Healing begins as Bondi shops reopen after tragedy

Samantha Lock |

The Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre will open for the first time since Saturday’s attack.
The Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre will open for the first time since Saturday’s attack.

Trade will resume for the first time in almost a week at the shopping centre that was the scene of Australia’s worst mass killing in years.

Customers will return to the normally-bustling Westfield Bondi Junction, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, after 40-year-old Joel Cauchi went on a stabbing spree, killing six and injuring many more.

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

Six people remain in hospitals across Sydney.

Mental health support workers at Bondi Junction
Mental health support workers will be available at the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre. (Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS)

The centre will have an increased police and security presence and mental health support and counselling services on site.

Hundreds of people gathered at the centre on Thursday to pay their respects to those affected by Saturday’s attack.

A solemn crowd formed to leave condolences and bouquets.

Hazel Stein said she felt for the six families left without their loved ones.

“It could have been any one of us,” she said.

“It’s just very sad and senseless … hard to believe.”

A sombre-faced NSW Premier Chris Minns described the day as “the first step in healing”.

“It is not back to normal for Sydney, but this is an opportunity to get some kind of grieving and to turn the page on what has been a very difficult period,” Mr Minns said. 

“We are a community that can stand together in difficult periods and show that grief is universal when it is felt by one family, one individual.” 

He has indicated stricter knife laws would be considered following the stabbing and a separate attack at a western Sydney church.

A candlelight vigil at nearby Bondi Beach will be held on Sunday evening, with a minute’s silence to honour victims.