With the single thud of a gavel hitting timber, Derryn Hinch’s sentence for yet another contempt of court conviction was served. Little did he know his outlook on life would soon change, forever.
Hinch has experienced wealth beyond what most will only ever dream of. And, he’s lost it all. Well almost all of it – he got down to $6.49 in the bank, which he discovered can’t be withdrawn from an ATM. Over the years he’s shown resilience by rebuilding his career, his finances and his life.
A $100,000 fine for breaching a suppression order at 70 of age may not have bankrupted this feisty Australian journo but it’d be enough to hurt him financially. His willingness to trade his freedom for 50 days in an eight-by-two cell to avoid the fine comes as no surprise.
Jail can’t compare to the two environments he’s most familiar with: high-rise luxury apartment living and five star hotels. Prison guards replace room service attendants.
Bottle green coloured overalls secured by cable-ties, replace tailored shirts, pants and designer jackets and the trademark beard, well that’d be shorn off too. The latter by choice. Perhaps the loss of dignity is made easier when looking in the mirror and barely recognising the man staring back?
When he emerged, time served, debt paid, in an unmarked 4WD at an abandoned truck-stop on the corner of Langi Kal Kal Road and the Western Highway, Trawalla – a town so small it doesn’t register on maps – Hinch was greeted by media and the fire burning in his belly was stronger than ever.
Determined to change the way Australia manages its sex offenders, he vowed to walk 180 kilometres over 10 days, from Langi Kal Kal Prison – where he spent most of his incarceration – to the steps of Parliament House in Melbourne, to hand over a petition to the state’s politicians: a list of 130,000 Australians who support the implementation of a national public register of convicted sex offenders.
It was Jayco’s Gerry Ryan, who became the chief sponsor of the 10-day Jail 2 Justice event, supplying Hinch and his crew with an RV as a support vehicle. The Jayco Conquest led the way along freeways, through small cities, native bush and down unsealed country lanes all the way to Parliament House.
The Jayco RV was so much more than transport. It was the beacon of light at the end of a hard slog, an oasis for tired, blistered feet and a cold drink, the command post and a much-needed bathroom. “Our Jayco motorhome was so luxurious and comfortable that I was starting to think that maybe I could ‘rough it in style’, says Hinch.
‘And now it has come to pass and for two whole weeks I’m going to be an on the road traveller again. But this time on a holiday road trip with my partner Natasha Chadwick, an experienced photographer and videographer. We are going to cruise around the beautiful South Island of New Zealand in a more than comfortable Jayco motorhome. Can’t wait”.
It’ll be Derryn’s first holiday in an RV, and if all goes to plan, there’ll be lots of other adventurous first feats for this septuagenarian with a new lease on life. Stay tuned.
Derryn and Natasha will be travelling in a Jayco Conquest.