(above) Notice at the back of the Pilgrim Church in Flinders Street, Adelaide
(above) The famous Pilgrim Church verandah where, until recently, the rich and powerful were forced to catch a glimpse of a symptom of a failing society.
The legend of Bruno
“Isn’t Bruno dead,” someone asked me in Semaphore last Wednesday. Later in the day, I was talking to the Celebrity Can Collector at his position in front of the Madame Hanoi restaurant on North Terrace.
Bruno, fresh out of jail, sauntered up to an unsuspecting victim sitting on a bench near the pedestrian lights.
Bruno’s loss of half his weight was clear. His feet and hands were filthy, but his brown face surprisingly alert and well formed. Wrinkly skin sagged over his torso except at his slightly distended stomach under which his track pants had slipped down to reveal a nasty section of bum crack.
With one leg under his body and the other dangling from the bench, this aggressive, professional beggar leaned forward and within thirty seconds mesmerised a younger and stronger, but unsuspecting man into passing him a tailor-made cigarette. After a few more words he got another smoke, said goodbye, and strategically passed it to the Celebrity Can Collector, who sat idly in front of his bongo drum.
In the blink of an eye, the legend had disappeared, in search of his next target.
25 January 2016
To the happiness of the guests, Nicole returned after having been away for weeks due to her kids being sick. She often arrives appearing tired then the energy flows through her as if she’s a translucent being.
AJ has the wisdom to identify the desperate people, which in the opinion of most ‘Old Hands’ in the homeless scene, is the premier insight needed to ensure fairness.
The hot water thermos could be placed on a higher aspect rather than near the ground. Some guests have trouble reaching the ground except when they’re taking a tumble. The coffee and sugar sachets could be served in individual open containers rather than plonked together in a plastic bag.
Four or five of the old men stayed on the tiny strip of concrete and garden in front of the closed Hutt Street Centre after AJ, Nicole and the rest of us left. For them, this area is home.
Sister Gwen and Ian Hitch-Cox should be hailed for this quiet mercy in a homeless world fraught with danger.
Ruf Us 9:00am Saturdays Outside The Hutt Street Centre 258 Hutt Street, Adelaide 25 January 2016
The Hindmarsh Library locks its disability access toilet. This means that disabled people have to queue up at the front counter and ask for the key. No one else has to do that.
No doubt, staff have their rationale, but it seems they are effectively reducing access to public infrastructure. 25 January 2016
Clued-Up drug dealer
The “Clued-Up Drug Dealer” walks proudly about a certain homeless joint. He’s the man the addicts crawl to for supplies. He buries his supplies in the ground in the parklands. His only problem is that he tests the product.
An ‘Old Hand’ told him that within a year he’d be out of the place, behind bars. 25 January 2016
That liar, David Roe
The Street Fighting Woman said that David lied when he said he had been charged with sexually harassing Karen H. The woman claims David was envious that she’d been charged with an offence while he’s merely an alcoholic troublemaker. 26 January 2016
Ugly Adelaide City Council
A man living outside for the past five years says the bus station Exeloo is locked at 10:00pm. The toilet inside the bus station is locked at 7:00pm regardless of bus traffic because the cleaner wants it pristine for the next morning’s inspection.
The public toilets at Victoria Square have recently been blocked off by two-metre high fences.
The Marshmallow Park Exeloo toilet locks from midnight until 6:00am despite people camping in the bushes 100 metres distant. 25 January 2016
Boys from the Mosque
Demos Roussos said that the “boys from the mosque” were offering a free barbecue in Whitmore Square on Tuesday 26 January 2016 at 12:30pm.
23 January 2016
Pilgrim Church verandah sleeping area
Volunteers at the Pilgrim Church Lounge were unsure why the homeless campers had been expelled from under the verandah before Christmas. The collective explanation was that the Lounge was closed during Christmas and the area couldn’t be monitored. Another was that the Adina Hotel next door was having trouble renting rooms that overlooked the back of the church.
Perhaps hotel management didn’t want scenes from Adelaide’s destitution subculture witnessed by guests paying top dollar for the luxury accommodation. And Pilgrim volunteers implied that the coffee shop back of the Town Hall was being affected by the homeless crowd.
However, the volunteers agreed that hosting such desperate people was expressing Christian principles, and that perhaps the nine or ten campers might be allowed to return in the future, especially when the rains begin.
The Lounge has reopened for free tea, coffee and biscuits and is patronised by genuine homeless and underclass people. The staff are natural and normal elderly humans who have transcended many of the status and power imperatives that impede the humanity of most professional welfare workers.
Pilgrim Free Coffee Lounge 12 Flinders Street, Adelaide (back of the Pilgrim Church) 10:00am to 2:00pm Monday to Frida 23 January 2016
Not so nice, Ice
“Your brain is fried,” a feral boy from the disbanded shopping trolley gang told the Serbian-Italian Ice addict who flailed his arms wildly at the back door of the Salvation Army building in Pirie Street last Saturday afternoon.
The addict’s eyes swiveled sideways as he reached the mid-point of his Ice trip. His incapacity prevented him from rolling a cigarette and after ten minutes he threw his measly supply of tobacco across the bricks. Grinder took mercy and threw him a lighted smoke.
Four hours later, the addict was pacing the atrium. His face twisted sideways, uncontrollably, and through his half-open mouth emerged animal-like moans verging on shrieks.
He’d recently got word that his daughter ― or was it his son ― had died in Queensland. He needed money, an unspecified amount though last time he approached me it was seven dollars. That was his starting request, like a deposit: it rises to $100 within minutes.
Even when he’s off the drugs, his eyes swivel sideways and his speech rarely gets beyond phrases screamed out as singular sounds rather than enunciated words.
An Army volunteer said he was a strong young man last year, but now he’ll never recover his proper brain function, even if he stops the drugs forever.
The volunteer smiled wryly as she said the drug dealers should be dropped into the desert with one thong. I told her a dealer had walked through the building earlier: making her presence known.
Another volunteer said the government doesn’t believe this destruction of human beings is happening. 23 January 2016
There were fears that Cowboy, 76, had succumbed. No fear. He’s alive and cantankerous and complaining about noise.
He finds it difficult to sleep at WestCare due to the loud voices of Aboriginals waking him up. And the crack of pool cues jolts him upright.
Cowboy can occasionally be seen late in the night pulling his wheeled suitcase down city streets.
Like the 75-year-old shearer who sleeps in the parklands, Cowboy worked as a jackeroo, and has a fierce need to be independent. 22 January 2016
Where is the logic in WestCare providing showers for disabled people then refusing to provide an invalid shower chair? Patrons need one. WestCare executives could take a quick trip to AidaCare in Thebarton and return with one in 45 minutes.
(above) Millions of dollars were spent on constructing a new building then WestCare executives refuse to spend a tiny amount on disability equipment for their most vulnerable clients. Why do they behave in this strange manner? The best part of themselves know that requirements for the clients should override their personal pride.
From the Contact Page
“Thanks for coverage of solemn and sombre situation of Emma's sad passing.
Better ways and Better Life to Her and All Others in the World Hereafter... the UNHUMAN World... Spirits World...”
Marie Stapleton 22 January 2016
Athlete at St Bede’s
Five posters listing Anglicare’s new requirements for politically correct attitudes were tacked onto the notice board. After reading the list, the ‘Most Active Volunteer’ told "J" that he was scared to speak. She told him he was skinny. He said he was no longer skinny; the correct word was “athletic”. And he couldn’t call her fat: she was now “healthy”.
The Reverend Ken Bechaz introduced a new volunteer. Her name is Mel. She is a Christian. She wore a cowboy hat similar to that used by 6-year-old boys in the 1950’s.
She and her husband operate a tattoo shop on Semaphore Road, near the Red Ass restaurant and Tony’s laundromat. She used to give Bruno food when he slept with the washing machines. Her presence on Wednesday was a palpable balm soothing the torment of some guests.
St Bede’s have the knack of finding dedicated people then letting them work in an area that suits them. Even work-for-the-dole people are given this leeway, the result being a dynamic and positive group that go out of their way to produce good service.
Anchorage Al slept on the verandah of St Bede’s with his dog that he takes care of very well.
Mr Moonboot’s foot isn’t getting better despite surgery. His doctor says he must wear his moonboot all the time.
The free clothing selection has deteriorated. No men’s clothing and very little for women. Rumour has it that the supply of Peckish Rice Crackers is nearly exhausted.
The free hairdresser will be at Bede’s next Wednesday 27 January at 9:00am. St Bede’s will be closed on Tuesday 26 January.
22 January 2016
The Life of Anglicare
According to my neighbour, Anglicare is determined to end the prevarication and delays for installing a hand rail on the dangerous ramp fronting a unit recently vacated.
They’ve dispatched a technician to take further measurements for fear that the other technicians over the past seven months haven’t measured it correctly. No actual work has begun, nor is it expected to commence.
Meanwhile, Anglicare continues its excellent maintenance of the Elizabeth units with one or two capable tradesman visiting the property each fortnight.
The grass cutter doesn’t receive the same commendation. He appears at irregular times whereupon he rips the grass to its roots with his low-bladed mower. As an encore, he pours herbicide from a Coke bottle like a priest dispensing holy water.
The tenants respond by pouring huge amounts of water onto the damaged turf whereupon the grass cutter returns the following fortnight for a repeat performance. This symbiotic consumption of rare resources apparently melds perfectly with Anglicare management.
22 January 2016
Blankets thrown in rubbish
Adelaide City Council staff patrol the Parklands daily in garden vehicles from which they use tongs to pick up blankets and other personal items that they throw directly into rubbish bins.
No wonder Adelaide City Council Safety Officer Lauren Grant had difficulty citing a single example of the official Council policy where campers are given seven days notice to pack up and leave the area.
Theoretically, and legally, Council workers are obliged to wait a week until removing the items, and then must label and store them at a Council depot for pick-up later by the homeless people. But it doesn’t happen. Everything goes straight into the bin. That’s why I found a clean quilt and air-mattress in a Council Depot rubbish bin off Anzac Highway about two months ago.
Yet Lord Mayor Martin Haese told me at the Hutt Street Centre on Christmas Day that campers are given seven day warnings and then camping gear not removed within this period is stored at a Council depot, which he thought was at London Road, Mile End.
It appears that Martin’s beliefs are fiction. The real story is immediate confiscation and destruction. The Mayor may be well intentioned and simply deluded, but both he and his bureaucrats are lying to the public about what really happens to people living in the parklands.
21 January 2016
Lance Armstrong prepares for death
The deaths of Emma Hines and Servolo Toffolutti have catalysed Lance Armstrong’s plans for the disposal of his body upon death.
He wants a natural burial without flowers in an unmarked grave at Enfield Memorial Park cemetery. A native tree will be planted above his body and micro-chipped.
He wants to be buried standing up so when God lifts his body up to Heaven it will be easier than if he’s lying down. The standing position will also leave more room for other bodies, also standing up. Lance mixes crazy talk with cold logic.
But despite his grief for Emma, Lance hasn’t any intentions of dying soon: he drives Taxis to pay for outrageously expensive organic food and has invented a gadget that fits on bicycles.
21 January 2016
Glandore Boys Home
“Organised crime; outlaw politicians; the truth is out there. Put that on the internet.” Former child resident of the Glandore Boys Home, the Celebrity Can Collector, who says former premier Don Dunstan was the leader of The Family, the group of homosexuals that tortured and killed teenage boys.
21 January 2016
News from the South Parklands
A homeless man saw armed officers arrive in two police cars. They ordered a group of Aboriginals to move from under a tree where they were sitting. It was near the corner of South Terrace and Hutt Street. A 70-year-old woman had to be helped to her feet.
The Aboriginals moved to another tree. Police ordered them to move again. The Aboriginals shifted to yet another tree.
Some are down from the Northern Territory to escape the Basics Card regime that precludes most of their welfare money from being spent on alcohol and smokes. Others are from the Pitjantjatjara lands.
The homeless man described their lives in the South Parklands as “an ongoing tragedy”. 21 January 2016
Emma’s Funeral at Centennial Park
It was as if Emma’s life ended at 19. Pictures were shown of her as a 3-year-old then at 19. Her sister, Laura, was incredibly open about Emma’s life, but didn’t talk about her after the age of 19 except to say that she had made some “bad choices”.
Laura said Emma had been withdrawn as a child when she’d wanted to be alone, even on her birthdays. She said Emma later had “addiction problems”.
Emma grew up at West Lakes Shores in a “middle to upper class family”. She had exquisite manners especially during the agony of her last month alive. Those around her regret not seeing the signs of her impending demise.
Emma told others she didn’t understand why she kept “breaking out,” but was never clear what this meant. She told people she was an orphan and came from Perth. This wasn’t true. She showed a scar on her head. Getting it, she said, had caused brain damage. She said other things.
Her development seemed stuck in the past. She seemed a child. Her behaviour aroused compassion in others. She wandered about the South Parklands alone at night. She was nearly always scared.
What was true was that her father had gone to Sydney in about 1996, when she was 19, and rescued her and brought her back to Adelaide.
The funeral itself was described as short and sweet with an impressive presentation by Laura. The contingent of Hutt Street Centre employees was described by one mourner as “...heaps of Hutt Street staff, in uniform, en-masse, almost a PR exercise, see how caring we are...”
One mourner was mystified by the mood of Hutt Street Centre cook Brenda McCulloch. He claimed to have seen her “laughing and joking” while previously he’d, “never saw her as anything, but sour.” He said the official explanation would be that Brenda was happy that Emma was “with Jesus”. Another mourner witnessed merely a smile. People express grief differently.
David Secomb was there with “half a dozen of us and a couple of clients” none of whom waved the WestCare flag. Ajay and others from the homeless scene were also there.
Over the years, Emma had touched the hearts of thousands of people who saw her huddling in doorways, rocking back and forth with her knees up her chin, or smacking herself in the face, or simply sleeping. She left so many people with regret of not helping her as she progressively slipped away.
Emma’s thirty-eight years on this earth were a gift to her fellow humans, but her funeral was a sad occasion.
Emma Kate Hines 28 April 1977 to 2 January 2016 21 January 2016
Mrs Telstra’s towel collection
Mrs Judith Telstra was kicked out of the Hutt Street Centre last week after she was caught stealing towels.
20 January 2016
New Fred’s Van cafe at Elizabeth
The hot dogs ran out before everyone was served, but that didn’t bother the 42-year-old disabled woman on the walking frame at our table. She didn’t want a hot dog.
She also rejected the baked pasta with meat and melted cheese on top. Not good enough. The lettuce, fetta, green olive and purple onion salad didn’t meet her requirements, either. Nor was the gourmet cream and cake desert topped with shredded chocolate to her liking: she hates chocolate. Nor would she touch the meat and salad sandwiches.
The only foods that meet her culinary approval are carrots, vegemite sandwiches, vanilla yoghourt and strawberry flavoured milk. Forget the rest.
When the head waiter discovered this fussy diner, he made up a special vegemite roll for her. She chewed it slowly, as if considering adding this to her “no eat” list.
About 30 guests filled the new 36 seat Fred’s Van cafe in the rebuilt St Vincent de Paul complex next to the Elizabeth railway station. Diners included eight or nine children aged from 3 - 11, all white. Guests included Trish from St Luke’s, and the dynamic ultra-thin tall woman who wears skimpy clothing and frequents the Salvation Army in Pirie Street.
The walls of Fred’s Van cafe were covered in decorations including eight clocks, all showing the correct time. There were six tables, each with six chairs. Men’s and women’s toilets were at the back. Drinks included tea, coffee, lemon-aid and warm water. The five kitchen staff went out of their way to meet our requirements. “That’s what we’re here for,” the head waiter told an old man.
The only demographic concern for the new cafe might be that those living outside fear crowded rooms. A table could be placed outside the cafe, and another couple of chairs put close to the entrance gate. Some alienated people living outside prefer eating alone in the heat or rain rather than in an air-conditioned cafe.
The clientele has changed slightly from last year when food was served outside. It’s become more gentrified though everyone there on Wednesday evening was pure underclass. No pretenders as far as I could ascertain.
Fred’s Van Cafe 8 Langford Drive, Elizabeth (near the Elizabeth Railway Station carpark) Wednesdays 6:00pm 20 January 2016
Saturday night at the Salvation Army
Jo Aitch cooked the meal of mashed potatoes, peas, excellent roasted carrots and casserole meat. The tender meat was slightly burnt, which increased the taste, according to the meat eaters.
The atrium was filled to capacity so tables were placed outside the back door and on the verandah. The Man formerly from Kilburn saw the huge crowd and walked out. He said he didn't feel welcome.
Many guests were new while others were from the Magdalene Centre, closed until February. Regular patrons not there included Ajay, Gary, J, Lorraine, Trevor, Ajay, Vitamin Derelict, Terry the Gambler, The Street Fighting Woman, Jill and others.
One man who lives in his car said he’s never coming back after getting food poisoning three weeks in a row. He said his complaint wasn’t taken seriously.
Captain Matt Reeves performed the church service then spent the rest of the evening standing in the corner with his arms crossed, and liaising with people on the street.
Captain Laurel Cummins in a red dress made a brief appearance before 5:00pm then drove away. She’s a prison chaplain, now. The Army has 16 prison chaplains.
Father Christmas observed that the Equity Queen was wearing a skirt. He said this three times; he seemed confused.
20 January 2016
Swanee meets The Man
Formerly Known as the Drug Addict
I didn’t see the incident, but saw The Man Formerly Known as the Drug Addict telling John Swan to get away from him. The usually good natured Man gets paranoid when he’s on Ice. He can’t tolerate being stared at or touched or having anyone within a metre of him, especially when he’s “coming down”.
John appeared to be protecting someone, but didn’t understand The Man’s psychology. A Salvation Army veteran gently edged John away.
John teaches music, works in the kitchen and serves food to the underclass and homeless people at the Salvation Army, without pay. He acts normal and doesn’t parade his celebrity status.
The Man is polite and considerate, but when on Ice it is mentally unhealthy to be near him. There is no logic to his paranoia, or his imprecise and desperation rationalisations of the wild impressions and thoughts that rocket through his mind. He was a precision welder at the submarine factory, but not now and never again.
20 January 2016
Tram crews like to “rev up” Rachel about football until she shouts abuse, then they call security who pull her off the tram at the next station.
Rachel is an Adelaide celebrity far more recognisable than desperate actresses vying for attention.
And her performances don’t cost a cent so she should be treated with respect.
20 January 2016
See that bitch?
“See that bitch sitting over there? She grabbed me my c*nt in the carpark last night.”
A woman talking to her boyfriend at the Magdalene Church Hall.
A woman talking to her boyfriend at the Magdalene Church Hall. 20 January 2016
Beatings in the South Parklands
“The dog is down from Alice Springs and he’s beating Janet black and blue,” a person scathingly told us. This person talked about pouring petrol over “the dog” and “whoosh”.
I asked an ‘Old Hand’ if this could happen. He told me that such posturing is a signal from frightened people to warn off predators, in this case the dog from Alice Springs.
20 January 2016
Why do they do it?
“It is our hope that here in this place you may meet God in the people around you and the people who faithfully serve you.”
From a leaflet published by St Andrew’s Church-at-the-Sea, which hosts Mary’s Kitchen, which resumes 6:00pm Tuesday 2 February 2016
20 January 2016
From the Contact Page
Peckish Rice Crackers
“Is it really "food" when it is laced with mind-control chemicals (MSG related).These neuro-toxic chemicals are used to dumbify and S-T-U-P-I-F-Y...”
“(ALCOHOL - the widely available almost-imposed $yndicate Drug / DEADLY Narcotic that is always put in the homeless person's face in bus shelters such as those just next to the Hutt Street Holicost Holycause Centre.)”
20 January 2016
Dan says he’s stopping drinking alcohol
“Dan drinking? He swore off the booze last Thursday, said he’ll never touch another drop.” Man outside ‘The Daughters’ (Hutt Street Centre) after Dan told his wife to piss off because he was going drinking with the boys. 18 January 2016
Emma’s memorial service at WestCare
Ian Townsend gave a “professionally sincere” speech that “didn’t increase my trust in him,” according to one mourner at last week’s tribute to the passing of Emma. The critic said Ian made it clear “who was in charge”. David Secomb prayed from notes that “didn’t increase my trust in him either,” according to the same mourner.
Matty played keyboard quietly without egotism while Jayne Hewitson generously lent her professional voice to the service described as a mixture of ritual and sincerity.
At least four volunteers from the Magdalene Church Hall in Moore Street were there, not as part of their jobs, but in private capacities and because they wanted to be there.
David Secomb wisely set aside a space in time where people could speak about Emma. He said there was no rush to jump up and talk and this created a beautiful mood of reflection.
Emma had for years lived in the Parklands or anywhere she could find a place to sleep. She had recently rented a flat via Street-to-Home in Noarlunga that was furnished with little more than a mattress. She hated living there, decrying what she said was cruelty to animals performed by Satanic beings.
She preferred the city and the parklands where she fed a group of possums from kitchen scraps she collected from WestCare and other places. She’d once held her hand out to a fox and been bitten and from the subsequent infection spent two weeks in hospital.
One mourner said she lived with the rough crowd, but knew she was safe amongst them. But she wasn’t safe from that lethally determined force within herself.
There were other beautiful tributes to the woman who made herself vulnerable to us and we reacted as we did. A last mourner said that Emma “was an angel and we’re going to be lesser for it. We didn’t understand her.”
Emma Kate Hines 28 April 1977 to 2 January 2016 18 January 2016
Hare Krishna at Hurtle Square
They arrived on time last Monday at 6:00pm. Lance Armstrong said their new VW was painted with “new spooky artwork”. The vegetables in the vegetarian meal were grown by the Hare Krishna devotees. Much improved, Lance said. 18 January 2016
Old Sam’s Funeral
Christian Life Centre held Old Sam’s funeral at the Enfield Memorial Park cemetery on Tuesday morning of 12 January 2016.
Lawyers Enzo Fardone and Patrick Byrt, filmmaker John Howard and one of the Maurici brothers spoke of Sam’s intellectual stamina and curiosity.
Sam wrote a 140 page script of a certain World War 2 historical event. Sam wanted Sophia Loren to play his mother in another planned movie, but the productions became problematic as Sam aged and became more irritable, and smelly when he pissed his pants and did nothing about it.
Sam was active with the Theosophical Society, the Adelaide UFO club, and the Multi-cultural Writers Association. He was also a keen gambler whereupon he reputedly lost both his own house and that of his mother. He used numerous aliases.
The preacher said that Sam had participated in Christian Life Centre’s Friday program, but didn’t elaborate that it was a homeless soup kitchen. Perhaps, this was a show of respect because associating with derelicts and scrounging through rubbish bins aren’t considered positive attributes by the ignorant masses.
Few in the homeless scene understood Sam as more than a taciturn old man who shuffled about and stared at concrete walls for an hour at a time.
The funeral performed by Christian Life Outreach was described as “a controlled performance” and that the guitar playing was too boisterous for an event remembering a man who appeared emotionally stricken in the last decades of his life. But they did organise it, which allowed Sam’s friends and associates to realise that he was more than what he appeared.
Sam died alone, and his friend John Howard said that no one should die alone.
Sam’s legal name was Servolo Toffolutti. He was born in Trieste, Italy on 22 September 1939 and died 13 December 2015. 18 January 2016
Piano Player Wayne has been disappointed with the ferocity of his giant tarantula so he’s enquiring about importing a Vietnamese blue cobalt spider. It may have to live under quarantine for one year before he can take it home. 18 January 2016
Gerry and the Outsiders
Popular front man Gerry Bonk, along with The Outsiders, will launch their debut CD at “The Daughters” (Hutt Street Centre) tomorrow (Tuesday) at 1:30pm. The band will also perform selections from their CD.
Members of The Outsiders include Gerry himself, Peter Ambrose, Atha Stevenson, Craig Richards and Rod Voege, and the most distant outsider, Joao (Portugese Joe) Sousa.
Joao performed alone on the footpath last week for the benefit of patrons at the coffee shop across the street. His life is a comprehensive artistic performance offering a subconscious stimulus for those who model their existence on rote and regulation.
18 January 2016
Police called to Fred’s Van at Gawler Place
Recently, an Aboriginal woman punched a man in the face for unspecified reasons. He didn’t react as he was afraid the rest of her mob would attack him. The police took 15 minutes to arrive, by which time the woman had fled.
A diner commented how the police took so long considering their station was next door.
The violence has decreased 90% over the past eight years, but there is always the element of fear felt by most patrons. 18 January 2016
Ruf Us on Hutt Street
32-year-old Trent has been in hospital recently after suffering various injuries. His indifferent to his declining health isn’t shared by his mother, Aileen ‘AJ’ Jefferis, who raises one of his daughters.
‘AJ’ briefly greeted the regular patrons at her Ruf Us meal service on the steps of the closed Hutt Street Centre then concentrated her attention on the old man lying on the concrete verandah floor. One of his legs was swollen and he needed help to rise to his feet. He said a spider bit him.
AJ talked to him for twelve minutes then made sure he received at least one container of beef and vegetables that she’d cooked at home. Another person gave him the address of the Brian Burdekin free clinic that specialises in injuries and health problems of people living outside.
Brian brought the huge Ruf Us transit van used to deliver furniture to homeless people after they get somewhere to live.
Half the guests today were elderly men living in their elderly cars on South Terrace. One man has returned to St Vinnies after police told him to get rid of his bomb. He paid $3500 for it last year and sold it for $150 last month.
The Aboriginals were missing. They’d been “drunk as skunks” at 8:00pm last night. At 10:00pm there was a stabbing next to the Japanese Gardens, the result of a dispute within the group rather than involving outsiders.
Amongst AJ’s containers of hot beef and vegetables there were two containing salmon patties so I grabbed one.
The pump on the hot water thermos wasn’t working properly and there wasn’t enough hot water, anyway. AJ gave out clean used clothing, bottled water, crackers and toilet paper. She has located an industrial fridge available for donation that COS We Care might be able to utilise.
When I mentioned the words: “Hutt Street Centre”, her reaction was swift. “Hypocrites,” she said.
16 January 2016
Piano Player Wayne on the warpath
Yesterday, Wayne filled out complaint forms with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. He alleges that two charity employees discriminated against his $3000 Therapy Cat. 16 January 2016
Another waste of resources
In yet another waste of resources, the Hutt Street Centre now requires those attending their breakfasts to form at queue at the data collection counter where their personal details will be entered into their data base.
Staff emphasise the data will be de-personalised when given to the government, but what digitally literate person would believe this? What would the Daughters of Charity nuns of yesteryear think of this betrayal of confidentiality? 16 January 2016
Saturday at Do Unto Others
The Quiz has recommenced with teams that will keep their members for the whole year. Bob the Quiz Master with his rapier wit convened the teams and led the quiz while John Swan sang between the sets.
Even critics within the anti-music Crony Gang were impressed with the talent assembled that evening.
Prior to that, a portion of the church service was dedicated to the memory of Emma Hines. Salvation Army, 277 Pirie Street, Adelaide Saturdays 5:00 - 11:00pm Wednesdays 5:00 - 7:30pm 16 January 2016
(above) The Hutt Street Centre: Heaven for some.
Fred’s Van on Tuesday
at Gawler Place, Adelaide
I counted 105 guests. About 80 were in the queue, another dozen on the sidelines then a few more arrived once the van arrived. It had been a hot day. Gawler Place is shaded.
The Fred’s Van crowd served pies and pasties, salad sandwiches, meat sandwiches, cold fruit including some delicious white peaches, cordial, tea and coffee, and some musty wheaten slices. A Chinese-looking man served white rice and a stew containing huge chunks of meat.
We ducked as the tame pigeons brushed past our faces as they rushed food tossed onto the ground.
A friend of Trent Jefferis was yelling wildly, but not threateningly. Lots of men were yelling wildly. Ajay was there: he never yells.
The Face said, “Isn’t it sad that David Bowie died?” I said, “Who cares? I care that Emma died.”
Incredibly, the van drove off 45 minutes after arriving. The guests also vanished as if evaporating into thin air.
15 January 2016
Peckish Rice Crackers
What a pleasant surprise when these crackers began turning up at various underclass and homeless joints. The distributors donated them to charity due to wrong weight labelling.
They retail in shops for two dollars a packet and were initially rationed at homeless joints when guests greedily grabbed three or four packets. The situation reversed when the never-ending supply became apparent and staff urged guests to take extra packets.
One soup kitchen got 400 packets; they couldn’t believe their luck. But that was chicken feed compared to another smallish charity that got a shipping container of twenty pallets, each holding 196 boxes, each of which held 12 packets. That’s 47,000 packets of 100gram Peckish rice crackers.
They jokingly ordered their clients to take a minimum of three packets. But to get rid of them they’d effectively have to get each client to take 500 packets, no exceptions.
None will be wasted; they might redistribute them to another worthy soup kitchen.
15 January 2016
Sunday morning at The Hutt Street Centre
The Hard Man has lost his resilience. “I’ll be glad when I get my Trust place,” he says, adding “I’m sick of the arguments,” as two drugs addicts threaten each other.
He’s the one who said Emma was “a strange one”. He says, “The system got Emma. You can’t let the system get you.”
Conversation stops when two detectives enter the front room. They show two staff members pictures wrapped in plastic sleeves. The two volunteers don’t know anything; they laugh; the detectives wish everyone a good day then leave. A voice mutters that the police shouldn’t be allowed onto private property.
Fried back bacon and eggs are served with toast and coffee and tea. As usual, the place is packed. A man says they should stay open an extra hour until 12 noon. Cecily and her tribal people sit outside as if disinterested in the food preparation inside. The Vitamin Derelict notes that the tribal Aboriginals always remain in the background. They live outside, mostly in Marshmallow Park.
He repeats what was said at the Angels of Adelaide Christmas day meal: that we’d be very embarrassed if the homeless people were asked to stand up. So true, the most desperate usually miss out.
A men’s toilet cubicle appears as if someone walked onto faeces. The room emanates the odour of stale urine.
Staff hand out the bags at 10:30am. Each contains two chicken sandwiches, a can of soft drink, a bottle of water and a banana. Not bad.
Cecily’s tribal Aboriginals have disappeared. They’ve fanned out across the parklands then converged at their day camp. From there, individuals intermittently will leave the group to scout for opportune events, and dangers, then return to camp. In their minds, they’re still in the bush.
15 January 2016
From the Contact Page
"All to be Saved, None to be Lost" that is the claim.
“I guess the people that preach that, truly believe that they are doing that, but i disagree. It makes me sad that they believe that, because it may be okay to supply a meal, but we need much more than that. but they seem at arms length all the time, maybe its not just about saving the homeless , maybe sometimes the volunteers need saving too, but they look lost . So i guess who are you saving , if you dont know who you are too save.” 15 January 2016
(above) The Hutt Street Centre: Protecting the homeless against "cosmopolitan" and "business interests" wanting to destroy it and expel those living outside.
Another quiet betrayal
“Excuse me, Sir. You’ll have to register to access the food service,” the loud obese bureaucrat guarding the door to the Elizabeth Anglicare Food Barn advised me today. She wanted my name and date of birth for their computer register.
The data collected by Anglicare is used to build the government’s psycho-social profile data base of Adelaide’s underclass.
The kitchen is staffed by volunteers; the food supplied by Food Bank; the building owned by Anglicare; and little is spent on repairs or cleaning. So, who actually gets the government money for which they betray their clients? One observable expense is the bureaucrat collecting guests’ personal data.
Sadly, this is another betrayal of privacy by a church agency that previously respected confidentiality. It appears that an evil entity has infiltrated an organisation based on decency.
13 January 2016
No Fred’s Van at Gawler Place on Monday
Lance Armstrong waited until 7:05pm on Monday, but no one arrived. Just two other patrons waited. Someone said it has previously arrived as late as 7:50pm. Lance believes it never arrives, but may begin its service in February.
13 January 2016
Pilgrim Lounge Reopens
“Pilgrim Church Lounge is open again after a brief closure over Christmas/New Year. The Lounge is open 10am to 2pm Monday to Friday, with free tea and coffee, and a cool place to relax. All welcome! 12 Flinders St (entrance at rear of the church).” Sandy Boyce 13 January 2016
Barking Dog creeps out homeless man
The man sat in his vehicle before going to bed. He couldn’t sleep after eating the uncooked soggy pizza at the Salvation Army. He finally felt sleepy when the dog began barking.
The animal slinked down Hutt Street. It crossed the intersection then walked past Herbie on Hutt. It was walking on two legs. It barked like a human. Then it went down on all fours and proceeded past the man’s vehicle, then over to a park bench where it continued barking then sat quietly for 30 minutes.
The homeless man thought the critter was harmless and fell asleep. 13 January 2016
“That cry baby had to go and leave us.”
Grinder, talking about Emma Hines, as he turned away and walked to the edge of the crowd at Fred’s Van last night. 13 January 2016
Sex Abuse Commission
The Celebrity Can Collector finally got his $800 psychologist’s report that said he suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He collected 8000 cans to pay for it.
He was taken from his parents and forced to live at the Glandore Boys home during the child molester period.
He told me last night that The Children in State Care Commission of Inquiry was a waste of $13 million and it killed Ted Mullighan. He tried to get a copy of the evidence, but was told there was an 80 year embargo. The Can Collector says the culprits have escaped and that they include Jay Wetherill’s father and Mike Rann.
Though his experiences are nearly fifty years in the past, the Celebrity Can Collector can’t forget about it.
13 January 2015
No one expressed regret that if only they’d known she was near death perhaps then perhaps something could have been done. No. The sentiment is that she was always beyond help. Her distress and escalating attacks on herself made her death inevitable and unavoidable.
But regret, apparently plenty in the homeless scene.
And what would have been her feelings as she gazed at the night sky, felt the cooling grass on her back while the torment of her life dissolved into death? 13 January 2016
Gazza from Tonga
Gazza from Tonga was expelled from the doorway of a city Subway restaurant. He virtually lived there until his big mistake. He shouldn’t have gone around the back of the Subway and retrieved dumped rolls then returned back through the front door and ate them inside the shop as if he had been a paying customer. Gazza has since moved to Hungry Jacks. 13 January 2015
From the Contact Page
Question asked: “Is the shearer also known as cowboy????”
Answer: No, different men. Cowboy, 76, who sets up the chairs at Congress Hall, is a year older, but he hasn't been seen at his usual haunts for the past ten days. 12 January 2016
Bruno out of jail
John from St Bede’s Drop-in-Centre saw Bruno at the TAB on Hindley Street last week. Bruno proudly showed John his new clothing.
Bruno was also seen in Port Adelaide. He’s lost a lot of weight and appears blind in one eye. One St Bede’s volunteers said she wouldn’t have recognised him if his facial tattoo hadn’t been visible. Some of the St Bede’s guests look forward to him returning; others are ambivalent, to say the least.
Bruno has been in the Adelaide Remand Centre for the past few months. He had collected a number of fines for begging, and for breaking an exclusion order barring him from Semaphore Road, Semaphore. Shop owners and the police dislike his aggressive begging, which verges on robbery. 12 January 2016
He asks if I’m going to the memorial. At Hutt Street. “No.” I ask if he knew her. “Yes, she was wild in the head. Before Christmas” He’d tried to talk to her but she was…he holds one arm in the air and swivels his hand around, fingers pointed outward. “She killed herself, of course,” I say. “No, he replies, in a split second, “There were two; they got one…it’s depressing.” He gets up and leaves the air-conditioned building and walks outside into the heat. After 20 minutes roasting in the sun he returns. We say nothing. 12 January 2016
Portugese Joe’s Life
John de Souza (Portugese Joe), aged about 78, communicates by whistling or whining in a falsetto voice. He wears a girl’s fluffy beanie topped with a toy propeller.
Before the Salvation Army hall opens each Saturday at 5:00pm, he places himself in a corner at the back door.
The Pitjantjatjara mob arrived from the desert and Cecily and another six tribal women and a child waited in the laneway. John made strange whistling sounds and laboriously inserted a five-cent coin in a crack in the bricks next to Cecily.
The tribal women laughed. Even the kid laughed. Cecily laughed beautifully. “Darling,” she replied in a deep Lauren Bacall voice, bringing more laughter. She put the coin into her handbag. John retreated then began brushing his hair with a dirty pink plastic doll’s brush. He ambled back into the laneway and gave it to Cecily. She put that in her bag. The laughter increased.
John retreated, looking back with a deadly serious expression and goofy looking eyes.
He vigorously combed his hair with a long hairdresser’s comb then gave that to Cecily. Twenty men and woman were intrigued. When the back doors opened, the tribal people felt comfortable enough with him to sit at his table.
12 January 2016
COS We Care
The toilet paper went first. Then the coffee. Then the eggs. Laura held items back in the fan for latecomers. She and Anne are quite cognisant of the difficulty in getting the good to the most desperate. The new gas stove heated the two kettles quickly. No more delays. 12 January 2016
Stop it, Marianne
A woman heard Emma in the showers four weeks ago at the Hutt Street Centre. “Stop it, Marianne,” Emma complained, followed by the thumps of fists against her face.
11 January 2016
A man walked down South Terrace with a spring in his step. He was happy. He punched the plastic and wire screen wall on the TPI building construction site then reeled back in pain. He wasn’t happy, anymore; he was extremely angry.
He stomped across the road to the Hutt Street Centre where he shouted at the “The Meths Head,” who also uses “Ice”. The Meths Head has permanent brain damage. He threatened Card Player David to a fight at the DUO gathering in Pirie Street the previous evening. David is an invalid.
But the Meths Head wasn’t so brave with this guttural, able-bodied foe who swung his clenched fists menacingly in the air. Two police detectives sprung from nowhere. That saved The Meths Head, but it didn’t stop the ugly shouting. At least, no blood was spilt.
Inside, a thin blond woman with an innocent, shy expression talked to a volunteer. I commented to a friend how she kept herself fit and was an anomaly at the Hutt Street Centre.
He corrected me. He said her thin body was “loss of form” due to methamphetamine use. I then noted small sores on her face, nothing terrible, but symptomatic of those who use Meths.
I’ve seen her many times with the rough crowd at Fred’s Van, but she doesn’t appear rough, even after a few years. 11 January 2016
"Emma’s Service was a cremation service. A decision on the placement of her cremated remains has not been decided by her family."
Regards Steve Farrell Funeral Director Farrell & O'Neill Funerals
11 January 2016
Old Sam’s Funeral
Sam’s funeral will be at 9:15am on Tuesday 12 January 2016.
It will be held in the Folland Chapel at Enfield Memorial Park cemetery on Browning Street, Clearview. Christian Life International church is sponsoring the ceremony. They host the Fred’s Van food service in Gawler Place each Friday at 7:00pm.
Sam was born on 22 September 1939 in Italy. He died on 13 December 2016 at Thebarton. His legal name was Servolo Toffolutti. Sam was a mystery.
No one in the homeless scene knew much about him. He talked about being witness to a historical event that he wanted to turn into a book, but he could never confide in anyone enough to finish the project. He was a quiet man and over the past 30 years I’ve never exchanged more than five or six words at a time with him. 11 January 2016
A woman euthanised her budgie with her boot because she thought she was going to jail and the bird would starve. She later discovered that police had dropped charges.
She says the dead bird has been reincarnated and sits in a cage in a city pet shop.
This belief was strengthened when she saw a man in the pet shop who wore a shirt with a white cross on it.
She is happy and relieved, but feels regret for stomping on her beloved budgie.
11 January 2015
The 75-year-old sleeps outside. He was in Detox at Whitmore Square. He’s frustrated about his loss of memory. It began to deteriorate two or three years previously. He says he wants to work, but can’t get job.
He is polite. He’s from the old school of good manners.
You can see him from the road at night, rolled up in a black blanket. He worked on sheep and cattle stations so sleeping outside is the life he’s always known. He’s relatively at ease in his mind.
(above) Anglicare refuse to put a safety rail on this sloping ramp. While the slope and drop are insignificant to an able-bodied person, to the 78-year-old infirm tenant it is an accident waiting to happen. Anglicare know the level of her infirmity, but instead spend money on interior cosmetic repainting of the units.
Notes on the vulnerable tenant
The elderly and infirm woman living in this Elizabeth flat (pictured above) recently lost her footing on the back steps. She grabbed the hand rail, but falling against it inflicted a purple bruise to her shoulder.
Yet Anglicare refused for the past six months to install a safety rail on her front sloping ramp. What sort of institutional insanity or corruption makes its employees act so bizarrely? More money was spent on consultations and measurements for the never-to-be-installed safety rail than the cost of its actual installation.
The infirm tenant has since moved to a higher care retirement joint that has adequate safety rails for its residents.
(above) In a strange allocation of resources, the Anglicare gardener mows this non-grass every two weeks. His ride-on mower blasts dust over the porches and windows of each unit then stirs up the dust a second time by using his noisy blower.
A man sleeps in his car. One night he parked near a large van. He’d hardly arranged his bed sheet curtains and fallen asleep when a woman’s shouts erupted from the nearby van. Also, a pounding sound of fists hitting on the inside walls. This went on for an hour.
Perhaps someone living nearby thought the woman inside was being attacked. Whatever, he or she crossed the road and kicked the panels and slapped the windows from outside.
Finally, the man fell asleep behind his drooping curtains. Then his slumber was disturbed by a female voice shouting, “F**k off, f**k off.” It went on for twenty minutes. The man peeked through his curtains and saw Lorraine half hanging from the open door of her vehicle. She had her eyes on his car and continued her shouting.
That made him nervous. Maybe she thought he’d been the one kicking the outside of her van. He got out of bed and drove further up the street.
He tried to fall asleep, but this proved elusive. The ticking of the irrigation system near Herbie-on-Hutt irritated him. He got out of his car and turned off the tap and went back to sleep. Within an hour the rising summer sun forced him from bed. He also didn’t want to be caught sleeping in his car. And he had a few hours of work at the weekend market.
Later, he said he’d felt exhausted all day.
9 January 2016
St Luke’s "Gang of Nine”
St Luke’s Church is ruled by the ‘Gang of Nine’. Two or three months ago the gang kindly removed the huge gate that had been locked at night. The removal gave access for the homeless to a relatively safe site at night.
But recently, another group of semi-homeless people have begun arriving late at night whereupon they awaken and torment the permanent campers, some of whom get up and walk the streets.
9 January 2016
Not a worry in the world
Someone said to me last week that people living outside haven’t a worry in the world. The exact opposite is true.
Those living outside are under constant threat 24 hours a day from thugs, psychopaths, bureaucrats, Street-to-home types, Adelaide City Council employees, harsh weather, insects, inner despair, lack of adequate nourishment and physical health problems.
No one escapes without traumatisation. Yet for some, it is the lesser of two evils; they’ve escaped something even worse.
9 January 2016
The funeral for Emma Kate Hines was at the Florey Chapel at Centennial Park cemetery today at 1:00pm.
Her body was found in the South Parklands on 2 January 2016. She was born on 28 April 1977.
Emma lived on the razor’s edge of invisibility in the homeless scene yet upon her death she has paradoxically become one of the our most memorable friends. She touched so many, but was herself untouchable.
8 January 2016
Correction: Emma's birthdate was wrongly stated as 1997. She was born in 1977.
Searching the archival pages Entries containing references to Emma are dated 3, 4, 9, 16, 20, 21,21 October 2015. Also 1, 4, 12, 14, 25 November 2015. And 13, 17, 24 December 2015. Emma was referred to as Marianne to protect her privacy. Her full name, Emma Kate Hines, has been added to each entry for an easy location.
The Truth about St Luke’s
The lunch service hasn’t been closed for January due to kitchen renovations. That was a lie.
The real reason is that AJ was sacked before Christmas. He was the volunteer cook.
Scott is the paid manager of St Luke’s. He accused AJ of giving him diarrhoea by cooking food past the Use-By date from OzHarvest. He said other people suffered similar problems. AJ demanded to see medical certificates.
AJ resented Scott interfering with the kitchen, which he said was none of Scott’s business.
Scott is an ex-Navy man and ex-Cop. He told AJ he was terminated; he read from a charge sheet as if AJ was a criminal at a police station. He wouldn’t give AJ a copy of the accusations, but Sharon later traded a copy for the return of the kitchen key.
With AJ gone, Scott closed the kitchen for six weeks. He told volunteer staff that they needed a rest. AJ later met some disappointed diners outside the locked doors. He told them that he didn’t need a rest as he’d been there for less than six months.
Critics describe AJ as an excellent cook who occasionally veers toward esoteric dishes that challenge the dining pleasure of guests expecting simple tucker. He replaced the previous cook who quit when diners criticised his culinary skills, and the “shit written about my cooking on the internet”.
How the dedicated Scott fixes the situation is anyone’s guess. He’s annoyed regular diners who consider the three-dollar lunches an essential service, both for the food and the social atmosphere. AJ is also a popular personality. The homeless people who dwell around the beautiful buildings also appreciate the doors opening at noon.
8 January 2016
Byron Place Community Centre
There is still consternation as to why Uniting Communities closed down the Byron Place Community Centre. What criminal within the organisation made the decision to kill it? Why was so much money spent on renovations before it closed down? Why was it closed when for some it was Adelaide’s superior homeless joint? Whose career was enhanced by closing it down?
We need a church commission to publicly examine this disaster for people living outside. 8 January 2015
Hutt Street Centre Sunday breakfast Sunday, 2 January 2016
Seventy or eighty guests crowded the front room and the dining room. Grinder’s left leg was injured. He claimed it was old age and dragged it behind him, but still challenged William, the former ABC 891 football commentator. William smiled nervously. Grinder is a hard man, and his posturing frightens others, but he acts rationally and is a known factor.
It was the unpredictable angry man from Christmas Day who silenced the front room. He swung his powerful arms at another man’s face, his shouts rising to the pitch of shrieks.
Two staff challenged him outside for ten minutes and with more waving of his fists he left, a wolf returned to lamb, but with a trigger switch in his brain that could return him to wolf in a millisecond.
The men’s shower room was ridiculously overcrowded. One man used the four minute shower, but hadn’t time to wash his hair. Near closing time at 11:00am he rushed back in to wash his hair.
Coffee was served in the front room, and buttered toast with Vegemite and jam was available in the kitchen. The kitchen was open for slightly longer than 30 minutes, but the atmosphere inside was wonderful; the staff liked being there and this offset the slightly cold toast.
My memories from the 1980’s were of rectangular tables with unsmiling women ordering diners to sit shoulder-to-shoulder to fill each table to the maximum. The new tables are round with lots of room between the chairs.
The 10:30am bags included a can of cold Coke Zero, two ham and processed cheese sandwiches, 50grams of chocolates, three biscuits and a banana plus a hot pasty and a hot meat pie. The queue was huge.
Emma Hines wasn’t there; she hadn’t slept on the Hutt Street Centre doorstep last night, as she sometimes did. Her resting spot last night had been on the grass, 1600 metres west near Veale Gardens, where she had died, and from where the Ambulance had moved her body an hour before.
Yet the atmosphere at the Hutt Street Centre is encumbered by the phenomena of increased space for salaried bureaucrats juxtaposed with less time available for the homeless to shower and wash their clothing. It’s as if a stupefying entity has established itself in the collective mind of those honourable people operating the Hutt Street Centre.
Hutt Street Centre 258 Hutt Street, Adelaide Sunday breakfast is 9:00 - 9:30am. Toast and coffee. Building open from 9:00-11:00am on Sundays Fried bacon and eggs every second and third Sunday of month 8 January 2016
The white-haired derelict
The Street Fighting Woman said that Derelict David Roe told her he had been charged with the sexual harassment of *******. The Street Fighting Woman said she will give David a smack in the jaw if he is lying.
8 January 2016
Ruf Us in Hutt Street
Someone jeered the police when they drove by the Hutt Street Centre. It happened also at Fred’s Van when nine or ten men and women in plain clothes walked down Gawler Place then into the lane back of the Wakefield Street police station.
Aileen “AJ” Jefferis arrived in her little car. She greeted many of the men by name. Two helped her unload the aluminium containers of home cooked meat and vegetables. There was a slightly inadequate amount hot water for coffee and tea.
Demos Roussos hugged her. Everyone wanted her attention. She told me she’d been bringing food for 15 years. Her mind was on her son, Trent; he’d been hammering her, figuratively speaking. She won’t let him die and occasionally this light shines through the thin layer of her ego.
Ruf Us After 9:00am Saturdays in front of The Hutt Street Centre, 258 Hutt Street, Adelaide 8 January 2015
COS We Care
Laura and Anne were relaxed and in a good mood despite trouble with the new gas stove. The hose wouldn’t fit the LPG tank, but they’d filled the thermos’ with hot water the night before then refilled them before starting off for Adelaide. That was so minimal heat would be lost during the trip in and before the single burner butane stoves heated the two red kettles.
Laura gave her thongs to an Aboriginal woman who received them with aplomb. There were about 35 people present to take an average amount of fruit and vegetables and processed food. Anne said that donations were down because so many businesses were closed. COS We Care Sundays 7:30am at South Terrace opposite the Theosophical Society 8:30am at Whitmore Square 9:15am at WestCare 8 January 2016
Silly Billy ‘chokes’ volunteer
Silly Bill allegedly choked a volunteer at Fred’s Van at Gawler Place last Friday. Christian Life Centre operate the van on Fridays. The volunteer touched Silly Billy who responded by poking his fingers against the other man’s throat and momentarily choking him. The volunteer was shaken from the incident.
A witness said that whatever benefit of the doubt he’d given Silly Bill, it was now gone.
Silly Bill has reacted similarly when playing table tennis. He banged the bat on the table then threw it against the wall. He had a seizure. Not his fault and quite forgivable, in my opinion. 7 January 2015
Small punch-up at Salvation Army
At Captain Laurel Cummins sermon last Saturday evening, we were told that Jesus said he’d return to save us, but that it was important to believe in him. As for Christmas, Laurel said she was tired of people asking: How was your Christmas? She said it was a day she kept for herself, to grieve for the suffering of her children, then devote the rest of her year in faith and service.
Numerous guests regret she is leaving. One comment was that her new job as women’s prison chaplain will be a ‘piece of cake’ compared with us in the homeless scene.
Two men received brand new swags. One man walked up and down the atrium as if displaying a trophy. A man in a white shirt at the back door punched him in the face. Horrible smacking sounds. Guy tried to break up the fight, but other Army people seemed indifferent. A volunteer said he was getting his comeuppance.
The white shirt man apologised to the Equity Queen for his behaviour then chased the other man up Pirie Street and into the Tivoli Hotel. After the white-shirt man returned to the Army building, the blue-shirt man ran from the hotel up towards Pulteney Street, laughing.
The shortage of volunteers verged on desperate: many were on holiday, YWAM have disappeared. The coffee service was slow. Luckily, Paul the Scot was helping out. The meal was gravy, roast beef, mashed potatoes, boiled carrots and corn, bread and margarine, limited salt and pepper and Magnum ice-cream for desert.
Later, lots of badly cooked pizza was available. One was cold and gluey in the middle. My criticism was met with the unhelpful comment that last time they burnt it. The volunteers should be urged to take more care: beggars can be choosers.
The free food room was kept closed due to lack of staff, but later in the evening certain people snuck in and took items. This is a bad culture that rewards people acting wrongly.
Des and Sandra and other volunteers prepared 190 cups of barista coffee from 8:00pm - 10:30pm. A few hundred cups of instant coffee was served before that.
Laurel carefully listened to various guests’ problems. One medicated new woman appeared drowning in despair, unwittingly dangerous like someone drowning in water.
Lorraine and Grinder got a sleeping bag for a man sleeping on the footpath. They got him to roll onto it then later a pillow was put under his head. They were our messengers of wisdom that night.
7 January 2015
Emma Hines Dead
“Have you heard about Emma?” Card Player asks as he deals the cards. We look each other in the eyes then turn away. He says he rather liked her.
Three men saw Emma last week, alive, after the body was discovered in the South Parklands. That’s what they say. Another said she was 32 or younger, or even 20 so the dead 38-year-old-woman of no fixed address couldn’t be Emma.
Another man saw her two days ago. That’s what he says. A guest at Fred’s Van says the body was moved after death.
A long serving volunteer at DUO knew it was only a matter of time. He could see it.
Father Christmas saw her two weeks before Christmas. She was ruined. It was near West Terrace, not far from where the body was found. No suspicious circumstances. He shows no compassion, but his smile evaporates.
Charra at Fred’s Van has his theory why Emma killed herself. Grinder says he’ll get a photo, after the post mortem. She trusted Grinder, the hard man.
We remember Emma as the child-like woman who mercilessly thrashed herself with slaps, scratches and bare knuckle blows to her face. She’d collapse to the pavement, stunned, then rise, her face covered in anguish and confusion. She refused to cry. She wouldn’t ask for help, this woman who slept in doorways and gave herself black eyes.
Our Emma, comfortable with old men; distraught old men who claim she lives; they’ve seen her. R.I.P. Emma (aka Marianne)
6 January 2016
"Marianne" (Emma), 38. The body was moved after death. That was the talk at Fred's Van tonight. Let's hope it is unfounded rumour.
Tuesday 5 January 10:00pm
St Luke’s closing for January
St Luke’s Monday to Friday three-dollar lunches at Whitmore Square have been cancelled until February. The Sunday 7:00pm meals have also been cancelled. This was a surprise for some regular diners who arrived to find the place closed. They are renovating the kitchen. 5 January 2016
The South Australian police media section won’t provide further details of the 38-year-old woman of no-fixed-abode whose body was discovered in the South Parklands last Sunday morning.
A spokesperson said they only deal with “working journalists”.
Hopefully, we can discover who it is, or at least determine that it isn’t anyone we know and like.
5 January 2016
Nasty trick against the Homeless
The Adelaide City Council locks the filthy Exeloo toilet on Unley Road near Marshmallow Park from midnight to 6:00am to discourage people from sleeping in the area. This means that the old men who sleep in their cars have to make a dangerous jaunt into the bushes during the night. 5 January 2016
Judy Clutterbuck works for the South Australian Department of Communities and Social Inclusion. She wrote in the November 2015 issue of Parity Magazine that:
“The HSP [Homeless Support Program] provides a ‘No Retreat’ approach to service provision in that services are not ceased during periods of challenging behaviours and is underpinned by an ‘assertive engagement’ model of support that is not reliant on a client’s willingness to participate.” So what does this mean? Judy said that her team provides “support services” to a person living outside, or recently housed, regardless of that person’s desire to be helped. This means knocking on doors ― even if a person doesn’t have a door ― or, possibly, intercepting people elsewhere and “referring” them to other agencies.
Welfare workers use the word, “referring,” differently from the rest of us. In social work terms, it means the welfare bureaucrat will call another agency to deliver more “services” regardless of the client’s “willingness to participate”. This “service” may involve grabbing a person by the arms and legs. The Homeless Support Program is a two-edged sword and that is probably why they operate from the shadows. They make the decisions that may go well for the person living outside, or it may end disastrously. 5 January 2016
Woman punches door
A woman with a masculine undercurrent punched a door at a homeless meal service when ******** ************ ****** ***** *********.
She rarely speaks to anyone and reacts with hostility at anyone attempting conversation. She appears inter-sex, like people of indeterminate gender. She identifies as a woman.
There are three or four such women in the homeless scene. Most are incommunicado. They are the most oppressed individuals in the homeless scene.
An example of unintended insult and humiliation was when a well-meaning welfare worker chased a woman into the female toilets, saying that blokes weren’t allowed in there.
4 January 2016
(above) Washed clothing hung on a fence surrounding a Parklands irrigation pump. When I returned a week later, this clothing had been replaced with wet coats. The Hutt Street Centre won't give clients direct access to the hot air driers. While the place is crawling with salaried bureaucrats, physical services like laundry facilities are rationed as if the place is nearly bankrupt.
Critiquing Olivia Taylor’s report on the
October 2015 Adelaide Homeless Connect Expo
The worthy Olivia Taylor is from ShelterSA. She co-organised last October’s Homeless Health Day in Whitmore Square. Her report of the event appeared in the November 2015 issue of Parity Magazine.
Olivia wrote that she felt good seeing the smiles on people’s faces. This is true. We were happy. It was a good place to meet friends. It was also a good place to meet dangerous enemies.
Olivia wrote about the festive vibe. This was another true statement, but the vibe changed when the musicians blasted away at decibels that precluded further pleasant conversation. She says the musicians entertained the crowd for four hours. Luckily, it was considerably less than that.
Olivia says that giveaways included barista coffee. She forgot to say that the first coffee wagon arrived at 1:00pm, well after lunch and after most people had left. The other wagon arrived a few minutes later and the two baristas talked to each other due to lack of customers.
Olivia also lists items given away by stallholders. She includes vouchers, but like the bus tickets these were hidden and only available to those canny enough to ask for them, or favoured for certain characteristics.
She says the Homeless Connect was “...giving this group of people an opportunity to have a day entirely for them.” Actually, it was scheduled for 10:00am to 2:00pm, but by 1:30pm half the stalls had been packed up.
And some of the Welfare Rights staff were time-servers waiting for the bell to ring. When one man complained about his case, an employee didn’t suggest they look into it. Instead, she said, “Thanks for your feedback.”
Another stall included exploiters looking to “Case Manage” underclass people. “Case Management” is a cruel intrusion that steals the privacy of disadvantaged people. The real winners are the bureaucrats and contractors who run this blackmail racket, and those who benefit from applying these psycho-social profiles of homeless individuals.
Olivia goes into used car salesman mode when she writes, “During the event, the day centres such as Hutt Street Centre and Baptist Care close their kitchens, giving the Expo an opportunity to work to its full advantage and assist those in need.”
Closing the kitchens was collusion to coerce people to visit an event for which they had little interest. Given the large numbers that visit Hutt Street Centre and WestCare, my estimate is that the majority didn’t to go Whitmore Square. All that was accomplished was the depriving of these vulnerable people of their usual lunch.
And the visitor numbers at Whitmore Square were suspiciously low. They were a tiny fraction of those in the underclass and homeless scene in the Adelaide’s CBD.
And who had the shade on this sunny day? The stallholders sat in the shade while the guests sat without shade between the rows of stalls, like fish in a fishbowl.
Strangely, those stallholders without shade better engaged in frank conversation. They were the Magdalene Centre, Pilgrim Church, Aboriginal Sobriety Group, and also Nunkuwarrin Yunti: all front line organisations.
Nevertheless, the Homeless Connect Day is a premier event on the homeless calendar and I look forward to it next year, but not that loud music that ruined its sociability. And perhaps the barista vans can arrive at the beginning rather than at the end when nearly everyone has left. 4 January 2016
The politicising of Lauren Grant
Lauren Grant is a “Safety Strategy Consultant” with the Adelaide City Council. She was asked by a man whether a permit was required to distribute food from his car to Adelaide homeless people. Lauren replied, “...we do not issue permits for the distribution of free food as we currently have a range of services available in the city who provide meals and other important social services to vulnerable people. If you would like to donate some time, I can forward you details of some of the services in the City who use volunteers to distribute food.”
So what was wrong with this reply? It left the questioner doubtful whether a permit was actually required, or if it was required, whether the Council was or was not currently issuing them.
Her ambiguous response mirrored the sleazy speech of a politician rather than a factual reply of a bureaucrat stating the rules. She has been politicised to discourage groups like Ruf Us and Cos We Care from filling in the gaps left by government approved organisations like the Hutt Street Centre.
The Hutt Street Centre has gained this position by becoming a surveillance and data collecting vehicle for the government. They have betrayed the respectful anonymity given to clients from the Daughters of Charity era.
3 January 2016
All good on paper
Psychiatric authorities deemed a Semaphore man unable to look after himself so they put him in a Supported Residential Facility (SRF). He was put on psychiatric drugs and the Public Trustee took over his finances. The Trustee gave most of his Disability Support Payments to the SRF. This left him with a fortnightly disposable income of $70. A side-effect of his medication is an increased risk of diabetes; the SRF fed him diabetes unfriendly meals.
The man predictably reacted against the regimented life and food so he moved outside.
On paper, and for the government number crunchers, the outcome has been positive because the man has been deemed “settled”. That the Public Trustee still gives the bulk of the now homeless man’s income to the SRF is of no concern for the statistical number crunchers.
I suggested he withdraw from the Public Trustee so he’d have decent money to spend. He said, “That’s not possible.”
3 January 2016
Hindley Street assault
Piano Player Wayne left McDonalds junk food joint with his $3000 therapy cat last Saturday afternoon about 1:00pm. In front of the police station, he was allegedly king hit from behind by a man. The blow hit Wayne between his neck and shoulder blade and knocked him to the footpath. Either the man, or a woman with him, then lectured Wayne about cruelty to animals.
Six hours later, the man went to the Royal Adelaide Hospital for treatment to his broken hand. He wouldn’t say how he’d injured his hand, but they were suspicious as Piano Player Wayne had been there five hours previously.
Hospital staff called the police and the man was arrested. Bail was available, but the man couldn’t obtain five guarantors so he languishes in the Adelaide Remand Centre.
3 January 2016
The Secret Joke
An alcoholic who was homeless for a year said he’d get free beer in pubs by telling jokes. The deal was that if a listener failed to keep a straight face while listening to the joke, he’d have to buy the homeless man a beer.
The man said he stayed drunk for days at a time. His other method was going to dances and when people moved to the dance floor he’d drink their beer. This wasn’t as successful as his joke telling.
He wouldn’t tell me the joke.
3 January 2016
L. was grabbed by police on a warrant. She spent five days in the slammer.
Police were jeered when they visited the COS food van. They proffered a photograph of Trent Jefferis. His friends said they didn’t know him. They caught Trent later.
One person said the police presence was a method of intimidating the COS van people.
2 January 2016
Patrons of the Hutt Street Centre thought that salaried management had a gambling problem as a constant stream of bureaucrats crossed the street during working hours and entered the side gate of the pokies machine joint.
But it’s an extension of their offices as The Hutt Street Centre has outgrown the five buildings of the original Daughters of Charity convent.
2 January 2016
Marianne’s summer rain
Through the dusk of fading night she danced her private dance amongst the trees then waved her arms above her head in a flourish of resistance. She crossed Unley Road then around the Japanese Gardens. Patches of wet from last night’s summer rain darkened her grey clothing.
Her characteristic spring of step electrified the morning until the dull thump of bone on bone dragged reality back into the Boxing Day silence in the South Parklands.
But what grace within had covered those hands with white socks from a homeless refuge gift bag.
A hard man sat on the grass off South Terrace, near Herbie on Hutt where the old men sleep in their cars. He talked about his hideout and that soon he’d be getting a Housing Trust unit. We drifted over to the closed Hutt Street Centre to wait for the Cos We Care vans.
Marianne hid in a doorway, her face buried in her raised knees. “She’s a strange one,” he said, compassion etched in his hard man voice as we walked further up Hutt Street.
1 January 2016
Secrets of Power
A thoughtful observer on Hutt Street told me that he often wonders why the Hutt Street Centre is so “top heavy with managers” and “in what capacity they are employed.”
1 January 2016
The war on sleep
The swags have disappeared from the under the back eaves of the Pilgrim Church. Multiple signs warn “No camping’ and in the case that someone is exhausted and tempted to lie down on the concrete during the day, the prohibition signs add, “and Sleeping”.
The Pilgrim Lounge is also closed until Monday 11 January when it should reopen its 10:00am to 2:00pm free coffee and rest lounge. They’re at the back of 12 Flinders Street, Adelaide. 1 January 2016
Ian George Court
Adrian Hannett, 47, didn’t return to the semi-voluntary Ian George Court last Tuesday night. He was on a bender. Staff weren’t surprised. That’s where damaged homeless people end up, in the group of fenced buildings that straddle the tracks near the Hindmarsh railway station.
I found him collapsed and bleeding on Port Road opposite the Entertainment Centre. I almost drove over him. His head rest on the curb. He gripped a leaking wine cask in one hand while blood dripped from his elbow. He was at risk of being hit by cars.
Others stopped and we helped him off the road. Ants rushed around the blood spilt from his wounds. An ambulance arrived. A woman from either Anglicare or Ian George Court arrived. “I suppose you’ve drunk that cask of wine,” she said, resignedly. Adrian was too far gone to reply.
We said our quick goodbyes as the ambulance took Adrian to hospital. Bloodied bandages were left on the footpath. 1 January 2016
The Cruel Weeks
After the rush of homeless Christmas parties, the cruel weeks begin. The Adelaide South West Community Centre in Sturt Street closes from 18 December to 11 January, which is hard on Demos Roussos and old Lil, the latter whom lives outside, mostly in Whitmore Square.
The Hutt Street library, near where the men live in their cars on South Terrace, closes between Christmas and the New Year. “The Daughters” (Hutt Street Centre) has reduced its hours just when those living outside need them most. The Pilgrim Lounge also closes for three weeks over the holiday period.
However, the Salvation Army Do Unto Others program on Wednesday and Saturday continues through the holiday period as does the St Bede’s Drop-in-Centre who provide a free breakfast and social scene from 8:30 - 10:30am on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
31 December 2015
That mysterious fleet of cars
Who owns those cars parked in front of the Hutt Street Centre? Many of them carry disability parking permits.
A can collector told me, “... they have a fleet of cars; I’ve never seen any homeless in them.” He said that Manager Ian Cox was seen walking along the street trying to find the car that matched the electronic key he was pressing.
The can collector was curious so he asked a bureaucrat, “‘I don’t mean to be rude, but what are the cars for?’ They said it was marketing; it was important to be seen.”
That’s what the can collector told me.
31 December 2015
Fred’s Van on Mondays
Rumour has it that Fred’s Van will resume its Monday 7:00pm service at Gawler Place, Adelaide in February.
31 December 2015
New Zealander John
John said his Social Security Appeals Tribunal hearing is scheduled for the end of February. He said the waiting is agony. Nor does it look good for him.
John isn’t a professional welfare recipient who knows what stories to present to bureaucrats. His mixture of honesty and optimism is not conducive to achieving the Disability Support Payment.
This nearly 63-year-old in bad health swelters in his van parked on a city street. He hasn’t had any income for six months. What do the salaried homeless industry bureaucrats do about it? They sit behind their desks, fiddle with their computers and pretend they know nothing, see nothing of this situation.
It would be a scandal, but the homeless industry is so corrupt that this situation is business as usual.
31 December 2015
Questioning management practices
While sitting for thirty minutes on the steps of the Hutt Street Centre last Saturday morning after the two COS vans had left, six or seven latecomers asked why the place was closed. Why it’s always closed on Saturdays.
A regular patron said it existed for itself and not for anyone else.
31 December 2015
Good News for the
Man Formerly From Kilburn
He finally got a room at The Terrace rooming house on South Terrace. It costs $143 a week.
It has an individual air conditioner. He says the bed is clean and doesn’t smell or contain bugs that bite his legs.
He remembers the St Vincent de Paul Homeless Shelter fondly saying, “They treat you good considering the people they have to deal with.”
But initially having to share a room there wasn’t easy. Fear of theft meant he stored his personal belongings in the cloak room at the Adelaide Casino. Some guests arrived in the afternoon, banged their heads against the wall during the night, and were gone by dawn.
His tenancy at the Laura and Alfred West Cottage Homes unit at Kilburn ended when Ms R. “Rude Rhonda” Callaghan and Ms P. “Trish” Buhagiar made him remove his solar panels from the roof. He went from there to sleeping two weeks in the waiting room of the Royal Adelaide Hospital Emergency Department, then to St Vinnies and now The Terrace.
He hasn’t any hard feelings for Rude Rhonda or Trish and says that he was probably ready to move, anyway.
30 December 2015
This is your leader speaking
In his article titled: “Welcome from the Senior Manager of Housing”, AnglicareSA’s Ben Moore told how “97% of tenants are satisfied with our service,” and that “we have achieved amazing results,” and that the “entire housing team” has won the Anglicare National “Partnership Award.”
However, in a letter to one tenant who asked that a hand rail be installed on a sloping disability ramp used by an extremely infirm elderly tenant, Ben Moore wrote: “...should you wish to discuss someone’s individual matter, you will need to arrange for that tenant to either be present at the meeting, or to contact us directly to provide us with their consent to share their information with you.”
This completely misconstrued what was a simple, but repeated suggestion that a guard rail be installed, and is typical of how Ben Moore treats tenants trying to ensure the safety of our less able neighbours.
This is the trick that bureaucrats like Ben Moore use to seed the historical archives with misleading spin.
30 December 2015
Hutt Street Centre Christmas lunch
Catholic volunteers smiled warmly as I entering the building through the roller door from the back lane. Gwen the Nun moved through building planting seeds of kindness in every conversation. She said guests needed love and recognition. I thought back to my desperate years living outside when a smile or kind word staved off despair for days.
The man who lives in his red car sat quietly by himself. The man who lives in his station wagon sat outside. New Zealander John, who lives in his van, arrived later. Few of AJ’s Ruf Us breakfast crowd were there, but the ratio of homeless to underclass guests was higher than at other venues.
The list of liquor stores open during the holiday period was quickly wiped off the whiteboard when hacks from Channels 7 and 9 arrived. Hutt Street Manager Ian Cox in his trademark blue and white checked shirt mingled with Liberal MP Rachel Sanderson and Adelaide Lord Mayor Martin Haese and his wife Genevieve.
Some guests registered fear and covered their faces when the cameramen videoed them without permission. We felt like pawns in a larger media opportunity for Hutt Street management.
Martin Haese was the best political performer. He shook each guest’s hand and placed his hand on the shoulder of a wizened white fella who asked Deputy Lord Mayor Houssam Abiad where he came from. Houssam’s smile tightened as he explained he was born in Adelaide, but grew up in Lebannon.
Martin admitted to me that he didn’t know Adelaide City Council’s policy on confiscating tents and blankets, but said he’d find out. The mood turned nasty when the TV hacks were escorted into the air conditioned dining room and stuck microphones in diners’ faces asking what Christmas meant to them. One person said: I’m trying to eat my meal; please go away from me.”
Ian Cox genuinely welcomed a dozen Pitjanjatjara tribal black fellas and black fella women who sat at a long table with The Cousin, Graham from Salisbury, Zulu and me. Their presence felt a blessing on the gathering.
Ian’s only mistake was turning on the noisy industrial fan that blew stuff off the table.
When Zulu shouted, “The Gods Must Be Crazy,” a black fella woman rebuked him by saying that Christmas was the day when Jesus was born. “It is Jesus day; the day he is born.”
Lunch included creamed cauliflower, beef and gravy with fruit cake and custard for desert. Nothing special, but it was preceded in the front room by prawns, cakes, fruit, coffee and tea, soft drinks and other stuff. What I liked was the server’s polite response when I asked for a meal without meat or gravy. The no meat meal arrived within two or three minutes.
It was the kindness that bestowed The Hutt Street Centre with an aura of benevolence this Christmas morning.
The customary gifts came in attractive earthen-coloured rat-proof Anzac commemorative metal biscuit tins most suitable for people living outside. Contents included a toothbrush, toothpaste, wet wipes, tissues, muesli bars, socks, underwear and other useful items. They were beautiful and useful gifts compiled by people who were thinking homeless. Non-alcohol mouth wash and mosquito repellent could also have been added.
The Cousin snuck into the dining room and grabbed extra tins from the stockpile then raided Brenda’s pantry, which was scandalous behaviour even for the Crony Gang.
Terry the Gambler slipped into his habitual negative emotional state and accused others of making trouble for him.
Bitterness burst through the kindness near the front door when an Asian/Aboriginal man behind me shook his fists and shouted that he was going to smash someone’s face in. When I looked around he decided that I was eavesdropping and deserved to get a smashed face and that by the time the police arrived he’d be long gone. Then he switched his attention to “that fat volunteer” then ran from the building and slammed the door. A man sitting next to him was visibly shaken. 30 December 2015
WestCare Christmas Day
A guest migrating to St Luke’s said that the ham at WestCare on Christmas Day was older than it should have been. He said it had been hanging around too long. Another person said they offered chocolate coated tidbits, but the chocolate had melted, plus wrapped melted chocolate and edible “knick-knacks like those two-for-one-cent “milk bottles”. A third person, characteristically cold-heartedly objective, said that Heather was an excellent chef, but that the WestCare culture had gotten to her.
30 December 2015
Pilgrim Church Hall Christmas party (Angels of Adelaide)
By 4:00pm, the hairdressers from Sequel and Parlour hairdressing were giving professional haircuts on the footpath outside the Pilgrim Hall. The English woman from east London, and who last year worked at Miss Coiffure’s at Hindmarsh Square was also there. A derelict friend said the evening was organised by the Angels of Adelaide.
The dirty swags were missing from the verandah of the Pilgrim Church next door as were the bags of ten-cent cans and various blankets around the building. Where did those who slept there go to?
Member of Parliament Rachel Sanderson performed her most valuable duty of the year when she turned down the Muzak system. One of the hosts thought we’d be happier with noise drowning out conversation, but luckily she was sitting in front of the main speaker. Rachel acts like a normal person except when asked direct questions.
The room was too small. It held 72 people at tables placed too close to each other. The food was exquisite: varieties of coleslaw, potato salad, fresh salads, juicy Snapper, turkey, ham, four varieties of beef, ten deserts of the finest quality, soft drinks, salt and pepper, barista coffee and much more.
About twenty staff served perhaps 80 guests. Most of the women staff dressed in skimpy clothing that drew the attention of the Vitamin Derelict and Trock. When any of the women bent over to serve the next table, the Vitamin Derelict leant over like a real pervert. Trock told a Spanish woman that she was beautiful. She said, “Oh, thankyou.” The women deliberately made themselves sexually attractive then treated the underclass men as their opposite equals. Trock said later that he’d never have a girlfriend like that because he lives in a boarding house and doesn’t have a nice car. “And you’re a loafer,” I added, unhelpfully.
One participant said that Anglicare and the Hutt Street Centre had sent spies to see the quality of the Angels of Adelaide event produced without a cent of government funding. The participant said the cost would have been well over $3000 plus the unpaid labour.
Each guest was given a large bag containing toiletries and other items. Sally got a special card containing ten-dollars so most of the Crony Gang members under the stern eyes of the hospitality staff unceremoniously searched their bags, but found no money. The Ghost and The Cousin grabbed extra bags just in case.
Trock watched the guests carefully then asked: “How can people eat so much?”
There was so much food left over that staff asked each person five or six times if he or she wanted to take away containers of 1st class meats, vegetables and cream deserts.
The most pertinent comment of the evening came from The Vitamin Derelict: he said we’d be embarrassed if our hosts asked the homeless people to stand up. Just seven or eight were there, at best. Most people living outside are too vulnerable, exhausted and frightened to attend crowded homeless events. That is the sad truth. 29 December 2015
St Luke’s Christmas lunch
at Whitmore Square
They opened the doors at 11:30am and served nuts, chips and drinks before the main meal was served just after noon. I arrived about 1:00pm when Mrs Judith Telstra and others were leaving. There wasn’t the usual stage entertainment or the laughter of children.
No dignitaries were discovered except Rachel Sanderson who had hoofed it across from the Hutt Street Centre and strategically positioned herself behind the ice-cream.
The food was wonderful though the fish was overcooked beyond belief. The French-style deserts were of a high quality rarely experienced by underclass people except at St Luke’s each Christmas. Dr X sat at a central table. He’d been a medical student until suffering a nervous breakdown. He’s a Hutt Street Centre man, but had to flee after his habit of aggravating others reached a critical point.
He continued this bad habit at St Luke’s by telling illiterate Terry the Gambler that he lacked intelligence. Terry is much more intelligent than an ape, but his conversation rarely gets beyond his own basic needs.
Three men at another table discussed the origins of World War 2 then within minutes focused on the origin of life on earth being single cell organisms in the oceans.
Lance Armstrong argued against my belief that a higher proportion of derelicts have blue eyes than can be found in the mainstream population. I said, “See, you have blue eyes.”
Trish was there from Fred’s Van in Elizabeth as was a man who goes to the Salvation Army barbecue on Fridays at Elizabeth East. Margot announced her arrival by crashing her electric scooter through a row of chairs. Men desperate to do something good rushed to her rescue and removed the chairs.
Card Player David, The Cousin and myself drove back to David's house then walked over to the Pilgrim Church Hall.
29 December 2015
(above) Sandwich included in bag of food handed out by Hutt Street Centre on Sunday 19 December 2015 to homeless guests. It contained margarine, processed cheese and healthy lettuce on mixed-grain bread.
Evening of Despair and Hope
The man with the large nose shouted, “One Two Barbecue,” until the chicken steaks with broccoli, scalloped potatoes and boiled peas arrived. “Salt and Pepper?” he queried. I told him the bad news. He went searching and returned with one sachet of salt and one of pepper, which he shared with me.
Management knows that most people add salt and pepper to their food yet the efforts of those who donate and prepare the meals are degraded through neglect of this one small detail.
Bringing the plates to the tables is frequently a shambles as well. Instead of the diners being progressively served at each table, the inexperienced waiting staff dash here and there and thus create a hotchpotch of missed tables and a wave of anxiety. What is required is a maitre d' who oversees the presentation.
Captain Laurel Cummins’ sermon at 7:00pm was about a blind man whose sight was fixed by Jesus then booted from the community by some crowd called the Pharisees. It was like being kicked off the dole and forced to live in the parklands. They did it because he wouldn’t denounce the healer, Jesus, who cured him.
Laurel said that the miracle for us was to become conscious of more than our little lives. Maybe she said that: I had fallen asleep then awoke when members of the audience told of personal miracles they’d experienced during the year.
Two hours later, Lorraine stopped what appeared to be a fight between her boyfriend, the Iraq war veteran, and Paul the Scot. It might not have been a fight; Paul might have simply been making a point because the veteran then chased the tall Serbian-Italian man to the front door and punched him in the head. It looked nasty until a mutual friend noted how the veteran delivered glancing blows off the top of the other man’s head to avoid causing injury. The veteran is well-liked and this was typical of his personality: that even in anger he still avoided hurting his enemy.
Often barefoot, Lorraine had cuts over her arms and legs and feet on Saturday from numerous falls in the Parklands. Earlier in the day, I drove her to Hutt Street, and she cried in pain when lightly knocking her arm against the car door. She was drinking Brandy from a black flask as we drove. She and the veteran are homeless royalty.
The number of guests was much lower than usual yet 25 people stayed on until 10:00am. New people at one table were entertained by Sparkles while those at another table played cards with Card Player David. The Crony Gang occupied a back table. What helped the sociability was the lack of Muzak.
Someone had insight into energy dynamics and removed five or six dining tables after the meal. This created more room for the remaining guests to spread out, but the central tables had cleverly been left in the middle to block the room from becoming a thoroughfare. This preserved the social integrity within the atrium that otherwise becomes an energy depleting wind tunnel.
A stocky white women sat alone at a side table. She always sits alone. She has spent considerable time in the slammer. During the evening, she surreptitiously collected items in her striped “derro bag” from the closed, but unlocked free food and clothing room. Then, as if setting a trap, she left her open bag unattended near her table.
An equally stocky Pitjanjatjara woman was waiting for the Mobile Assistance Bus to take her to Whitmore Square; to Detox, I think. She poked her hands into the striped bag upon which the white woman yelled: “Stay out of my stuff.” An argument ensued with some warning punches then chairs were grabbed as weapons.
Sharka from Bohemia and Jo Aitch separated them and escorted the black woman to the back door. She returned with a metal fork, but was again met by Sharka and Jo halfway through the atrium. She yelled abuse at the stocky white woman who swore back at her and bit a piece of bread in an aggressive manner similar to The Bait Woman when St Bede’s staff confronted her on an issue.
Then without warning, the Pitjanjatjara woman tried to stab Sharka in the face. Sharka jumped backwards and after a fleeting panic regained her stern composure. She and Jo then escorted the black woman to a car and presumably took her to Whitmore Square.
When they’d gone, the white woman said she wanted to be a security guard for the Salvation Army on Saturday evenings. Do Unto Others free evening 277 Pirie Street, Adelaide Every Saturday 5:00pm to midnight. Also every Wednesday 5:00 - 7:30pm 28 December 2015
‘Cos We Care’ on Boxing Day
Saturday morning on the steps of the closed Hutt Street Centre wasn’t the joint effort between Ruf Us and Cos We Care as was previously announced in this column: Cos We Care was filling in for AJ Jefferis who was looking after her grandchildren.
Perhaps it was me, exhausted by the Christmas homeless parties and from sleeping the night in my car, but Ann and Laura appeared to lack their previous enthusiasm. But then, it was the day after Christmas and they had to return to the northern suburbs today, re-fill the vans then drive back to the city the next day to arrive at 7:30am for their South Terrace distribution of food. That was a grueling schedule.
A man walking by the Hutt Street Centre had earlier given a 3kg bag of cherries to a homeless man who later put the open bag onto the ‘Cos We Care’ table.
Five or six tribal desert Aboriginals moved across Hutt Street from their group of twenty near the Herbie on Hutt garden box on South Terrace. They’d slept further in the Parklands near Marshmallow Park and had been probed during the dark hours by police moving about in two vehicles equipped with powerful spotlights.
Zulu with two or three Somali homeless men arrived from the Parklands near Beaumont Road. A bare-backed muscle builder with “Hell’s Angels” tattooed on his shoulders growled a greeting as he walked past.
Two police officers wearing guns, one with a taser, put a photograph in front of Laura who said she hadn’t seen the person. Laura’s response was strange, even unwilling, as if the officers were testing her allegiance: to us or to the authorities. Another challenge to two good hearted women trying to alleviate desperation amongst the most deprived class of people.
Ann and Laura provided tea and coffee, vegetables including bags of fresh ginger, 2-minute noodles and pasta, and slices from a huge birthday cake that someone presumably failed to pick-up from a cake shop.
When they left, I sat with a few others with nowhere to go, lackadaisical and exhausted, a terrible feeling I remember from my years of homelessness. Lack of sleep is the enemy of those living outside and the remedy for which few charities, no matter how well funded, or how many highly qualified professionals they employ, can provide.
"Cos We Care" distribute free fresh fruit and vegetables and processed foods each Sunday at 7:30am on South Terrace, opposite the Theosophical Society and near Hutt Street.
28 December 2015
Old Sam Dead
Sam has been absent from the homeless scene for three or four weeks. Lance Armstrong earlier this week rode his bicycle to Sam’s residence in the light industrial area of Thebarton. A neighbour told him that Sam was dead.
Sam had a stroke some years previously and had difficulty speaking and walking, but maintained his habit of scavenging from rubbish bins. Over the past year, he’d spend evenings staring at the concrete wall of the Flinders Street police station.
27 December 2015
Cowboy, 76, was sleeping on a bench on Christmas evening at Gawler Place where Fred’s van serves food. His suitcase was next to him. Fred’s Van didn’t arrive. Cowboy was gone when the Crony Gang returned from the Pilgrim Church Hall.
27 December 2015
The other Cowboy
The Ghost Who Walks drove to Clearview to collect $200 that Cowboy the Gambler owed him. Instead of being repaid, The Ghost lent him another $150.
27 December 2015
Fred’s Van trading melee
Tuesday is usually good. That was why nearly 100 guests formed such a long queue that disabled people like Card Player David sat on a bench until distribution began. There were the usual sausages, meat pies and pasties, tea and coffee plus the regular Tuesday rice and chicken from the Concubine Restaurant.
A bonus was eight smiling Chinese Christians who gave a large bag to each patron. Their smiles turned to shock when instead of seeing desperately hungry homeless people expressing their gratitude, the crowd erupted into a wild melee of trading and giving and tossing stuff into the rubbish bins.
Anyone offering sugary biscuits was jeered and insulted unless they came in reusable metal tins. Muesili bars, beans, cans of chicken and tuna were traded or given. Trock yelled: “I don’t want this shit. I’m too fat already.” The well-meaning Chinese sadly disappeared. I wish they’d have stayed so we could have explained our reaction.
Fred’s Van Tuesday 22 December 2015
27 December 2015
COS We Care runs out of steam
Very few people were at the Cos We Care food distribution last Sunday at 7:30am. It was raining and they parked further up South Terrace away from the seating. The gas bottle was empty so hot water for coffee ran out.
They gave away large paper containers of Christmas and toiletry items.
Lots of stuff was left over, but it must have been disappointing considering all the work they did to collect and deliver it. Possibly, re-packaging breakfast cereals into small bags isn’t worthwhile. They should also go out of their way to park closer to the Hutt Street Road and South Terrace intersection.
27 December 2015
Man from Broken Hill admits everything
The 60-year-old white man admitted everything at the Magdalene Centre. Sure, he’d smacked the Equity Queen’s hand in the Salvation Army free food room when she accused him of taking too much and ordered him to return some items.
Sure, he’d nudged her aside when she stood behind him and told the person serving deserts not to give him one.
He said he was collecting food for an African family that included nine children. He isn’t worried about being banned for life: he’s been banned from other places.
27 December 2015
The Lions Club provided barbecued meat for last Sunday’s Fred’s Van at Gawler Place, Adelaide. “The Face” said it was too greasy and should have been cooked over a flame to burn off the fat. Another man took a bit of a hamburger pattie then held it up for others to see the red raw meat inside then threw it to the seagulls.
27 December 2015
Pilgrim Church free meal
Brain-damaged Gary (Gazza) arrived in a frame of mind more alert than nearly everyone else. We rolled cricket and billiard balls back and forth across the bricks at the back where people live in swags. A woman arose from her swag and pissed behind some bushes.
A Soloman Islands man who spoke perfect English told of his study cartography studies and how they were cut short when he was diagnosed with a mental illness and put on drugs.
The food included pressed chicken, salami, fresh salad, coleslaw and roast potatoes, but there wasn’t adequate amounts. No tea and coffee, either. John de Souza was about to play the piano when we left.
Pilgrim Church Sunday meal 12 Flinders Street, Adelaide Every Sunday at 5:30pm
27 December 2015
The Unley Council fined one of its ratepayers, The Ghost Who Walks, $750 for having scrap metal on the property he owns, and where he grew up as a child in the 1940’s and 1950’s.
27 December 2015
Piano Player Wayne
Wayne said three people died in his area during the recent heat wave. He said a morgue truck carried out a stretcher with a body with its face covered. He said relatives bought an old woman an air conditioner, but she doesn’t use it in case it increases her power bill. Wayne also said that in March 2016, the big charities will no longer provide assistance to millionaires. He mentioned Mrs Judith Telstra.
27 December 2015
Reflective evening at Congress Hall
One hard man yelled at me outside the back door then said he’d been born in the Kate Cocks Babies Home. Instead of being afraid, as usual, I empathised with his anger. He helped me transcend a limitation.
Captain Laurel Cummins opened the doors early saying that the volunteers hadn’t turned up. Many of the usual managers and regular guests were also missing.
Inside, Sparkles introduced her blue-eyed, red-haired 11-year-old daughter. The kid has the same extroverted and naive personality of her mother, and introduced herself to strangers with the uncanny non-judgmental confidence of a seasoned welfare worker.
Natalie the Nurse spoke kindly about someone named, “Honey”, who has a low pain threshold.
When half a dozen female volunteers entered wearing skimpy shorts, a guest questioned whether their attire was appropriate amongst a room of mostly male sexual losers.
During the evening, a homeless man described the lives of a dozen other guests who work the streets from busking and begging and stealing. He pointed out among the guests in the dining those who got second meals before some were served first. He also knew the mental states of guests who never talk to anyone: tough men and women concealing their emotional fragility, always on the verge of crying.
The Serbian-Italian man with brain damage spoke quietly to Captain Laurel. She replied that he’d get kicked out if he did that.
At another table, guests talked about what hurt them the most. One said abandonment; another said rejection. 25 December 2015
(above) Homeless charities give away so much sugary foods that reduce health, but never mosquito repellent. When sleeping with blankets, mosquitos are a major irritant that reduces sleep quality. When purchasing a gift for your local homeless person, please consider bug repellent.
A man was kicked out of a soup kitchen for fighting with a disabled guest. He later went to Sydney where he allegedly uses the identities of volunteers from that soup kitchen for financial fraud.
This has happened previously with the volunteers: the Bait Woman knocked off their house and car keys; a man stole their phone.
Yet these two volunteers are amongst the most effective helpers in the Adelaide homeless scene and continue their beneficial work for the underclass.
25 December 2015
Hutt Street Sunday breakfast
After ‘Cos We Care’ finished their food distribution on South Terrace last Sunday, I went over to the Hutt Street Centre for breakfast expecting toast and margarine. Instead, volunteers behind a barbecue churned out bacon and fried eggs and seasoned toast.
About sixty clients and ten staff were in the complex including Airport Barrie and The Vitamin Derelict. The Derelict said they had this free barbecue every second and third Sunday of each month. Tea and biscuits were also served in the front room where seven or eight old people watched television.
The Tinea-for-Life shower room was busy with Aboriginal clients who had slept outside. Others accessed both the front and back storage rooms via a woman who looked liked the grown-up version of the youngest girl in the Rabbit Proof Fence movie. Another room had four or five internet computers.
At 10:30am, fifty people lined up to each collect from a smiling man a bag containing a sandwich, bottle of cold water, muesli bar and a banana. Many rejoined the queue for a second bag.
No names were recorded in their Big Brother digital data base though one ominous gentleman sat behind what appeared a check-in counter. I was astounded at the quality of food, pleasantness of staff and general good mood of the guests.
But the five building complex should be better utilised on weekends rather than being kept empty all day Saturday, and Sundays after 10:30am. 25 December 2015
Mary Magdalene’s last meal for 2015
It was good, but not great. Silly Billy Junior’s courageous attempts to liven the atmosphere by throwing serviettes and crackers across the room were censured by killjoy patrons for his “silly behaviour”. It reminded me of the great fight between Chris the scrap collector and Father Christmas in 2007 that started with someone throwing buns across the table.
Melted Lindt chocolate and cold orange juice were distributed in the laneway.
The Man from Broken Hill swooped Christmas decorations off the table and into his bag like the two criminals in the movie, “Home Alone”. He didn’t even wait for the meal to finish. Outside, he intimidated a man so severely that the other left the laneway for ten minutes.
A guest who used to work for Aldi’s has applied for a job in one of their new Adelaide stores. He said Aldi employ only young people. Marianne was there with her new boyfriend, but her aura says she’s still her own boss. Cockroach mocked her, out of earshot, hopefully. Spanish Peter says the police are still investigating the man who choked him earlier this year. Peter says he’s got him where he wants him.
Wendy and the black fellas played harmonicas in the laneway while an Israeli Jew and his girlfriend helped serve the meals. The Jewish man’s aura collapsed when I asked his girlfriend if they were Jews. I didn’t mention Gaza. Nor the young man who twisted my neck and tore apart my placard when I protested against the attack on Gaza earlier this year.
Old Sam hasn’t been seen in the homeless scene for one month.
The Magdalene Centre Saturday meals re-start in Moore Street, Adelaide on 6 February 2016 at 6:00pm, when Grinder will be welcomed back.
24 December 2015
The early start for the Hurtle Square 8:30am Saturday barbecue works best during the hot months. Last Saturday, the church people served quality grilled meat off the barbecue along with fried eggs and onions plus white bread, cold orange juice, tea and coffee and tinned biscuits.
The general mood was serene amongst the 20 old men, five or six women and a few younger men. Missing were Lorraine, Stacey, Marianne, The Man formerly from Kilburn and Big Ron. Grinder and Lee were there as was Ronald from the St Vincent de Paul Homeless Shelter.
An elderly church woman told me the servers and cooks pay for the food from their own money. She said they’ll have the barbecues right through the holiday period when people most need them including Saturday 26 December when it will probably be held in front of the Christadelphian church on Halifax Street, just west of Hurtle Square.
24 December 2015
Salvo Life Sentence
The Man from Broken Hill was kicked out of the Salvation Army for life. He’d been accused of hitting the Equity Queen.
Piano Player Wayne has no sympathy for the Equity Queen and said that another Army worker told him that sooner or later someone will hit her hard.
The Queen is over seventy and has spent a large part of her life working for the Army.
24 December 2015
Red hat reappears
The “Most Active Volunteer” at St Bede’s Drop-in-Centre recovered his missing Los Vegas red hat. A certain person anonymously handed it back via the Reverend Ken Bechaz.
24 December 2015
Ruf Us joint effort with Cos We Care
Due to their huge amount of produce kept in their fridges, Cos We Care will distribute food on the steps of the Hutt Street Centre along with Ruf Us on Saturday 26 December.
They’ll be there about 8:30am while Ruf Us should arrive just after 9:00am.
Cos We Care will return the next day, Sunday 27 December at 7:30am, as usual.
24 December 2015
That other mysterious barbecue
Last Sunday afternoon at 2:00pm, an unknown group set up two gazebos and two large barbecues in the South Parklands, near the Pulteney Grammar school footbridge. It was called, “Anything Free for Anyone in Need”, but hardly anyone knew it was happening. Nor did it appear to be a free barbecue; more like a private picnic.
A dozen tribal Aboriginals hovered back of a small building once the smell of grilled meat filled the air. Another seven or eight regulars from the homeless scene rummaged through the used clothing: what do they do with it all? There was also bottled water and a few other food items, but no hot tea or coffee.
An organiser told me they’d advertised on Facebook. They’d wanted to help others, but missed their target audience except for the worthy black fellas.
A volunteer said she lived in protected housing and was putting her life back together.
Their position was in an area little frequented by underclass people. It was close to Pulteney Grammar and a children’s playground. Nor was there nearby seating: chairs always attract exhausted homeless and underclass people.
Distributing leaflets at Fred’s Van and the Brian Burdekin clinic might have helped. Or the Hutt Street Centre if that establishment would tolerate competition. Continuity is also important. Pop-ups are disadvantaged unless in a prime position. They should have set up further east along South Terrace near Hutt Street where Christian Life Centre and Cos We Care distribute their food.