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One Man's Quest To Walk Every Street In Melbourne

Picture of Monique La Terra
Updated: 10 August 2016
Primary school teacher Robert Olifiers is completing a geography project of immense proportions with the aim of walking every street in Melbourne. The Mitcham man has already ticked off more than 30,000 streets within the council areas of Whitehorse, Boroondara and Maroondah, averaging eight kilometres every day, but with 31 councils in Melbourne the project is set to be long term. The quest began after Robert separated from his wife a few years ago and began walking in an effort to get fit and discover the community. While most of us might take a stroll around the block, Robert has made it his mission to traverse every street in metropolitan Melbourne, even if it takes him 20 years.
OIC street sign boroondara | © User:Orderinchaos/Wikicommons

Every night, Mr Olifiers sets out his course and uses postal notes as a guide. ‘I have to make sure I cover every street, every court, every lane, every path, and boy I’m glad I have because some of the things I’ve seen,’ he said when speaking with 9News. What he’s seen is the changing face of Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. Having grown up in Ringwood East, Mr Olifiers has even run into a few old friends including his old scout leader. ‘There’s been some amazing surprises and there’s certainly been such changes in infrastructure, roads and paths,’ Mr Olifiers said. But, what hasn’t changed is his SES uniform, although over the past three years he has worn through countless socks and four pairs of runners. Robert has taken a year off from teaching to study counselling, although he does have plans to write a children’s book to ‘encourage kids to start investigating.’ Currently, Robert is crossing off the streets in Manningham, a suburb he hopes to complete by the end of the year.

Ruffey Lake Park 2 | © Nick carson/Wikicommons