Connection from tragedy

By Ingrid Papau

Thinking Big

I thought to myself, 'that's not our normal, we don't need to sit under fear, what can I do to change this atmosphere?' .....

In early 2016 our neighbourhood sat in shock as we heard of the brutal and violent murder of one of our neighbours; mother and grandmother Madam Tian. With police on the street holding loaded guns for several days and noone yet arrested, we could feel the fear and disconnection growing in our hood. I thought to myself, ‘that’s not our normal, we don’t need to sit under fear, what can I do to change this atmosphere?’ The first idea that some neighbours and I got busy with was to put flowers and a card outside each house on the victims street, hoping to send the message that they’re not alone and their neighbourhood cares. The second idea was to get active and do something for neighbours day. We’d never done anything like this before but we decided on a street BBQ with bouncy castle, sports & face painting at the local park. Amazingly the process was fairly easy as we received $250 funding from the local board, kids packs & free torches from Neighbourhood Support and a free bouncy castle to use on the day. A reasonable amount of neighbours came down and all enjoyed the afternoon connecting while having fun. From the BBQ we started a Neighbourhood Support group with one third of the 100 household street signing up. I’ve been amazed at people’s desire for connection. 2017s street BBQ is looking to be even better. Now I have a team to help me and we’ve decided to invite not only our street but the neighbourhood surrounds. Once you’ve organised one street event the second feels alot easier to pull off! Our hood has slowly moved forward from last years tragic events, but for the Tian family life will never be the same. In Madam Tian’s memory our neighbourhood has banded together, and hopefully stay that way, never to be the same.