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13 June 2019

William

I’m from Woy Woy on the Central Coast of New South Wales. I grew up and lived there for 34 years. I really enjoyed living there. I’m still in touch with all my friends and try to visit once a year. It definitely still feels like home.

My mum died when I was seven. One of my sisters went to live with my grandparents and the other went with my aunty and uncle but I ended up staying with Dad. I was really close with Dad. We used to go to Lightning Ridge for school holidays – it’s up on the NSW border with Queensland and Dad had a mining claim out there.

I was at school until the end of Year 9 when I left to do carpentry. I worked with my old man doing carpentry, and then I started working at the butcher and even owned my own lawnmowing business for a while. I used to always have about four or five jobs going at once!

I moved to Queensland to be closer to my older sister. I’ve got another sister down in Sydney who we visit at Christmastime. When I moved here, I started working at the shows. I ran some of the games and the bungee trampolines.

I’ve done a lot of travelling because of the shows; I’ve travelled all over Australia. I’ve done all the regional shows in Queensland and most of the ones down south, too. My favourite places are Cairns and Airlie Beach; I really like Bendigo and Ballarat in Victoria, too.

I wasn’t able to keep working like I used to because I’ve got early onset arthritis. They say it’s a genetic thing. When that happened, I moved from the Sunshine Coast back to Brisbane. I ended up meeting Kerry, a Big Issue vendor who told me all about it. That was at the start of 2017, so I’ve been selling The Big Issue for just over two years now.
I’ve enjoyed my time as a vendor because it gives you the freedom to be able to make your own decisions. I can choose when I work and I get to be my own boss, I like not having to rely on other people. I work most days at the moment between the city and New Farm, but when I’m not working I like to go to the movies and to play golf. I’ve played golf since I was in high school and still go out for a round when I can.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. I just take each day as it comes, but I’m happy selling The Big Issue.

 

>> William sells The Big Issue at Central Station and the corner Edward and Queen Sts, Brisbane
>> Photo by Barry Street

Interview by Stephanie Young
Brisbane