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Bondi massacre: Emotional candlelit vigil on beach for six killed in Westfield stabbing

Dylan Caporn
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Sydneysiders descended on Bondi Beach on Sunday evening to pay an emotional tribute to the six people killed at Westfield Bondi Junction last Saturday.
Sydneysiders descended on Bondi Beach on Sunday evening to pay an emotional tribute to the six people killed at Westfield Bondi Junction last Saturday. Credit: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Sydneysiders have descended on Bondi Beach on Sunday evening to pay an emotional tribute to the six people killed at Westfield Bondi Junction last Saturday.

From 5.30pm, the iconic Sydney beach hosted the sombre, candlelit vigil for the six people murdered after 40-year-old Joel Cauchi went on a stabbing spree.

Police officer Amy Scott, who was praised for her quick action in stopping Cauchi by fatally shooting him, was seen embracing members of the public at the tribute.

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Police officer Amy Scott, who was praised for her quick action in stopping Cauchi by fatally shooting him, was seen embracing members of the public at the tribute.
Police officer Amy Scott, who was praised for her quick action in stopping Cauchi by fatally shooting him, was seen embracing members of the public at the tribute. Credit: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

A first-time mother defending her baby, the daughter of a millionaire advertising guru and an on-duty security guard were among the six people killed in the attack.

Five of the six killed were women — Ashlee Good, 38; Dawn Singleton, 25; Jade Young, 47; Pikria Darchia, 55; and Yixuan Cheng, 27.

Faraz Tahir, a 30-year-old refugee who fled persecution in his native Pakistan, was also killed.

At least 12 others — including nine women — were taken to hospital after suffering stab wounds in the attack.

Six people remain in hospital, including Ms Good’s nine-month-old baby daughter, who she thrust into the hands of bystanders in an attempt to save her life.

Both Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Opposition Leader Peter Dutton attended the event, which included a minute’s silence in honour of those whose lives were lost.

The vigil will begin with a minute’s silence in honour of those whose lives were lost.
The vigil will begin with a minute’s silence in honour of those whose lives were lost. Credit: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Mr Albanese said they had gathered with “candles held against the darkness” to grieve for all the possibility and potential of the six lives that had been snatched away.

“We mourn for all the years of joy they should have known,” he said. “All the memories they should have had the chance to make.”

“As we keep this vigil for the six souls we have lost, we keep a place in our heart for everyone affected — all those who were injured, all those caring for them. Survivors carry the invisible scars of trauma and fear.

“We think of Inspector Amy Scott, who ran towards danger. The security guards made that same courageous choice. The first responders acted with such speed and skill.

“And the everyday people who could never have imagined they would face such a moment and yet when that sternest test arrived, their first instinct was to help others, people that they did not know.

“We think of everyone still trying to come to terms with the hole in their life where a loved one should be.”

NSW Premier Chris Minns said the vigil was an opportunity for those attending to lean on one another during what had been a terrible week for the city.

“Grief can be a terrible burden, but it doesn’t have to be a lonely one,” he said. “This week, we saw a single bouquet left on Oxford Street grow into a sea of flowers. And here tonight, we have a sea of people mourning your loss.”

And in a message directed to women — who bore the brunt of Cauchi’s attack — Mr Minns said: “We might not know the exact motives behind this attack — what we can say is that every Australian woman deserves to feel safe in her community.”

A temporary floral tribute remains in place at Oxford St Mall in Bondi Junction.

A formal memorial service will occur at a later date while plans are in place for a permanent memorial to honour the victims.

A major coronial inquiry is also underway, with a heavy focus on the adequacy of NSW’s mental health funding and support.

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