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I wandered all over NSW and Queensland, too; into the regional centres, the little towns and the lonely spaces in between. But no matter where I curled up to sleep, safety was my number-one concern. I was attacked numerous times over the years and even wound up in hospital courtesy of a beating by twisted types who get off on assaulting rough sleepers.

One of the worst developments for homeless people happened when local councils hit on the idea of watering public parks at night. Homeless life is an exhausting grind. Society generally reviles you. Years can disappear in what seems like hours; time means nothing when you have no foothold in society. Instead, the sun comes up and then the sun goes down. Days are just days that are either hot, cold, windy, warm, wet or dry. Night-time is the same, just with darkness and apprehension thrown in. It wears you down. One day, at the end of another aimless walk to a lonely corner of the map, I wandered into a rainforest in northern NSW.

When it dawned on me that I liked it because there was no-one else there, I decided to stay for a while.

After a while, I decided to stay forever. I withdrew from society in that forest. By living as a hermit, I thought I had solved one of my major problems — tha t of having to deal with human beings. I slept out in the open and often in the pouring rain, and I grew accustomed to hunger, mania, sickness and pain.

For sustenance I ate among other things lizards, worms, bats and bugs.

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But after 10 years alone and sleeping on a bed of fern leaves, something strange and unexpected happened. For ten years a man calling himself Will Power lived in near-total isolation in northern New South Wales, foraging for food, eating bats and occasionally trading for produce. But who was this mysterious man who roamed the forest and knew all of its secrets and riddles?

Some people thought he might be Jesus. Others feared he was a more sinister figure. The truth was that he w For ten years a man calling himself Will Power lived in near-total isolation in northern New South Wales, foraging for food, eating bats and occasionally trading for produce. The truth was that he was neither miraculous nor malevolent, but he was, most certainly, gifted.

His profoundly touching and uplifting memoir is at once a unique insight into how far off track a life can go and powerful reminder that we can all find our way back if we pause for a moment in the heart of the forest. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published May 28th by William Heinemann Australia.

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Feb 08, Carmel Demery rated it it was amazing. An almost unbelievable account of a traumatic life. There is something very ironic when a man who called himself Will Power as a recluse uses every ounce of willpower to turn his life around so dramatically. He has given more to our society than most people would in their lifetime.

What an amazing person. I would have been so scared if I had ever met him on the street but as he said in his story - he would of been more scared of me!

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View 1 comment. Aug 25, Ruby rated it it was amazing. I just learned something about my dad. His traumatic childhood was part of a recognised collective experience. My dad is a Forgotten Australian. I've just finished this book and I am sitting here, on the verge of tears, with a whole new understanding of my world and my past. I wish you could have read this book, dad.

I'm so glad I did. Thanks Dr Gregory Smith for writing about something that history has tried to sweep away. There is a legacy that can not be swept away. Thank you for recogni Wow. Thank you for recognising that. I'm going to recommend this book to my whole family.


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What an incredible, insightful read! Feb 23, Leoni Graham rated it liked it. I was dumbfounded with the list of remarkable accomplishments that he had achieved after he emerged from the forest ten years later. Through this book, I've realised how lacking our patience and understanding of the homeless and others who are struggling in their lives.

We tend to judge and have negative perceptions about the homeless. It never comes to our mind that they are not as lucky as us, having good people to help us when we experience hard times.

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Book Review - Out of the Forest by Gregor I was dumbfounded with the list of remarkable accomplishments that he had achieved after he emerged from the forest ten years later. May 28, Kerran Olson rated it really liked it Shelves: Gregory's childhood experiences in institutional care and the foster system were hard to read, but even more so is the overwhelming number of children he represents who had similar experiences in this country.

I found the references to Tamworth and other parts of that region e 4. I found the references to Tamworth and other parts of that region especially interesting as I've spent time there, so I could contextualize those aspects a bit more, and Gregory' s account of his years in the rainforest were fascinating because his life was just so far from anything I've known. Definitely recommend this one! I listened on Audible and found it hard to stop listening!

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Feb 23, Carolyn Miles rated it liked it. A remarkable story of resilience, survival and transformation. I found most of it quite depressing and the mistreatment of the author and his sisters as children was awful.

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Sep 15, Amy rated it it was amazing Shelves: biography-autobiography , australian.