time to register your details on the register page of this site so that we may keep you informed of what we've up to.
We are pleased to report that our Max is developing well and we are just as determined today as the day we started our ASD journey to do what we can to change lives for the better!
Caring for ASD Kids,
Mat & Chloe Rogers