Brian Freeman

Former Australian Commando, Adventurer, Keynote Speaker

Brian Freeman is one of our country's most intrepid adventurers, having successfully completed some of the world's most demanding and perilous acts of endurance possible. But unlike many others, he has undertaken these adventures for a greater purpose.

A former Australian Commando for 20 years and CEO of Norgay Freeman, the Australian ultimate adventure company, Brian has made an enormous difference to the lives of returned soldiers and the families of our Fallen soldiers.

An extraordinary, moving keynote speaker, well-known for tailoring his presentations specifically to meet client briefs, Brian has rated more highly than most, if not all of Australia's signature speakers and, regularly receives standing ovations.

He regularly speaks at major corporate events, sharing his experiences working with veterans and the families of fallen soldiers. And he provides tremendous insights on how he has managed to push his mind and body to the absolute limit in achieving what few, if any, humans can achieve.

More about Brian Freeman:

Over the course of his career, Brian Freeman has raised millions of dollars for Australian charities. 

Recognising that adventure and hard exercise can be the best way to motivate and help heal, Brian established Norgay Freeman, a privately owned and independent adventure company that creates opportunities to experience the ultimate in leisure and adventure travel for wounded soldiers, charities, elite sporting teams, individuals, private groups and the corporate sector. His organised adventures range from climbing the high-altitude mountains of the world, to bespoke trekking, endurance kayaking, walking safaris through big game areas of Africa, unique corporate road trips, and the ultimate adventures covering Australian military history.

Brian initiated treks of the Kakoda Trail for returned soldiers and the families of fallen soldiers - mostly parents who would never have considered walking the Kakoda Trail. The walk has helped returned soldiers find their way back into the lives they had left behind for Afghanistan, and helped families of fallen soldiers to honour their sons.

On Remembrance Day in 2014, Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove MC, AC, presented Brian Freeman with the Roll of Honour containing the names of the 41 Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan. His task? To complete a multi-continental journey undertaking acts of extreme endurance, that would create much-needed awareness of the impacts of war on returned soldiers.

Brian wanted to create a national debate about the alarming rate of young veteran suicides in Australia and a legacy for our 41 fallen soldiers, by laying 41 poppies in 41 iconic locations across the globe. He has been successful.

The Roll of Honour was encased in a cylinder by the Australian War Memorial, with the War Memorial's Centenary logo, and, thanks to the continued support of corporate partners, he has conducted more than 100 keynote and community briefings in Australia on young veteran issues and veteran suicide; visited 26 iconic global locations; and won an Australia-wide Ooh Media award for his $1.7 million national billboard campaign focussing on young veteran suicide. This campaign acted as a catalyst for the Australian Senate lobbying for a Senate Enquiry into veteran suicide and the Australian Government's budgeting of $350 million being awarded to veteran mental health and veteran suicide prevention.

When it comes to adventure, Brian's records and achievements place him in rare company among global adventurers:

  • He holds the world record for completing the fastest one way unsupported crossing of the Kokoda Trail (24 hours and 59 minutes, 2005) and the world record for the fastest over and back crossing of the Kokoda Trail, (3.5 days, 2003);
  • He completed the fastest crossing in a kayak from Australia to PNG followed by a traverse of the Kokoda Trail, a full journey Cape York to Kokoda (5.5 days, 2010);
  • He is the only person to run Australia's northern most point (the tip of Cape York) to the southern most point (South East Cape Tasmania) including kayaking across Bass Strait, (85 days, 6000+ km, 2015)
  • He is a three-time International Climb Team Member and Summiteer Mount Everest (2014, 2015, 2016);

He has completed:

  • 65 marathon and half marathon?runs, with combined distances of 65km in 65 consecutive days (2015) 
  • 55 complete crossings of the Kokoda Trail (2002 - 2016) ?
  • Two crossings of Australia's Simpson Desert, on foot through the geographical centre of the desert (2008, 2009) 
  • Two crossings of Bass Strait by kayak; second crossing in winter, unsupported, one kayak in the second fastest time for a kayak crossing of Bass Strait, (60 hours and 16 minutes 2015) ?
  • Brian was the first and only person to have travelled by kayak and foot from the southern most point of Australia to the village of Kokoda in PNG.

Brian Freeman was recognised by the Australian Geographic with the Spirit of Adventure Award, an award he says is humbling, however he is most proud of the awareness he has brought to Australian veteran suicide.

Client testimonials

I have known Brian Freeman both in the Army and afterwards for well over fifteen years. In?his army service he was most professional with great knowledge, extremely sound judgment and boundless energy. I knew when he retired from a long life in uniform, he would be successful in his commercial venture of conducting adventure programs... Brian Freeman is an archetypical ‘doer’ – cheerful, wise, honest and determined. He has a great social consciousness.

Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove AC, MC