on the wild side
Aussiemike was born Michael John Calnan in Australia in 1950. In 1971, after a formal education in Melbourne he left Australia for Europe.
In 1972 after extensively traveling the continent he made the first of his seven commercial expeditions across the Sahara desert in an old army truck, living for lengthy periods,
often unintentionally, in Morocco, The Congo, Cameroon and Tiwi beach in Kenya.
For the following 9 years he plied this route between London and Mombasa before retiring on the beach in Kenya.
Seeking more reality from life than the beach could offer he returned to Australia in 1985 via Milan Italy ,where he learned 15 words of Italian in his six month stay.
Back in Australia he journeyed north and spent two years underwater fishing on the Great Barrier Reef out of Port Douglas before being head hunted by World Expeditions to manage their Africa program. During his four years with W.E. he produced more than five documentaries on
Africa Including the mountain gorillas of Rwanda and the Pygmies of the Ituri forest in
(you're up early)
also did numerous private expeditions for Television and incentive
groups throughout Southern Africa and the Congo interior. In 1988
he was named Australia's most eligible bachelor by Cleo Magazine
and in the same year named as one of Australias most facinating
men by Portfolio, a leading womens business magazine.
failing to adapt to metropolis living in Sydney he again
returned to the beach in Kenya.
For another two years he
retired to his chosen sport of fishing, at the same time building
back to original his new accommodation, Hatters Castle. It was
here he started the Funzi Furniture Factory.
Initially out of necessity but more recently from a devotion
to his new found love, making furniture.
Apart from designing
furniture he plays chess and snooker, rides motocross in the
nearby Shimba Hills, and designs one off extreme holidays for his
friends. The most recent being the circumnavigation of Zanzibar in
a canoe and a trail bike safari across the extinct volcano of
Longonot in the north of Kenya.
He still consults on African matters for many leading tour
operators and film studios.
In 1999 he also founded www.thehandmadeweb.com
a new company hosting and designing web pages for African
In May 202 he was named woodworker of the month by