//
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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 14,832 other followers

An archive of all my old posts

Follow me on Twitter

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

China looking at expropriating foreign-held tech shares

Those foreigners who hold shares in Chinese tech companies are being warned that all is not well. It is China expert Gordon Chang who explained at Gatestone Institute, where he is a distinguished senior fellow and a member of the advisory board, that the nation controlled by a repressive Communist regime is “on the road […]

Cadence Column: Asia, July 26, 2021

Cadence Column: Asia, July 26, 2021

While a typhoon largely evaded Taiwan over the weekend, tragedy struck the mainland. Shanghai faced flooding and death while India suffered a landslide in the Himalayas. In a shocking video, one boulder took out a bridge. Several people died. But, speaking of Taiwan’s tendency to fall out of manure smelling like roses, there’s nothing like […]

On This Day In Australia: In 1950, Australia announced they would send troops to the Korean War

On This Day In Australia: In 1950, Australia announced they would send troops to the Korean War

Originally posted on Craig Hill:
Third Royal Australian Regiment Only five years after the end of the Second World War, Australia became involved in the Korean War. Personnel from the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), and the Australian Regular Army (ARA) were committed soon after the war began and would serve…

What have we learnt in the past century?

What have we learnt in the past century?

It is 100 years since we were supposedly getting over the war to end all wars, World War I, and forming the League of Nations with the purpose of preventing such a conflict and slaughter happening again. Regrettably, the only good that came out of it was the proposal to form the League of Nations; […]

China’s borders will likely remain shut for months, but some may be wary of visiting even after they reopen

China’s borders will likely remain shut for months, but some may be wary of visiting even after they reopen

Last week, the Biden administration warned American companies about the risk of doing business in Hong Kong, citing Beijing’s increasing crackdown on the city. “The bottom line is that businesses should be aware that the risks faced in mainland China are now increasingly present in Hong Kong,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters. […]

China Threatens to Nuke Japan in ‘Full Scale’ War if They Intervene in Taiwan

China Threatens to Nuke Japan in ‘Full Scale’ War if They Intervene in Taiwan

In an ominous new video that was circulated by the Communist Party of China, they vow to use nuclear bombs on Japan “continuously until it’s unconditional surrender” in an all out war if they decide to intervene in China’s planned re-taking of Taiwan.   “When we ‘liberate’ Taiwan, if Japan dares to intervene by force – […]

Afghanistan: No Peace Without a Clear Vision

Afghanistan: No Peace Without a Clear Vision

Peace is the absence of war, while war is the absence of peace! A negotiated peace in Afghanistan presents a number of challenges. The duration of the war over several decades has created a number of situations, that requires an in-depth examination in light of the peace negotiations that took place between the United States […]

US-China rivalry rooted in lost trust

US-China rivalry rooted in lost trust

As early as 2005 John Gersham and Melvin Goodman alerted against the trend of an over-militarized US foreign policy. The warning has been a recurrent theme of American debate, although it gained little traction. The debate recently spilled into mainstream media with The Economist averring that “an over-militarized foreign policy that embraces unrealistic objectives is liable to fail.” […]

Overnight News Headlines (Australia): July 20, 2021

Overnight News Headlines (Australia): July 20, 2021

Originally posted on Craig Hill:
Children account for 15 per cent of Australian farm deaths, says AgHealth study – 15 per cent of farm deaths are children under 14 years old, according to an AgHealth Australia study; A Ballarat farmer says she is shocked almost one in six … Australia’s first body image program for…

China in the News: July 20, 2021

China in the News: July 20, 2021

Ford unveils lower-priced Mustang Mach-E in China to qualify for subsidies – Previously, this was the only Mach-E priced low enough to qualify for China’s EV subsidies. It was joined by Extended Range RWD and AWD versions as well as the … NZ in ‘position of vulnerability’ over China hacking accusations – New Zealand has […]

%d bloggers like this: