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.
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!
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