Far Northern icon swings back to where his legend began
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’.