I grew up in Melbourne but we moved to Warrnambool when I was a teenager. I got a job up there working at the abattoirs. I was still going to school and working at the same time – they said I could do my job and go to school so I could finish my Year 11 and 12. I ended up finishing high school. I enjoyed school. Some of the work was a bit hard but I eventually got there. English was my favourite subject. I was top of my class for English. I still love reading. I mainly like to read crime books.
I’ve got two sisters. I don’t talk to my real dad, but I sometimes talk to my mum. I grew up alright with my sisters. Now maybe I talk to them once in a blue moon… My childhood wasn’t too bad, but it was a bit rough when I was a teenager. I was on the street when I was 13 or 14. I was on the drugs but Mum didn’t like me on the drugs, so she kicked me out. I was on the street for maybe six months but then I eventually got off the drugs and went back to Mum. It was really hard being homeless in a country town. I didn’t have many mates I could go to. I ended up getting help – I went to rehab. I just got into the wrong crowd when I was younger, that was all.
I worked at the abs for five years but then it just got too much because there were too many early morning starts, so I left. I got another job mowing lawns and then worked at Bunnings for a while. Then I moved to Melbourne and started working at The Big Issue. A mate that used to work for The Big Issue got me on to it. I like selling The Big Issue. I get to meet people. It’s something to do and puts money in your pocket. I sell with my wife Kylie, so I have a bit of company while I work. We have a few regular customers who will stop for a chat and ask how our day is. What I like best about selling The Big Issue is being outdoors and not being stuck in the house, and meeting people and selling The Big Issue to them.
During lockdown, I’d been in the city a few times and had customers come up and say hello to me. Even though I was not selling they would come up and say hello and ask how my day’s going. It made me feel good. I’m really happy to be back out there selling again now. We’ve got an old lady who we often see. She always stops and has a chat, and we’d like to see how she’s doing. We haven’t seen her for a while, so it will be good to see how she is.
And me and Kylie will hopefully travel soon to Phillip Island for our honeymoon. We got married in October last year but didn’t have a honeymoon. We just celebrated our first‐year wedding anniversary.
David sells The Big Issue at Puckle St, Moonee Ponds, Melbourne.
Interview by Anastasia Safioleas
Photo by James Braund