Clinton Pryor makes his own path through the ancient landscape one step at a time. As he reaches 1000 kilometres into his journey to Canberra, the Noongar man feels his excursion has only just begun.
By
Craig Quartermaine

Source:
NITV News
24 Oct 2016 - 5:29 PM  UPDATED 24 Oct 2016 - 5:29 PM

Clinton set off to cross the country on foot from Perth to Canberra back in July. At first, his plan was to table issues from his community with the Prime Minister. But his intentions quickly evolved as he visited communities along the way, and met others who asked him to carry their messages to the Australian capital.

Clinton’s following on social media and support crew have grown exponentially since leaving Perth.

James Callion is one of those people counting on Clinton’s success. Mr Callion ran CDP programs in the hope of permanent employment, only to have that taken away.

It’s stories like these, along with the sights and sounds of Clinton’s epic journey, that have captured people’s imaginations. As he traverses the country, more people offer support and ask for help.

As Clinton rests in Leonora in the northern Goldfields, he’s encouraged by all the support he’s received along the way. “I know it’s making our people believe again,” he says.

Clinton’s even gained the attention of another cross country activist: Gwich’in man Brad Firth, known as Caribou Legs, the Ultra Marathon runner who is running across Canada in honour of murdered and missing women from his home. 

Clinton and Brad Firth have been in touch and are planning to campaign together in the future, but both men still have epic journeys of their own they need to complete first.

 

The mining town of Leonora warmly welcomed Clinton and his crew. The town is littered with the remnants of old mining equipment - a stark reminder of the prosperous resource boom that benefited many in Western Australia, but excluded most Traditional Owners. 

Brothers Jimmy and Garry Ashwin, along with Noonie Raymond, are just some of the many volunteers helping keep Clinton on track. 

Jillian Heneker offered her home as a camp for Clinton.

Ms Heneker told NITV: “It’s been fabulous having Clinton here. The moment that he got to town everyone has been going around organising a BBQ and [a] get together in the evening, which was great. We had damper and kangaroo meat”.

Garry Ashwin, Clinton’s support driver, says people have turned his car into a message stick with their well wishes and personal stories.

“It’s actually really quite amazing,” he says. They’ve encountered some remarkable characters along the road – such as the young British backpacker that came to Australia to walk the rabbit proof fence, and the two New Zealand miners who pulled over to pass on their support.

As we conduct interviews with Clinton in Leonora atop the highest point in town, he looks towards his next stop, the desert outpost town of Laverton. After that is Warburton, then Uluru, marking the half-way point.

For a fleeting moment, Clinton looks across the vast expanse of this prehistoric land. Rather than feeling daunted, he simply turns to the camera and says, “well, next stop Laverton.”   

SEE CLINTON'S IMAGE GALLERY
Clinton Pryor's walk across Australia
Clinton Pryor is concerned for his people and aboriginal communities. He wants the Federal Government to listen to their cry for help and he's doing that by walking to Canberra from WA.