STANDING on the soggy grass in silence among thousands of Melburnians, it was impossible not to be moved.

The vigil for Eurydice Dixon was packed with those who braved the cold to pay their respects. All organisers and Ms Dixon's grieving family asked for was 20 minutes of silent reflection as the lights over Princes Park went dark.

For the most part, their wishes were respected. But the silence was broken.

A phone rang loudly in the pocket of a man not far from where flowers, candles and cards had been placed in an ever-expanding tribute to the young comedian's short life.

The man answered the phone, to the collective groan of those nearby. When it rang again two minutes later, he answered it again.

Then a single voice from a television journalist echoed around the soccer pitch where Ms Dixon, 22, was raped and murdered last Tuesday night. Then another.

 

Boxes of tissues circulated at Princes Park where mourners gathered to farewell Eurydice Dixon. Picture: Mark Stewart
Boxes of tissues circulated at Princes Park where mourners gathered to farewell Eurydice Dixon. Picture: Mark Stewart

The problem wasn't that reporters were there - I was there, too, covering the story for this website. The problem was the timing. There were ample opportunities before and after the dedicated period of reflection where a live cross wouldn't have seemed out of place.

But such were the wishes of producers in the reporters' ears.

A journalist and cameraman next to me commented to each other that the timing "felt off".

"I don't feel comfortable doing it now. We'll do it after," they agreed.

One Melbourne-based reporter lamented on social media how "everyone around me was shocked by the disrespect".

Jo Lauder wrote: "Shoutout to the commercial news network breaking the silence at a silent vigil every couple of minutes to do TV crosses … Giving journos a bad name."

 

The vigil was, for the most part, a beautiful, respectful event. More than 10,000 people turned out and the vast majority offered sincere condolences.

One-by-one, they added bunches of flowers and notes to a memorial that was started the day after the aspiring comedian's death.

But online, trolls did their best to ruin the Melbourne event. Organisers told the ABC they left "absolutely terrible and vile" comments on the Reclaim Princes Park Facebook page.

"I saw one yesterday where was (a woman) was talking about 'if you left $100 on your dash, in your car, and you walked away, and someone stole that … that's why you need to wear a longer skirt'," organiser Megan Bridger-Darling said.

 

The memorial. Picture: Jason Edwards
The memorial. Picture: Jason Edwards

 

But they could not spoil the night. Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said it best.

"So much of this week has been about fear. But tonight, seeing our city come together in solidarity, I felt an overwhelming sense of hope; hope that something good can come from this tragedy."

Ms Dixon's friends cancelled Tuesday's free comedy night at the Highlander Bar in the Melbourne CBD where she had performed on the night she was murdered.

Kieran Butler, who ran Ms Dixon's last gig, told news.com.au the comedy community had collaborated on a song "to remember our friend" that can be listened to at freecomedy.com.au.



Local Partners