Parkland Squatters


Story Details

War has been declared over a piece of our south eastern parklands. The two warring parties? An eastern suburbs businessman armed with a camera and a bunch of down and outers.

Ian Crossing is the managing director of a fitness technology company and travels the nation and the world with his job. He says our parklands are being taken over by crazy ferals and he says this emerging shanty town appears to have been given the tick of approval by the state, local and Federal Governments.

"If I went into a conservation park and I provided a feeding program for feral goats or feral pigs of course I would alter the ecology of the area. Because it's tolerated in the Adelaide parklands you've got exactly the same thing going on," says Ian.

And them's fighting words for the campers under canvas and in their cars.

Michaels' home and castle is his car and he is furious over Mr Crossings caustic comments.

"We're feral? We're a feral campground? Well unfortunately Mr Crossing, I don't know how you could see the bloody campsite from where you are! �who the hell are you Mr Crossing? Who are you Mr Harbison? Come down to the parklands you faceless bunch of whatever," responded Michael.

All of these campers claim they are homeless and simply down on their luck and with public housing lists as long as your arm, had no alternative but to hold the ultimate protest and go bush in the city.

"Who is this bloke? I've never seen his face come out here into the parklands and tell me I'm feral you moron," responded Michael.

The shutter happy Ian Crossing has gone even further in his scathing comments.

Apart from accusing them of destroying trees for firewood and being graffiti vandals he suggests that all of these parklands people are mental patients spilling over from nearby Glenside.

"Well they're within walking distance of the outpatients section, those that are within their medication and they could fix the problem straight away by moving the tents back into the grounds of Glenside Hospital �be fixed straight away," says Ian.

And Michael's response? "We're not feral we're not mental, we're not hopeless but we are down for a time period in our life."

Peter Brady's marriage broke up 11 years ago and he's recovering from a double heart bypass. He has labelled Ian crossing a snob

"He wouldn't have a clue �.he doesn't know nothin' about my life�.he don't know nothin' about the last two years and why I'm out here �.and it could happen to him tomorrow �he wouldn't give a stuff," he explained.

"I feel sorry for him �.he's comin' from the top �I'm on the bottom �if he's gotta make smart comments about me well, I can sleep alright at night," says Peter.

Ian says, "Adelaide sit back and just watch Soweto happen �.just sit back and wait."

But when asked would he come down and meet them face to face Ian tells us "!!!...why�no!! I've got no interest in meeting them �it's not going to change what's happening in that park."

But if they explained who they are? "...I don't care who they are �I couldn't care less if they were Jesus Christ ....I honestly don't."

Well the state government has had an epiphany and suddenly offered housing trust homes to everyone living in our parklands.

"We made 'em do it by being here," says Michael. "We have been offered a house"

"Why do you think you've been offered a house?

"I think because maybe we stirred up a little bit of ...stirred up a bit of trouble .....yeaaah....made 'em look like gooses."

But Michael for one says he won't accept the governments offer, out of principal.

"I will not accept a house right now because I personally believe this is nothing but a political ploy and I would like to ask the people of Adelaide why the bloody hell should I be allowed to jump the queue in front of these people who have been waiting 2 ...3 ...4 years or more," says Michael. "Why can't they do this for other people? ...obviously the houses are there now."

So what happens when all of these people are housed, will we witness a grapes of wrath style procession?

A never ending parade of homeless flocking to the parklands to pitch a tent hoping to twist the arm of the government.

When asked if he thinks they would have had houses if it wasn't for the publicity? Michael says, "I don't know. No I don't think so ....I don't think so ...I don't think they would have bothered mate!"