death

Good and bad - Brad's Story

fatherandson

That part of Melbourne, the Clifton Hill end of Hoddle Street, certainly brings back some good and bad memories. My wife, who was my girlfriend at the time, she and I went past Hoddle Street on the night of the shootings. Probably about 10 minutes before it happened. That’s a fairly sad thing for us.

But a happy memory is standing at the railway gates there and watching the Olympic torch run past in, I think, 2000. Other memories are going to the footy in Clifton Hill, but getting kicked off the train and having to catch the bus, because they were doing rail works.

Another sad thing: the day my son was born, when my wife went into labor, I was driving to work and there was a thing on the radio about someone had been knocked off their motorbike and killed down near the Pioneer cement factory down there. Near the Shell service station. That was the day my son was born. And the guy that got knocked off the motorbike was actually our next-door neighbour. So, some good memories and some terrible memories of Hoddle Street.

Three words of advice - Fysh's Story

There's an old joke my father used to tell (back in the days when people told jokes and he was still alive).

An old man is dying in bed. He beckons his son to his side, reaches out and grasps his hand. As he gasps for air, he whispers, 'Three words of advice son.'

'Yes dad. I'm listening.'

'Never lend money to a friend.'

'Yes Dad. Never lent money to a friend...'

'Never borrow money from a friend.'

'Yep Dad. Don't borrow off a friend. Got it. And the third thing, Dad?'

'Don't use Punt Road.'

traffic

Nigel's Stories

Lily

1. My grandmother Millie was the first woman in Australia to own a Rolls Royce. When I was about 8 I was in the back seat of this beautiful car (I'm now 63) and we were going under the railway bridge crossing Punt Rd near Swan St. It was raining heavily and the road was flooded. The traffic had come to a standstill. To see how deep the water was I opened the door and...

2. About 15 years ago my wife drove past the corner of Punt Rd and Domain Rd where a fatal accident occured and the dead motorcyclist's body was still visible. My two children now in thier early 20s, who were in the car, still remember the scene vividly as the first time they had seen a dead body.

3. I am the Medical Director of the Millswyn Clinic at 466 Punt Rd South Yarra. It is housed in a beautiful old terraced mansion built in the 1880s. After it was sold by the original owners around the time of the Second World War it was purchased by the Polish/Jewish refugee welfare league (or similarly named group) and it housed Polish refugees when they first got off the boats from Europe. It was a rabbit warren of rooms and dormitories until it became a medical clinic some 20 years ago.

One of the psychiatrists who worked here with me was one of those refugees. This building was his first home in Australia. He has left the clinic now but still lives and works in a smaller building further down Punt Rd.

I believe Renee Geyer also lived here when she first arrived.

A doctor from Brisbane came to see me at the clinic several years ago. He remembered the place from when he was a boy (and refugee) especially the small lilies which still flower in the garden.

I hate the traffic on Punt Rd but as you can see it does bring back memories.

Anonymous' Story

photo by www.pixgood.com

photo by www.pixgood.com

I live just off Hoddle Street in Collingwood. I get the bus to work every morning, just near the Johnston/Hoddle intersection. 

One morning, in peak hour, a man maybe a minute ahead of me had gone to cross the road – but an articulated truck had misjudged the gap and had come to a stop with a significant part of its body sitting in the intersection. The man, presumably feeling secure because he had the pedestrian light in his favour, chose to step over the vehicle's pivoting joint instead of going around the truck and into oncoming traffic. But the truck driver, unable to see the man, had stepped on the gas as soon as there was space for him to do so. The man, caught between carriages, died instantly. 

I didn't see this occur – I read about it later in the incident report – but when I arrived at the intersection, Emergency Services hadn't yet had time to clear the scene or even cover the body. So I, along with other people at the bus stop, had to wait next a dead body.

Christie's Story

On Good Friday morning, working as a van courier (corporations who took my deliveries didn’t pay much mind to Christ or the idea of sacrificial death) I was waiting to turn right into Punt Road from Wellington Parade. In front of me Punt Road was banked up - stupidly, I thought, it was Good Friday for Christ's sake. I knew the roads. I knew the best ways for the different days and the different times of the different days, and this was Good Friday, a very different day, and this way was the right way for Good Friday, there was no doubt about it. So why all the cars? Why all the cars, and why were they banked up diagonally?

And then I saw it. A golden streak of pure joy zooming through the grey traffic in my direction. A little golden dog, clearing the lanes of the south bound traffic and beginning across the four north bound lanes, cars screeching to a halt one by one as it went, heading straight towards me. The dog's grinning face coming towards me, with ears and happy pink tongue flailing behind, seemed to cry: Freedom! Joy! Life!

And it didn't lose its grin as the tyre pressed its nose to its shoulder, flung it up in the air, and drove on. One car, with time to brake, didn’t, and then just drove on.

My van stalled as my foot left the clutch with the gears still in first. Out of the cabin I leapt, leaving indicator clicking away, door open, key in ignition, arrow gone green but no-one beeping me, seeing where I was going. I had my hand on my mouth and I ran in front of braking traffic without even looking, and crouched in the middle of the four lanes with my hands on the tiny twitching dog. No traffic moved. Everything was silent. The cars all just sat and waited and watched me. Watching me as I sat stroking the sweet silky head which gazed at me until the milk crept into the black of its eyes.

N.B. I don't know why I didn't write it down, but I remember after that a man about my age came running up, just after the dog had died, and we both picked it up together and carried it to the side of the road. He was a paramedic. He said, ‘I can do my job, and it’s no problem, but something like this...' and he choked up a bit, and then he said ‘It’s about innocence isn’t it. It just guts you because the dog was so innocent.’