Ziggy the bagman

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Zbygnew Marian Willzek or Ziggy the bagman as he is known, is a man who chooses to be homeless and can be found in the inner Brisbane suburb of Toowong. Ziggy objects to being labelled as "homeless" as he does not ask for food, money or clothing and actually enjoys his current living conditions, despite being without a home of his own and living in a public park. More recently he has gained much media attention, becoming a controversial issue in two consecutive local elections.[1] He has become a sort of celebrity around the city, known to some as a kind man and to others as rude and arrogant person.

Biography[edit]

Despite the lack of information pertaining to his early life it is known that Ziggy the bagman was born as Zbygnew Marian Wilzcek in the early 1950s and was of a Polish nationality. His name was later changed to Tim Jenkins. It is unknown when exactly he became homeless, but he became known by the locals as either "Tim" or "Ziggy". "Ziggy the bagman" became his nickname throughout his ongoing media coverage.

He entered public view in the year 2000 with the then Lord Mayor Jim Soorley protesting the complaints of several Toowong businesses requesting that he be removed on the grounds that he was bad for business and his low levels of hygiene attracted rats. Soorley claimed that he was completely within the law in his position. As he gained attention, he was in increased danger, with his small home being attacked several times by various groups demanding his removal from Toowong. His publicity only grew and since then has featured in local news reports several times.

Early in 2004 he was the subject of "Operation Ziggy", an effort by ABC presenter (from 612 AM) Spencer Howson to find him a home. After being interviewed on air, it was revealed that Ziggy was not so willing to be a party to this scheme and so the plan collapsed.[2]

Later that year a portrait of him painted by local artist Bruce Chapman was entered in the Archibald Prize.[3] His only requested payment was $8 worth of food, including ice cream, several biscuits and a bottle of soft drink. Ziggy also gave an interview for a similar fee of $10.[4]

During July 2004, he is said to have had his first shower and his home became too messy by his own self-imposed rules; the police were called in to help clean up and Ziggy promised to move by Christmas. He found a new spot in a local barbecue area, remaining in Toowong. After more attacks on him midway through 2005, new calls were made to have him taken off the streets, Lord Mayor Campbell Newman insists, just as his predecessor did, that Ziggy is breaking no laws and will not be forced to move, despite Newman's personal hopes that he could be moved to a "proper place". In December 2005 his possessions were confiscated by police due to smell and vermin.

In July 2006 Ziggy moved on from his High Street[5] location to a new spot at Oakman Park. Radio News reported that he moved because of attacks at his old location. He later moved to Toowong Creek. [6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Heywood, Lachlan; Thompson, Erica (2004-02-28). "Bagman rules great mayoral debate". The Courier-Mail (1 - First with the news ed.) (Brisbane). p. 4. 
  2. ^ "Spencer's "Operation Ziggy" Collapses on Day One". 612 ABC Brisbane. 2004-01-19. Archived from the original on 2004-12-17. 
  3. ^ Lawrence, Jessica (2004-03-14). "Portrait of a bagman - Painting of homeless Ziggy in the Archibald Prize". The Sunday Mail (Brisbane) (2 - State - Main Country ed.). p. 34. 
  4. ^ Interview with Ziggy
  5. ^ Atfield, Cameron (2006-07-27). "Ziggy in stardust as he abandons High Street". The Courier-Mail (1 - First with the news ed.) (Brisbane). p. 31. 
  6. ^ Levingston, Rebecca (2008-12-02). "Ziggy's great escape" (item). 612 ABC Brisbane. Retrieved 2012-10-09.