Ipswich ex-pats take on mammoth motorbike mission down under

Rob and David overlooking Palm Beach in Sydney. Picture: SPENCER ABBOTT

Rob and David overlooking Palm Beach in Sydney. Picture: SPENCER ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

Two Ipswich ex-pats have taken on a mammoth mission to drive 2000 miles across Australia in three weeks.

David and Rob at Barrenjoey Point earlier this year. Picture: SPENCER ABBOTT

David and Rob at Barrenjoey Point earlier this year. Picture: SPENCER ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

David O’Dell and Rob Abbott formerly of Ipswich decided that they would take on the test to ‘start living’ their lives.

The friends have lived down under for half a century and will now take on the task of driving to Hobart in Tasmania from Sydney and Canberra.

David O’Dell said: “I was an apprentice decorator at Moyes and Sons builders. Rob worked at Alstons Furniture Factory.

“We both emigrated to Australia because it was an amazing land of opportunity and all you had to pay was £10 towards the fare, the Aussie government paid the rest which is why we are referred to as ‘£10 poms’.

Rob on the trip to Devon in 1965. Picture: ROB ABBOTT

Rob on the trip to Devon in 1965. Picture: ROB ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

“I married an Italian Australian in 1974 in Griffith, New South Wales and now have three beautiful daughters and two granddaughters.”

It’s not the first big ride for the two who once drove from Ipswich to Devon on much smaller motorbikes as youngsters back in 1966.

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As for their latest adventure it’s all come about quite recently for David: “I haven’t had any thought or desire to own a bike for 53 years until I bought my bike 9 months ago.

“Now both 70 years old and both having survived prostate cancer in the last seven years we reckoned it was about time to start living and get on with it.

It's over 50 years since the pair took a similarly long ride from Suffolk to Devon. Picture: DAVID O

It's over 50 years since the pair took a similarly long ride from Suffolk to Devon. Picture: DAVID O'DELL - Credit: Archant

“Life begins at 70!”

While having been away from England has had it’s ups and downs over the years the pair remember Ipswich fondly.

“What do we miss about England?” said David.

“Well the beautiful spring summer nights in a country pub for one and the historical sights and feeling of history which you don’t get in Australia much,but certainly not the winters.

The ex-pats on tour in Australia. PIcture: DAVID O'DELL

The ex-pats on tour in Australia. PIcture: DAVID O'DELL - Credit: Archant

“My mother still lives in Ipswich and is now 93 years old. I come home and visit her every year.”

The journey has not been without its test for the endeavouring pair who have been faced with storms, winding country roads as they try to cover the mammoth distance.

“The biggest test was getting through Melbourne to the ferry terminal in 33C heat,” said David.

“All in all not bad for a couple of 70 year olds having just got back into motor bike riding after 53 years.”

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