It’s not everyday you get a gentleman pull up out the front of our Gunnedah Times office with a lawnmower, walk through the front doors and lead with, “Have you done a story about me before?”.

To us, this certainly was intriguing but it didn’t take long to realise that this truly was a man who needed his story told.

Claude Lyle Harvey OAM, affectionately known as ‘The Mowerman’, has spent the past 13 years trekking the highways and byways, footpaths and roads of Australia pushing his trusty mower “Moyra” on a mission to raise awareness of child protection and raising more than $1.8 million dollars for Bravehearts, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to preventing child sexual abuse and assisting survivors, along the way.

The 78-year-old was motivated after watching footage on the news of a paedophile being arrested.

“When I saw this I thought we would all like to hurt the perpetrator, but how many of us would like to help the victim”.

Further to this Claude suffered the heartbreak to learn the devastating news that two of his own family members had fallen victim to such heinous crime themselves.

“My granddaughters were only aged three and four years old playing in their backyard when a 16-year-old neighbour jumped the fence and sexually assaulted them.”

Driven by desire, Claude vowed to do everything possible he could to ‘make a difference in the lives of victims’.

Claude set up signs and displays in local shopping centres along Queensland’s Gold Coast to bring awareness to the local community, but Claude dreamt of bigger.

He wanted to make a difference in the lives of all child sexual assault survivors Australia-wide.

Claude needed to get the message to as much of the country as he could, so he set himself a target to raise $1 million for Bravehearts and a challenge to travel as much of the nation as he could taking his lawnmower with him!

Being a retired landscaper, Claude couldn’t think of any better way to carry his signs around.

“The mower might be a bit of a gimmick, but it just made sense to keep on pushing the old girl”.

Claude set off on his first push for charity, a return trip from Tweed Heads to Hope Island for the charity Gold Coast Project For Homeless Youth, and since then estimates he has walked more than 25,000 kilometres even crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 2016 accompanied by a helicopter and the Prime Minister awaiting his arrival at Martin Place with the Sunrise crew. He has pushed his way as far north as Port Douglas and as far south as Tasmania, remarking the locals in Tasmania were some of the nicest he has ever met.

“I turned up there in the middle of summer and it was bloody cold, I never thought to take any winter woollies with me, the next minute the locals turned up with enough clothes that would keep me warm in Antarctica.”
Claude hasn’t always been met with such hospitality though.

“I’ve been punched in the head, I’ve been verbally and physically abused, I’ve even had a gun held to my head. My wife used to make the trips with me but she gave up coming along because she couldn’t handle the abuse I got.

It’s all been worth it though, look at the money I have raised so far.”

Claude’s achievement has been recognised by more than just the charity he is donating to though.

In June 2019 he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his dedication to the community and in 2023 was named 2023 Queensland Senior Australian of the Year – two awards that others would boast about or
possibly even have tattooed on their foreheads for everyone they encounter to see, but this has not raised
conceit in Claude.

“Yeah, it’s fantastic, but If I can save just one child from this crime that harms one in five Australian children, I will have achieved what I set out to do. The money I have raised and the awareness I am generating is worth more to me. I never ask anyone for a donation, but if you come up and ask me for my details, I’ll explain to you what I do”.

Claude has had to change his method slightly of late, “I have had a hernia operation, so I now drive in between towns and grab my mower out at my destination to walk the streets, it is much better for my health and my shoes”.

In his 25,000kms, Claude has been through 10 sets of mower tyres and 43 pairs of sturdy thongs.


Gunnedah played host to Claude and his sidekick mower at the weekend on his way through to Wentworth. He thanked Gunnedah for their generosity and support.

“I received a lot of donations and even a few shout-outs on Facebook which is always good”.

When Claude was asked why he didn’t park his mower back in the shed after reaching his $1 million goal, he simply looked with a grin and cheekily commented, “I now want to get to the magic $2 million mark. But what a way to do it – I have met some famous people in my travels and made some great mates along the way. I don’t know what I would do if I stopped, my dear wife passed away last year so this keeps me busy and after receiving my Senior of the Year award I figure I must be doing the right thing that people nominated me.”

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