Myra Demetriou, Sirius, Cumberland Street, The Rocks, 2014
Myra Demetriou is blind, physically frail, 89 years old and has lived in The Rocks / Millers Point area for almost sixty years. She moved from Trinity Avenue to her tenth-floor Sirius apartment about a decade ago so she could remain in her community. Myra cherishes and fights to maintain her independence and at the same time she looks after the people around her.
From 1959 to 1970 Myra lived in Erskine Street with only a fuel stove for cooking and a copper for hot water. When her home was demolished to build the Western Distributor, she moved to 18 Trinity Avenue behind the Garrison Church. Myra began caring for her next-door neighbour Billy who suffered from scoliosis, but due to her poor eyesight she was refused the small carer’s allowance usually provided by the government. After thirty-eight years Myra had to escape the steep and dangerous stairs of her house. In 2008 she agreed to move around the corner to Sirius.
Myra regularly attends lectures at the Mechanics Institute and State Library. She attends services at the Garrison Church, where for thirty years as a volunteer she ran their Historical and Military Museum which housed many important artefacts and records from the early years of the Colony. For the Millers Point Spring Picnic Myra baked eight dozen scones, a pineapple cheesecake and a chocolate slice.
Myra goes out most days. On Mondays she volunteers her help on a fruit stall near Circular Quay. At least once a week she conducts exercise classes at Darling House, an aged care facility in Trinity Avenue which the government announced it will force to close. A few days a week she dines with other local residents at the Harry Jensen Community Centre. She still attends Labor Party meetings once a month.
There is more about and Myra and even some material written by her on this site:
- Myra is the only remaining resident on her floor of Sirius in 2016.
- Myra’s introduction to Trinity Avenue in the 1970s and the people who lived there
- Myra’s submission to the NSW Parliamentary Enquiry into Elder Abuse.
- more stories about Myra are throughout this website and on the Save Millers Point Facebook page, where we encourage supporters to like, comment on and share stories.
Below are a few photos of Myra at home in Sirius and in her environment around Millers Point…
Myra at home with an award for her volunteer work
Kelli and Margaret with Myra
Myra is unable to climb stairs, but a lift provides good access to her apartment
Most days Myra leaves home on her own
Myra can navigate her neighbourhood without assistance because she knows it well
Myra cannot see the Reg Mombassa’s No Surrender poster behind her, but she was very happy to be photographed in front of the message Save the Millers Point Community.
Myra’s path to the nearest bus stop is often a difficult obstacle course. For the past few years these signs are in her way several days each week, but with her stick she finds her way over the kerbs and along the street because she is determined to maintain her independence. Last year while walking from Sirius to the Harry Jensen Community Centre, she fell down a hole in the footpath, breaking her arm in four places, and was forced to stay in hospital and a convalescent home for eight months. She has now returned to Sirius, but more of her neighbours have been moved out.
An old photo of Myra and her husband Nick.