//
you're reading...
Big Issue Australia Magazine

Big Issue Vendors 01 Shane S


Shane S Big Issue VendorShane sells the Big Issue outside Borders Books on the corner of Albert and Elizabeth Streets, Brisbane.

Raise your hand if you have met a Premier and helped to get the ball rolling on $135 million of extra funding towards homelessness projects. No? Well, Brisbane vendor Shane can lay claim to doing just that.

Shane knows a lot about homelessness, having lived on the streets on and off since he was six years old. “I was a ward of the state, and kept running away,” he says.”I usually went to live with my street mum and dad, who just sort of found me. The older streeties look after the younger ones. If I went to my real mum and dad, welfare would find me easily, and take me back to the home.”

As he got older, Shane started living as a goth, complete with black clothing, spikes, make-up and nail polish. But when he started selling The Big Issue two years ago, he decided that ”presentation was important for sales” and switched to “mainstream” clothes. He is now a familiar sight on the streets of Brisbane in his beloved Cronulla Sharks football jersey and proudly bears the nickname Sharkey. His regulars like to stop and chat, and he particularly enjoys praise for diligence. “It’s great when someone tells me I’m doing a good job,” he says.

Shane is artistic and has many tattoos based on his own artwork (see Street Sheet for an example of his work). These days, most of his drawings are medieval, including dragons, goblins and eels. He has also taught leatherwork to younger streeties for Brisbane Youth Service.

Since starting with The Big Issue, Shane has made many positive changes in his life, including getting a house with his fiancee Bec, another vendor who he often sells with. “I used to live on the streets, no bills, no worries, but I’m quite happy the way things are now, paying bills,” he says. “I have my son and daughter to take care of.” He has 50/50 custody of one-year-old Donna, and he and Bec are seeking custody of their seven- month-old son, Shane, Jr.

While he likes the material changes, particularly having money, he also recognises personal developments. These include better communication skills and more confidence, which last year saw him approach Queensland Premier Peter Beattie on Brisbane’s streets to ask what was being done about homelessness in Brisbane.

The next day his picture was in the paper with the Premier. Soon after, Shane was invited to meet with Premier Beattie and his senior cabinet colleagues as part of a delegation from The Big Issue. This consultation contributed to an additional $135 million of the 2005-06 state budget being allocated to new homelessness services.

Shane looks forward to his regular, and new, customers coming to meet Bec and himself outside Borders in Brisbane City. He also looks ahead to more improvements in his life and happiness with his fiancee and kids. By his actions and initiative, he is a living example of the mantra, ‘be the change you want to make.’

by Craig Hill photograph by Paul Giggle

Originally Published in Big Issue magazine, February 2006

Big Issue Vendors 01 - Shane S

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

Discussion

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

If you liked what you just read, click "Subscribe" to become a follower of the Craig Hill site. You will receive an email each time a new post is published.

Join 15,358 other followers

An archive of all my old posts

Follow me on Twitter

Most Recent Posts Post on My Blog About China: China News

United States outmanoeuvres Russia once again? 

United States outmanoeuvres Russia once again? 

In a recent briefing, the US Director of National Intelligence (DNI), Avril Haines warned, “I would characterize it as the Russians aren’t winning, and the Ukrainians aren’t winning, and we’re at a bit of a stalemate here.” So, where is the Russia-Ukraine war heading? What is Russian President Putin planning next? Is Europe ready for […]

China is defying global order to expand power, US admiral warns

China is defying global order to expand power, US admiral warns

The Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are destabilizing international order in an effort to expand their global power, Adm. John Aquilino, commander of the Indo-Pacific Command, warned lawmakers during a House hearing on Tuesday. In his written testimony submitted to the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, Adm. Aquilino explained that the Department […]

China – Autocracy and decoupling technical tests

China – Autocracy and decoupling technical tests

We have noticed that the embrace with China had become suffocating in the last twenty years. The West universe of consumers and China the factory of the world. We started with modest and low value-added materials and products, to refine the trajectory and revolution to the most refined and complex technologies, such as 5G and […]

Four ways China is growing its media influence in Southeast Asia

Four ways China is growing its media influence in Southeast Asia

As President Biden welcomes leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to a special summit this week in Washington, D.C., his administration is affirming Beijing as the U.S.’s main rival and underscoring the region’s importance in U.S.-China competition. The two-day event is part of the U.S effort to woo ASEAN members caught in a […]

Confronting Russia will deter China, says Japanese defense minister

Confronting Russia will deter China, says Japanese defense minister

A strong international response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine is critical to deterring China from embarking on territorial conquests in Taiwan or the South China Sea, said Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi. “China has been carefully observing the current situation of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and they are paying particularly close attention to what […]

How Russia-Ukraine copied Finland war without lessons

How Russia-Ukraine copied Finland war without lessons

Finland is a unique country with a distinct language and culture. However, its possession was always contested between Sweden and Russia. Though Finland mainly remained under Swedish control in 1809, it was annexed by Russia. Using the end of World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution in late 1917, Finland declared its independence from the […]

China plans system to take out asteroids hurtling toward earth

China plans system to take out asteroids hurtling toward earth

China plans to develop a system for monitoring asteroids that pose a threat to earth, highlighting the nation’s growing ambitions for its space program. The country will also explore ways for taking out asteroids that endanger the planet, Wu Yanhua, deputy director of the China National Space Administration, said in a TV interview, according to […]

Russia-Japan tensions flare anew over the Kurils

Russia-Japan tensions flare anew over the Kurils

Formally, Russia is not at war with Ukraine, where it claims to be conducting a so-called “special military operation.” But with Japan, given that Moscow and Tokyo never signed a peace treaty officially ending World War II, the two Asian neighbors remain technically at war. And after Japan recently described four Kuril islands whose ownership […]

Solomon Islands has Washington in state of alarm after a security pact with China

Solomon Islands has Washington in state of alarm after a security pact with  China

A tiny island chain in the South Pacific has Western governments scrambling after it agreed to a security pact with China that the United States and its allies fear could enhance Beijing’s military power in this strategically important region.  The deal between China and the Solomon Islands, a nation of 700,000 people that had deadly […]

China says its ‘future helicopters’ will be equipped with ground-breaking technologies

China says its ‘future helicopters’ will be equipped with ground-breaking technologies

Militaries all around the world are looking at integrating modern technology into their military weapons. China, as usual, appears to be making serious efforts to prepare for the future battleground, this time, with plans to include artificial intelligence and high-speed features in its future choppers. During a recent public lecture, a prominent Chinese military helicopter […]

%d bloggers like this: