"I grew up in the bush, so naturally had a great childhood – born in Esperance and raised in an Aboriginal village in Norseman. I am from a big family, with four brothers and five sisters, and we moved down to Perth when I was in primary school. I loved school and had lots of mates, both at Bassendean Primary School and Clontarf Aboriginal College.
I had my kids straight after I finished school, with the first bein’ born when I was 18 years old. I have two girls and two boys ranging from seven to 23 years old, and one granddaughter. I have never been married and don’t ever want to be! I don’t see my kids all the time. I miss them.
My two boys both play AFL for Clontarf. They are very good footy players, and are often named “Man of the Match”. My oldest [daughter] is a very good mum, and my youngest is in primary school. She is in the care of the Department for Child Protection and lives with her Aunt Krista.
I have been homeless for the last three to four years. I originally became homeless because of a family feud, and have been on the Homes West priority list for the last three years. I cope with bein’ homeless fairly well, despite having some mental health problems and suffering from depression for a very long time. I do my best to be happy, and feel like I am getting on top of my depression.
I first heard about The Big Issue from some friends and have been selling for a year now. I mainly do it for the money, but enjoy talking to the public and feeling respected by my customers. The extra money allows me to buy things, and it means I no longer have to steal to get by. As well as the essentials, I love shopping for clothes, shoes and jewellery. The Big Issue staff in Perth call me a fashion guru!
I have lots of hobbies, and spend a lot of my free time doing arts and crafts. I love to make art and to paint, and have given of lot of my work to The Big Issue office, which has brightened up the place. I also love designing and working on computers, and creating digital prints. I am also a natural water person – I love swimming and paddling.
In the future, I just want what’s best for my kids, my family and myself. I want everyone to be happy, and I want to get better at managing my mental health. My dream is to live in a lovely beach house one day."
Lynette sells The Big Issue in Hay St Mall, Perth
interview by Andrew Joske photograph by Ross Swanborough
This article first appeared in Ed#501 of The Big Issue