Video: Chester Ngan
By AMBER SCHULTZ
The atmosphere was sombre at the Reclaim Princes Park vigil, with twinkling candles illuminating thousands of solemn faces standing in solidarity with Eurydice Dixon.
The 22-year-old comedian was raped and murdered on her way home from performing a show on Tuesday night. Her body was found by a passer-by on a Princes Park soccer field early Wednesday morning.
Event organiser Tiara Shafiq said the vigil was a time for the community to share a moment of contemplation, empassing the non-political nature of the event.
“Tonight was an opportunity for us to come together for quiet reflection. Eurydice’s loved ones wanted a space to mourn that was non-political, quiet, and contemplative,” she said.
“We wanted to … make this a moment for all of us to come together and put all of that energy, all of that sadness for us as a community.”
Ms Shafiq said police estimates placed the crowd at 15-20,000 people.
“Tonight was absolutely heartful … even when terrible, terrible things happen, there are so many people, resources and support services that will have your back,” she said.
Soon after organisers addressed the crowd, echoing Ms Shafiq’s comments, the bells of the St Michael's Anglican Church chimed six times.
The pitch was then plunged into darkness as the floodlights were switched off for a half hour of silence and remembrance.
Mourners laid flowers, candles and notes in a makeshift memorial dedicated to Eurydice Dixon.
Members of the crowd included Premier Daniel Andrews and his wife Catherine, who laid a bouquet of large white flowers on the memorial.
Tash Wark, a marshal at the event, said she volunteered to help out of a sense of community.
“I thought it was important to support a community event to try and come together and share a moment, and feel united around something that shouldn’t have happened,” she said.
“It’s about taking some space and taking some time, and coming together to pay respect for Eurydice and her community.”
Hundreds of people, unable to reach the memorial in person, lit candles from their homes in remembrance.
Others who attended the event, but could not reach the centre of the memorial, left candles, notes, and soft toys by nearby trees.
“It is not your fault,” one note read.
Similar events for Ballarat, Bendigo, Castlemaine, Geelong, Frankston, Kilmore, Mornington, Violet Town, and Warrnambool were organised.
A candlelight vigil was also held at Parliament House in Canberra, attended by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.