“A safe and comfortable place to spend my time” – Aaron’s SLQ story

Aaron is a regular visitor and a member of State Library of Queensland. Here he shares the challenges of being unemployed and how SLQ provides him a safe, comfortable place to connect with his family and plan for his future.

My name is Aaron MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. I was born in the Highlands of Scotland on a Inner Hebridean Island, known as the Isle of Skye! I’m a MacLeod like Connor MacLeod, of the Clan MacLeod from the movie and TV series The Highlander. My family tartan is similar to that one of the movie.

Clan Macleod Tartan

Clan Macleod Tartan. Image by Mark H. Anbinder. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

I came to Australia in March 2009 to be closer to my relatives.

In Scotland I was a cleaner and when I came to Australia I got a few jobs, but now I’m unemployed and homeless. I was a street cleaner working part time on a casual basis. Then the council decided to put us cleaners on full time work, but when there was a restructure a few years ago, 25 people lost their jobs including me. It was Easter Friday. Now it seems I can’t find a job. I’m not young and I’m over qualified.

Curiosity bought me here to the Library. I hadn’t been in State Library before. I had a walk around all floors, and I thought it was very interesting. Then I started coming in every day, after work. And I was talked into getting a library card by the lady at the Welcome Desk. I hadn’t a laptop back then so I used the membership to get into internet and look for jobs when I needed. But now every corner I turn, I’m told I’m over qualified. In reality, they don’t want to pay me my worth. They’d sooner employ international students, and pay them the bare minimum wage.

I’m a permanent resident, but I don’t have the means to apply for Australian citizen yet. I can’t even get any Government financial help. So now I use State Library’s free Wi-Fi to research about cleaning companies and their services, because I want to have my own business and offer a better service, where all aspects of cleaning are included and not just some.

I like State Library as it is spacious and welcoming. I can find a safe and comfortable place to spend my time. I set up myself on my favourite couch, start talking to my family via Viber or Skype and do some research. Then in the afternoon I have a nap, and later I go to the food van for dinner. I then return to  SLQ for a few hours catch up with emails and such. Once I leave the library for the evening, I head off to the city to kip down for the night, as being homeless I’m a rough sleeper!

Apart from getting off the streets and earning a wage again, I want to work so I can afford to finally bring my Filipino partner and our 8 year daughter home. I’ve not kissed, cuddled, protected nor done all the other fatherly things that I should be doing with and for our daughter!

I feel I’ve failed my family by not bringing them home sooner.

I’m needing to save money to purchase my own house (or rent to own) with perhaps a quarter acre for a small vegetable garden, a large solid type station wagon, and perhaps my own work truck!

Poinciana Lounge on Level 2

Poinciana Lounge, Level 2. One of the spaces at SLQ.

Do you have an SLQ story to share? Tell us – visit our information desks or email us: VisitorServices@slq.qld.gov.au

As told to Fed Pani, Visitor Experience