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Schapelle Corby steps into uncertain future

AAP logoAAP 22/05/2017 Lauren Farrow
Schapelle Corby at Denpasar Court in 2005. © AAP Image/Mick Tsikas Schapelle Corby at Denpasar Court in 2005.

A trial, two appeals, a presidential clemency, books, a TV movie, Australian court cases and public friendship breakdowns.

Schapelle Corby's 2004 arrest has spawned a myriad of twists that has kept her story alive in Australia for more than a decade.

Now the anxious former beauty student is set to step into an uncertain future - leaving behind her life of 13 years.

In the back streets of Kuta, Corby has been sitting inside her house, nervously awaiting her deportation to Australia on May 27.

Security cameras have been installed and sarongs assembled around the home's gates in a bid to block photographers and cameramen.

The man reported to be her boyfriend, former drug prisoner Ben Panangian, as well as brother Michael and sister Mercedes, have been some of the few people spotted going in and out of the home.

Mercedes, who returned to Bali last week to "bring her home", visited the island's law and human rights office on her sister's behalf on Thursday, complaining of how the 39-year-old had been "stalked" by the media.

During a visit to the home that night, Corby emerged to greet correction officials with a sarong over her face.

She would sometimes open and close the covering to speak, Head of Bali Provincial Correction Division, Surung Pasaribu said.

"She's afraid ... she's stressed," he told reporters, later adding: "It is normal that people who were about to be freed are feeling unease. It's our job to make her calm."

Corby - who by her own account is "petrified" of flying - is due to report to parole officers on May 27 for the last time since her release from Kerobokan in February 2014.

Immigration officers will then take her to the airport.

While flight details are unknown, Indonesian authorities want her out as quickly as possible - straight home to Australia, if not Brisbane.

Life as a "free woman" will still have its limitations.

It is too soon to say whether she will be allowed to return to Indonesia.

Standard procedure states she will be banned from returning for six months.

But due to the seriousness of her crime, Immigration Directorate spokesman Agung Sampurno said the six-month ban could be extended again and again upon request.

If she is allowed to return, Mr Sampurno said she should expect to be watched closely.

"If you ask should we be suspicious over her - that's natural, isn't it? ...that we supervise her, that we follow her."

Her first steps will also be monitored closely by media - which she has described as an ominous and 'exploitative' force.

"It has been a part of our lives for 13 years, it has been of enormous interest," celebrity agent Max Markson said.

"People want to know what she is doing with her life."

It's a question Corby herself may not have an answer to.

While incarcerated in Kerobokan, Corby wrote 2006: "Where have I gone, where am I going? I can feel I'm gradually losing the essence that makes me me."

How Australia's changed since Corby arrest

* When Schapelle Corby left Australia in October 2004, then-prime minister John Howard was on the cusp of re-election, people used Nokia phones and MySpace was new.

* The day after Corby's arrest, Mr Howard was re-elected against former Labor leader Mark Latham. Since then, the country has endured five leadership changes.

* Current PM Malcolm Turnbull entered parliament at that election after winning the seat of Wentworth in Sydney's eastern suburbs.

* The Brisbane Lions' dream AFL run after three consecutive grand final wins had just been dashed by Port Adelaide in the 2004 grand final. The Lions now sit on the bottom of the AFL ladder and haven't made it to the finals since 2009.

* NSW had been dominating the NRL's State of Origin series in the years leading up to 2004 but from 2006 onwards, the Maroons have only been denied the title once, in 2014.

* Athens hosted the Olympic Games and Australia was ranked 4th on the medal tally with 17 gold. It's been downhill since then and at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, the Australian team was ranked 10th and brought home eight gold.

* People carried Nokia phones and could only use them to text, talk or play snake in black-and-white. The iPhone wasn't released until 2007.

* MySpace was new. Bands flocked to the social networking site to promote their tunes while angsty teenagers used it to share their feelings (some things never change). Facebook hadn't taken off and Twitter didn't exist.

* Mary Donaldson left Tasmania to marry Frederick, Crown Prince of Denmark in May 2004. The couple are now the proud parents of four children: two boys and two girls.

* The runner-up for the first ever Australian Idol, Shannon Noll, was riding the success of his What About Me cover. Noll's latest claim to fame is being arrested outside an Adelaide strip club in February.

* In 2004 Australian model Jennifer Hawkins was crowned Miss Universe in a competition then owned by Donald Trump, who sold it in 2015 when co-owner NBC dropped it after comments he made about Mexican immigrants. He is now the US president.

* In 2004, Steve Irwin made headlines by feeding a crocodile at his Australia Zoo in Queensland while holding his newborn son Bob. The television star died aged 44 in 2006 from a stingray barb on the Great Barrier Reef, but Bob is now following in his famous father's footsteps by appearing on The Tonight Show in the US.

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