Shorty Dwyer: short man, large heart

22 Aug 20
by Andy

Shorty Dwyer: short man, large heart

When we received a donation recently, the donor’s name rang a bell. A bit of digging revealed that Shorty’s history of giving to Rural & Remote Mental Health spanned several years.

We decided to get in touch to express our gratitude and, in the process, uncovered his amazing story.

Shorty Dwyer grew up in Orange NSW and has worked as a tour guide for more years than he’s willing to admit. But he says, of all the places he’s travelled, it’s the Australian outback that he loves the most.

His guests loved it too – but it turns out they weren’t so fond of the water.

“People from overseas, even people from the cities, they hated the water and they all bought bottles instead,” Shorty explained.

“And all that plastic would just get tossed and go to landfill.”

While travelling through the NT and SA, Shorty would collect the bottles and take them to depots for recycling.

When the money started adding up, he decided to give it to charity.

Having lost a friend and work-mate to suicide, he wanted the money to support mental health in the communities he loved.

Shorty said his mate’s death knocked him for six.

“I’ve been fortunate to not have mental health issues; I didn’t understand it.

“I needed to regroup, so I left my job with plans to sail around the world.”

He made it as far as Magnetic Island, where he spent a year moored off the coast and living on his boat.

After the 12-month sabattical, Shorty returned to work. That’s when he started collecting and donating bottle money to RRMH.

He outlined the situation to his guests, explaining his fundraising efforts and the motivation behind it.

“When I started talking about it, people started telling me about their experiences,” Shorty said.

“They told me about their struggles with depression and mental health. I realised it’s actually really common.

“Guests were really supportive and some of them added to the donations; people would hand me cash saying they wanted to contribute.”

And now Shorty’s kicking things up a notch. He recently started his own tour company and has become a corporate donor.

His company, Short Man Large Adventures, is donating $5 per day per guest to Rural & Remote Mental Health.

“It’s not much,” he said, “but I guess it all adds up.”

And he’s right: those 10c refunds have definitely added up over the years. Thank you, Shorty!


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Short Man Large Adventures donates $5 per day per guest to Rural & Remote Mental Health.