Emotional scenes have played out at a city oval as rough sleepers were evicted and had their 'tent city' ripped down, despite peacefully living there for years.
Emotional scenes have played out at a city oval as rough sleepers were evicted and had their 'tent city' ripped down, despite peacefully living there for years.

‘Tent city’ torn down as rough sleepers booted from suburb

A group of rough sleepers sheltering in Fitzroy's Brunswick St Oval grandstand has been booted from their makeshift homes.

Yarra City Council gave the group marching orders despite the fact the homeless community had been living there peacefully for decades.

Homeless man Mitch Turner told the Herald Sun he was "disappointed" the close-knit group had been forced to disband.

Squatter Mitch Turner removes his items from his camp. Picture: Jake Nowakowski
Squatter Mitch Turner removes his items from his camp. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

 

A couple embraces after being evicted. Picture: Jake Nowakowski
A couple embraces after being evicted. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

"It is a bit of a kick in the guts," Mr Turner said.

"We have always looked out for each other. It is a big relief to have somewhere you can keep your things and it's safe for us to leave them here.

"It's great not to have to carry everything on your back."

Homeless people have slept in the heritage-listed grandstand for years but the tent city was closed down by the the City of Yarra municipal building surveyor.

Council workers throw out squatters' possessions. Picture: Jake Nowakowski
Council workers throw out squatters' possessions. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

"Staying in the grandstand is not safe, as it poses a major fire and general safety risk," a notice said.

"It is illegal to enter, or stay in, the grandstand."

Mr Turner rebutted the council's allegation about the grandstand being a safety hazard.

"It's been safe for us for many years in the past and nothing has drastically changed," Mr Turner said. "It was a shock, we didn't see it coming."

 

The oval turned into a tent city last winter after the number of homeless skyrocketed. Picture: David Caird
The oval turned into a tent city last winter after the number of homeless skyrocketed. Picture: David Caird

The Herald Sun witnessed a group of five police officers boot remaining rough sleepers out of their tents as well as a dozen or so council workers remove rubbish and belongings from the grandstand.

One rough sleeper told the Herald Sun the council had "no compassion" and it was a real disappointment to have to leave the community.

The group will be given various crisis accommodation for the next few weeks.

City of Yarra has been contacted for comment.

brianna.travers@news.com.au

Originally published as Fitzroy 'tent city' torn down, rough sleepers booted

Squatter Dinh stands next to his tent in the Brunswick St Oval grandstand. Picture: Jake Nowakowski
Squatter Dinh stands next to his tent in the Brunswick St Oval grandstand. Picture: Jake Nowakowski
A suitcase is tossed into the bin. Picture: Jake Nowakowski
A suitcase is tossed into the bin. Picture: Jake Nowakowski
Police aided in the eviction of squatters. Picture: Jake Nowakowski
Police aided in the eviction of squatters. Picture: Jake Nowakowski
Homeless man Mitch Turner pictured reading a book in his tent last year. Picture: David Caird
Homeless man Mitch Turner pictured reading a book in his tent last year. Picture: David Caird

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