Hamish was born in Scotland but moved to Australia when he was 12 years old. He loved Australia immediately and travelled a lot. He later landed in northern New South Wales. While working on a farm in Nimbin, Hamish suffered a stroke and lost 95% of his vision. Without a family support network, he relied on shelters and crisis centres for help.
Hamish told of stories about getting help not only from Vinnies, but from the local IGA (Gilbert St) with his shopping. Appreciating the friendly employees who’d help him with his groceries.
Even though he can't see, he hasn’t lost his hearing.
He mentioned he can tell a lot about a person by their voice. Whether they are good people, or people to perhaps steer clear from.
He told me while holding back tears "I like everyone, Black, White or green it doesn’t matter. I can't see colour anymore anyway".
At the time of interview, Hamish had organised to move into a house with a friend he met at the centre.
Annie & Bruiser
3 years earlier, Ann-Marie was happy. In a house. In a relationship.
She then however, lost several family members suddenly. Her housemate also suddenly left her and moved to Tasmania (with Ann-Marie’s at the time girlfriend of 22 years), leaving her with overdue rent.
Without being able to pay the outstanding rent, she had nowhere to go and now finds it hard to find a home. She considered “jumping in front of a train”, but instead finds comfort in her pet dog and best friend ‘Bruiser’.
“There’s no way I’d go anywhere without him. It makes it hard to find a house with a dog. But I’d be gone without bruiser. We’re a package”.
After our interview, Ann-Marie admitted that she didn’t want to talk to me.
She had a lack of trust for men. Fortunately she did.
Ann-Marie was at the crisis centre till she could find a home for herself and Bruiser.
Mother & Children
Months earlier, “Mum” was married with two kids, worked and had a ‘normal’ life.
She then found out that her husband and her mother in law were sexually abusing her children.
She feared that her husband had gang related contacts trying to find her and her kids. She fled interstate where she had a support network.
A court hearing, required her to come back to South Australia.
Fearing for her life, and for the safety of her children, she needed accommodation and a place to stay away from her husband and mother in-law.
She seemed resigned to the fact that her husband wants her dead. Yet loyal to a fault, she still referred to the children as “Our” children.
The first thing Lee mentioned to me was “I am here because I deserve to be here from what I did”. He then explained that he was at the crisis centre because he had unintentionally assaulted his wife of 45 years.
Lee has Type 1 Diabetes. He openly admitted that his wife called the police because he had his hands around her throat. He doesn’t remember this altercation due to a Diabetic Hyperglycaemic attack. But accepts that his wife is telling the truth.
Ashamed at what he did, Lee needed separation from his family till court proceedings.
Lee knows that his appearance may intimidate people.
His lawyer suggested wearing long sleeves to the court case to cover his tattoo.
He said “People look at me and think bikie. I ride a bike. A Suzuki 500 with a rack on the back that I can hang bicycle wheels and drink bottles on!”. Lee is a national track cycling official.
At the time of interview, Lee was working with doctors to keep blood sugar levels under control. His wife had dropped all assault charges.
Brendon is trying to find a home for himself and his children.
Being a former meth addict, he has worked hard to get his life back on track.
Having lost his job suddenly, he initially turned to drugs.
But instead of trying to support a drug habit with no income, he cleaned up.
Unfortunately, his ex-wife (who had custody of his children) did not.
At the time of interview, he had passed all drug tests and was granted custody of his children. He was at the Crisis Centre till he found a home for his family.
Rebecca had a broken jaw at the time we met. She was at the crisis centre having escaped an abusive relationship.
She told of a culture of abuse and neglect. She wasn’t allowed to work, study. The men in her life wouldn’t allow it.
She told of all the losses she has experienced in her life. “Lot of losses. My mum, my dad, my sister, brother. My daughter”.
Her eldest daughter had committed suicide 4 years earlier.
Her sister who was 8 months pregnant was bashed to death by her boyfriend.
She turned to alcohol to deal with all the loss. She ended up in jail and considered herself a “lost soul”.
She was at the shelter getting her life back on track for her remaining family.
She needed to “escape”. Just wants some peace and quiet.
Russel is a diagnosed Paranoid schizophrenic who’s parents kicked him out of home at the age of 9.
He says he finds it hard to find a place in the world.
He’s been in and out of jail since the age of 17 and considers jail a “second home”. “Somewhere to keep warm”.
He was at the centre till he can find a place to “settle down one day”.
Wants to live in a remote area in peace and quite, yet the medication and facilities he needs are more common in city areas.
It’s a vicious circle for Russel who’s “Looking for a tent to go bush for a while to clear my head”.
Alien vs Predator
Evil 77 Sandman
Bald head helmet
HR Giger bar fridge
Custom airbrushing art