TARZAN RE­TURNS

Far North­ern icon swings back to where his leg­end be­gan

The Weekend Post - - Front Page - DANAELLA WIVELL [email protected]

TARZAN has re­turned to his beloved Trop­i­cal North.

Michael Fomenko is now liv­ing at Babinda af­ter spend­ing about six years at an aged care home at Gympie.

The reclu­sive hermit (left) used to pound the Bruce High­way be­tween Cairns and In­n­is­fail with his trade­mark potato sack drapped over his shoul­der for decades.

In late 2012 the bush­man, then aged 82, who used to live in jun­gle hump­ies, made a fi­nal trek to visit his sis­ter in Syd­ney but got as far as Gympie, 1515km south, be­fore his body gave in.

Mr Fomenko’s wish to re­turn to the Far North has now been granted. He lives at Babinda’s health cen­tre.

AT LONG last the Far North’s beloved Michael “Tarzan” Fomenko is back on home soil.

The iconic fig­ure, known for walk­ing along the Bruce High­way for decades, has been brought back to where the leg­end started.

His sis­ter Inessa Fomenko said he had been liv­ing at the Babinda Multi Pur­pose Health Cen­tre for “a cou­ple of months”. He had pre­vi­ously been at Cooinda Aged Care Cen­tre in Gympie.

“It was all Gympie’s idea,” Ms Fomenko said.

“He kept ask­ing to go to Cairns and even­tu­ally there was a va­cancy. They drove him all that way in a car.”

She said she was sure her brother was en­joy­ing life back in the trop­ics.

“Ap­par­ently he made a lot of friends in Cairns,” she said.

“He likes the heat there. I live in Ar­mi­dale (NSW), it’s ter­ri­bly cold here. It’s not the kind of place Michael would be into.

“I’m just hop­ing that things are OK for him.”

Now 88-years-old, Mr Fomenko is con­fined to a wheel­chair af­ter decades of walk­ing up and down the Bruce High­way, but Ms Fomenko said he lived a colour­ful life in his youth.

“They ar­rested him at so many places and I al­ways helped get him out,” she said.

“I can’t get him out of things now.”

The 91-year-old said it had been many years since her reclu­sive brother spoke to her.

“He won’t talk to me on the phone or write to me, but I have writ­ten to him,” she said.

“If he needs some­thing he just needs to tell me his wor­ries and I’ll see what I can do to help him.”

She said staff at the aged care divi­sion of Babinda Multi Pur­pose Health Cen­tre told her Mr Fomenko was al­lowed to ex­plore the parks and gar­dens.

“I was promised that he can visit the park,” she said.

“He should be happy. What he hoped for has hap­pened for him.”

MEM­O­RABLE SIGHT: Michael Fomenko near Cairns in 2006 and (above left) in 1996.

CEL­E­BRATED: Cairns Post re­ports on the fas­ci­na­tion with ‘Tarzan’.

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