Stories From The Street

Julie and Queenie

Julie used to work in the Pakenham Vinnies op shop, affectionately referred to by her daughter as the “little old ladies’ op-shop”, as Julie was the youngest there. A self-professed pen and paper girl, one of her daughters is nevertheless teaching her how to use a computer.


Catherine is a proud mother of high achieving daughters. One has just finished VCE and attends La Trobe University. The other recently graduated with a Masters and now works at SpecSavers. Catherine suffers from chronic mental health problems which hinders personal relationships and job seeking efforts. Her home was recently destroyed by assailants. As a victim of crime, Catherine was given some money for temporary rental.


Russell’s partner died of cancer a few years ago. For seven years he lived on the streets. Without rental references Russell was trapped in a vicious cycle. No one would rent to him without references, but without a rental history, references were an impossibility. Lonely and homeless, he came across Avalon at Queen Victoria Market and has been coming to the Flinders Street drop off ever since.


An avid rollerblader, musician, and artist, Daniel grew up in Balaclava, where he remembers his childhood home being old, creaky, and home also to a family or two of possums. Daniel first met the Avalon team after 8 hours of rollerblading, and in need of a rest. A fan of ‘acid jazz’, Daniel plays piano, electric guitar, and a few others, and craves what all musicians do – a satisfied audience.


A familiar face at Avalon since his arrival 5 years ago, Alfredo has the unperturbed attitude of a gentleman, and the sense of humour to match. Devising a few nicknames for his fellow regulars, Alfredo follows the van as it moves from place to place, relishing the company of his friends.


Eco is born and bred in Melbourne city, and has been visiting Avalon for several years. At the time of writing, he has a place to stay – a boarding house in St. Kilda – but it is closing down soon, and several people have already been forced out. The sad reality of many such establishments is that there are often problems with drug users, and the place Eco is staying is no exception – he is starting to get tired of the slammed doors and 2AM fights.

John Smith

Requesting not to have his name or picture taken, John ( not his real name) has friends in his home town who still don’t know about his situation, and would understandably like to keep it that way for a while longer.

Scammed out of his car import business after losing both his parents, John finally won the ensuing lawsuit (a personal point of pride, as he was not the scammers first target), and moved to an outer Melbourne suburb. However, he was forced to leave after his landlord began using ice, and was unable to find another home.


Lyndon has been coming to Avalon for almost as long as it has existed. Hailing from Richmond, in order to get to the Avalon bus (and other facilities), he often needs to travel through rougher parts of town, where he has seen the rising homeless epidemic first-hand. Comparing it to when he was growing up in the city, Lyndon notes that far less people are willing to help, and far more people are turning to violence to get what they want – a friend of his who owns a hardware store has been robbed 8 times, and the police are often reluctant to come.


Adrian can be found most days a week at the St. Mary’s House of Welcome on Brunswick street, as he enjoys helping those who are less fortunate than himself, without a place to call their own. He is happy that he lives so close, as it means he can arrive early and stay late, though he does lament that living on your own can be quite lonely.


More than anything else, Leo is just tired. He has been in and out of hospitals for the majority of the last few years on the street, on one visit catching golden staph, which did nothing to treat his frustration with the public health system. Having had pneumonia twice last year, Leo knew he wouldn’t make it through another winter – he is relieved to have somewhere to stay with his friend this year.