Tony’s Trek

ESF wants to raise awareness about the terrible toll emergency service work can take on the people - paid and volunteer - who are always ready to protect us. We hope Tony’s Trek – one step at a time, a solo walk of 1440km will do that.


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About Tony’s Trek

My volunteer role as ESF Chair is a profoundly personal one as I have been in the sector for almost forty years. In that time I’ve seen many of my colleagues suffer from trauma due to their role in emergency services/management. This trauma can often result in mental health injury and have lasting impacts throughout their career and retirement.

In supporting ESF’s work in improving mental health outcomes for Victoria’s 125,000 emergency workers, both paid and volunteer, in frontline and support roles, I have decided to commit to a solo ultra-distance walk to raise awareness of the work we do. We need to acknowledge the urgency of supporting those who support us.

On the 30th of September 2022, I will commence my journey in East Melbourne at the State Control Centre, and over the 50 days, I’ll cover nearly 1440 kms.

My route has been specifically chosen to cover much of the area where the Victorian Black Summer Bushfires occurred. I hope this will acknowledge the horrible mental health impacts those fires had and continue to have on emergency workers, along with the community members themselves of these areas.

For me, it will be one step at a time to achieve this goal and personal physical feat. Recovery from mental health injury is also a personal journey that involves taking one step at a time.


What we’re fundraising for: ESF’s evidence informed prevention programs.

Funds raised from Tony’s Trek will be used by ESF to deliver two pioneering evidence informed prevention focused initiatives to benefit emergency workers no matter whether they are at the frontline or in important support roles before, during or after emergencies.

  • A lived experience program which will see ESF train mental health ambassadors from across the sector to safely share their stories of mental health injury and recovery. This will help to reduce the mental health stigma which pervades the sector and inhibits early help seeking when the chance of recovery is greatest. We need $425,000 to establish the Residential Wellbeing Program, run six pilot groups and evaluate the outcomes
  • A pilot residential wellbeing program to bring together emergency workers who are mentally struggling, to help them process trauma and develop resilience skills supported by experts who completely understand their experiences. This will help them effectively self-manage to reduce the cumulative effect of trauma and the risk of developing serious mental health injury. We need $200,000 to establish the Lived Experience Program and document 15 stories.

ESF is at the frontline of mental health, making sure we have the best possible strategies to help prevent people from our sector being harmed by the work they must do. With our focus on prevention and early intervention, ESF works collaboratively with agencies as it seeks to get ahead of the mental harm and injury threat that currently pervades the sector – so everyone benefits.

Tony's Trek Starts In


Tony's Itinerary

Starting point – State Control Centre 8 Nicholson Street East Melbourne

30 September – Dandenong

1 October  – Nar Nar Goon

2 October  – Warragul

3 October  – Moe

4 October  – Traralgon

5 October  – Rosedale

6 October  – Sale

7 October  – Sale

8 October  – Providence Ponds rest area

9 October  – Bairnsdale

10 October  – Bruthen

11 October  – Nowa Nowa

12 October  – Orbost

13 October  – Orbost

14 October  – Cabbage Tree Creek

15 October  – Bright Light Saddle rest area

16 October  – Cann River

17 October  – rest area near Upper Wingan Road

18 October  – Genoa

19 October  – Mallacoota

20 October  – Mallacoota

21 October  – Genoa

22 October  – rest area near Upper Wingan Road

23 October  – Cann River

24 October  – Bright Light Saddle rest area

25 October  – Cabbage Tree Creek

26 October  – Orbost

27 October  – Orbost

28 October  – Nowa Nowa

29 October  – Bruthen

30 October  – Tambo River campsite

31 October  – Ensay

1 November  – Swifts Creek

2 November  – Omeo

3 November  – Omeo

4 November  – Cobungra

5 November  – Hotham Heights

6 November  – St Bernard Hospice Chain Bay parking area

7 November  – Smoko campground

8 November  – Porepunkah

9 November  – Myrtleford

10 November  – Yackandandah

11 November  – Wodonga

12 November  – Wodonga

13 November  – Chiltern

14 November  – Wangaratta

15 November  – Glenrowan

16 November  – Benalla

17 November  – Violet Town

18 November  – Euroa

19 November  – Euroa

20 November  – Avenel

21 November  – Seymour

22 November  – Broadford

23 November  – Wallan

24 November  – Craigieburn

25 November – 8 Nicholson Street East Melbourne

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