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River dwellers’ treated with disrespect by community
Comments (56) » Austin King 21st May 2013 5:00 AM Updated: 22nd May 2013 10:09 AM
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Walter Reid enjoys a sunny day but finds it hard at times to crack a smile when people judge him before they get to know him.
Wednesday 10.10am: WALTER Reid, the face of the vagrant “river dwelling” community, this morning had a heart attack.
The Morning Bulletin understands he was at the Rockhampton Police Station about 3am, moments before he had the attack.
This morning he is in a stable condition, a Rockhampton Hospital spokeswoman confirms.
Tuesday 5am: WALTER Reid carefully lets his lips meet his plastic Mount Franklin bottle, filled with a translucent yellow liquid that clearly isn’t water.
The smell and taste is all too familiar to him.
Just opposite Westpac in Quay St, Walter and his brethren soak in the Fitzroy’s aroma as they take in the world before their eyes and watch the people who run or sprint past them.
It’s almost a daily routine for Walter, who sips on his cask wine-filled plastic bottle, because there is nowhere else to go.
Yesterday, The Morning Bulletin spoke to Walter about living as a vagrant river dweller after Member for Rockhampton Bill Byrne last week launched a crusade to tackle street crime in the central business district.
Walter spoke out about how people, whether police officers or pedestrians using the river, treated Walter and other “river dwellers” with disrespect, even though they were not guilty of committing crimes.
He believes most people have a racial vendetta against him and his friends.
He doesn’t condone the actions of a small group of vagrants, who often cause trouble in the CBD. He feels many of them are young ones from out of town.
“Ask these people who look at us funny to walk in my shoes,” he said.
“The police are always hassling us, sometimes for no reason. I understand a few people are causing problems in town, but it’s not us older ones.
“I sit down here, I drink, we all drink, but we mind our own business.”
Walter, 61, grew up in Woorabinda. He moved to Rockhampton when he was 15 and has lived most of his life by the Fitzroy River. He finds shelter at the Michael Hayes Centre in Alma St.
Topics: aboriginal, rockhampton, social issues
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If Walter is not from the City, just squatting, it is possible he has come from the nearby settlement http://www.woorabinda.qld.gov.au/page.php?id=8 and a coach runs most days to and from city, otherwise they can go to Duaringa and catch the Government sponcered coach that travels Emerald to Rockhampton, return, daily.
I am not a resident, and as for ‘respect,’ it works both ways. Walter was born a year later that I and even though he was at a disadvantage, education was available. A pension ~ I have no doubts he collects that, and accommodation in the city is also available just for those in need like himself.
APPARENTLY WALTER DOES NOT WANT TO CONTRIBUTE TO PAY FOR HIS HOSPITAL TREATMENT
IT IS THE WHITES WHO ARE TO BLAME FOR NOT COMPLYING..WITH HIS WISHES AND DESIRES!
My recent experience with Homeless by choice..