How this event began
In 2009, two mates, both police officers and both keen motorcyclists, started a conversation over a beer or two. “How about we organise some mates to ride to Canberra and meet at our National Memorial?”
Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy from the NSW Police Force and Inspector Brian Rix of the Victorian Police had been motivated and inspired by the immense popularity of an American police motorcycle and charity event held in Austin, Texas.
Known as the “Ride for the Fallen”, the ride is a special tribute that honours the service and sacrifices of the many law enforcement officers killed in the service of Texas over its long and proud history.
Around the same time, a chance meeting with Western Australia Assistant Commissioner Steve Brown invariably turned into discussions of motorcycling and plans for Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan to lead a children’s charity ride across the country.
So a few phone calls later and with the much valued support and assistance of the Police Federation of Australia, a group of like minded police, serving and retired, were brought together to develop Australia’s own memorial ride.
With the National Police Memorial as a focal point and highlighting the positive image of police in the promotion of motorcycle safety and awareness, this has now become a much anticipated annual charity event in commemoration of the service and sacrifice of our police and for each of the State’s to raise much needed funds in support of their police charity organisations.
Each of the Australian Police Forces has a dedicated place of remembrance and reflection, where they pay homage to and remember their police officers who have died as a result of their service to the community. From these sites a very special journey begins with the intention of arriving at the outskirts of our national capital to meet and join the other contingents of riders from across Australia.
In a final gesture of police solidarity and remembrance, the ride travels through Canberra to the National Police Memorial for a short, but poignant ceremony to commence the week in honour of our colleagues and mates; their names recorded on the touch stones of the memorial wall.
The Wall to Wall : Ride for Remembrance is promoted through a national organising committee under the auspice of the Police Federation of Australia and the National Police Memorial. Stringent operational and financial controls are maintained to ensure the charitable status of the event and that funds raised are directly used to support the identified policing legacy organisations and charities.
Fully supported by all the police jurisdictions, every State and Territory is represented. Our past rides have been led by the Police Commissioners of the Australian Federal Police, Western Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, the Northern Territory and Tasmania, all of whom share the thrills and excitement found only on a motorbike and who are integral role models in demonstrating our message of motorcycling safety and awareness
Open to serving and retired members (sworn and unsworn) and all other friends, family and proud supporters of policing, the ride is not only a wonderful commemoration of service and sacrifice , but also a fantastic social event for enthusiastic motor cyclists across Australia in celebration of the police family.
So make this the year that you get the bike out from the back of the garage and serviced, renew or obtain you riders license and join us on a special ride in support of all that is good within the motorcycling community and the policing across Australia.
Our Website will be updated regularly throughout August and September with news of event, routes to be travelled and groups to join up with.
Like Us on Facebook and join our conversations in the lead up to our Australia’s own, Wall to Wall : Ride for Remembrance.
Police Association of Victoria President, Brian Rix travelled by motorcycle to every Capital city in Australia during the month of July 2011 to deliver a hand-made wooden Wall to Wall Ride Baton to each Police Commissioner. The Batons have been engraved with each jurisdiction’s Police Service Logo alongside the Wall to Wall Ride Logo and have a hollow centre allowing for the names of any fallen members to be inserted and carried by their Commissioner (or an appointed representative) on the Wall to Wall Ride to Canberra. These Batons will form an important part of the Wall to Wall Ride Ceremony in future.
Two decades ago at Lightning Ridge NSW Supt Stanley Single began fashioning wooden batons as a gift for departing officers. As an extra special touch each hand-made baton featured small opal doublets – one gem for each year served at the command. Supt Single, originally a fitter and turner by trade, served at Lightning Ridge from 1990 until he transferred to Walgett as commander in 1996. He said that, by then, word had spread about his novel departing gifts. “It just took off from there and it became a monster,” he said. “Everywhere I went everyone wanted one for their send-offs.” Then he got the call from Assistant Commissioner Mick Corboy about making his handiwork hobby a part of policing history – and future. The perpetual batons created for the ride are a hand-crafted wooden style classical baton, slightly embellished with the Wall to Wall logo and a laser engraving of the NSW Police Force badge, along with the wording: ‘We remember them.’
Supt Single said a unique feature of the batons will be their hollow centre. “When I started making batons back in Lightning Ridge I found it to be therapeutic – but it was a bit more work this time around because of the hollow centre, which required a bit more engineering,” he said. “There have been a few malfunctioning problems and it has been quite time consuming, however the hollow tube can contain a scroll sealed within with the names of any deceased police officers for that particular calendar year, bearing in mind the best result would be that each baton arrives at the Wall of Remembrance empty.” Each Australian Hardwood baton took around three hours to make, and each one was individually turned freehand – meaning that although they are similar in shape, size and style, no two are identical. A ceremonial ritual will mark the presentation of the batons at the Wall to Wall Ride’s arrival point in Canberra. In addition to the nine batons created for each commissioner of the nation’s policing jurisdictions, Supt Single has also produced a tenth baton to be auctioned off for charity on the day of the ride. The auction baton features engravings of each of the nine Australian police badges and will contain a scroll bearing the signatures of all the current commissioners. The vision is that from this year onwards, each police commissioner from each Australian jurisdiction will keep their perpetual baton safe, to be carried by them each year in the Wall to Wall Ride, and containing within its hollow centre a list of that year’s deceased officers. And in years to come each commissioner will also hope, as they reach for the scroll inside, to discover an empty page.
Click here to read Brian’s “Baton Run Diary”
To view photos of the Baton Run please click here