For five generations Eli Nocen’s family has travelled the show circuit, with no fixed address. But for the past six weeks, since his mother was hospitalised in Albury, the family hasn’t moved.
He and his father John, 64, have camped at the Albury Showgrounds but having long overstayed the showground’s five-night limit they’ve been told to leave. But Mr Nocen says they have nowhere else to go.
His mother Margaret, 65, had two strokes in the days following the Albury Show last month, being admitted to Albury Base Hospital and then transferred to Albury’s Mercy hospital.
“I don’t want to be here, I’m here for one reason, my mum,” he said.
“I’m just disgusted. It makes me feel sick. My dad stresses because Mum’s in hospital, he says ‘what are we going to do?’
“If mum finds out it will make mum sicker.”
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Mr Nocen said he fears if he leaves town his mother might have a fall or another stroke and he would be unable to return in time.
The duo were ordered off the crown land by 5pm last Sunday – only to be told by council they could stay – before the Showground Trust again told them to leave.
The Albury Showground Trust declined to comment but Albury mayor Kevin Mack said an agreement between the council and the trust allows people to camp at the site for up to five nights.
He said the time restrictions were in place due to the site’s limited facilities.
“Noise and other issues emanating from the camp are affecting the amenity for other site users,” Cr Mack said.
Mr Nocen maintains he hasn’t done anything wrong and he should be allowed to stay on compassionate grounds until his mother is out of hospital.
“I’m not having parties, I don’t get into my car and do burnouts, I don’t carry on – why not leave me alone?,” he said.
“I’ll stay until my mum is out of hospital and two more days. After that I’ll pack up, clean my space up, I’ll leave it the way I got it and move on.”
Cr Mack said council had provided the family with a list of alternative campsites and accommodation.
“Given the family’s medical circumstances, council supported the family’s request to extend their stay but acknowledges the trust cannot allow the campsite to be occupied indefinitely,” Cr Mack said.
Mr Nocen said he can’t afford the multiple sites needed to house his truck, his parents’ caravan and his food canteen at a caravan or holiday park, because the stroke forced him to stop travelling for work.
His partner Angela Barnes, of Albury, said housing services were unable to help because their vehicles were classed as homes.
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