Sydney mayors ‘colleagues in arms’ after stabbings

Samantha Lock and Sophia McCaughan |

Westfield at Bondi Junction will re-open on Thursday for people to pay tribute to those who died.
Westfield at Bondi Junction will re-open on Thursday for people to pay tribute to those who died.

The Sydney shopping centre where six people were fatally stabbed will re-open for a day of community reflection before retail trade resumes as a vigil planned for Bondi Beach.

Several Sydney mayors gathered outside Westfield Bondi Junction in the city’s eastern suburbs on Wednesday afternoon to lay wreaths and pay their respects to the community and the victims of the attack.

Coogee MP Marjorie O’Neill said her community was in pain but pointed towards the tragedy as an “opportunity for all of us to come together”.

Neighbouring Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos said she and Fairfield Mayor Frank Carbone were now “colleagues in arms” in the wake of the attack at a church in his local area on Monday evening.

“It is a shocking event for everyone as Australia as we know it is a safe place and there is no room for incidents like this,” she said. 

From further afield, Liverpool City Mayor Ned Mannoun and Lord Mayor for Parramatta Pierre Esber also attended and laid floral tributes. 

Mr Mannoun said communities across Sydney were feeling devastated while Mr Esber sent well wishes to the families of victims “from all the people of Parramatta”.

The shopping centre will re-open on Thursday to allow people to pay their respects to those affected by Saturday’s attack.

Stores will open for business on Friday with an increased police and security presence.

Floral tributes at Bondi
Westfield at Bondi Junction will re-open on Thursday for people to pay tribute to those who died. (Flavio Brancaleone/AAP PHOTOS)

Scentre Group, which owns and operates the shopping centre, made the announcement on Wednesday after earlier allowing customers to retrieve cars and belongings abandoned after the murders.

“Tomorrow’s reflection day will be quiet sittings,” chief executive Elliott Rusanow said.

“The centre will be quiet – it will allow for reflection to occur.”

Mr Rusanow said the number of security guards across all Westfield centres would be increased in response to the attack. 

The shopping centre will resume normal trading hours on Friday, although Mr Rusanow said some businesses would remain shut.

“It will be their (retailers’) choice when they want to re-open,” he said. 

The re-opening will mark almost a week since six people were killed when 40-year-old Joel Cauchi went on a stabbing spree.

The Queensland man, who had a long history of mental illness, was shot dead by police inside the shopping complex.

At the time, Channel 7 News falsely identified university student Benjamin Cohen as the perpetrator.

The 20-year-old has engaged defamation lawyer Patrick George from Giles George to seek damages against the network.

The tragedy has touched people across the world, with French President Emmanuel Macron acknowledging the courage of compatriots Damien Guerot and Silas Despreaux – who confronted the attacker mid-rampage with just a bollard and a chair – in a post on social media platform X.

It comes after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese singled out Mr Guerot, dubbed “Bollard man”, saying he would be granted permanent residency for his “extraordinary bravery”.

Mayors from across Sydney gather at Bondi Junction
Mayors from across Sydney have laid wreaths to pay tribute to victims of the Bondi Junction attack. (Flavio Brancaleone/AAP PHOTOS)

Six people remain in hospitals across Sydney as a result of injuries sustained during the mass stabbing, including two women in intensive care.

A nine-month-old baby, whose mother Ashlee Good was among those killed in the attack, remains in hospital in a serious but stable condition.

The shopping centre reopening will be followed by a candlelight vigil at nearby Bondi Beach on Sunday evening, with a minute’s silence to honour the victims.

Premier Chris Minns said the devastating attack had touched people across NSW, regardless of whether they knew the victims.

“This vigil will be an opportunity for the community to stand together to support and honour the victims and survivors of this horrific tragedy,” he said.

“I hope they can draw some strength from the fact that there’s many people that are standing with them during this time.”

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