Eccentrics are, mostly, harmless and vastly entertaining.
Australia needs to celebrate her eccentrics from both the past and present day, for they are a rich source of reflections upon the shaping of our nation....and good value in any time period
In the 1840's the idol of every small child (and large adult) in and around Sydney was William King, better known to all and sundry as The Flying Pieman.
Billy boy was hatched in London in 1807 and was supposed to study to enter the Church but he was a tad restless for the quiet job at hand so he tried stockbroking instead. But here too he got the jitters, so he chucked it all in and took off for the furtherest reaches of the earth - Australia.
When he blew in, Mr King was given a stint as school master at a school almost 100 miles from Sydney's bright lights. Finding the slog a bit on the lonesome side, William followed the bright lights back to Sydney where he started pouring the schooners for the locals at the Hope and Anchor pub.
Soon after he branched out into business and began flogging pies, but Bill still had the wanders so he started on his career of bizarre feats, which he could indulge in, now he was his own master.
One of his first acts to make people sit up and say "what the...?" was when he set off for a stroll of 2,640 kms in just 39 days.
He twice beat the Windsor to Sydney coach and six consecutive days he toddled from Sydney to Parramatta and back, which was a daily trek of 97 kms.
Not satisfied with just merely walking about the colony, this possible red cordial closet drinker then made a bet and lugged a 32 kg dish licker 54 kms inside 8 hours and 50 mins, winning the bet with 10 mins to spare.
The Flying Pieman, as he was beginning to be known, then hefted a 42 kg goat on his back and carted it from Sydney to Parramatta in 6 hours and 48 mins.
But wait! There's more !
(This bloke is making me exhausted just reading his exploits...)
On Boxing Day 1847, obviously bored with his pressies from Santa, William not-so-very-sedately performed his most outstanding stunt yet.
Having a little wager on the side, as usual, The Flying Pieman was to run a mile, walk a mile, push a wheelbarrow half a mile, pull a gig with a sheila in it for half a mile, pick up 50 stones a yard apart and perform 50 leaps, all -get this- within 90mins with only 2 very brief rest stops.
He won with 45 seconds to spare.
To read further about this bloke click HERE, HERE and HERE.