The big blue bus arrived in the Top End in late June, 2014.
First stop was the Big Rivers Football League in Katherine on 28 June. Six teams battled it out across the three Blue Round clashes, with the Roadshow team joining spectators and handing out free Beyond Blue resources.
On Monday 30 June Beyond Blue hosted a free community barbecue at the Carers NT office in Katherine. Many locals stopped by the bus to enjoy the lunch and chat to the Roadshow team as well as staff from Carers NT.
The bus then headed north up the Stuart Highway, arriving in Darwin on Thursday 3 July for the pre-NEAFL Beyond Blue Cup press conference at TIO Stadium. The bus provided the backdrop for NT Thunder coach Xavier Clarke and Beyond Blue’s Tim Moran to talk to the media about the approaching Beyond Blue Cup – an annual awareness-raising event in the NEAFL calendar.
The following day the bus set up at Bennett Park in Darwin to chat with locals about mental health and the importance of staying well. That evening the busy Palmerston Markets welcomed the Roadshow team, with many market-goers taking the opportunity to find out more about depression and anxiety and pick up some free resources.
Saturday kicked off with the NEAFL Beyond Blue Cup clash between the NT Thunder and Redland Bombers at TIO stadium – the curtain raiser to that evening’s AFL match between Melbourne Demons and Fremantle Dockers. Fifteen Beyond Blue volunteers handed out thousands of wristbands to the crowd of 10,000. The Thunder were victorious over the Bombers, with Fremantle taking the win against the Demons.
On Sunday morning the bus hit Mindle Beach to take in Darwin’s iconic Beer Can Regatta. The annual event sees numerous boats crafted from colourful aluminium cans take to the harbour to race. Beyond Blue Chairman Jeff Kennett dropped by to check out the action and talk to people visiting the big blue bus. The Roadshow remained for the Mindle Beach Sunset Markets, chatting to hundreds of people across the day before the markets finished up at 10pm.
It was an early start on Monday 7 July for the 300 business owners, managers and employees who attended a breakfast presentation at the Double Tree by Hilton to hear about mental health in the workplace. The event was held in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce NT and NT WorkSafe, with presentations from Beyond Blue Chairman Jeff Kennett and Deputy Chief Minister for the NT David Tollner.
The following day the bus hit the road to make the 1000km journey south to Tennant Creek. Stopping in many communities along the route, the bus rolled into Tennant Creek on the afternoon of Thursday 10 July ahead of Friday’s Tennant Creek Show.
More than 2000 people attended the show, one of the highlights on the social calendar in the small community. Hundreds of free Beyond Blue showbags were distributed, with NT Chief Minister Adam Giles dropping by the bus and giving the handball challenge a go!
Alice Springs was the last stop in the NT. Arriving on 12 July, the heavens opened and unfortunately the first stop for the bus – Sunday’s Todd Mall Markets – were cancelled due to rain. Undeterred, the bus parked outside the local supermarket to ensure resources were on offer.
That evening, 70 staff from organisations including Healthy Living NT, Carers NT, Red Cross and the emergency services attended a special cinema screening of Jersey Boys. As well as enjoying a great film, attendees were encouraged to make a mental health pledge and provided Beyond Blue resources to take away.
On Monday 14 July, the bus parked at the Alice Springs Hospital and put on a morning tea for staff, visitors and patients. The team then headed down the road to Ingkintja Men’s Health Shed, part of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress – the largest Aboriginal medical service in the NT. The urn was again fired up and dozens of men and passersby stopped for a cuppa and a chat.
Thanks to the wonderful communities who gave Beyond Blue such a warm welcome! Thanks also to Medibank Community Fund for their support.
View other stops around Australia, and a gallery of National Roadshow highlights.