French man’s 6000km Aussie trek leads to lifelong friendship  

Frenchman David Debrincat was on the journey of a lifetime in 2020, with the goal to walk from Cape Byron New South Wales to Steep Point Western Australia, and then write a book about his Aussie adventures.  

It was March and the Covid lockdown was just starting when Roma local George Mehay spotted Mr Debrincat looking worse for wear and wandering the streets of Roma.  

“He had just walked a 700km or so trek from Cape Byron to Roma on foot when I saw him,” Mr Mehay said.  

Now stranded in a rural town some 350km north-west of Toowoomba, the locals took him in as one of their own.  

Mr Debrincat ended up meeting LifeFlight Roma Base Lead Bryce Duke, and the two became fast friends.  

“George is the one who met David first during lockdown, and befriended him as he is also French, and he and I are both heavily involved in the RSL here in town,” he said.  

“George offered for David to stay camped at the RSL for the duration of lockdown so he would at least have a roof, kitchen and showers.   

“It was via the RSL that we met, but it wouldn’t have happened if not for George.” 

After two months in Roma, Mr Debrincat set off to finish his goal and rode the remaining 5300km to Steep Point on a pushbike and without a single puncture as well. 

He recently returned to the tiny town with wife Jennifer and was taken on a special tour of the Lee Family and Australian Country Choice LifeFlight Centre Roma base and the newly-opened LifeFlight Visitor Experience. 

“It was great to see David again. We all had dinner the night before and I suggested they come out to the base for a look at the visitor centre,” Mr Duke said.  

Mr Debrincat published his book, “Un Horizon Rouge” (One Red Horizon) in 2021, with special mention of the friends he made long the way. 

“It’s not every day you get a mention in a book, however brief.  I do feel very honoured to have received a mention as one of the good people he met on his journey,” Mr Duke said.