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Highwayman just keeps on walking through Shepparton

On the road: Grant Cadoret walking along Doyles Rd this week on his way to Ballarat.

In 1978, Grant Cadoret left work for the last time and decided he was going to visit his father in Queensland, two states away.

On foot.

Mr Cadoret has been walking ever since, and this week passed through Shepparton on his way to see his brother in Ballarat.

“I've been on the road over 40 years — in the five more years I took a few lifts but none since then,” Mr Cadoret said.

Walking was intended to be a three-month trip, but he said being on the road was “a trap”.

“You like it too much. If you’ve been on the road too long you make your own rules to an extent,” he said.

“I can have a little sit-down, look for somewhere to camp.”

Covering about 10km a day — a little less now with the days so short and the weather bleak — he said the best walking he’d done was on the Western Plains near Hay.

“Most of the roads have a good, wide shoulder and the only hassle is finding a bit of shade,” Mr Cadoret said.

“You see a tree, maybe a mile down the road, and by the time you get there it’s not much shade there at all.”

Mr Cadoret also has a cadre of followers who’ve made their own Facebook group to keep track of the man they call John the Highwayman — John is Mr Cadoret’s middle name — and often give him food and water.

He has lived off the generosity of people for most of his time walking, with the Facebook group immensely improving his quality of life.

However, without a phone or access to the internet, he said “it took me six months to figure out what was going on”.

“I don’t have Facebook, I don’t have a phone, the only thing I knew was what I found in the paper — suddenly all these people wanted selfies,” he said.

“After a few months someone told me what was going on.”

Mr Cadoret kept walking through lockdowns, too, spending the bulk of 2020 and 2021 in NSW.

"I didn’t hang around town too often, and police didn’t seem too worried about it,“ he said.

“Someone did try to put me into a motel in Kempsey but I figured if I accepted the offer I’d be stuck there.”