Marilyn King has dedicated herself to supporting mature-age unemployed workers and their families, but she tells Benjamin Millar she still finds the odd moment for writing or a moment to reflect in her favourite park.
What’s your connection with West Footscray?
We bought our property in 2000 and later went interstate, but we have been back here since 2010. We have lived all over the world but this is totally different from anything I have experienced.
What do you love most about it?
I just find it such a wonderful blend of cultures. It feels like as much of a home as somewhere can be for people who are perpetual wanderers. We live in a street that has Christmas parties. My husband says if he’s walking up to get the bus, he has to leave early because you have to chat to everyone on the way. You have all the benefits of living close to the city, but still have the culture and friendliness and variety.
Do you have a favourite place?
We love our local park down on Essex Street, but my absolute most favourite spot is the Suffolk Triangle Park, just around the corner from us. It used to have a lot of rubbish there, until some of the local people came together and they have turned it into a lovely park, a great place to go and sit. There is a group that meets there to play bocce. It’s got a little labyrinth. It really has a wonderful energy – it’s a wonderful, peaceful spot.
What can you tell us about your community work?
The thing that takes up most of my time is Willing Older Workers, the charity I started. It’s not only the food program – I also do a lot of advocacy, for people having trouble with their banks or things like that. I’m involved in a few other things in my neighbourhood such as the Repair Cafe. I’m going to be on a disability advisory committee for the council. When I get time, I volunteer with Variety Victoria.
What are you passionate about?
Creative writing is my absolute passion. I was published in an American anthology … a true life story about my experience. I was injured when I was young – I fell off a horse. So it was about watching my daughter on a horse … that awareness I could have let my fears overcome me and stop her, but didn’t. When I turned 15 I wrote a list of things I wanted to do before I die. Over time I have been ticking them off. I want to do the Silk Road and learn to ice skate and ski. Now that I have a walking stick, it’s going to be a challenge – but I’ll do it.