An Australian man named David Glasheen was the chairman of a resource syndicate that specialized in Papua New Guinean gold mining based in Sydney. He was also an active participant in the stock market and had gathered wealth having a value of approximately Rs.183 crore (INR equivalent of $28.4 million). The millionaire sank in all his wealth in a luxury real estate project which eventually failed at the stock market.
The Dow Jones dropped a record 508 points on the Black Monday crash on October 19, 1987 and Glasheen lost over Rs 46 crore (INR equivalent of $7.25 million). The crash thrashed the boom of 1980s in a single day but for Glasheen, it meant a lot more than that.
Vice reports that his wife lost a lot of money in the Black Monday crash and blamed him for most of the loss. The family fell apart in 1991. After paying banks’ dues and losing the court case, Glasheen had lost most of his money by 1993 and was looking for an escape.
Later, he met a woman who was going through the same emotional state. The two set up a small beachside shack at Restoration Island, an undeveloped island off the top of Australia’s east coast. They had initially planned to build up a luxury resort but it could not be materialized. Later the woman left and Glasheen started living life of a castaway. He started growing a beard and gave up wearing shirts.
For the real-life Robinson Crusoe, David Glasheen, life at the desert island hasn’t been completely unpleasant. Over the last twenty years, he has renovated a World War II outpost at the island into a habitable place having access to solar power and the internet. An hour long boat-ride from the island takes him to the mainland. He takes this ride a few times a year for his grocery and essential shopping.
He grows his own vegetables at the island and catches fish and crabs. Several people including Russell Crowe have been his guests. He still loves playing the stock market and finds it as the easiest way to make money. Perhaps the only thing he misses is a partner. He has advertised on several websites but nothing meaningful has come out of it for him. Glasheen feels that the best part of being a hermit is peace.
Actually, he is not living the life of a hermit since his mind is still focused at the investment world and seems to have arrived at the island for the lack of options rather than out of some ideology.