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14 Jul 2014
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The block is a theme park for people behaving badly. From dawn to dusk, visitors from all walks of life arrive to engage in the  terrors of the block. From a distance, it seems that those who line up know how dangerous their ride will be, but do not seem to care. However when you get to know them, you realise they are just as scared about their addiction as you would be.  For years I have watched them, at first horrified seeing these people buy their death, but sadly I’m acclimatizing. My window became the speaker for the yelling coming from within me, screaming out, asking them not to ruin the block for their sick minds.  When I used to see the horror train of vans with the new stash, I hid, hoping not to get caught up in the tidal wave of people being given their little piece of joy.

The theme park is falling to pieces, graffitied houses are being boarded up, and those who do not belong are starting to find a place to sleep. Discarded tickets for the same attraction lurk in the shadows, hoping to blend in to the personality of the block. It never works. Everyone can see the heroin needles and the mess that Aboriginals and white people alike have got themselves into.

Despite the horrifying rides, there are joys to be found in living in this  themepark.  Those who settle here have different personalities to the park’s visitors. Yes, we are also white and black, but with many differences. People always say you don’t know what is going on in your street. But I know exactly what is going on. I know who is sick. I know who is having trouble. My argument to people who say different is always -you don’t know what is going on in your street, but I know what is going on in mine.

During my time of living in the block, throughout the trauma and mess I have seen, I have high hopes for what it can become. The block could continue to be inhabited by drugs, but thanks to the help the government is giving, the future of the block looks to be a much brighter one. The future is what you make of it; it has not been mapped. What kind of world do you want to live in?  I personally want to live in a world where everyone can feel safe from both people and their addictions, as well as a world where we all stick together.  That is what Redfern has always tried to be, and that is how I, Bev Barker, want it to stay.

By Eleanor Finch

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