Walking for Tara and White Ribbon

Published on LCDR Don Hogarth (author), LCDR Don Hogarth (photographer)

Location(s): Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Navy was well represented with White Ribbon Ambassadors and families touched by the tragedy that unfolded. PO Stevie Barrie, PO Ronnie Tullipan were amongst the volunteers offering support to the many walkers on the day. (photo: Unknown)
Navy was well represented with White Ribbon Ambassadors and families touched by the tragedy that unfolded. PO Stevie Barrie, PO Ronnie Tullipan were amongst the volunteers offering support to the many walkers on the day.

An estimated 5,000 people congregated at Canberra's Lake Burley Griffin on 22 March, to bring attention to domestic violence issues and support White Ribbon - a national campaign to end men's violence against women.

Participants marched specifically to remember Ms Tara Costigan, who died recently, allegedly due to domestic violence.

The walk was organised within a week by a number of friends including Petty Officer Stevie Barrie, a member of a mums' exercise group which included Ms Costigan.

"We raised in excess of $14,000 on the day. It was through Navy's help and support by providing the personnel to assist, tents and tables that we were able to achieve such an overwhelming turn out," Petty Officer Barrie said.

"Tara's family was very grateful for all the assistance in contributing to this event."

Navy was well represented with White Ribbon Ambassadors and families touched by the tragedy that unfolded. PO Stevie Barrie, PO Ronnie Tullipan were amongst the volunteers offering support to the many walkers on the day.

Navy was well represented with White Ribbon Ambassadors and families touched by the tragedy that unfolded. PO Stevie Barrie, PO Ronnie Tullipan were amongst the volunteers offering support to the many walkers on the day.

Navy is the world's largest White Ribbon accredited organisation and was well represented with White Ribbon Ambassadors and families. Petty Officer Barrie, and Petty Officer Ronnie Tullipan were amongst the volunteers offering support to the many walkers on the day.

Mr Nathan Costigan, Ms Costigan's cousin, said at first it had been expected the walk would attract a turnout of 30-40 mothers.

He said the mammoth crowd had shown Canberra would not tolerate violence in the home.

"It's pretty clear from the large gathering that Canberra won't tolerate domestic violence.

"Three weeks ago we didn't have much time to do that, but now it's the position that the family has been put in, and we're obliged to make sure this doesn't happen to other families.

"We can do that with community support, and over the last three weeks it has been absolutely unbelievable," he said.

A GoFundMe page set up after Ms Costigan's death has now raised more than $105,000 for her two young boys and baby daughter.

Walk co-organiser Ms Jennelle McAppion said thousands more would be added to that total as a result of the event.

"Everyone was just flabbergasted by the amount people donated," Ms McAppion said.

"It was really magical to see everyone uniting for Tara and her children, and rallying against domestic violence.

"The spirit of Canberra really came out today and it showed just how generous people are."