The Guardian • Issue #2033


Change in the name of Cassius rally – Perth

In Forrest Place in the heart of Perth over 1000 people gathered to remember Cassius Turvey, the fifteen-year-old, Noongar/Yamitji boy who was ambushed and attacked by a 21-year-old Jack Brearley, bashed with a metal pole, leaving him with head injuries that ten days after the incident on 13 October 2022, caused his death.

The incident occurred in Middle Swan, a north-eastern suburb of Perth, while Cassius was walking home from school. The incident has left many Aboriginal parents in Perth apprehensive for the safety and well being of their children. Since Cassius’ death, there have been two community rallies to remember the life cut short and to support the family of Cassius. The first was held at the nearby Midland Oval Saturday 29th October and the second was Monday 31st October with a Halloween theme, as it was a favourite time of the year for Cassius, was also held at Midland Oval.

The lunchtime rally in Forrest Place was a seen as a Change in the Name of Cassius Rally; an opportunity for Aboriginal people to unite and give solace and strength to each other. The rally was Co MC’d by Marianne Hedland-Mackay – long-time Noongar community activist and Megan Krakouer of the National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project who said this was to be a peaceful rally – saying no to the atrocities, coming together to show unity among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, and to show solidarity.

There were also traditional male and female dancers who presented traditional Noongar dances after which one of the dancers counted to fifteen in the Noongar language to remember each of the precious years of young Cassius Turvey’s short, but brightly illuminated life. Greetings were also received from many of the other Aboriginal nations across Western Australia and across Australia. There were also forty-four rallies or vigils which were being either held that day or were going to held in Australia and also in Los Angeles in the United States and in New Zealand.

Mechelle Turvey, Cassius’ mother spoke at the rally briefly to say that her son spoke to her every day through her heart. From her son’s Year 3 School Report while attending the Moorditj Noongar Community College she read out comments from his teachers about how he was a pleasure to teach, “Cassius often contributes to his peers’ successes with a positive attitude,” he was a helpful enthusiastic classmate who had shown leadership even at a young age.  With two other Aboriginal boys he had started a small business mowing lawns called, “Lawnmower Boys,” a pay-what-you-can-afford business.

Other speakers addressed the issue of racism which it was said must be eliminated form this country after its often-treacherous beginnings with its frontier violence wreaked on this nation’s first inhabitants, recently brought to light nationally through the ground breaking research vividly presented in the three part series by SBS, The Australian Wars.

Cassius’s cousins Jasmin Rivers and Ivan Corbett spoke about raising awareness of what happened in Middle Swan 13th October 2022. “What has our society come to when a life is worth less than a broken car window,” asked Mr Corbett. We need to take a true look at ourselves. We need to live in a country where our children can come home safely from school.  “This rally is not a violent rally, it is a rally to seek justice for Cassius,” concluded Corbett.

The rally concluded with a march around the CBD of Perth with the mother Mechelle Turvey and other family leading the march.

The Communist Party of Australia calls for an end to racism in Australia and justice for Cassius Turvey and his family.

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