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Fighter who found community on the streets

  • 10 December 2014

Susan Gaye Bloomfield7th February, 1967 – December 2014

Elizabeth told me Sue had died. She had been dead in her Ashfield flat for 18 days before she was found. The heater was on. I don’t want to think about how she was when she was found. I don’t know how she died. There is talk of ice. 

Sue had been just below the surface of my consciousness for weeks, just this unease. She had rung and asked me to ring her. She didn’t think to give me her number. Street people change their mobile numbers all the time and the one I had had the familiar: 'Optus advises that the number you have rung has been disconnected.' I rang Elma at the Wayside and they hadn’t seen her or knew her number. I thought of going to her flat.

Sue was a giver and it used to bring her undone, especially with men. They would take and take and finally they would turn on her, violently, because no one likes to receive all the time. They would bash her, stab her and the cycle went on with someone else. She gave because she had no capacity to affirm herself, she had no sense of her own value or worth. 

On 19th January, 1969, in the Saleyards Camping Area, Griffith, Margaret Bloomfield was shot by her husband, Hector Bloomfield. Margaret was 26, they had 8 children. Susan was the youngest, 11 months. She was found under a couch. She had hid there when she heard the bangs. As an adult, a loud bang would send her ducking for cover. A total of three people were killed by Hector that day, two other relatives. Her adult family was wiped out. Sue and another sibling were separated from her other siblings and brought up in institutions in Waitara and Goulburn. She was on the streets at 12 and I met her at St Canice’s. 

I remember her saying to me she once went to the library in Griffith to look up reports of that day in the papers. She found plenty of photos of her father but none of her mother. She was looking for one, she never found one photo of her mother.

'I wanted a family,' she once said to me. She did have one, she had six children. But she didn’t know how to be a parent, she had never been parented herself. She didn’t know