Families, survivors unite 15 years on
JESS Hardy summed best.
“The eve of the most despised day of my life,” the one-time reality TV star and forever heartbroken sister of Billy Hardy posted on social media as the clock ticked towards another October 12. “Bali bombings 15 years on.”
For the 15th time since 2002, the sun rose yesterday over countless Gold Coasters whose lives were shattered by an act of terrorism that claimed 202 people – 88 of them Australian.
The family of Billy Hardy, the young footballer on an end-of-season trip with the Southport Sharks.
The loved ones of Jodie Cearns, the vivacious hairdresser it up who clung to life for 11 days before succumbing to her injuries.
The families and friends of Robert Thwaites and Jared Gane, Julie Stevenson and Marc Gajardo.
Not to forget those who survived the blasts but live a nightmare of a different kind.
“I’m reminded of it every day because each morning when I wake up I have to put my prosthetic legs on,” Ben Tullipan said as he prepared for last night’s memorial service at Allambe Gardens.
“(October 12) is always an up-and-down day. A lot of memories roll back and a lot are bad but I’m one of the lucky ones. I made it out alive. My thoughts are with those families who had a loved one who didn’t make it back.”
In the wake of a one-tonne car bomb exploding outside the Sari Club, Ben was injured so badly nurses put a white sheet over him because they thought he had died. Fortunately someone noticed his arm move.
Fifteen years on he is a husband, a father of two, an inspiring golf coach and a friend to many people he would never have met if not for the worst day of his life.
“For the first year I didn’t know anyone else who was there but I’ve gradually met others,” he said.
“I still talk to them all. Our kids play together.”
One of those friends shared his own post on Facebook yesterday, an open invitation to join him for lunch and drinks at a restaurant a stone’s throw from the bombing site.
“It will be a very casual day remembering loved ones and to pay our respects,” wrote Andrew Csabi, the Gold Coaster who lost a leg and half the other foot in the blast. “Raise a glass together.” A touching gesture on a sombre day for some, a despised day for others, and an important day for all.
Bali bombing survivor Ben Tullipan with his children Sheridan and Rory. Ben says he was ‘one of the lucky ones’.
Christine Hardy with son Billy, who died in the bombing at the Sari nightclub in Bali.