The Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb is a fantastic experience that everyone should do.

There is also a very inspiring story relating to the opening of the bridge in 1932 that everyone should know and take great pride in as a wonderful example of Australian spirit.

This true story, told to us by our Bridge Climb guide, is based on the amazing efforts of nine-year-old Lennie Gwyther who rode his pony from his home town in rural Victoria to Sydney to witness the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Lennie’s 1,000km solo journey captured the imagination of the nation, at the height of the Great Depression, and provided hope to many at a difficult time in Australia’s history.

His story struck a real chord with me and I think there is a lot that we can all learn from it today in terms of determination, courage and having a go. Even more so, when you compare it with the sheltered lives many children live today.

Lennie was fascinated by bridges and he dreamed of being there for the grand opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The fact that he lived so far away didn’t put him off. He mapped out his own route on bush tracks and rough dirt roads and, with his parents’ blessing, he set off on his four-month journey on his pony Ginger Mick.

He battled bushfires, heavy rain and fog and people began to follow news of his trek. Word of his feats spread far and wide to the point where he was greeted as a national hero with a police escort when he arrived in Sydney, where he and Ginger Mick formed part of the official Sydney Harbour Bridge opening pageant.

For a nine year old to complete a journey like that all on his own is unbelievable and takes incredible strength of character. But Lennie obviously had plenty of that. His father was a WW1 veteran and when he was injured on their farm, Lennie stepped in to plough the fields and save the crops. When his thankful father asked how he would like to be rewarded, Lennie explained his well thought out plans to ride to Sydney for the bridge opening, so off he went.

In a nice touch, Lennie’s father was transported up to join him in Sydney but Lennie insisted that he would ride back home on Ginger Mick to complete the round journey.

I believe this is one of the great stories in Australia’s history and one that many more people should be aware of. You can read more about Lennie in a book on him ‘Lennie the Legend: Solo to Sydney By Pony’ that was published this year by the National Library of Australia.

About The Author