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7 January 2020

Luke

Photo by Peter Holcroft

I’m 35 years old now and I’ve had quite an interesting life, with lots of ups and downs. A lot of people might recognise me, because there are two of us: I am a twin. I’ve also got another brother and two sisters. We moved around a bit – Victoria, Queensland, then the country where Dad had his business for a while.

Mum passed away when I was young, I didn’t really know her at all. I remember when Mum passed away, I promised that I’d finish school for her, I was only eight at the time. I finished Year 12, even though I had issues at home.

Nanna was always there for me, even though we moved around she was always close by. I was really grateful to have her in my life because she was an amazing person and I learned a lot from her.

After school I started travelling around the whole country with my brother. Working, and meeting new people. I’ve pretty much lived everywhere.
When we came to Sydney it was a bit hard at first – we didn’t really have good accommodation at the start and we might have been on the street a little bit.

I guess I’d gone through that situation in other places. Somehow, I seemed to get by in most places. If I found myself on the street I’d usually try and get myself off it pretty quick if I could. I don’t like being on the street.

I think even though I had a good family when I was younger, for some reason we seem to have grown apart. There was a lack of support with the different issues that I’ve had in my life. I’ve got in trouble sometimes and got involved with things like drugs and alcohol, which haven’t helped. I’m not proud of some things that have happened in my life, but I still try and keep on. These days I’m staying away from that stuff and I guess I’m growing up a bit.

That’s when I got involved with The Big Issue. I needed a job, and I needed a way to earn money. Now I can sell a magazine and have pride in doing it.
I did continue to travel and even sold The Big Issue up in Brisbane for a while. Then I moved down to Canberra and did The Big Issue down there, too. Then I came back to Sydney.

I feel I’ve had a lot on my plate this past year, but things have seemed to turn out really well for me. I managed to get myself some housing, and I love it. I’ve managed to stay out of trouble and I just want to maintain that. That’s all I’m after, because I want to be able to stay at my house for a long time. Forever.

I just love The Big Issue so much. Every time a customer comes to buy a magazine from me it lifts my spirits up that little bit.

I might wake up and be a little bit depressed, but I go out and sell a few mags, which leaves me feeling much better. It’s not only good for the financial gain, but it really helps people feel good about themselves too.

Photo by Peter Holcroft

Interview by Sam Clark
Luke sells The Big Issue in Sydney CBD