Believing in Harvey - "The Walk for Peace"
Francis was walking just 11km past Horsham, now getting very close to Melbourne. A journalist Michelle Dryburgh drove past and stopped him and interviewed Francis for the Mail - Times newspaper. The photo was taken by Michael Rudolph.
Francis believes in Peace
Irishman Francis Muldowney is on a 6,000-kilometre journey from Perth to Byron Bay. Journalist Michelle Dryburgh met Francis as he walked through the Wimmera this week...
Imagine abandoning the security of full-time employment and a comfortable home to push a bright orange wheelchair across Australia.
Francis Muldowney, 41, did just that; striving to make his dreams and those of the world come true.
His journey, 'The Walk for Peace', began in Perth on April 2nd last year. Almost a year later, he has walked 3,700 kilometres through three states and no doubt he will make it to Byron Bay.
Mr Muldowney admitted he must look peculiar as he walks beside the highway pushing what appears to be an empty wheelchair.
But he said his invisible friend 'Harvey' sat in the orange contraption.
"I had a brain haemorrhage when I was 19 and now I have permanent brain damage, epilepsy and I'm visually impaired," he said.
"I lived in my own little world for a while and the first thing I comprehended was a wheelchair. It looked like it was smiling at me."
Although Mr Muldowney never required a wheelchair, it was at that point he developed a fascination with the symboliism of the wheelchair and thus he created Harvey.
"The wheelchair never feels empty because it is always carrying someone else's dream," he said.
"Harvey is every good dream, he is hope peace and harmony. To me, the wheelchair is a symbol that each of us has a problem that needs assistance. Wether it be emotional, financial or physical, we all have problems but we can still make our dreams come true"
Mr Muldowney said he hoped to meet as many people as possible as he travelled with his band 'Believing in Harvey'. Couple Mick and Amanda McHugh and their daughter Kia travel alongside Mr Muldowney in a motor home. The group hope to inspire people to realise their own dreams and live as they would in a peaceful world.
Mr Muldowney's Walk for Peace has attracted the attention of hundreds of people including Jacky Agosti, his girlfriend whom he met while walking through Adelaide.
He said the walk was an enriching, albeit physically demanding experience.
"My dream came true when I took the first step in Perth," he said.
"That's what people forget. It's the start that's important, not the finish. You can talk about your dreams, but if you do the planning and take that first step, you've already made it happen."
Mr Muldowney walked 20 to 25 kilometres over six or seven hours a day for the first two months of the journey. But when he suffered an epileptic seizure in June, the walk came to a halt. He returned to Dublin for medical attention before the walk resumed in September.
"I've slowed down a bit to avoid that happening again. I walk 15 to 20 kilometres a day now," he said.
"I believe my speech, comprehension, epilepsy and overall health has improved since I've been out here. I've lost 10 kilograms since I started."
Written by Michelle Dryburgh
The walk is paused at the moment awaiting for permission to walk through the main street of Melbourne, and requesting the Lord Mayor Mr John So for a brief meeting.
We will update you again until we have offical dates of the walk into Melbourne.
Enclosed the 5 minute trailer of the 9 hour documentary recorded so far on this journey. Enjoy
Published - Frank Muldowney