Local Hero : Oliver Davenport

THE TWO THINGS 12 year old Oliver Davenport was most passionate about were motorbikes and the situation of asylum seekers. Because he was only 12, he could only dream about riding a motorbike, but he could do something about asylum seekers.

As part of a range of services, the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre (ASRC) in West Melbourne runs a Food Bank for asylum seekers living in the community to supplement their small allowance. Oliver set about signing up interested neighbours who committed to regularly donate food.

“At first I was a bit nervous knocking on people’s doors, but I learnt all about the centre and worked out answers to questions that people might ask. I made an information sheet to give people.”

Oliver set up a tracking system to remind him which houses to go to and when. He made his rounds on Sunday afternoon. Some people donated every week, some fortnightly, and some monthly. People gave all sorts of things – tins of beans, rice, pasta, soap and shampoo, long life milk, even eggs. Oliver has to use a wheel barrow because it’s too heavy to carry.

Having achieved that goal, he then set himself the task of getting his school, Carey Grammar, involved through the SRC with donations of funds and food. The situation of asylum seekers in Australia had made him increasingly concerned. The quote he used to motivate himself: ‘A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence’.

Oliver Davenport