14 November 2022

Community holds vigil for 'departed souls' found dead in Yerrabi Pond

| Lottie Twyford
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crowd of people

A crowd of mourners braved gloomy conditions to pay tribute to the family found in Yerrabi Pond last week. Photo: Lottie Twyford.

A crowd of mourners braved the wet weather to pay tribute to a mother and her two sons who were found dead in Yerrabi Pond earlier this month.

“Their life was a blessing; their memory will be a treasure. They will be loved forever beyond words and missed beyond measure,” the crowd was told.

Police are treating the incident as a suspected murder-suicide but have said the investigation is complex and ongoing.

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Around 50 people stood in silence in the rain, some crying, as they lit candles floating in large bowls of water to commemorate the deceased.

Tables were adorned with floral tributes and decorations in the colours of the Indian flag.

The atmosphere was sombre and many held hands.

Many had brought flowers, which they added to an already large pile of floral tributes now adorning the side of the lake.

floral tribute

Flowers, teddy bears and hand-written notes have been laid beside Yerrabi Pond in honour of the deceased. Photo: Lottie Twyford.

Teddy bears and hand-written notes, believed to be from the boys’ friends at Harrison School where they were students, have also been laid in their honour.

The crowd then stood still, with no music playing, for two minutes while they were asked to reflect on the loss and commemorate the victims’ short lives.

It was a different scene to last weekend when the area was cordoned off while major search efforts took place for Pranav, whose body could not be located on Saturday, along with his mother and brother’s.

He was later found on Sunday morning (6 November).

After the vigil, community members could be seen introducing themselves to one another, with one saying how important it was to ensure everyone had support and felt part of a community.

Others walked to the edge of the pond and stood again in silence, looking over the water.

MLAs from all parties were in attendance to show their support, along with members of the Gungahlin Community Council.

Sandi Mitra

President of the India Australia Association of Canberra Sandi Mitra organised and spoke at the vigil. Photo: Lottie Twyford.

The vigil was organised by the India Australia Association of Canberra.

President Sandi Mitra said it was incredible to see how many people had gathered despite the gloomy conditions.

“This is Canberra. We told people to come down at 6 pm to start at 6:30 pm, and already at 5 pm, people were starting to arrive,” he said.

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Mr Mitra described the tragedy as having been a “wake-up call”.

“Going forward, we have to do more for [the community’s mental health],” he said.

“When you come to a new country for the first time, there are various cultural shifts and attitudes to get used to.

“It can [affect] various aspects of your mental well-being. We will be looking to do more social advocacy for this.

“We need to pull our act up together and start some new programs so we never see a repeat incident like this in the community.”

mourners gather

Canberrans braved the rain on Sunday evening in memory of the deceased family found in Yerrabi Pond. Photo: Lottie Twyford.

The boy’s father is understood to have requested privacy.

Police have said the family is cooperating with investigations.

If this story has caused any distress, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

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