Plans for a permanent memorial for the victims of the Bourke Street rampage are now underway as a sixth person died on Monday.
Standing in front of what Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle described as “the epicentre of grief and reflection”, he and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews told a joint news conference on Tuesday that they wanted to take their time on a permanent memorial and “get it right”.
“One of the difficulties we have is there’s not a single site, arguably this is not the central site … there are nine sites that we will deal with along Bourke St … each of them is important,” Lord Mayor Doyle told reporters.
Lord Mayor Doyle said it was time to “gather up the tributes”.
“The organic material will take some months to compost and it will go on the victims of crime garden [located adjacent to Parliament House]; we will preserve the cards; separately we will preserve all the other mementoes, the teddy bears and pictures.”
“We’ll work out in coming days about a permanent memorialisation.”
Premier Andrews said the floral tribute, located on the corner of Bourke and Elizabeth Streets in Melbourne’s CBD, was a “very powerful statement of love and care and compassion and it’s now appropriate now that this floral tribute is gathered up and that we find a permeant home.”
The Governor of Victoria also attended in what she described as the “next stage of the healing process”. Aboriginal elders conducted a smoking ceremony as the flowers, cards and mementoes were gently and carefully removed by SES workers, chaplains and volunteers.
Among the tributes removed were photographs and messages of love from mourners for 10-year-old Thalia Hakin who was killed during the rampage on January 20.
On January 26, The Australia Jewish News revealed she had written a compelling and heartwarming piece for a 2015 global competition in a bid to bring Jewish women together.
Described as “the words of an angel”, she wrote: “Now the world is dark, but soon to be bright for us.”
“When you light up a candle you light up your neshama [soul],” Thalia wrote.
“And you light up the world. And when you light up the world you make it a better place.”
“Like for you, me and everybody. Now the world is dark but soon to be bright for us. And im yirtzeh hashem [God willing] mashiach [the messiah] will come.”
Thalia’s words are due to be published in a book published by JGU, called One More Light. JGU’s Susan Axelrod said the book would be blessed with the “words of an angel”.
“We will publish this entry and forever honour the soul of this Jewish daughter,” she told The Australian Jewish News.
On Tuesday, Thalia’s mother Nathalie remained in a critical condition whilst her younger sister, Maggie, is recovering after serious leg injuries.
Premier Andrews, who said that people should “always ensure that we never forgot those who have paid such a high price”, said seven people remained in hospital and one person was critical.
The sixth person who died following Melbourne’s Bourke Street attack 10 days ago was a 33-year-old Blackburn South woman, Victoria Police said.
She died in hospital just before 7:30pm on Monday.
Four people died at the scene while another, a three-month-old baby, died the following night in hospital.
The man accused of driving the car, 26-year-old Dimitrious Gargasoulas, has been charged with five counts of murder with other charges pending.
He has been remanded in custody and ordered to face court via video link in August.