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GALLERY: Bench a lasting memorial for DV victim Mackenzie Anderson

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A new memorial bench in Hamilton is set to ensure local domestic violence (DV) victim Mackenzie Anderson’s legacy lives on.

The 21-year-old was tragically murdered, allegedly by her ex-partner, in front of her son, then one, at her Mayfield unit on 25 March 2022.

Her untimely death triggered an outpouring of grief in the Hunter and led residents to call upon politicians to implement systemic and institutional change in relation to DV offences.

While that latter plea hasn’t eventuated yet, Mackenzie’s family and friends are determined not to let her memory subside.

Mackenzie Anderson’s mother Tabitha Acret cuts the ribbon to unveil her daughter’s memorial seat at Gregson Park in Hamilton.

And, on Monday 11 December, they unveiled a special dedication to her.

The memorial bench, the brainchild of close friend and DV advocate Alice Mcevoy, is located on the western boundary of Gregson Park, near the Samdon Street entrance.

“We want this to be a reminder that Mackenzie was more than a statistic,” she said.

“She was a cherished daughter, a beloved friend and a valued member of our community.

“Now, we have a place where we can sit and think of her.

“Plus, it will allow other people to enjoy the things Mackenzie loved, such as picnics with family and friends.

“When we lost her, I was so touched by how many felt devastated, too.

“That’s when I got the idea of a memorial bench.

“I knew we needed a beautiful place to be able to go to and remember her.

“For me, it brings a lot of comfort in a horrible situation.

“I will always visit and remember the special memories we shared together.”

Ms Mcevoy was joined by Mackenzie’s mother Tabitha Acret, Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, Cr Peta Winney-Baartz and Got Your Back Sista founder Melissa Histon at the private ceremony.

“It is important we continue to remember all the victims who are not here,” Ms Acret said.

“We can’t stop saying their names.

“We need to talk about what happened, so we can hopefully save other women’s lives.

“Having the memorial bench gives us somewhere as a family to sit and reflect.

“We spread Mackenzie’s ashes in Byron Bay, so we can’t visit as regularly as we would like.

“This gives us a place locally where I can go and take her son to feel like we are always keeping her in our minds.

“Mackenzie would be so proud of Alice and the work she is doing to keep her memory alive while fighting for the safety of women.”

The timber bench was funded by Newcastle family Jan and Frank Bynon and domestic violence charity Got Your Back Sista, while City of Newcastle approved the location of the seating and assisted with the installation.

Cr Nelmes said council was honoured to play its part in Mackenzie’s memorial.

“We’re a proud supporter of Got Your Back Sista,” she explained.

“So, I’m pleased we have been able to honour Mackenzie in this way, too.

“We commend Got Your Back Sista for its ongoing efforts to support families affected by domestic violence.”

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