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Main: Grant ‘John’ Cadoret has been walking this beautiful country of ours for the last 40 years, living off the road and the generosity of the communities, through which he travels.

Highwayman passes through Maclean

Lynne Mowbray | For the last 40 year’s Grant ‘John’ Cadoret has been walking around Australia with nothing but his swag, living off the road and the generosity of passersby and the community. Over the years this quiet and humble man has been adopted by social media who refer to him as The Highwayman. They monitor his movements around the country and call on the community to open their hearts and maybe offer him a meal. The Independent caught up with John as he passed through Maclean on Friday last week. John said that he grew up in Minyip in western Victoria before moving to Melbourne, to work in a bank. “Back then, I was working at the head office of the Commonwealth Bank in Melbourne,” John said. “I was a country boy and had come into the big city and I was enjoying myself and after about four years, they suggested that I get a bit more serious about work and I thought to myself; another 20 years in here? Nah. “I had no ambition (to climb the corporate ladder), so I told myself that I would take a three month hitch hiking holiday around Australia, in between jobs. “I did a circle of Australia and got back to the east coast and then just started moving between Queensland and Victoria. “My dad was living at Caloundra so I’d go up and see him and then head back south (to Victoria) and see the others. “I was happy with my life and decided to keep doing it. “During my travels I’ve experienced floods, dust storms, sleet and hail,” said John. When asked if he ever got sick of his swagman lifestyle, John said that he just walks for a while and then sits down. “I carry a few books that I read,” he said. John carries his backpack, swag and waterproof sheeting as well as other bags and has quite a large load on his back, as he walks the highway. “Everyone keeps trying to give me a lift,” he said laughing. John has met a lot of people throughout his travels and said that when he’s had enough he just gets off the road and into the bushes or under some trees and stays there for a few days. During the interview with John, two people offered to assist; one with a meal and another with a coffee. Linda Burow of Maclean had seen a Facebook post about John being in Maclean and was on her way to pick up her sick child from day care when she spotted John and pulled over to ask if he would like her lunch, as she didn’t have time to eat it. John had just had lunch on the riverbank in Maclean with a friend and kindly declined Linda’s offer. “What about dinner then?” she asked. Around the same time, one of the workers at the service station across the road called out to see if he’d like a cup of coffee. “People have been very kind, with many offering meals especially since Facebook adopted me,” said John. “There are a couple of groups that support me, but I don’t know, I don’t even have a phone,” he said. John said that there are a lot of people that see him walking and pull up to have a chat and if it gets too much, he just goes bush for a while. From Maclean, John said that that he is heading north to Woodburn then inland through Coraki, Casino and Woodenbong and on to Queensland. After that he will probably return back through Goondiwindi, staying inland. “I like the variety of the places I’ve been,” said John. “I enjoy the Western Plains. You go through the bush there and it’s not trying to trip you over or block you. There’s plenty of space out there. “Some of the bush up here, you can’t even get through it. And there have been plenty of encounters with snakes, especially early in the season when they start coming out to sunbake. “They like to sunbake just about where I walk and when I see them, I back pedal. “It’s worked so far,” he said.
Linda Burow of Maclean, who stopped to offer John her lunch. Images: Lynne Mowbray.