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Lovin’ life in the slow lane

Friday, 11th May, 2018

Chris and Jenny Pye and their dog Pippa alongside their tractor and homemade wagon. Chris and Jenny Pye and their dog Pippa alongside their tractor and homemade wagon.

By Emily Ferguson

Jenny and Chris Pye along with their dog Pippa are travelling Australia in their 1966 tractor towing a homemade, colourful gypsy wagon while fundraising along the way.

On April 26 this year the Pye’s began their journey, leaving their small town of Koondrook, Victoria.

On this adventure the couple are raising funds for the Make a Wish foundation. They have no time limit on their adventure, Jenny said, “the plan is, there is no plan.”

After a serious motorbike accident a few years back, Chris was left in a critical condition and lucky to survive

Jenny shared the significant impact the accident had on their lives: “That was our jolt to live life.”

Chris is a cabinet maker by trade but he also has experience building houses, as well as demolishing them.

The colourful gypsy wagon started out as an old shire trailer but Chris built it into the wagon, recycling materials from old buildings around their town.

With their dream of travelling Australia in the newly-built wagon, the couple needed a means of getting it around.

They considered horses, camels and even bulls but eventually came across a tractor and decided that was the perfect choice.

They were lucky enough to come across a trekking tractor that was already fitted out and only had to make a few minor adjustments. 

“We sit on about 35 to 40 km/h and because we’re going so slowly we can take everything in, make the most of it, it’s fun,” said Jenny.

“We sit up high so we can see everything and we’ve found we can smell everything too - hay barrels in the fields, flowers and even the dead kangaroos on the side of the road,” laughed Jenny.

Four-year-old Pippa the dog travels on the veranda of the wagon, Jenny says “she has the best seat in the house, she loves it”.

“It’s been my dream for so long to come to Broken Hill, I’ve wanted to see Pro Hart,” said Jenny and she finally did get to see the gallery.

Although they did plan to visit Broken Hill, they only planned on staying a few days, but due to some maintenance issues they’ve been in town for a week and have quite enjoyed their stay.

Jenny shared: “Locals have been so friendly.”

Their inspiration to fundraise for the Make a Wish Foundation dates back over 18 years ago.

The couple’s foster child Lachie came to them at 18-months of age after open heart surgery.

After travelling back and forth with him to the Royal Children’s Hospital they witnessed first-hand the children with life-threatening illnesses

 “We’ve planned this (travelling Australia), this is our wish and it’s come true, those kids need to have that same opportunity,” she said.

Many people think that Jenny and Chris are retired but that is not the case. The pair currently regard themselves as unemployed but they will be seeking work along the way to help keep up the bank balance. 

The support they have already received has been incredible, they had already raised over $1000 at just 10 days into their journey.

To see their travels and find the link to donate visit ‘Tractor and Wagon’ on Facebook.

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