Police find two bodies in one day, urge people to care for neighbours

File image.
File image.

Police were called to a house in Ballarat this week after the body of a man who possibly had not been seen for almost a month was found.

On the same day, officers attended another Ballarat address and discovered another dead man who had not been heard from for several days.

The two bodies, both belonging to elderly men, were reported on Wednesday, renewing calls for residents to look out for their neighbours as temperatures spike this summer.

Police said it appeared neither of the pair had received visitors recently and that both lived alone.

Usually in these cases, a call to triple-0 will come from a concerned neighbour or a family member who has not seen an elderly person for an extended period of time.

Undertakers remove a body from a Wendouree house in 2002. Picture: Jeremy Bannister

Undertakers remove a body from a Wendouree house in 2002. Picture: Jeremy Bannister

When an unexpected death is uncovered, police will call a coroner, who sends in a contractor to collect a body.

Ballarat police are now urging the community to regularly check on their neighbours to help avoid people being left alone.

The call comes ahead of Neighbour Day, which encourages residents to introduce themselves to one another along Ballarat’s streets on March 25.

Leading Senior Constable Janine Walker, an experienced Ballarat police officer, has responded to several “lonely deaths” during her career.

Janine Walker at Ballarat West police station on Friday. Picture: Dylan Burns

Janine Walker at Ballarat West police station on Friday. Picture: Dylan Burns

“As police, we like to be able to give a person the respect that’s due,” she said.

“We don’t want to invade their privacy more than we have to, and we try to be respectful of the circumstances that they find themselves in.”

To stop losing contact, residents in Ballarat and outlying towns can sign up to a community support register, which is a list of personal details for police to access in a medical emergency.

Those who sign up are issued with a card to carry and a window sticker for the front door.

Leading Senior Constable Walker said hot temperatures were a “silent killer” for the elderly.

“When we’ve had extreme weather days, like we’ve had recently, that’s when it’s particularly crucial for neighbours to keep a lookout for people who are vulnerable,” she said.

“Ballarat people are doing a very good job in looking out for each other, but I’m sure that we can develop even better relationships.”

For more information on the register, phone 5335 5015.

‘Say G’day and have a cuppa’

The campaign director of Neighbour Day has urged Ballarat residents to reach out to each other after the discovery of the bodies of two elderly men living alone in the city this week.

The nationwide event, which will be held on March 25, encourages people to connect with those who live in their suburb.

Whether it is a cup of tea, a picnic in the park, or a message of support, Neighbour Day is an opportunity to reach out, according to director Sam Robinson.

Sam Robinson.

Sam Robinson.

“If we want to live in a wonderful community that supports each other and that cares for each other, then there are these small actions that we can all take,” she told The Courier.

“I think we all have a responsibility to take them, to make sure that we’re all okay.”

Neighbour Day, now in its 10th year in Ballarat, was founded after the discovery of the body of Melbourne woman Elsie Brown, who had been dead for two years.

To register an event, head to neighbourday.org