BY KRYSTYNA POLLARD
07 Jul, 2010
A chapter of Blue Mountains history closed last week following the
death of long-time local resident, hitchhiker and hippy, Peter Carroll.
"Pete", late of Lawson, was a familiar sight along the Great Western
Highway finger stuck out, faithful dog Aurora by his side and
more than 150 mourners shared memories at his funeral service held
last Friday, July 2.
Pete was immortalised in Peter Adams' and Alan Lloyd's 2008 book, The
Street Wise, a self-proclaimed "professional hitchhiker" and hippy.
"I am a mountain boy. I need transport I can't drive I meet a lot
of people, good people," he told Lloyd.
"Generosity is the spirit of the Mountains and it must be preserved."
Born on September 17, 1951 in Sydney, Pete moved to the Mountains at
the age of eight to live in Warrimoo. He left home at 15 and picked
fruit around Australia before training as a commercial artist.
In 1973 he suffered brain damage after losing his footing and
fracturing his skull while working on a purse seine trawler operating
out of Hobart, which led to a decade of hospital visits and memory loss.
He later returned to the Mountains where he was to become a
"travelling icon", as he once described himself.
At his funeral service, friends, family, and those who met him
fleetingly as he hitched a lift on the highway placed sprigs of
wattle on his coffin decorated with a bushland scene and flanked by
a picture of his dog to the strains of the Bob Dylan classic, Like
A Rolling Stone.
Those who spoke shared memories of a passionate and humble man, "a
realist, an artist . . . an encyclopaedia of information" with a love
of dance and music.
"He was a multi-dimensional, unique individual," said long-time
friend Shayne Carter, who is now caring for Aurora.
"His compassion and love of all creatures big and small was a big
part of his life."
Another friend, Jeff Williams, said all who knew him were lucky to
have Pete in their lives.
"I remember watching him dancing on the highway once. It was great," Jeff said.
Described as "one of those rare people who will be missed by people
who never even knew him", Pete never liked to say goodbye and would
instead "say, `hi ho' and give a big thumbs-up"; a gesture those at
his funeral warmly returned.
Peter Anthony Carroll died on June 28 after a long illness, aged 58.
He is survived by members of his family, his many friends, and
16-year-old dog Aurora, whom he once described as his "wife".
"The best part is she trusts me unconditionally and doesn't answer
back," he told Lloyd in 2008.