26 March, 2024

Top Hat Tony raises over $300,000 for sick children

D'Aguilar resident and Woodford identity Tony Moroney has reached another milestone in his never-ending quest to help children with illness, disease or injury.

By Liam Hauser

‘Top Hat Tony’ reached the $300,000 milestone raising money for children with illness, disease or injury.
‘Top Hat Tony’ reached the $300,000 milestone raising money for children with illness, disease or injury.

The heavily tattooed and bearded man known as ‘Top Hat Tony’ has notched a little over $300,000 for children’s charities, having begun this venture nearly 13-and-a-half years ago.

He carries a sign with the breakdown of figures, revealing $113,463.50 for Heart Kids, $107,030.65 for Cystic Fibrosis and $80,177.40 for the Gold Coast Hospital Foundation (GCHF).

Tony said he hoped to raise another $20,000 to lift his tally to $100,000 for the GCHF, while he hoped to one day lift his overall tally beyond $400,000.

After Tony previously walked up and down the Woodford CBD for a couple of hours most days to raise funds, he changed his approach due to an array of arthritic ailments which have hampered him.

For many years, Tony has also been a full-time carer for his wife Annie, who battles chronic muscle pain.

Nowadays, Tony is content to sit outside Woolworths with his collection bucket for a couple of hours, five days each week.

He also remains a fixture at the Caboolture Country Markets each Sunday, where he has become something of a cult figure.

“They’re very giving down there,” he said.

“Kids give me high-fives.”

Tony began his fundraising venture after seeing a young boy who had had multiple open-heart surgeries, and a young girl with cystic fibrosis.

“Without children, there’s no future,” he said.

Unfortunately for Tony, he was unable to continue fundraising for Heart Kids and Cystic Fibrosis, after the Queensland Government introduced laws which were tough on bikies.

Tony’s physical appearance has sadly generated many spiteful and horrific comments over the years, with his vast number of tattoos making him an easy target for abusive remarks.

Many people have crudely told him to go away, while others have called him obscene names or unjustifiably labelled him a thief.

On one occasion, someone drew his finger across his throat and called Tony an infidel.

“Don’t judge me, google me,” he said.

“It does hurt if people call me a thief.

“You can’t judge a book by its cover.

“People must be very miserable themselves if they abuse others.”

For all the nastiness he has been subjected to, Tony has also received many compliments for his generosity. A number of people have also changed their minds about him after they had been wary of him.

Tony was named Moreton Bay Regional Council’s Citizen of the Year in 2015, and he has also been nominated for an Australia Day Award.

GCHF fundraising manager Vicki James said Tony’s fundraising helped acquire a neonatal Giraffe Omnibed Carestation, which has been designed to support the care of extremely preterm or critically unwell newborn infants.

“The incubator (carestation) creates a controlled and protected environment for the baby, whilst supporting complex care requirements that nurses and doctors are required to perform on these critically unwell babies,” she said.

Vicki said Tony also funded many sensory items for the Paediatrics Emergency Department, while also contributing to events such as the International Wave of Light, and Children’s Memory Day.

“Tony’s funds go a long way towards helping kids who are sick or injured, and their families,” she said.

“He helps out children he’ll never know and they’ll never know (what he’s done).”


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