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'Flamboyant' broker runs into trouble on camel trek

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The owner of an insurance brokerage who left his high-profile leadership role to trek around Australia with five camels and a dog has made headlines after falling down a steep Victorian gorge with one of the animals.

John Elliott – who also owned a nightclub and admits to previously having “a little bit more of a flamboyant lifestyle” – resigned as CEO of Perth-based Elliott Insurance Brokers in 2018 to “find a different way to happiness”.

He’s covered more than 3000km in a year and says he has another 18 months and 5000km to go, but ran into difficulty on Sunday near Jamieson, not far from Mount Buller.

Mr Elliott did not respond to calls from but told the ABC how heavy rainfall had led to treacherous conditions and one of the camels, named Arthur, had fallen 40 metres down a steep cliff.

Mr Elliott also fell some distance after trying to hold on to Arthur’s rope.

Both escaped serious injury and were able to climb back to the track with assistance from the Jamieson Fire Brigade.

“Before this I was a CEO of an insurance broking company in Perth, that I started about 12 years ago,” Mr Elliott told the ABC.

“I relied on the money to put a smile on my face a bit too much and wanted to go out there and find a different way to find happiness and see the world.

“Someone mentioned camels at dinner one night and the next day I Googled ‘how do you buy a camel’.”

Staff at the Steadfast brokerage, which lists Mr Elliott on its website as Founder and Director, told they are following Mr Elliott's progress with keen interest.

“We knew this was going to be a dangerous adventure for him, and particularly this part of the trip,” CFO and Business Manager Rachael Burnell said.

“It was an unfortunate event that happened, and we’re so happy John, [his dog] Bruski and the camels are ok.

“Luckily John has always been a cool, calm and collected kind of man with the ability to think on his feet.

“The clients ask all the time how the ‘camel man’ is. I think everyone is so interested in what he is doing.”

Mr Elliott says police and parks authorities have been supportive of his trip despite coronavirus restrictions as “I don’t have a fixed abode”.

“I’ve been trying to stay out of direct contact with people as I go through,” he said.

Click here for further details of the trip, or here to listen to Mr Elliott’s ABC interview.