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Woden walls forever taken over by the Michael Steep memorial [With poll]

By johnboy 28 February 2011 220

Following the pine island drowning of young Michael Steep “the_dungeonman” came across the creation of a shrine at the Woden Bus Interchange.

The Canberra Times reports on the 20 police needed after Michael’s friends intervened to stop workers cleaning the graffiti off the walls.

But about 11.30am today, just four days after the drowning, friends arrived at the site to find painters attempting to remove the graffiti.

A number of Michael’s friends, including 16-year-old Wanniassa resident Lauren Watson, stood against the walls, placing their bodies in the way to prevent the graffiti from being removed.

“When I heard that they were going to start painting, I thought that’s not on,” Ms Watson said.

“So I started calling pretty much everyone I could,” she said.

Over 80 of Michael’s friends arrived to help prevent the painters from removing the graffiti.

Police were called, and up to 20 officers arrived to move the group on. No arrests were made.

In this neo-pagan age how much public space can and should be appropriated at will?

Graffiti shrines in public places

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Woden walls forever taken over by the Michael Steep memorial [With poll]
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buzz819 11:23 am 13 May 11

boneymaloney said :

Last night sometime the memorial wall(s) were quietly painted over in a shade of Action Green, and all bits and pieces were swept up and disposed of. No riots, no fuss, and not a trace remains.

What was that, about two months from outrage to apathy?

Last night???

It happened at 9:00am on Tuesday morning….

The Frots 11:19 am 13 May 11

boneymaloney said :

Last night sometime the memorial wall(s) were quietly painted over in a shade of Action Green, and all bits and pieces were swept up and disposed of. No riots, no fuss, and not a trace remains.

What was that, about two months from outrage to apathy?

Best thing that could happen – gone, gone, gone!!

boneymaloney 11:15 am 13 May 11

Last night sometime the memorial wall(s) were quietly painted over in a shade of Action Green, and all bits and pieces were swept up and disposed of. No riots, no fuss, and not a trace remains.

What was that, about two months from outrage to apathy?

KCL 6:47 pm 30 Apr 11

It doesn’t hurt me!!! and i have been using the woden bus interchange on a regular basis for over the past 10yrs….don’t understand what all the fuss is about?

Mysteryman 4:47 pm 30 Apr 11

FallenStar said :

wow. you have got to be kidding me. so do any of you have hearts??

the wall should stay,and trust me haha..we are all doing everything and anything to keep it there. thats where he was always chilling,his spot,where we new we could find him with a smile on his face. i bet if you guys new him as well as we all did,you would be all in to keep it. so yeah, maybe we need to grow up, [b]but at least we have respect.[/b]

Really? Prove it. Start with respecting public property, and other people’s right to be in a public space without because abused.

PaulM 3:32 pm 30 Apr 11

Gungahlin Al said :

We all have a place for this. It’s known as a cemetry. I wonder how many will attend his funeral.

Probably as many as can afford the taxi fare there.

TheObserver 6:42 pm 07 Apr 11

Well this proves for me that the difference between angst ridden teenagers with an overweening sense of self entitlement and the Taliban is that you can negotiate with the Taliban….and the Taliban have sympathisers.

whitelaughter 8:30 pm 01 Apr 11

how is the memorial different to the vomit, cigarette butts & other trash they’ve been ‘decorating’ bus shelters with?

ConanOfCooma 3:03 pm 29 Mar 11

I think you bogan kiddies are missing the point.

You aren’t doing this for Michael, you are doing it for yourselves. That makes you selfish, not caring.

How can you even attempt to keep your credibility in this debate, when you are all yelling obscenities at people that are just walking by the interchange? These are people simply walking by, and you all feel the need to abuse them for no reason at all. How can you even justify that?

For clarification, I’m calling you Bogans because you can’t speak, write, spell, and you all hang out at a bus interchange and generally look like crap in the street. I’ve seen you at the interchange, you know I’m telling the truth.

Tooks 8:38 pm 10 Mar 11

stingray93 said :

all u haters let his mates have this. people like my slf new him ….. he was not all about alcohol and s***… he was one of the nicst kids i ever met

I agree. Youse kids should be able to do whatever you want. Youse are all the nicst kidz.

stingray93 10:30 am 10 Mar 11

all u haters let his mates have this. people like my slf new him ….. he was not all about alcohol and s***… he was one of the nicst kids i ever met

let_me_speechify 12:57 pm 08 Mar 11

I’m sorry you lost your friend. It’s a horrible experience to go through. And I’m sorry about the way some of the people are treating you on here. I think it’s nice that you want to set up a memorial for your friend.

That being said, I do not like the idea of it being a graffitied wall at a public bus interchange. Maybe it’s because I didn’t know him but it just seems the strangest place ever to me to have a memorial. You say he spent a lot of time there, and yeah, I spent a lot of time at interchanges before I had my licence and a car. But even then, had I died, I wouldn’t have wanted my friends to put a wall up there; it really just seems tacky.

Maybe you could talk to the people at Pine Island about putting something up there…one of you could design something…and you would be able to warn others to be careful there so nobody else has to lose a friend this way. The memorial would be a lot more accepted that way, and I believe it would last longer…at the moment you have the authorities wanting to get rid of your memorial, and at least a portion of the public. And who is to say that somebody might not come along a few months from now if you do get to keep your wall, not realise what it is, and just put some more graffiti over it?

Also, you do realise that you have forced the police into a position where they have to do something about it? From day one, you’ve been kicking up a huge fuss that’s gotten into the media and so, unless for some reason ACTION decides you can keep the wall, the police must act. You are publicly and loudly breaking the law by vandalising public property (that doesn’t belong to you), and not trying to hide it, instead saying ‘We should be allowed to do this.’ Yes, there is plenty of anonymous graffiti already, but the people behind it are anonymous and can’t be punished, so eventually it is just painted over. What you are doing has people behind it, saying we want to get away with this and we will. If the police let you, then it will encourage people to break the laws in other ways because they think they can get away with it. You have forced their position.

And just a note in regards to the drinking allegations that have been made (I don’t know if this is confirmed), no, the alcohol in his system didn’t cause his death. But if he hadn’t been drinking, he might have had more control over the situation, might have realised it was a bad time or place to swim.

Once again, I truly am sorry for your loss. Losing a friend hurts very badly.

SheepGroper 10:26 pm 07 Mar 11

dammit said :

Move the shrine to somewhere quiet and peaceful, somewhere where intruders won’t “look too much”. And where you can mourn and reflect in peace, remember and respect.

As I was leaving the interchange on Friday I saw a lone chick there, she seemed uncomfortable in the gloom, sitting in filth, amid the valdalised walls, with strangers walking through. I felt a pang of sympathy for her, but tonight the bus interchange had three police cars parked near the little grocery shop with six officers standing and watching an idiot monkeying on the walkway above that was vandalised with more graffitti.

At this rate the memorial vandalism will leave the bounds of Phillip next month and start invading neighbouring suburbs.

dammit 7:57 pm 07 Mar 11

This story is awfully upsetting, and I send my condolences to his family and friends.

But I strongly believe that this ‘Shrine’ is in the wrong place. Somewhere quiet and less public, where it can give people the chance to reflect and mourn in privacy would be more appropriate. For someone like me, who is in the interchange everyday it becomes very overwhelming and somewhat intimidating.

Every time I have passed this ‘Shrine’ there has been people smoking and drinking all around, and people have been verbally abused for “looking too much” and not “being respectful”. I believe that disrespect is when you drink, smoke and abuse others, in a place that you class as ‘sacred’ and meant to be in memorial of someone you love.

It makes the interchange even less appealing and safe than it was before these events took place.
Move the shrine to somewhere quiet and peaceful, somewhere where intruders won’t “look too much”. And where you can mourn and reflect in peace, remember and respect.

Goddess 5:35 pm 04 Mar 11

That was a very moving video tribute but wait……how many of the mourners are already planning to get rat- faced tonight to “celebrate” Michael’s life? Don’t you think he would have a message for you all? Don’t you think he would say “Guys, get a life, don’t squander your time getting so drunk you can’t remember what you did and leaving every one of your mates to go through this grieving process time and time again”?

georgesgenitals said :

colourful sydney racing identity said :

I was drinking with him (yes underaged – stone me in garema place now) the night he was arrested. I saw how his death destroyed his family and the long term damage it did to his friends.

It had very far reaching effects on a lot of people. Another of our friends went quite off the rails after the funeral.

A lot of people did, a lot of people did. Which is precisely why these kids should be cut a bit of slack.

georgesgenitals 1:36 pm 04 Mar 11

colourful sydney racing identity said :

I was drinking with him (yes underaged – stone me in garema place now) the night he was arrested. I saw how his death destroyed his family and the long term damage it did to his friends.

It had very far reaching effects on a lot of people. Another of our friends went quite off the rails after the funeral.

georgesgenitals said :

colourful sydney racing identity said :

BerraBoy68 said :

If you still can’t see what I’m getting at then think about this option: track down a guy who goes by the name of E.L.K, he’s a top stencil artist right here in Canberra. Ask him what he’d charge for a stencil portrait on the wall of Michael. Then take up collection and approach ACTION or the ACT Gov’t for permission. I dare say even many of us on this forum who hate graffiti would approve of an E.L.K street portrait of your friend on the wall.
.

If you take this suggestion on, please post details of how to contribute. I never knew Michael but I feel your pain. When I was 17 a friend of mine, Francis, tragically died in police custody, the hurt lasts many, many years.

I also knew Francis. I was 14 when he died, and attended his funeral. Very, very sad for all concerned.

I was drinking with him (yes underaged – stone me in garema place now) the night he was arrested. I saw how his death destroyed his family and the long term damage it did to his friends.

georgesgenitals 12:55 pm 04 Mar 11

colourful sydney racing identity said :

BerraBoy68 said :

If you still can’t see what I’m getting at then think about this option: track down a guy who goes by the name of E.L.K, he’s a top stencil artist right here in Canberra. Ask him what he’d charge for a stencil portrait on the wall of Michael. Then take up collection and approach ACTION or the ACT Gov’t for permission. I dare say even many of us on this forum who hate graffiti would approve of an E.L.K street portrait of your friend on the wall.
.

If you take this suggestion on, please post details of how to contribute. I never knew Michael but I feel your pain. When I was 17 a friend of mine, Francis, tragically died in police custody, the hurt lasts many, many years.

I also knew Francis. I was 14 when he died, and attended his funeral. Very, very sad for all concerned.

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