Schoolies tragedy

What should have been a cel­e­bra­tion ended in the worst way pos­si­ble

WHO - - Contents -

AT THE END OF EV­ERY SCHOOL year, thou­sands of high-school grad­u­ates flock to Surfers Par­adise and Bali to cel­e­brate free­dom after 13 years of school­ing. On Nov. 29, the par­ents of 18-year-old Hamish Bid­good re­ceived the call ev­ery par­ent fears when their child leaves for schoolies.

Their son, who had just grad­u­ated from Tur­ra­murra High School on Syd­ney’s up­per North Shore, wouldn’t be re­turn­ing home after re­port­edly fall­ing to his death from a high-rise apart­ment in Surfers Par­adise. Emer­gency ser­vices rushed to the apart­ment com­plex in the early hours of the morn­ing after re­ceiv­ing a call say­ing a body had been found on the grass.

The night be­fore, Bid­good had been drink­ing with friends when he was filmed in a Snapchat video shared on the so­cial me­dia plat­form. In the footage – since deleted – a friend could be heard jok­ing, “This is the be­gin­ning of the end for Hamish Bid­good.”

At the time of press, po­lice were yet to re­lease the au­topsy re­sults but con­firmed they were not treat­ing Bid­good’s death as sus­pi­cious, and they be­lieve he had been in­gest­ing ni­trous ox­ide after a night of drink­ing. In­spec­tor Ed­die Fre­itas from NSW Am­bu­lance said the use of ni­trous ox­ide could con­trib­ute to poor choices. “The big­gest risk still is while you are acutely af­fected … that you make de­ci­sions that usu­ally you wouldn’t make.”

Griev­ing friends paid tribute on so­cial me­dia, with one post­ing on Bid­good’s Face­book: “Every­one stay strong, he would want us to sup­port each other like he would sup­port us.”

It’s not the first tragedy of its kind to oc­cur in Queens­land. In 2011, 20-year-old Ac­ton Beale died when he fell from a sev­enth-storey Bris­bane bal­cony while un­der­tak­ing a “plank­ing” stunt. The fol­low­ing year, dur­ing schoolies cel­e­bra­tions on the Gold Coast, Queens­land lo­cal Isabelle Col­man, 17, was killed when she fell from a 26th-floor bal­cony of the Chevron Re­nais­sance apart­ments.

NSW Premier Gla­dys Bere­jik­lian said her thoughts were with Bid­good’s fam­ily and friends. “I want to en­cour­age every­one cel­e­brat­ing the end of their school­ing to look after them­selves and each other – noth­ing is more im­por­tant.” •

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