For Grit And For Good

Mason Dannatt and Rahn Deuis prepare for a modern twist on a 'wheelbarrow' challenge devised 84 years ago. (The pair strike a pose in a recreation of an original photo)

Over the past few years, the quirky story of the 1935 Beechworth ‘Barrowthon’ has received a lot more airtime, with an annual team charity event set for October.

This September, however, local Strongman Rahn Deuis and mate Mason Dannatt will be attempting their own Barrowthon, ‘Share The Load,’ and taking the physical challenge to the next level.

Unlike the annual charity event, which sees larger teams take turns pushing a barrow from Beechworth to Mt Buffalo over two days, the duo will attempt to follow the exact path, timelines and amusing, but logical rules set before them by Sid Evans and Tom “Parky” Parkinson when they birthed the Barrowthon 84 years ago.

For those a little rusty on their local history, the story began (as many good stories do) in a pub, over a beer. Parky, the local publican, bet Evans, the local mechanic, he could push him from Beechworth to Mt Buffalo in a wheelbarrow.

‘Tom and Sid’ Photo credit: Burke Memorial Museum Collection, Beechworth.

Battling extreme weather, injuries and time, the pair finally made it in eight days, making news across the country. The bet, 20 pounds each way, was settled but the debt never was, with both cheques preserved in the Burke Museum today.

“The plan is we’ll do it in the same eight days as Tom and Sid did,” Deuis said.

“It’s obviously going to be a bit easier for us in this day and age with bitumen roads – we can finish at the end of the day, drive home and have a hot shower. We intend on spending a couple of nights out camping, but also following the rules Tom and Sid did as much as we can and where we can’t we’d like people to set challenges for us along the way.”

“That’s what Share The Load will be about – showing you don’t have to carry a burden on your own.”

At this stage, the only deviation from the 1935 journey will see Deuis and Dannatt each push a barrow simultaneously, with guests equal to or greater than their own body weight in each barrow.

“I’m hoping to get some semi celebrities in, potentially Eddie Williams – Australia’s strongest man,” Deuis said.

“He’s like 190kg monster of a person, so we’ll paper scissors rock who carries him!”

Despite every effort to make the journey as difficult as possible, for the Australian Champion Strongman and his friend (who is no slouch, having reached Everest Base Camp), the real challenge will be mental rather than physical, hence their chosen charity – Beechworth to Bridge, for suicide prevention.

“I think this will be challenging but the fact that we’re doing it together and with other people is symbolic for what we’re trying to do,” Dannatt said.

“If I was doing it on my own I’d be dreading it and would probably give up after the second day, but the fact that we’re doing it with friends and other people makes all the difference.”

The choice of charity came directly from Deuis’ gym community, the Catledge family, who lost a father and husband to suicide. Since the tragic event, Lisa Cartledge created the charity Beechworth to Bridge, its namesake deriving from a walk from Beechworth to the North side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge she and other survivors of suicide completed in 2018.

“Beechworth to Bridge is all about getting out, going for a walk with your friends to chat and get things out in the open,” Deuis said.

“That’s what Share The Load will be about – showing you don’t have to carry a burden on your own.”

In a bid to raise as much money as possible for Beechworth to Bridge, Deuis and Dannatt are reaching out to the community, asking for help in any and all forms. If you can donate your time as support crew, camera crew, food organisation, first aid, or just to sit in the barrow and talk to the huffing and puffing pair, please contact them.

And the boys are asking one more thing … for Dunlop to provide a tyre!

“Interestingly enough, the tyre that went on the 1935 barrow was supposedly the very first ever inflatable tyre that went on a wheelbarrow,” Dannatt said.

“Before that it had been solid wood, but Dunlop got wind of it and sponsored them! We’d like to approach Dunlop just to see if they want to get involved again. It’s been 84 years – let’s see what they come up with this time!”

To contact Share The Load, follow @sharetheload2019 on Instagram. To get involved with Beechworth to Bridge, visit: