Flowers laid at Ipswich shrine for victims of Sydney siege
JOINED by grief, united as a community, dozens of Ipswich residents gathered in the city centre to hold vigils for the victims of the Sydney siege.
Two ceremonies took place yesterday at makeshift memorial at d'Arcy Doyle Place, where people were invited to leave flowers and messages of condolence.
The first was organised by North Ipswich father of five Ian Connolly with the help of Blair MP Shayne Neumann.
Mr Connolly, 55, said the tragic event had left a lot of people devastated, grief-stricken and uncertain about their safety.
"We want the people in Sydney to know that we are a nation and its time for us to stand up and unite," he said.
Among those to attend the vigil was Ipswich grandmother Linda Schiplock, who brought along two of her grandkids.
Mrs Schiplock said she felt it was important to come out and express her condolences to the victims.
"We're a united country and even though Sydney is a state away, we need to let the people out there know we're here to support them," she said.
"After all, the siege could have easily taken place a coffee shop here in Ipswich."
Mr Neumann said the vigils were a fine way for Ipswich residents to express their sadness but also their commitment to a multicultural and multi-faith society.
Later that day, Mayor Paul Pisasale called together a gathering of civic leaders for another short service, which saw more than 120 attend.
Cr Pisasale said Ipswich was a community grieving.
"I haven't met anyone yet who hasn't felt pain and sorrow at what has happened in Sydney," he said.
"We want to let the nation know we express our condolences for the victims and their families and that we stand hand-in-hand to build a strong and harmonious community."
At the first vigil, St Thomas' Anglican Church priest father Bill Redman offered a blessing.
Senior minister Mark Edwards from Cityhope Church gave a prayer at the second observance.