ASK Maleny local Sam Hughes why he would choose to drive around Australia in a 1957 Chamberlain 9G Tractor called ‘Slim’, and the answer is easy.
“I like helping people,” he said.
Sam set off on his trek in March last year in the bright orange trailer to raise money for the Royal Flying Doctors Service (RFDS) and Dolly’s Dream.
That journey by Sam, otherwise known as the ‘Travelling Jackaroo’ has now seen him honoured as a 2021 Queensland RFDS Local Hero Award winner. The awards recognise Queenslanders who have donated their time and energy to keeping the flying doctors flying.
Along with the significant money raised, Sam said the trip allowed him to raise a huge level of awareness about mental health.
“I’m a quarter way, statistically, through life so might as well make the most of it and help as many people as you can,” he said, adding “ ‘cause then you’ll be dust.”
“I love meeting people and hearing their stories.
“People see that [Slim] and smile and laugh, and when people smile they start talking, and it starts a conversation about mental health.”
There’s no missing Sam along his travels, with his decked out trailer now featuring a small RFDS aircraft replica proudly on top. His travels have thus far led him to Darwin, having met plenty of people and garnered quite the following along the way.
RDFS key relationship manager Heather Stott said that Sam’s following is phenomenal.
“I think what Sam is doing is wonderful, everything about it,” said Heather.
“Driving around Australia in a tractor, not only raising money, but raising the profile for the RFDS.”
If you’re interested in following Sam’s travels, search ‘The Travelling Jackaroo’ on Facebook.