Wednesday, February 1, 2017
FLOWER TRIBUTE: OLD GPO CNR BOURKE & ELIZABETH ST, MELBOURNE
Half an hour before the tribute flowers were removed by SES and Red Cross volunteers from the steps of the old Melbourne General Post Office, corner of Elizabeth and Bourke Street, Melbourne yesterday I went to look at the gifts and cards left by Melbournians to honor those who died after a man in a car rampaged through streets of the CBD and killed pedestrians on 22 January this year. Tragically the death of the sixth victim of the attack had only just been announced.
It was cool and overcast when I arrived at about 9.55 am. The mood amongst those present was quiet and sombre. Visibly upset Melbournians were being comforted by Red Cross volunteers and a female member asked if I was alright because after taking about twenty photographs I stopped to read one of the messages left by a nine year old. Her message began with the words 'Melbourne used to be a happy place...' and it was these words that brought me to tears. For the Red Cross volunteer it was seeing a small soft toy of a pengin with one of its socks missing. A young man standing next to me was crying and I pointed out to him how beautiful the tribute looked, because the sun had finally broken through the clouds and its light was reflecting off the cellophane wrapping on the flowers. The whole scene was aesthetically beautiful and after recognising what I said he stopped crying and smiled. Even though I had seen reportage of this tragic event on television, this event was made more real by the overwhelming tribute, the photographs of the victims and the knowledge that this had indeed happened. All I could think of was 'not our Melbourne'! The flower tribute has been removed but the memory will remain.