A Russian royal spent his final years living in a Northern Territory caravan park, passing just days after his family had tracked him down.
Leonid Kulikovsky, the great grandson of Russia’s Tsar Alexander III, suffered a heart attack under a tree while out walking his dog.
Kulikovsky’s body remained in the morgue for two months before his identity was eventually confirmed. He was 72 years of age.
A member of Russia’s exiled Romanov family; Kulikovsky was the son of Ruth Schwartz and Guri Koulikovski, whose mother, the Grand Princess Olga, was the youngest daughter of Emperor Alexander III – Russia’s second-last monarch.
Kulikovsky moved to from Denmark to Sydney in the late 1960’s and worked in water management until his retirement seven years ago.
He then lived the life of a grey nomad, travelling the country in a campervan. But when it was stolen and damaged in Katherine, he decided to stay in the town.
Mr Kulikovsky took us residence at the North Bank Caravan Park, yet none of his neighbours were aware of his royal heritage.
Park owner Peter Byers said his past came as a complete surprise to everyone, despite having lived at the park for around six years.
“We were all shocked,” Byers said. “To us he was just Old Nick”
“He kept to himself most of the time, his whole life was about him and his dog.”
Byers said Kulikovsky was a bit of a book worm, always reading books about the Greeks and the Vikings, but would occasionally have a drink with the blokes. Even then, he only revealed glimpses of his past.
“The only past he spoke of was his time in Sydney, when he was at the waterworks. If we ever he had a sewerage problem, he knew what it was and how to fix it.”
A funeral service was recently held for him Serbian Orthodox Church in Darwin.
A message from Kulikovsky’s family said his death “came as a great shock”.
“We had just been taught he was far away from Moscow, about finding him, and had renewed hope that we would be able to come into contact, but a few days later we were informed by the police that he was found dead,” the message said.
Peter Byers tells us he’ll miss the sight of Kulikovsky walking his dog each day, and says it goes to show that you never know who may be in the caravan park beside you.