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The Southern Cross Living Catholic page is filled with stories of the many good works that often go unnoticed but make a big difference to people’s lives and to the community.
Parishes are invited to submit story ideas of Living Catholic in a practical sense. Send an email to email@example.com.
Clearview parishioner Gary Lockwood
has a spare bedroom wall filled with some
of the portraits of the 80 asylum seekers
he has helped support over the past five
“I know every one of their stories,” he says,
voice trembling before tears begin to roll.
“That’s Hafiz – his wife died of Leukaemia
and he’s been trying to get his children to
Australia but the government changed the
visa rules and he can’t sponsor them out,”
“And then there’s Mahmood – he’s a bright
kid on a bridging visa who’s running an
English language club for asylums seekers.
He is studying for his SACE this year. He
can speak four languages.”
Gary is the coordinator of the self-funded,
self-founded Kilburn Catholic Parish
Hazara Support Group.
The group offers Hazara asylum seekers
and refugees friendship and support in
day-to day activities most native-born
Australians take for granted, including help
with applying for jobs, personal and health
issues, letter writing, filling out official
forms and citizenship applications.
There have been many meals shared,
birthdays celebrated and Christmas
lunches enjoyed together.
Gary has written to local and federal MPs
and even the leader of the Roman Catholic
world advocating for fairer rights for Hazara
asylum seekers in Australia.
Last year, in his letter to Pope Francis,
Gary explained that the Hazaras were a
persecuted ethnic minority forced to flee
Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. He told
the Holy Father to pray for the Hazara men
on Australian bridging visas, who under
current government policy cannot sponsor
their families out to join them in Australia.
“Could you imagine the hurt inflicted on
these men by such an act Holy Father?”
he wrote, urging Pope Francis to press the
United Nations for more effective programs
in the speedy resettlement of refugees.
Gary hasn’t always been an advocate for
He says five years ago, at least three
months passed before he approached five
Hazara men renting a house near his home.
Gary says his indifference to the men at the
time stemmed from ignorance and fear of
But he began to wonder: ‘How do I
reconcile with these rather different looking
people; I should at least say hello.’
And he did.
“I immediately saw such sadness in their
eyes. I found out most of them were
married with children in Afghanistan,” says
Gary. “I just discovered what lovely, nice
people they were,” he says. “Their sincerity
is what struck me most.”
Gary worked with various charities in his
area and during his weekly run would set
aside donated food for the men, who were
living close to the poverty line.
“We became really good friends and that’s
how our relationship developed.”
Some of the original five have moved
interstate or to other suburbs. Gary
remains in contact with them all, including
Ali arrived in Australia in 2010 and has a
wife and six children in Afghanistan.
“He’s like my father,” says Ali. They see
each other at least once a week.
Gary’s wife Marie has also become a
strong supporter of the Hazara men.
The Lockwoods have been parishioners at
the Good Shepherd Church for the past 49
years. They met when Marie was president
of the Young Christian Workers Girls at
Hindmarsh and Gary was the president
of the Hindmarsh branch of the Catholic
Young Men’s Society.
Gary has been involved in migrant and
refugee work since 1956 as part of the
‘Good Neighbour Council’ and was
president of the Australian Ukrainian
He has been president of the Clearview
Parish Council and a member of the school
boards of St Gabriel’s School, Enfield, and
St Paul’s College, Gilles Plains.
Colleen and Rick Harney have hand made
hundreds of rosary beads, including a set
crafted from the gumnuts of a family tree
received with great gratitude by Pope
Benedict XVI in Rome and another which
made its way to Pearl Harbour in the
The couple belong to the Adelaide
Archdiocese’s Aboriginal Catholic Ministry
and have been attending the Otherway
Centre in Stepney since arriving in
Adelaide four years ago.
Originally from Victoria’s Gippsland, Rick
and Colleen settled in Adelaide to be
closer to their grandson.
It was at the Otherway Centre that Colleen,
a Murri descendant, began to learn how to
make beaded jewellery.
Rick has been crafting rosary beads from
gumnuts since 1988. It was from exposure
to Rick’s craftsmanship and her new found
hobby that Colleen created the rosary
“I was tinkering away in the shed and what
caught my eye was the (gumnut) rosary
beads and I thought maybe I could make a
rosary bead bracelet.”
She’s made more than 100 in the past
three years, with many being given as gifts
to family and friends and colleagues at
various National Aboriginal Torres Strait
Islander Catholic Council conferences.
More recently, bracelets have been
purchased by Catholic schools for
students receiving First Holy Communion
and Confirmation. Colleen says more than
50 bracelets were sold at the NATSICC
assembly fair held in Darwin in July.
“This has been a true blessing for me,”
says Colleen. She says the jewellery-
making helps her relax and she has made
lifelong connections through the Otherway
Last month Colleen gave the Otherway
Centre a set of rosary beads of large
gumnuts crafted by Rick more than 10
years ago. The rosary beads have featured
in the Melbourne Aboriginal Catholic
Ministry’s Aboriginal Art Exhibition.
Colleen is a member of the advisory
council of the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry
in Adelaide and received the sacraments
of Communion and Confirmation at the
Otherway Centre’s St Martin de Porres
Chapel two years ago.
Though baptised Protestant, she has
worshipped most of her adult life at
Catholic churches in Victoria after marrying
Rick 32 years ago.
She says her faith has helped her through
life’s good and bad times. “It has been an
amazing journey,” she says.
In 2006, Colleen and Rick received a letter
of thanks from the Vatican after Colleen
gifted Pope Benedict XVI gumnut rosary
beads, through one of the Holy Father’s
delegates, during his 2006 visit to Australia
for World Youth Day.
Family friend Maureen Kleinitz has thrown
gumnut rosary beads into Pearl Harbour
in memory of two great uncles lost to the
war there. And former Tasmanian Senator
Brian Harradine was given gumnut rosary
beads by the Harneys days before he
decided not to retire from politics.
face for Gary
Rosary bead bangles a blessing
By Rebecca DiGirolamo
COMPASSION: (L-R) Clearview parishioner Gary Lockwood with Ali Mohammadi –
one of the 80 Afghan asylum seekers he has helped over the past five years.
FAITHFUL CRAFT: Colleen Harney has been hand crafting rosary bead bracelets
since taking part in a jewellery making program at the Otherway Centre.
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