Sunday, February 25, 2018

On the death of Sean Dunne

I only just found out that Sean died by his own hand on the 10th February aged 34 yo

He was the head of Boys Boarding at Djarragun College where I lived in Term 4 last year.

We chatted quite a bit and discovered that we shared similar opinions on many issues. I incorporated some of the phrases he used in my article "Life After Noel". We both agreed that Noel’s leadership had become toxic.

I learnt that he was trained as a psychologist and that he had done some hard yards for a few years in Aurukun. He described to me once a horrific murder he had witnessed in Aurukun.

I had some dealing with difficult students at Djarragun some of them Boarders. Usually I would report this to Sean and he was always very supportive. We would talk to a student together about the problem and on another occasion he phoned a parent on my behalf.

He voiced his concerns about the state of the College to me. That the buildings were old and run down, that personnel had been reduced, that shifts were longer and as a result it was becoming near to impossible for him to do his job properly.

I now know there were other issues in his life too which I didn’t know about then.

We both agreed that the College was a disaster waiting to happen. I never dreamed that it would take this form.

I left the College at the end of last year. Sean said he would drop in and say goodbye on his last working day in December 2017. I went out looking for him on that day but couldn’t see him. I felt we had a budding friendship which I wanted to continue.

Everyone knows, whether you are close to it or distant from it, that with aboriginal and TSI issues, death is never far away. Those voices, now stilled, need to be heard, however imperfectly.

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