I live on the Gold Coast, but I was born in Melbourne in 1958, in North Ringwood. I have two brothers and one sister. I’m the youngest, the baby. Mum and Dad owned a milk bar, and we lived upstairs. I’d get milkshakes! We had friends around the corner. My favourite game was chasey. We had two dogs and a cat – a little foxy named Tiny, a poodle named Pier, and the cat was named Tiddles.

I went to a special school in Melbourne. I liked making friends. We played games, and I liked being outside. School work was too hard. I got help at home from Mum and Dad, but I didn’t learn to read or write. I can write my name.

When I was older, we moved to Banora Point in northern New South Wales for warmer weather. I moved with Mum and Dad, not my brothers or sister; they were grown up. My dad was a builder. I helped him out a lot. He taught me how to fix things. I went to work with him – it was real good. My dad was my role model. I miss him a lot.

I moved to Queensland in my thirties. I played basketball on the Gold Coast. I made friends. It felt real good to play. We had a good coach. I also played tenpin bowling. My brother Wally bought me a bag for it.

I know Steve through my dad. He’s a family friend. I used to help him out in the warehouse. It was real good. I like to help people, work in their garden. I also like playing with dogs. I like animals.

Now I live in housing commission. I want to get out, to move somewhere else. I’d like to have nice neighbours. I want to live with other people. I like going to Jenna’s place – she’s my niece. I play with her dogs; she’s got three. We go on coffee dates. I play with her daughter Halle; she’s 10. We watch TV, I watch her do jumps on the trampoline. I like to buy her things. I bought her a packet of chips and a lollipop.

I sell the book – The Big Issue – in Burleigh Heads. I really like talking with people. The people in the shops know me. I like the other vendors, Cameron and Mark. I make friends. I go to Rosies and Walk With Us in Burleigh for a meal. I get to talk with people there.

Big Issue has helped me lots. It gets me out of the house, it gives me something to do. Otherwise, I sit at home looking at the walls. I call Jenna and tell her how many books I’ve sold. Customers tell me I’m doing well. They ask me if I want a cup of coffee. It feels real good inside. I want to keep selling the magazine and meeting people.

Colin sells The Big Issue at Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast.

Interview by Amanda Sweeney.

Photo by Barry Street.