Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Naked nomad leaves millions

A man who rejected possessions and walked naked around the country has been declared dead, leaving his sister an estate worth millions of dollars. Victor Flanagan, also known as the “Naked Nomad”, was declared presumed dead in the Supreme Court in Perth last week – more than a decade after he last spoke to his sister.

The West Australian said a multimillion-dollar beachfront property near Busselton would be left to his sister, Violet Georgina Jenkins. Mr Flanagan had inherited the property after their father’s death.

Mrs Jenkins told the court that she last spoke to Mr Flanagan in 1996, while he was living in Papua New Guinea, the newspaper reported. He moved to PNG after years of wandering naked around outback Australia. He would don a sarong when walking through towns and a pair of thongs when there were prickles underfoot.

Mrs Jenkins said loggers at a remote camp in PNG found a naked and dying man in a canoe and she believed it was her brother. He was buried in a mass grave in the PNG city of Lae, where other unidentified people were laid to rest, she said.

Supreme Court Justice Andrew Beech ruled that it was fair to say that Mr Flanagan, who would have turned 57 this year, was dead.

“It is to be expected that he would have been in contact with (Mrs Jenkins) if he were still alive,” Justice Beech said. In a newsletter for environmental awareness group The Great Walk, Mr Flanagan was described as “a gentle man who walked this earth with love and care for the environment around him”.

“He walked barefoot from Perth to Papua New Guinea, becoming known as the Naked Nomad, making the news in his plight to share his truth with the outside world,” the newsletter said.

In 1995, Mr Flanagan told a reporter his naked adventures had attracted interest from travellers and police and many gave him and his dog food and water.

He said his goal was simply to be in touch with nature.

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