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Geraldton police and Bundiyarra Aboriginal Corporation hold education session with youth on rock-throwing

Jessica MoroneyGeraldton Guardian
Jo Norman, Johny Narkle, Val Jones, Sen. Sgt Russell Hurst and Talya Quinn attend the rock-throwing meeting.
Camera IconJo Norman, Johny Narkle, Val Jones, Sen. Sgt Russell Hurst and Talya Quinn attend the rock-throwing meeting. Credit: Jessica Moroney/Geraldton Guardian

Victims of rock-throwing shared their harrowing stories as youth, parents and authorities gathered at a meeting to tackle the growing scourge in the community.

The meeting on Thursday was organised by local police and Bundiyarra Aboriginal Community Aboriginal Organisation to educate those who may know or be associated with rock-throwers about the potentially dangerous consequences.

More than 30 primary school children heard stories from people in the community who have been victims of rock throwing, which is the second meeting of its kind organised in the past two months.

Wayne McDonald, CEO of Bundiyarra speaks on the rock throwing epidemic
Camera IconWayne McDonald, CEO of Bundiyarra speaks on the rock throwing epidemic Credit: Jessica Moroney

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Jo Norman described the time she had a rock propelled at her vehicle on Geraldton-Mount Magnet Road, causing her to swerve into oncoming heavy haulage traffic with her daughter in the passenger seat.

“I’m actually shaking inside now just thinking about how that felt, because that is my precious daughter in that car. The stone was half a brick and it came straight to her side window,” she said.

“It’s the flight, fight, flee, so I tried to flee because I wanted to get the car out of the way . . . what was coming was a truck.”

The youths were left gasping after Ms Norman told them she knows of a teenager hit with a rock who had to have his eye removed.

Val Jones was another victim who told her story, saying three young boys who threw a rock at her vehicle turned out to be her relatives.

“I said to my son who has had a stroke, ‘it’s not worth getting out’, because he has a bit of a temper, and what would he do to those children,” she said. “’He’d end up in jail.”

Even the Mid West-Gascoyne district’s top cop Steve Post stood in front of the audience and relived the time his vehicle was rocked, stating his “blood was boiling”.

The information session came after a public meeting held in May, which included bringing together community members who felt strongly about the issue to brainstorm solutions.

Hometown basketball star Johny Narkle attended the meeting in support of the cause, as well as Talya Quinn from Geraldton PCYC, which provided program opportunities for young people.

Sen. Sgt Russell Hurst, Clayton Parfitt, Geraldton Buccaneers assistant coach Carter Cook and Johny Narkle.
Camera IconSen. Sgt Russell Hurst, Clayton Parfitt, Geraldton Buccaneers assistant coach Carter Cook and Johny Narkle. Credit: Jessica Moroney/Geraldton Guardian

Geraldton police Sen. Sgt Russell Hurst said the meeting wasn’t a place for anger, blaming or finger-pointing, but to educate and bring future leaders together.

“It’s a really good opportunity to share that victim perspective with some kids who may not necessarily be involved directly with the rock-throwing, but maybe hanging around, maybe some of the tag along kids that hopefully we get the message through to,” he said.

Sen. Sgt Hurst said some members in the community were anxious to drive, fearing they could be hit with a rock, and even avoided certain routes where “ginging” was known to occur.

“We know the effects that’s having on the community, whether it’s personal injury, property damage, the perception of the community or perception of individuals, we want to reassure the community that we are actually doing something,” he said.

The children were also shown a music video of a boy who mixed with the wrong crowd and watched as his close relative was seriously injured by a rock.

“I was really surprised to hear the gasps of the kids when they saw the consequences of what happened and that’s why we’re here, to talk about the consequences and just to make sure the kids are aware that what might seem like harmless fun can have severe consequences, serious injury and ultimately can cause death as well,” Sen. Sgt Hurst said.

Geraldton police have revealed more than 40 incidents of rock-throwing were reported between April and June. Half of those were just in the month of June.

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