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25 October 2012

Steve

I am from down south at Bunbury originally, but after Mum and Dad separated I went with Mum to live here in Perth –  in Subiaco. We moved around for a bit and then when I was four we settled in Belmont.
I went to a special school for children with a learning disability, but I did not take much interest in schoolwork. I can read and write a little, just enough to get me by.
I left school at 16 and started selling the Daily News on the streets in central Perth. It was a good job; I worked there for nearly two years and I enjoyed it. But the paper closed down – like most evening papers – and I lost my job.
I then worked for Good Samaritan Industries [an employment service for people with a disability] for nine years. I was on the truck, collecting donated furniture from houses around the place. I enjoyed this, but I moved on to work at a bottle recycling plant and then a metal polishing factory. I like to work and keep busy.
Mum died some time back and Dad passed away just three years ago. I did not keep in touch with him, but it was still sad.
I got married when I was 21, but this did not work
out and we split up after five years. I am on my own now but I still get out and socialise quite a bit. I love AFL and follow Carlton and Fremantle, and also East Perth in the WA Football League. I am very disappointed that East Perth did not win the WAFL premiership this year, but we will be there next year!
I also go dancing every Thursday night and tenpin bowling every Tuesday afternoon. I have my own car, so I can get around quite well.
I started at The Big Issue about a year ago and it helps me with paying the bills and giving me a bit of extra money for things. I get the train into Perth every morning – I like to start early, in time to get people coming in to work. My pitch is outside the underground station in Murray Street and then I go up to the footbridge at the main railway station.
The thing I like about The Big Issue is that it gets me out of the house every day. I enjoy speaking to customers in the morning. The money is okay, too – it gives me enough to take my new girlfriend, Terry, to lunch or the movies every now and then. I love selling The Big Issue, but I would still like to get a full-time job in a factory or maybe doing deliveries.
 

Interview by Jim Petrie/ Photograph by Ross Swanborough
Steve sells The Big Issue at Perth Train Station.