Heartfelt tributes for Cassius Turvey at Bunbury candlelight vigil

Jacinta CantatoreSouth Western Times
Akira and Cruz Hansen at a vigil for Cassius Turvey in Bunbury.
Camera IconAkira and Cruz Hansen at a vigil for Cassius Turvey in Bunbury. Credit: Jacinta Cantatore/South Western Times

More than 300 people gathered at Bunbury’s foreshore precinct for a candlelight vigil on Wednesday evening to pay their respects to Cassius Turvey, the 15-year-old school boy whose death has affected the nation.

Cassius died from severe injuries 10 days after he was allegedly brutally bashed by a group of older males as he walked home from school with friends in Middle Swan on October 13.

The event was held at the Graham Bicknell Memorial Music Shell in Bunbury at 6pm on Wednesday, another vigil being held at the same time at the Busselton Foreshore Amphitheatre.

The two South West events were some of the hundreds of vigils being held across Australia, including Albany, Onslow and Broome, with simultaneous events being held around Australia in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns and Darwin.

Bunbury elder Melba Wallam performed a heartfelt welcome to country to the solemn crowd, thanking everyone for coming together to pay their respects.

“Its beautiful to see you all here to show your love and respect for this day, and what we are doing here,” Mrs Wallam said.

MC Max Jetta said the event was a way of helping people heal.

“It’s wonderful to see everyone here today as well, to come here together for this special human being, and for such a tragic loss,” Mr Jetta said.

“Tonight is a special night to celebrate the life and honour of his memory in a loving, caring and respectful way.

“This is a peaceful vigil honouring Cassius’s life.”

He paid tribute to the Turvey family for allowing him to speak at the event, and shared stories of how Cassius would visit his cousins, aunties and uncles in the region to go swimming or marron fishing over the holidays.

“If we look around and see how much support the South West community and the whole nation is giving you here tonight, we want you to know how much love and support we are giving you,” Mr Jetta said.

“We feel your pain, but only those who know what it feels like can share your pain. We want to wrap our arms around you all and let you know we are all here, we care and we want to help.”

Akira and Cruz Hansen spoke at the vigil, sharing their own stories of bullying, racism, and being too scared to walk home from school.

People brought signs and banners to the Bunbury vigil to show support for the Turvey family, using hashtags such as ‘forever15’ and ‘justice for Cassius’.

Cassius’ family members from the South West led the vigil and smoking ceremony down to the Bunbury harbour foreshore to lay floral tributes for the 15-year-old.

Community members from around the South West paid their respects by laying bouquets of kangaroo paw and other native flowers, while others scattered rose petals or peppermint trees branches into the water.

Candles were lit for Cassius at the foreshore location, and at a special tribute to Cassius at the music shell.

“On behalf of the Turvey, May and Wilson and families, to all you who showed up, we thank you,” Mr Jetta said.

“It’s amazing to see that we all come together, no matter who we are — young old, black white.

“We don’t just stop here, we continue to do this for the rest of our lives — not just for ourselves, but for my little one, your little ones, for anyone around you. We are all warriors here, no matter who you are.”

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