Remembering Cassius Turvey

Rachel May, cousin to Cassius, speaking on Harmony Day. Audio: Supplied.

On March 21, Harmony Day, at Weeip Park in Midland, Mechelle Turvey and her family announced the design for a reflective space for her late son Cassius Turvey.

Cassius died in October last year when he was walking with his friends in the Middle Swan area and was allegedly attacked with a metal pole.

Weeip Park in Midland is somewhere Cassius spent time with friends, and in 2019, received the Young Leader Naidoc Award.

At Tuesday’s event, organised by Mechelle Turvey and the City of Swan, there was a DJ, sports, and a sausage sizzle.

Friends of Cassius come together to play basketball. Photo: Olivia Ford.

Swan Council manager of Communities and Libraries Debra Summers says the Harmony Day event follows a notice of motion passed by the Swan Council last year in December.

The motion states the council will work with Mechelle Turvey to develop a concept for a reflection space in Weeip park.

“There was a decision made by our Executive and Council that we would offer whatever support we could to the family and in a way that they would prefer,” says Summers.

Mechelle Turvey says she had hoped to officially unveil the reflective space design on Harmony Day, but the plans have been pushed back.

She says the Welcome to Country on Harmony Day was conducted by Nan Roma Winmar, the Noongar language teacher who taught Cassius at Moorditj Noongar Community College.

The DJ in attendance also performed at Cassius’s wake.

“It’s important to have all these people somehow linked to Cassius’ life,” Turvey says.

“The basketball area, where [the reflective space] is going to be in Weeip park, Cassius used to go there three to four times after school, and on the weekends with his mates, so that brings in his peers to be a part of it too.”

The reflection space for Cassius will be based in Weeip Park, Midland. Photo: Olivia Ford.

Binar Sports executive officer Adam Desmond was invited by the City of Swan to run basketball games at the event for the children, many of whom were friends of Cassius’s.

Desmond says the event ran well with members of the community jumping in and having fun.

“Anything positive that brings the community together is always a good and positive thing. Cassius was someone that really set the example in that space.”

Desmond says the reflective space will not only be an important healing place for those who knew Cassius but those who got to know him through photos, videos, and family.

Mechelle says her family want the reflective space to include 15 words chosen by her family that best described Cassius, and for those attributes to reach out to children who see the Reflective Space.

“We just want to give kids that guidance, that they can be leaders, they can be many things.”

The artwork for the space will be done by Mechelle’s niece Jade Dolman who also designed the artwork for Cassius’ coffin.

Mechelle also says she wants to distance people from labelling the reflective space as a ‘memorial.’

“A memorial normally signifies one person or a group of persons. We’re trying to step away from it and make it more of a reflective space for all these young kids.”

“We think there are millions of Cassius around, but we don’t hear their stories as much as what’s been put out about Cassius and his legacy and leadership.”

Mechelle hopes the space will reach out to kids and inspire them to be like Cassius.

“They (the kids) might have a hard day, there might be things going on in their family life. If they see the reflective space, it could inspire them to do other things and give them more self worth,” Mechelle says.

Debra Summers says there will be a formal event in a couple of months for the final installation of the reflective space.

“We’re still working very closely with the family and the artist on how we will end up with the final structure,” she says.

Mechelle says she does not have a proper time frame for when the space will be created, however, she hopes the space will be unveiled during Naidoc Week in early July.