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Off to the market….

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The largest country market in North Queensland is located in the little tablelands
village of Yungaburra.
It is operated once a month as a fund raiser by the primary school parents and citizens committee..

This final picture is of possibly Australia's last swagman.  We have observed him for the last 20 years as he carries all his worldly possessions on his back, following the country show circuit making a buskers living reciting and acting Australian bush stories and poetry.  The "swag" is all his bedding material rolled up in the canvas grounsheet. (You will probably need to click on the picture to view it full size)

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About GOF

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it." (Tom Lehrer)

12 responses »

  1. I wonder if that swaggie is the same one who was on the ABC TV program a week or so ago. He worked in a bank, but just decided to go on the road one day, and kept on going for 25 years. His parents thought he was dead. He eventually re-established contact in time to see his father die.

  2. Seriously, he's the last one? Oral history is invalueable – losing that is like losing a whole culture and language!

  3. Liz has just been checking out your pics, GOF.She was in Atherton last month to visit her sister and Wendy has a stall of baby clothes at this market.It's such a big turn out though we would have been pretty lucky to see her stall.

  4. I missed the ABC story Snowy, so not sure if this is the same bloke.There is also another reclusive guy who has lived in the bush 30km south of Cairns.reputedly highly educated, now at least 70, speaks to no-one, and we occasionally see him dressed only in tattered shorts and sandshoes, shuffling along the side of the highway with an old sugar sack filled with essential groceries on his shoulder. Up until very recently the "shuffling" was a vigorous 30km "jog".

  5. Thank you Ellie. I haven't done enough research to guarantee he is absolutely the last one. Perhaps the program Snowy saw was of another one.And it is sad, because this particular man has an impressive repertoire of poems and anecdotes about Australian culture.I guess no-one is prepared to live such a tough life with minimal possessions any more, after the 1930's depression when it was the way of life for so many Australians.

  6. I think there are a couple of hundred stalls at the market, and she probably has quite a bit of competition selling baby clothes. It is still however the best market in the area, and has a great atmosphere and provides a nice day out.

  7. Is that Michael Fomenko, GOF?

  8. I don't think I have ever known his name Snowy.As I have an idea he originated from one of the Russian states, that name sort of fits the bill doesn't it. Where did you hear about him?

  9. The Sunday papers used to write about him in the sixties on a slow news day. I found this on Google.. MICHAEL
    " Tarzan " FOMENKO
    In 1955, at the age of 24, Michael Fomenko,
    the son of Princess Machabelli, a member of the pre- revolutionary Russian
    aristocracy, left Sydney and headed to the far north to realise his
    dream of living in the jungle. Killing crocodiles and wild pigs with
    only a machete, living with remote Cape York aborigines, paddling his
    dugout canoe from the Daintree River to the Torres Strait and countless
    other adventures, Michael is legendary for his amazing exploits in the
    deep jungles of the empty north and is Australia’s own real life
    Tarzan. Now in his seventies, Michael is still out there running to
    the beat of a different drum.

  10. Yep, that's him Snowy. Thank you very much for digging it up.I wish he would agree to talk to someone about his life before he dies, because it is so hard to determine what is truth and what has been made up by the media.He also has a lot he could contribute to the debate on health and nutrition in older age, because he lives on only very basic foodstuffs, never heeds skin cancer warnings about covering up, and when I last saw him a couple of weeks ago appears in quite extraordinary physical condition for a man of his age.

  11. This is the other one I was thinking of, GOF.

  12. He is a different one to mine. It's good to know we have at least two swaggies left.


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