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September 14, 2014

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Former BC resident documents trek across Australia

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Courtesy jeffswalk.com

Jeff Johnson, who lived in Boulder City as a child, released a book about walking across Australia.

Jeff Johnson has no permanent address. He’s a wanderer.

And for five months in 2007, wandering was all he did, on a coast-to-coast trek across his home country of Australia.

Johnson, 68, who lived in Boulder City as a child in the 1950s, has now published a book about the walk. “Gulf to Gulf” chronicles the 1,550 miles he navigated in the memory of his niece Nicola, who died in 2003.

Nicola Johnson was 37 when she died from complications of a degenerative nerve disease which made her deaf and blind. While on his adventure, Jeff Johnson gave interviews with a satellite phone, raising awareness of the deaf and blind.

In April 2007, he set off from the southern Spencer Gulf and that September landed on the northern Gulf of Carpenteria. He carried everything he needed on his back.

He dodged wild dingo dogs who sometimes circled his camp all night. “I had rocks as ammunition and a stick,” he said. “It was the middle of nowhere, 100 kilometers from anywhere.”

Back in 1952, when Johnson was just a schoolboy, he lived on California Street in Boulder City. His father worked for an Australian manufacturer. The company moved the family to Nevada, stationing them in Boulder City instead of Las Vegas.

Johnson’s older brother Bill, who is Nicola’s father, recently visited Boulder City for a reunion.

In an e-mail, he said he worked for the Boulder City News “cleaning and lighting the gas on the linotype before going on to school.”

“One day I left the key in the front door, locking myself in, and telephoned the sheriff. He arrived on his horse and opened the door,” he said.

For more information or to order the book, visit www.jeffswalk.com.

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