There were about 30 people in the park by 10am. Waited an extra 15 minutes for more to come and there was a contingent already at the venue.
We’d heard the building had been squatted before for a New Year’s Eve party, and the owner had been pleased about parties being held there cos they wanted to reopen it as a nightclub. The Building Group had heard Development Application searches had been done on it, and there had been nothing mentioned in the council meetings for the past four years.
The entrance was strewn with broken bottles, dust and stank of urine. Went in and all the dust blew in. The two-storey building was dark, huge and glamorous – it had been a former S&M club with many nooks and crannies.
Three bikers had been executed in the building seven years before. There had also been a fire and there were smoke-stained walls and burnt light fittings. It felt spooky.
A Legal/Security person was listening to a police scanner, checking out if the cops were onto us. “They’re mainly talking about domestics and car accidents.”
– “You’re a town planner and I’m a white collar professional. Most of us are accepted in mainstream society – we can afford to hire venues. What are we doing in an airless derelict building with only two flushing toilets and partial electricity?”
“But isn’t it exciting?”
– “What would your Mum say – she thinks you’re on a round-the-world trip?”
“Oh, stop being divisive!”
Four of us were cleaning the bathrooms and were overpowered by ammonia fumes and had to rush out. The floors were flooded in the men’s and ladies. Half the toilets wouldn’t flush.
Someone had accidentally spilt quite a bit of rice upstairs in the food area.
MEETING: The publican next door doesn’t mind us being here, so long as we buy drinx from him. We can hang around and smoke outside his pub.
There aren’t many neighbours – mainly empty buildings. The place next door is a shooting gallery for addicts and is riddled with sharps; the other building is still being broken into so we can use it for accommodation.
Between our building and next door is an upstairs shared door with some aggro neighbours, but locks have been put on it so they can’t get in and hassle us.
Everything was cleaned up and all seemed fine. l went home to sleep.
Logged on to my email a couple of hours later and everyone had been evicted!
MEETING: 9pm Newtown Hotel for a debriefing.
The drama had begun when “a bloke pulled up in a car outside and walked into the building. He walked straight by me – I didn’t know who he was. We didn’t have the front door locked cos we were still taking things in and out. And the door was far too difficult to close – it took about four minutes to ever get it open again.
“He stood in the middle of the room, yelling `Get out, get out, get out!’ I was shaking when I spoke to him – told him what we were about and that we’d only be there a short time, then I offered him money – but he wouldn’t listen. So I yelled: `Everybody come down here now!’ They did. Then I said: `We have to get him out!’
“Then he grabbed a mop and broke it in two and was wielding it like a weapon while he called the police on his mobile.
“Four cops turned up and they watched as we took everything out.
“Then a security guard came and was posted there 24/7. He was nice and took our details so he could pass them on to other people who turned up later, wondering where QR was being held.
“That was it!
“I was pissed off, cos we could have held the building if we hadn’t been so fluffy – we have to be more militant. If the door had of been closed, he couldn’t have got in, and the police wouldn’t have bashed the door down if they’d thought we’d had hundreds of people in there. They would have gone away.”
Resolution: to meet tomorrow at 9am, Belmore Park, to break into a former squat in Homebush that has no electricity or water.
“It’s really difficult when a place doesn’t have water.”
Had a conversation with some interstate younglings who kept asking me to “point out the organisers”.
“There aren’t any – it’s a collective.”
-“I’d love to be arrested. Wouldn’t it be exciting?”
“But you’re s’posed to be squatting for the principles.”
-“But there’s nothing wrong with doing stuff cos it’s exciting. I want to be a renegade!”