www.monumentaustralia.org.au

Lennie GwytherPrint Page Print this page

24-December-2017
24-December-2017

Photographs supplied by Greg Gordon

A scultpure commemorates Lennie Gwyther and his horse Ginger Mick.  In 1932, nine-year-old Lennie Gwyther dreamed of being on the spot for the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  The ride came about when Lennie's father, Leo Tennyson Gwyther, a decorated World War One hero with chronic war injuries, broke his leg on the Gwyther farm in South Leongatha.  While he was in hospital, Lennie completed the ploughing and saved the crops. A thankful Leo asked how he could reward Lennie, and all he wanted was to see the majestic bridge in Sydney he had read about. Lennie mapped the route himself. 

Lennie and Ginger Mick followed bush tracks and barely formed dirt roads east to Cann River then north to Canberra. Horse and boy survived a deranged tramp jumping out at them a few days into their ride, a bushfire near Traralgon, heavy rain and fogs.

In Canberra, where sheep grazed in front of (now Old) Parliament House, Lennie shook prime minister Joseph Lyons' hand, and took tea in the members' refreshment rooms.  Arriving In Sydney's Martin Place, Lennie and Ginger Mick were mobbed by the public and the press. Lennie met the Lord Mayor at Sydney Town Hall, visited Circular Quay and Bondi Beach and rode an elephant at Taronga Zoo.

On March 19, Lennie and Ginger Mick took part in the Sydney Harbour Bridge opening pageant, crossing the bridge among indigenous groups, war veterans, schoolchildren and bridge workers and saluting the Governor-General and the New South Wales Premier.

On March 21, at a match at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Lennie met his idol, Donald Bradman, who gave him a a signed cricket bat.

Lennie convinced his father that he should ride Ginger Mick home. Back in Leongatha on June 10, a huge crowd turned out in the main street. More than 800 people attended a civic reception.

Ginger Mick lived to the age of 27 on the Gwyther farm. Lennie went on to marry, have a daughter and settle in the Melbourne suburb of Hampton.  He worked as an experimental engineer at General Motors' Holden plant at Fishermans Bend, and also was a keen fisherman, astronomer, ice skater, and sailor.  At the time of his death, aged 70 in 1992, he was building a  yacht, which he planned to sail to Tasmania and New Zealand.

 

 

Location

Address:South Gippsland Highway , Centenary Park, Leongatha, 3953
State:VIC
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -38.474872
Long: 145.946368
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
View Google Map

Details

Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Adventure
Actual Event Start Date:03-February-1932
Actual Event End Date:10-June-1932
Link:http://www.lenniegwyther.com

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 14th October, 2017
Front Inscription

Lennie Gwyther & his pony Ginger Mick

On the morning of 3rd February, 1932, at the tender age of nine, Lennie Gwyther set out on his beloved pony Ginger Mick from his home farm "Flers" just south of Leongatha to ride 1000 kms to Sydney to be present at the opening of the newly constructed Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Neither weather nor bushfires dampened Lens resolution to be present at the opening ceremony of the Bridge (then the longest single span bridge in the world.)

Lennie`s parents, Capt. Leo and Clare Gwyther, had allowed Lennie to make this monumental journey as a reward for his work running the family farm for some months when Leo was incapacitated due to a major work accident.

Lennie carried a letter from the Wooryal Shire President to the Lord Mayor of Sydney.  When passing through Canberra Prime Minister Joseph Lyons, himself a Tasmanian farmer, shook Lennie`s hand and wished him well.   News of the boy and pony preceded them until all Australia could read of their progress.  Even the London Times recorded the determination of Lennie to follow his dream.

Stirred by the courage of the young boy from South Gisspland people were moved to come to roadsides to wave and wish hin `Godspeed`.  Honoured by an invitation to partake in the official opening parade, Len must have wondered why all the fuss, being a quiet retiring youngster.

The Gwyther family sincerely thank the people of Leongatha District, assisted by the Leongatha Chamber of Commerce and many other local groups for this tribute to one of their own.

This statue was proudly unveiled by members of the Gwyther family on 14th October 2017.

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
Proudly sponsored by UBC Web Design