This is a preview of Flo’s petition.
After 3 March this link will take you to Flo’s change.org petition where you can sign and share.
Save Flo from Eviction
Please sign this petition to save Flo Seckold from eviction.
Flo was born in Millers Point 81 years ago. At the time, her father worked on the wharves around Millers Point, and her family rented their home from ‘the Maritime’. Times were tough during the Depression. Afterwards, the family was separated when Flo’s father went to war. When he came back, he returned to working on the wharves. He was killed in a waterfront accident in 1953 and a photo of him still hangs in the Hero of Waterloo.
In 1952 Flo married Ted. When Ted found work on the wharves, it was not long before Flo and Ted had their own home and family to bring up in Millers Point. Ted remained on the wharves all his working life, but by the 1970s, maritime activity was moving from Sydney Harbour to Port Botany. When shipping moved out of the area entirely, Maritime NSW transferred all its residential property to Housing NSW, which began moving in people without connections to the maritime history of the area. Soon after acquiring the properties, Housing attempted to evict many of the long-term residents, but community action and Green Bans put a stop to that, and for the most part, residents and Housing rubbed along together OK.
Millers Point was no longer such a tight-knit maritime community, and since the local waterfront work was gone, the children of most long-term residents moved elsewhere when they grew up. This is what happened to Flo and Ted’s children, but Flo and Ted opted to stay where they were, amongst the people they knew, paying the rent that was asked and never querying it.
Flo and Ted continued to live happily in their house until Ted passed away early in 2014. Flo and Ted had been married more than sixty years. The day after Flo buried Ted, Pru Goward announced the State Government was selling out of Millers Point, and Flo was given a letter headed ‘Moving to your New Home’. The State Government was ‘relocating’ every public housing tenant in Millers Point, including Flo and everyone she knew.
Flo has not yet read her letter from Housing, and she says she won’t. She meets with her Relocation Officer, but all she can tell him is that she does not want to leave.
All public housing tenants in The Rocks, Millers Point and Dawes Point have been told they must leave by March 2016. A few live in large 19th-century houses that the government has neglected for decades. The government now says these properties are too valuable to retain for public housing and too expensive to repair. But the majority of Millers Point public housing tenants live in the modest flats that were purpose built for maritime workers, or in the Sirius apartments that were built when local residents and the BLF saved The Rocks from high-rise development in the 1970s. Although the government is not yet offering to sell these properties, which do not fit their story of public housing tenants living in multi-million-dollar homes, nonetheless it is clearing out these properties. Read about these other properties and the people of Millers Point here:
The respected SGS Economic and Planning group has produced an independent report on the government’s plan to sell Millers Point housing. It advises an alternative way forward for Millers Point. Here is a link to the full SGS report:
Flo is fighting to save herself and her community, and her only way to do this is to share her story.
This petition calls on the State Government to show it can respond to the needs of real people. The report that infomed its decision to clear out an entire community indicated ‘relocation’ of vulnerable or elderly people like Flo would result in death for some and poor mental and physical health outcomes for others. Please allow Flo to live in her own home amongst the community that knows and values her, and where she can continue to contribute.
Please sign and share this petition to save Flo and her community.
Please also sign the other recent petitions to save Millers Point and its residents:
[link to Myra’s petition]
[link to Save the workers’ flats petition]
Friends of Millers Point