Jessalyn Leong

16 April 2013 ASSEMBLY

Jessalyn Leong

Mr WYNNE (Richmond) — Two weeks ago I spoke at the funeral of Jessalyn Leong, a 14-year-old school girl who was killed by an out-of-control truck on Church Street, Richmond. She had been walking home on a footpath from her school, Melbourne Girls College, on the Thursday before the Easter break. Jessalyn lived in the public housing towers in Richmond. She was the youngest child of a Timorese ethnic Chinese family, who, like so many of those from their country, came to this state and to Richmond to build a life for themselves. Jessalyn is survived by her parents and two older brothers.

Her funeral was attended by many of her school friends and a large number of Timorese community members. Other contributors to the service included the Honorary Consul General for Timor-Leste, Rae Kingsbury, and Jessalyn’s kindergarten teacher, Denise Rundle.

The principal of her high school, Judy Crowe, a great educator of women, provided compelling insights into this young girl’s early development and bright future, which was so cruelly cut short. The eulogies delivered by her school friends and her two brothers were deeply moving and spoke of the profound loss and grief which those close to Jessalyn felt and will continue to carry in the years ahead.

In the natural order of life we never expect to bury our children. The loss of this child to her parents and siblings is unimaginable. How can we provide comfort to this family? I know that the tight-knit East Timorese community will continue to reach out, wrap this family in a loving embrace and support them, as indeed I do and as so many service providers, such as the health centre and others, will also do. To the Leong family I extend my deepest sympathies.