TJ Hickey

TJ Hickey’s mother Gail Hickey led a march through Redfern to NSW parliament on the 15th anniversary of TJ’s death on February 14.

On February 14, the family and supporters of TJ Hickey will meet at the park they have named after the young Kamilaroi man, 15 years after he was murdered by the NSW police.

In recent years there has been an important revival of Invasion Day marches on January 26. Together with the issues of Aboriginal sovereignty and ongoing injustices against First Nations people, Raul Bassi writes that a focus of this year’s protest will be Black deaths in custody.

For almost 14 years we have repeated the same sad story of the death of TJ Hickey.

The young Kamilaroi man was happily riding his bike in Waterloo on February 14, 2004, totally unaware of the tragedy that was to come. A police car driven by then Constable Hollingsworth, started to pursue him. On the corner of Phillip and George streets, a police vehicle hit the bike and TJ was catapulted and impaled on the spiked iron fence.

About 30 people attended a meeting on February 23 on the theme: "How can we stop deaths in custody and hold the police to account?". The meeting was organised by the Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA).

ISJA member Cheryl Kaulfuss spoke about the death of Aboriginal teenager TJ Hickey as a result of police action in Redfern in 2004. Nationwide protests on the anniversary of his death led to the formation of ISJA Melbourne.

The family of TJ Hickey is still being denied justice, 13 years since the 17-year-old died after being impaled on a fence in Waterloo during a police chase.

The refusal by successive NSW governments to bring the police officers responsible to court — and allow the family some closure — is testimony to the endemic racism First Nations people have to endure.

NSW police refuse to concede their officers were responsible for Thomas James Hickey’s death. They claim it was an accident. 

The killing of two African American men in Minnesota and Louisiana in early July created an uproar across the US and around the world. In Australia there was lots of social media commentary and letters to the press about US racism.
Police victim TJ Hickey could be closer to receiving a much sought after memorial. Brad Hazzard, NSW Minister for Family and Community Services and Social Housing, has told TJ's mother, Aunty Gail Hickey, he is sympathetic to the family's need for healing and would like to see the issue of a permanent memorial resolved.
On February 14, 2004, as a consequence of a police pursuit, a Redfern police car driven by Constable Michael Hollingsworth rammed TJ Hickey’s bicycle. As a result, he was impaled on a spiked metal fence. The police did not follow proper medical practice and he died in hospital the next day. This year will be the 10-year anniversary of his death. The Hickey family, with the support of the Indigenous Social Justice Association, will be rallying at the fence line on the corner of George and Phillip streets in Waterloo to mark the occasion.
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