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Southbanker

09 Oct 2018

Southbanker Image

Walking for a purpose

By Niccola Anthony

When Thomasine Warmington was in her mid-20s, she lived in a share house on Southbank Boulevard that overlooked the coroners court and the adjoining mortuary.

Emergency services and mortuary staff would be visiting the site at all hours of the day and night, which made for an interesting living experience.

One day, Ms Warmington was coming home from work when she noticed a rabble of journalists outside the court.

She walked inside her flat to find the TV news on and an explanation for the situation unfolding outside. Carl Williams had been stabbed in prison and his body had been transported to the morgue just moments before.

Despite the sombre surrounds of her Southbank Boulevard abode, Ms Warmington wasn’t dissuaded from living in the area. In fact, her love for Southbank only grew.

Now, having lived in the area for 10 years, she considers herself a Melburnian through-and-through – an admission that might be difficult for her Perth-based family to stomach.

“I went back to Perth one time and was looking for peppermint tea and sparkling water. It was then that I realised I may have become a Victorian,” Ms Warmington said.

But it isn’t just Ms Warmington’s preferred choice of beverage that keeps her on the east coast. The multicultural “vibe” of Melbourne also has a lot to do with her decision to stay.

“I think, in general it’s a very multicultural city. It’s a really nice, easy place to live and I think, in turn, that vibe shapes you as a person,” Ms Warmington said.

“I’m very proud to live in Melbourne.”

Ms Warmington fondly remembers a time, a few years ago, when she was invited to one of Southbank’s famed Welcome Project dinners at the Boyd Centre to welcome new migrants to the area. Attendees bring along a plate of food to share with the group, while sharing stories from each other’s homelands.

“It was crazy meeting all these people that lived in Southbank. It’s not the type of place where you think about making friends with your neighbours and community but it was quite cool,” Ms Warmington said.

Over the past 10 years, Ms Warmington has certainly grown to appreciate the unique community feel of Southbank, despite the suburb’s proximity to the CBD.

That community feel has been strengthened in part by an established friendship group in the area between Ms Warmington and her closest friends, one of whom is a sufferer of epilepsy.

Laura Bullock has struggled with the condition for over 20 years. Her daughter Maggie suffers from a rare condition involving infantile spasms, which is unrelated to Ms Bullock’s own condition.

“Within our group of friends, we actually all used to live in Southbank. [The Bullocks] used to live on Kavanagh St. We all used to geekishly call ourselves ‘The Family’ and where they used to live was called ‘The Nest’,” Ms Warmington said.

Ms Bullock is often unable to come to catch-ups between the friendship group due to complications with her condition.

“I think to see that real interruption in her life and then even some of the things she went through during her pregnancy with Maggie, you want to do anything you can to provide support,” Ms Warmington said.

It was this determination to support her close friend that compelled Ms Warmington to sign up to The Epilepsy Foundation’s Walk for Epilepsy at Princes Park on October 21.

The walk is the foundation’s inaugural outdoor fundraising event and hopes to raise money and awareness for the 60,000 Victorians living with epilepsy and the 60 sufferers who die each year as a result of their condition.

You can donate money towards Ms Warmington and Ms Bullock’s Walk for Epilepsy campaign at walkforepilepsy-2018.everydayhero.com/au/team-bullock

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