|This is the story of Michael Danckwerts, a footloose young Australian who had long dreamed of India. It tells of how he pursued and achieved his dream and, at the same time, fulfilled his own personal potential before his sudden and tragic death on 3 November 2002, at the age of 27.
This web site has been established by his father, who also supplies the narrative, as a memorial and a tribute to a truly wonderful guy. Much of the story is told by Michael himself from his emails and letters to his family and friends. Much more has been added by those he met on his travels.
A separate page of Tributes to Michael is included in this website.
A Photo Gallery, showing a selection of the many magnificent photographs that Michael took on his last journey, is included in this web site. Nearly all of the images on this web site are from Michael's own camera, with the exception of one set from his brother at Angkor Wat.
Visitors are invited to talk about Michael, or to correspond to his family, or to comment about this web site, either publicly via the Guest Book (see below) or privately via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
On 3 November 2003, the anniversary of Michael's death, a new page was added to this website. This is a remembrance of his life in retrospect.
In late January 2004 Michael's family made the journey to Rishikesh, in northern India, a special place for him, to release his ashes to the Ganges river there. Click here for an account of this journey.
Michael was born in Sydney on 3 February 1975, the first of two sons to Chris and Annette Danckwerts. As a youngster he was an average student but excelled at individual sports. At university he pursued his own interests rather than study for a career, his studies and reading including Sanskrit, comparative religion, anthropology and philosophy. At the same time he developed a passion for yoga, Buddhism and meditation which were to shape the rest of his life. After university he took a number of casual jobs as he saved towards his goal of travelling and studying yoga in India.
In person, Michael was tall, lean, athletic and very healthy. He was good looking, charming, impulsive, generous and funny. He was always great company in any situation. He loved life and was totally without malice towards others. He had many short term relations with women but never any long term commitments. He had tremendous natural talent in writing, music and photography. In his outlook on life he was daring and adventurous, preferring to live on the edge rather than take the safe option. There was a deeply private and spiritual side to him, too, in his yoga studies, Buddhist retreats and long hours of meditation.
Although he had many friends he was very much an individualist rather than one of the crowd. He preferred to do things on his own, and that is how he mostly lived and travelled.
And so it was, on the evening of 6 July 2001, that he farewelled his family and, with his backpack and camera, took off for Delhi. . .
July 2001 Delhi - Manali - Ladakh
August 2001 Ladakh - Rishikesh - Varanasi
September 2001 Varanasi - Pondicherry - Kerala
October 2001 Bangalore - Delhi - Taipei
November 2001 Taipei - Jui Fang - Hong Kong
December 2001 Hong Kong - Jui Fang
January to April 2002 Jui Fang
May 2002 Jui Fang - Phnom Penh
June 2002 Phnom Penh - Ankhor Wat - Bangkok
July 2002 Bangkok - Rishikesh - Gangotri
August 2002 Rishikesh - Dharamsala
- Dehra Dun - Kathmandu
September 2002 Kathmandu - Varanasi - Pondicherry
October/November 2002 Pondicherry
Tributes Tributes to Michael
Photo Gallery Michael's Photographs
Guest Book Pass on your comments
Remembrance Michael's life in retrospect
Return to Rishikesh Michael's ashes released