Maija Zlatic, hermit mystery

Maija Zlatic, a Serbian-Australian widow who inherited over $5 million but deliberately lived in apparent poverty as a hermit in a mud hut in Serbia, died without a trace of the money she inherited from her late husband. She had supposedly given away the first million dollars awarded to her by an Australian court, but the rest of the money’s whereabouts is unknown. Her fellow-villagers are curious, suspecting that caregivers may have stolen everything.


Cloistered Australian nuns

From the Northern Star (Australia) comes a unique photo gallery of  cloistered or reclused nuns, from the Carmelite monastery of Goonellebah. Notes the article:

The Northern Star was recently given access to the hidden world of the Carmelite nuns in Goonellabah.

It has been almost 20 years since the Star visited and it was a rare opportunity to glimpse a life which, for many, is unimaginable.

As seen in the photos the nuns days are filled with tasks, prayer, duties and other items around the monastery.

URL: article:; photos:

Australian “Tarzan” hermit

Michael Peter Fomenko, 84, has been called the original Tarzan, surviving in the wilderness of Australia 60 years, accumulating legend and notoriety for decades. Reputedly the son of a Russian princess, Fomenko, notes the Daily Mail,

shunned modern society 60 years ago and survived by slaying crocodiles and boars with his bare hands in the wilderness.

He fled Sydney at the age of 24 and retreated to the rainforests between Cape York and Ingham in northern Australia to live as a recluse after becoming inspired by Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey.

Over the years, Fomenko was harassed for vagrancy, indecency (he wore a Tarzan-like loincloth), and was once charged with mental illness and institutionalized in a psychiatric hospital. But Fomenko has outlasted these mishaps, returning to extended periods of solitude in the wilderness to resurface occasionally. He now lives in an old age care facility where he reportedly does not commnicate much but appears content.


Australian “Robinson Crusoe”

The Telegraph (UK) reports on Australian David Glasheen, who has lived alone on Restoration Island for nearly 20 years. He moved to the deserted island after losing his fortune in a stock market crash. But a recent court order threatens to evict him from the island because he was evidently permitted residence contingent on creating a business partnership to develop a resort.

From the article:

Mr. Glasheen, who is now in his late 60s, said he revels in the tranquility and privacy and has called himself as “the luckiest bloke in the world”. He lives off fish and crab and collects bananas, coconuts and native fruit, as well as growing his own vegetables and brewing beer. He has solar-powered internet access and still flutters on the stock market using an online trading account. …

“It is a fabulous place, I am a lucky bloke to be there,” he said. “I have learnt a huge amount. I started to value what is really important. Trust, honesty, respect – simple things. I have learnt that you can do things with very little. You soon learn in the bush to survive. If you don’t you die pretty quickly.”


Australian hermit documentary

ABC TV of Australia first aired the documentary “Hermits: Freedom or Madness” in February of 1998 on its Compass series. (Mentioned in this blog back in 2003!) The documentary is now available on the web.

Description from the Compass site:

COMPASS follows six very different Australians who’ve all chosen to live lives of complete seclusion, free from obligations – withdrawn from society (yet in some cases still living in urban environs), exploring life in depth.
We meet people like Vyn Bailey, a hermit and yogin – Father Ronan, a Priest and anchorite – and Pravrajika Ajayaprana, a Hindu nun.

Compass site:

Sr. Carol, Australian hermit

From the Inner West Courier in Australia comes a brief article on Carol Prevedello, who recently became a canonical hermit (Catholic) in Australia.

She has made promises of poverty, chastity and obedience and pledged to live a life of prayer, penance, silence and solitude in a tradition that dates back to biblical times.

She doesn’t dwell in a cave in the wilderness, but lives with her parents in a two-storey house in the Inner West.

Quotes from the article: “I think it was always in me.” … “When I was a teenager, I used to say to my mum, ‘I could go up a mountain and never come back down again.'”


Australian hermit’s two years

An autobiographical essay entitled “The Retired Hermit” in the Australian web site New Age. The byline is: “Peter Davis chose the life of a solitary in the high country for two years where he found the space to care for himself.” The first paragraph gives a sense of the quiet mission he set about pursuing for those two years. “I became a hermit gradually. It started in 1987 on a mountain near the small town of Harrietville in north-eastern Victoria. This was soon after my HIV diagnosis, when I was 19.”

Perhaps Peter Davis is better know in Australia; there is no further elaboration on this page, which is part of the book review section of New Age, for non-Australian readers.

Note: URL of complete version submitted by a friend of Hermitary:

Australian radio program on hermits

From Radio Nederlands, an intriguing half-hour audio program by Australian producers and writers Stewart Nestel and Peter Davis, who “went in search of people who have chosen to become hermits, and of people who encountered them.” Essentially on wilderness hermits, but interesting reflections on the psychological and spiritual realizations discovered by those who live in the “bush.” Narrative inserts of hermit poems, too.

Here is the website’s description of the program:

The Australian bush can be brutally harsh and unforgiving as well as hauntingly beautiful. It is also an ideal place to seek a solitary life. Being so totally alone in nature can be a unique experience. It can unlock all sorts of secrets of one’s true self. It can teach a person to stop time. It can be a place of escape, and of discovery. “In Search of the Hermit Within” is a story about people in search of something that only solitude could provide.

Or access the audio directly:
Windows Media Player (
Real Player:

Originally broadcast by Australian Broadcasting Corporation in February 2005 but audio not available on their web site: