News

A lonely life living on a park bench in Rocky for 11 years

HOME AT LAST: Rockhampton man Ian Gooda and Cr Rose Swadling sit together in perfect harmony, taking up a quick opportunity to smile for the camera. The pair are at the Rockhampton Homeless Connect event.Austin King / The Morning Bulletin
HOME AT LAST: Rockhampton man Ian Gooda and Cr Rose Swadling sit together in perfect harmony, taking up a quick opportunity to smile for the camera. The pair are at the Rockhampton Homeless Connect event.Austin King / The Morning Bulletin Austin King

IAN Gooda describes the 11 years he spent living on a Kershaw Gardens park bench as lonely.

One blanket is all that kept the Rockhampton man warm at night. He used one towel to cover his, at times icy, park bench bed, which hardly comforted him.

The morning newspaper kept him company.

That was his life every day for 11 years.

Ian said he chose to escape and live in the open because he didn't want to be confined to four walls.

It's a decision he regrets.

"I didn't want to live life like this, homeless, carrying around a backpack with a blanket and a towel ... that's all I had," he said.

Ian lived the first nine years of his vagrant life as an orphan, before his foster family, the Orams from Baralaba, took him under its wings.

He said the family was good to him, providing him basic essentials, a stable home to live. He attended St Brendan's College at Yeppoon.

After that, when he decided to live at Kershaw Gardens, things turned pear shaped and he became caught up in a vicious cycle of poverty.

"One time I didn't eat for a whole week," he said.

"I've survived floods and hot, scorching conditions and it's something I don't want other people to consider if they have fallen on hard times.

"I was robbed three times while I was sleeping at Kershaw Gardens. Some young guys took all the money I had."

Yesterday his life took a U-turn.

Rockhampton Regional Councillor Rose Swadling helped him find a permanent home in North Rockhampton.

Ian met up with Cr Swadling at yesterday's Homeless Connect event at the Rockhampton Showgrounds.

He sported a new, warm jacket, a few other necessities and he managed to tuck some hearty winter food into his belly before he left the Robert Schwarten Pavilion.

Topics:  homeless man, kershaw gardens, st brendan's college




Join the Community.

Get your local news, your way.

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

LIST GROWS: Famous people you didn't know hail from Rocky

A Night on Bay View featuring Christine Anu, Claremont, Western Australia

Readers share 9 more famous people with links to Rocky

Open Mic helps Tony share sounds with audience tonight

NATURAL FEELING: Rocky musician Tony Belz says he loves playing at Allsorts Open Mic night.

Allsorts is open to acts of all kinds

The Rocky suburbs where you'll most likely be broken into

Police data shows Rocky's 'unlawful entry' hot spots

Latest deals and offers

International Midwife Day in Rocky

Rockhampton Hospital Director of Nursing (Midwifery) talks about the amazing...

Blake Lively Film Shot on Gold Coast

Blake Lively in The Shallows.

New trailer for shark thriller The Shallows starring Blake Lively.

Dash Cam of Head-on Crash

Head-on crash after overtaking in fog.

Disaster as driver overtakes in fog at night.

Real estate agent says new developments push area forward

ON THE UPSIDE: Shae O’Reilly says the Capricorn Coast and the wider region has plenty of projects going on while we wait for an outcome on Great Keppel Island.

"sentiment can’t hang its hat on one setback for one project"

Real estate reveals Rocky's rising suburbs

Pat O'Driscoll Real Estate sales consultant Talitha Dodson Photo: Contributed

Talitha Dodson says it’s not all doom and gloom

Demand for acreage lots pushes up property prices

Property values in Cooroy have increased 25%

Property values jump in Cooroy and Peachester.