Tim Cope - On the trail of Genghis Khan
  • Last updated:
  • 18 Jun 2019

After the Mayor set the scene for the Forum, we welcomed our keynote speaker Tim Cope. Tim travelled for three-and-a-half years by horse from Mongolia to Hungary in what Australian Geographic billed ‘one of the greatest journeys of modern times’.

During what can only be described as an epic, Tim, his three horses and now famous Kazakh dog Tigon, endured difficulties ranging from horse thievery and wolves on the Mongolian steppe, to temperature swings of more than 100 degrees in the Kazakh desert, and at one stage an impasse when he became marooned for more than three months in an abandoned Soviet mining town. The challenges, which taught him the virtues of patience, and resolve (as the Kazakhs say, ‘if you must rush, rush slowly’), were not only of a physical kind: as a young Australian, he had to learn to tread a delicate line between cultures that sometimes shared a mutual sense of hostility and mistrust, such as during his time among the conflicting Tatars and Russians of Crimea. Then, less than 1,000km from the finish, Tim confronted death itself when his father was tragically killed in a car accident back in Australia.

In the end, the journey for Tim became defined by much more than the challenges. As he forged a close bond with his animals and became the recipient of generosity, openness and support from hundreds of family homes along the way, he came to intimately understand the fate of the nomadic people of the steppes. Through this, he learnt how to appeal to the better side of human beings and extend himself at times of uncertainty and vulnerability, and view the world through the eyes of others.

Tim’s story was amazing, and it was a highlight for most people when Tigon made a surprise entrance at the end of Tim’s talk. Tigon was a gentle soul and did not show complaint to pose in many photos. For those who want to learn more about Tim’s journey, read his book, On The Trail of Genghis Khan: An Epic Journey Through the Land of the Nomads or visit his website Tim Cope Journeys.

Tim’s talk was only the beginning in the Forum’s storytelling journey. Attendees were provided the opportunity to also hear stories about Aboriginal Landcare, fascinating fungi, fighting disease in koalas, converting a party pool to a wildlife haven and the journeys of a Land For Wildlife landholder and volunteer.