Charmaine Dragun on vacation in Croatia
21 March 1978
Perth, Western Australia
|Died||2 November 2007
Sydney, New South Wales
|Occupation||Journalist, news presenter|
|Religion||Roman Catholic|
|Partner(s)||Simon Struthers (fiancé)|
|Family||Estelle Dragun (mother)
Michael Dragun (father)
Matthew Dragun (brother)
Ayden Dragun (Nephew)
Charmaine Margaret Dragun (//; 21 March 1978 – 2 November 2007) was an Australian broadcast journalist and presenter. She was a main co-anchor of Ten News Perth's 5pm bulletin, which was broadcast at the time from the TEN-10 Sydney studios at Pyrmont. Dragun had also filled in on Ten's national morning and weekend news bulletins and presented Ten Late News on Fridays.
After graduating from Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, she had a distinguished career in radio journalism before joining Ten as a reporter and, subsequently, a presenter. She suffered from bipolar disorder and anorexia nervosa from the age of eighteen and committed suicide on 2 November 2007.
Dragun, a graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, began her career as a radio journalist, working in the newsrooms at Perth's 6PR and 96FM stations. Her efforts earned her nomination for Young Journalist Of The Year and won the Best radio Reports award. After moving to Ten, she turned to court reporting and filled in as a presenter over the summers of 2003 and 2004, before being appointed as a main presenter for Perth's Ten News at Five (presented at the time from Sydney) from 4 July 2005. Dragun's co-anchor, veteran broadcaster Tim Webster, described her as "one of the most professional I’ve ever seen, very meticulous . . . . if she made a mistake she was distraught about it."
Dragun was engaged to Simon Struthers (forensic pathologist with the New South Wales police, bass guitarist for Adam Said Galore and photographer), with the pair planning to marry at their joint thirtieth birthday celebrations.
Dragun's mother stated that Charmaine had struggled with anorexia shortly after her eighteenth birthday after lewd comments about her figure were made by workers at a construction site, followed by a drop in weight from 52 kg to 39 kg (115 lbs. to 86 lbs.). Dragun saw a psychologist who recommended a course of antidepressants. Eight months before leaving for Sydney, Dragun told her mother that the drugs "numb[ed] her feelings and was not really working for her." Dragun sought out a Perth doctor who took her off the antidepressants. Although initially successful, within six weeks, Dragun’s parents had realised there was a problem.
Three weeks before her death, Dragun again changed her medication from Effexor to Lexapro. Dragun called her mother and spoke with her and Struthers and whilst speaking with her mother said "Mum, for the first time I have thought about suicide." Dragun also told her mother she felt "worthless." Dragun had previously told Sarah Bamford (a friend and colleague) that it was something "she would never, ever do."
|“||Sime, I’m so sorry for what I’m about to do. I can’t conquer my thoughts. Please know this is no one’s fault but mine.||”|
Shortly before 16:00 on Friday 2 November 2007, Dragun committed suicide by jumping from The Gap, an oceanside cliff in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs. Earlier in the morning, Dragun had dropped her car off for a service and took the bus home. She was due to present the 17:00 news for Perth and Ten Late News that evening, but instead drove past the network's Pyrmont studios and continued on to the Gap. For approximately two hours, Dragun sat at Jacob’s Ladder, an action she had taken before; she then sent a text message to Struthers. Network Ten staff in Perth and Sydney were only informed of her death fifteen minutes before the 17:00 programme was due to air.
During 2010, an official inquest into the medical support surrounding Dragun at the time of her death was held by the Coroner's Court of New South Wales in the Glebe suburb of Sydney. The Deputy State Coroner, Malcolm McPherson, ruled that Dragun's suicide could have been prevented if doctors had correctly diagnosed bipolar II disorder and administered the right treatment. His findings also noted that the ease of access to the edge of the cliff at the Gap had been a causal factor.
- Caroline Jones (Presenter) (2008-04-28). "Friday's Child". Australian Story. Season 2008. Episode 12. ABC Television. http://www.abc.net.au/austory/specials/fridayschild/default.htm.
- "Charmaine Dragun's Sydney Life". The Daily Telegraph. 3 November 2007. Retrieved 2009-12-20.
- Taylor, Paige (28 April 2008). "Too great a burden". The Australian. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
- "Hundreds pay tribute to Charmaine". Sydney Morning Herald. 12 November 2007. Retrieved 2009-11-06.
- "3966 Scarlett B News Final" (PDF). Edith Cowan University. November 2005. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
- "Fiance’s tribute to Charmaine Dragun". The Sunday Times. 5 November 2007. Retrieved 2009-11-05.[dead link]
- Dragun, Charmaine (3 November 2007). "Charmaine Dragun discovers her heritage in Croatia". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
- "Speech by Estelle Dragun at the launch of Navigating Teenage Depression: A guide for parents and professionals". Black Dog Institute. Retrieved 2009-11-09.
- "'Perfectionist' newsreader had eating disorder, inquest told". news.com.au. 1 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-22.
- "DragunCharmaine072000Full" (PDF). State Coroners Court of New South Wales. 2010-10-15. p. 29.
- Upcoming Inquests, Coroner's Court, Lawlink NSW, accessed: 6 March 2010
- "Gap suicide preventable". Wentworth Courier. 20 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
|Ten News at Five Perth
Presenter with Tim Webster
2005 - 2007
|Ten Late News
2006 - 2007