Incorrectly stated as being March 1949 on Fairfax media, http://professional.fairfaxsyndication.com/archive/The-Scooter-Club-farewells-Keith-2F3XC5L8MMXX.html, this must be June 29th 1952, as you can find the original Sydney Morning Herald article here: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18271073
The World's News (Sydney), 1st November 1952
original article: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article139914785
Scooting round Australia
By BARRY QUIGLEY
He collided with an emu, a kangaroo and a bullock in his outback odyssey.
A YOUNG Sydney man, Keith Batten, 27, started out three months ago with £60 in his pocket to travel round Australia on a motor-scooter. He returned to his Edgecliff (Syd-
ney) home a few weeks ago with £2 left after travelling 9000 miles.
Homeward-bound workers in Edgecliff stopped and stared at him as almost hidden beneath an over sized flying suit, flying boots, gloves and helmet, he pushed his battered
and dusty motor scooter on to the footpath.
Batten made the trip in an attempt to chalk up an impressive mileage so he could qualify for an international road competition run by an Italian motor-scooter company. The first prize in the competition (for the greatest number of miles done on a scooter between May 1 and October 31) was 1-million lire (£A750).
Batten filled a haversack with concentrated and tinned foods, packeda sleeping bag .and groundsheet on top and left for all points west via Melbourne and Adelaide. He reached Port Augusta which was notable, particularly to Batten, because it was the last time he saw
a good road until he reached Perth -1400 miles further west.
On the Nullarbor Plain, Batten suffered the first pangs of loneliness for the wife and five-month-old child he had left behind. He was to feel lonely on countless other occasions
before he came back but on the plain he built huge fires both for warmth and for company.
Even the fires did not prevent the minute nocturnal visitors such as ants and other insects from giving Batten three sleepless nights.
He reached Perth, which he describes as "The nicest city I've ever been to." Batten, in fact, came back to Sydney with a "cause." He says he wants to publicise the west because too many people on the eastern side of the continent are apt to forget about it, its people and its potentialities.
Batten was impressed by the many invitations he received to homes during his stay in Perth. When he arrived in the city he planned to stay a day and night but it was 10 days before he left for Carnarvon.
On the north-west coast, four emus began to pace alongside his scooter. They stayed with him for five miles when suddenly one of them inexplicably changed its course and ploughed into the scooter. Batten went sprawling and had to doctor leg and arm injuries.
The emu was uninjured as was the kangaroo he hit in the Northern Territory and the bullock he hit coming over a hill near Mt. Isa in Queensland.
Batten is an enthusiastic, energetic young man with ideas. The day he returned to Sydney, he:
In the Northern Territory he saw thousands of dead and dying cattle - victims of the North's worst drought. In the same country, however, he had the amusing experience of being told his fortune by an aboriginal witch doctor dressed up in the unorthodox garb of a Texas cowboy- short cuffed trousers, wide buckled belt, highly-colorer shirt and a 10-gallon hat.
The witch doctor, devoid of the traditional white paintings about his body, told Batten he would travel far. make much money, then lose it. When the fun-loving Batten asked him if he would marry, the witch doctor paused and replied, "Boss, you already marry. You have children."
When I spoke with him, Batten was still suffering from the effects of dysentery and dermatitis contracted during his trip, as well as the injuries from road smashes with emu,
kangaroo and bullock. Batten contracted the dysentery after drinking bore water in Queens
land. Origin of the dermatitis is a mystery to him.
When Batten kissed his wife at the door of his modern suburban flat, on his return, she asked, in the way of all wives, how much money had he brought back. Batten replied
He had taken £60 from their bank account three months before to do the trip. Like best-selling author, Peter Pinney, Batten has dust on his shoes but it is the dust of his home
land and he considers the £58 outlay was small for the wealth of experience he gained.
Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton), 5th September 1952
Keith Batten, of Edgeclifie, Sydney, recently left on a 22,000-mile projected trip on a Lambretta motor scooter. He ls competing for a prize of £750 given In the international
tourist competition for Lambretta owners. The distance has to be covered in six months and the towns en route are Melbourne, Adelaide, Alice Springs, Darwin, Broome, Perth,
Adelaide, Tennant's Creek, Brisbane and Sydney. This is an ambitious course for a scooter and it will be interesting to see how he fares.
Brisbane Telegraph, 12th Sept 1952
To get through some
of the long sandy
stretches in West Aus
tralia during his round-
Australia ride on a
scooter Sydney rider
Keith Batten let his
tyre pressures down to
Batten arrived here this
week after about 9,000
miles in pursuit of a big
prize for the greatest
mileage covered on a
Lambretta in six months.
The contest is world
wide. He aims at a re-
cord mileage of 12,000.
The little 125 c.c. two-
stroke scooter pulled
Batten and about 90lb.
of gear, plus an extra
four-gallon fuel tank, at
an average consumption
of 100 m.p.g. Maximum
power output is about
Of the three tyres with
which he started two are
good and the third is
smooth. Spares carried
were two plugs, two sets
of rings, two condensers,
tyre and tube, and con
Batten's next major stop will be at Sydney.
Northern Standard, 26th September 1952
Scooter man Keith Batten, a young Sydney fridge operator, who was recently in Darwin in the course of a trip round Australia on a Lambretta motor scooter, has arrived back in Sydney.
He had covered 9000 miles and had £2 in his pocket left from the £60 he set out with.
After he left Darwin Batten returned via Katherine, Mt Isa, Brisbane and Sydney.
Batten made the trip to qualify for a prize of £750 offered by the manufacturers of the Lambretta.
During his stay in Darwin Batten helped pay his way by working for a few days on a local Banana plantation. He said he liked Darwin as much as any place he had struck on his trip and hoped to return with his wife and child later and settle here.
However on his return to Sydney he is reported to have declared that he plans to go to Alaska and motor scooter down to Buenos Airez, capital of Argentina.
Although the 9,000 miles ridden by Keith Batten of Sydney on a Lambretta motor scooter in a bid to win a world-wide scooter mileage competition won him only third prize, his mileage must have been by far the most arduous covered by the contestants.
The period taken into account was six months, during which Batten rode around Australia.
On desert stretches in Western Australia, Batten had to let his tyre pressures down to 1lb. and walk alongside his little 125cc two-stroke machine.