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THE Australian founder of a whistleblower website at the centre of an international furore for releasing US Afghan war documents this month grew up on the Northern Rivers.
The man now dubbed by the international press as ‘one of the world’s most intriguing people’ was recognised by one of his Goolmangar Primary School classmates this week.
Wanted by US authorities, and described as the ‘internet’s freedom fighter’ by mainstream media, Julian Assange founded WikiLeaks – an ‘uncensorable system for untraceable document leaking’ – in 2006 and remains its editor-in-chief after years dodging computer hacking charges and fighting for freedom of information.
Mr Assange lived in Terania Street, North Lismore, with his puppeteering parents from the mid-70s to the early 1980s, attending Goolmangar Primary School from 1979 to 1983
Julian Assange, now 39, has since told reporters he was enrolled in 37 schools and six universities during his childhood.
He studied mathematics and physics at the University of Melbourne and worked as a computer programmer and free software developer before starting WikiLeaks.
As a Melbourne teenager he pleaded guilty to 24 charges for hackinginto government and commercial websites, receiving a six-month suspended sentence, and was arrested again for hacking into a Canadian telecommunication company’s website in the early 1990s, but escaped prison when the court ruled his actions benign.