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Ken gets back in the saddle

Friday, 28th October, 2011

KEN AND FRIEND: Adventurer Ken Tuckey and his 20-year-old camel, Abdul. KEN AND FRIEND: Adventurer Ken Tuckey and his 20-year-old camel, Abdul.

By Emily Roberts 

Having just shaken the dust off his boots after a record-breaking 15,000 kilometres trip around Australia on a quad bike, Ken Tuckey is on a new adventure.

Seventy-year-old Ken is taking a 2000-kilometre camel ride to South Australia to raise money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

“I’ve owned and worked with camels in various tourist and business ventures since 1981,” said Ken who arrived in the city yesterday. 

“I’ve trekked them through the Simpson Desert and from Uluru to the Gold Coast in 1996’s Great Australian Camel Race.

“I’ve also ridden them across Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Albert Bridge in Brisbane.”

Teaming up with Ken is 30-year-old disability worker, Chontelle Jannese, who is swapping her office chair for a saddle and a chance to fulfill a dream.

“I first rode a camel on one of Ken’s outback safaris when I was 17 and living in Alice Springs and I know he’s the right person to guide me,” said Chontelle. 

“Ever since then I’ve dreamed of owning a camel, learning how to ride and look after it.”

Ken and Chontelle will go to SA to pick up Chontelle’s very own camel. Ken said camel handling can be difficult and is not for everyone.

“You have to bond with them like a human being, learn to be respectful and patient. You don’t order a camel to do something, you ask it,” he said. 

He has been visiting schools en route to give talks about the history of camels in Australia.

“Camels are complex, fascinating creatures that most people know very little about. I try to make it a fun and informative experience for the kids. I’ve got quite a few schools lined up already, but am always happy to take bookings.”

Clyde Thomson, Executive Director of RFDS South Eastern Section, said Ken was a “colourful character” who had been raising money for the Flying Doctor for many years.

“Motorbikes, quad bikes, camels - he always does something unusual and I look forward to following his latest fundraiser which will help continue to keep the Flying Doctor flying,” Mr Thomson said.

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