An Indigenous man who was the victim of a schoolyard fire attack 18 years ago has moved to Brisbane from Cairns to embark on a new chapter of his life.
13 Oct 2014 - 4:13 PM  UPDATED 14 Oct 2014 - 11:00 AM

Indigenous man Jandamarra O'Shane has moved to Brisbane from Cairns to start anew following the 18th anniversary of a horrific attack he endured as a six-year-old.

Mr O’Shane is living with his sister in Brisbane after moving from Cairns last week.

It was 18 years ago last Friday that he was doused with petrol and set alight while at school in Cairns.

His attacker, Paul Wade Streeton, was sentenced to life in jail.

Now 24, Mr O’Shane said he couldn’t have got through the ordeal without the support he received.

"The family and I often reflect about that day and I think it sort of caught me off guard," he said.

"It's always looked at as a day of survival and triumph and I always try to give thanks to everyone who helped me get through it."

After the attack, well wishes and messages of support flowed in from around the world, including from celebrities such as Michael Jackson.

“I only got to talk to him on the phone," Mr O’Shane said. "But even that is something that I'll never forget because I grew up idolising Michael Jackson and trying to do his dance moves and sing along with him and music itself was part of my recovery as well; just to keep me happy and stuff like that."

He is now looking for work in his new home city and hopes he can move forward with his life.

"I guess now it is time to move on, try and move on I mean," he said.

"The way I see it I don't want to hold any negativity when I'm trying to start a new chapter in my life now and I don't want anything just to bring me down and I can't let anything slow me down as well because I'm actually down here to find work and do the best I can for my son and my family and everyone back at home."

He said the memory of the attack stayed with him, but he tried to focus on the good.

“Almost losing my life on that day and even after it still just struggling to survive in the hospital, it's actually quite a difficult thing to think about now," he said.

"But...I'm here and I'm happy and I've been blessed with such a wonderful life and everyone's supported me."