News / Crime

Jill Meagher is remembered a decade after her shocking murder

A memorial service was held for Jill at the Brunswick Baptist Church

Mark Phillips
Thursday, September 22, 2022

EXACTLY 10 years ago today, 29-year-old Brunswick resident Jill Meagher was murdered on her way home from drinks with friends in Sydney Road.

Her abuction, rape and murder shocked all of Melbourne. She was strangled in a laneway off Hope Street in the early hours of September 22, 2012, within a few dozen metres of home after being dragged from Sydney Road by her killer, Adrian Bayley. 

Her case put the spotlight on safety for women in Melbourne’s streets and opened a new conversation about male violence. 

This Sunday, the Brunswick Baptist Church at 491 Sydney Road will hold a memorial service to honour and remember Jill. 

In the words of Pastor Mark Payne: “It will be a chance to remember her and think back to that time together.  

“It was an important moment for the people of Brunswick (and indeed the church), not just in the tragedy of her death but in the response by so many to ensure that it didn’t happen again.” 

Jill, who was originally from Ireland and lived in Brunswick with her husband Tom, had been out for after work drinks with colleagues from the ABC, where she worked as a radio producer, the night of her murder. She had decided to walk the few hundred metres home along Sydney Road assuming she would be safe. 

“Jill Meagher’s murder shocked the community and resulted in a public outpouring of grief and anger with demands that more needed to be done to keep women safe.”
– Moreland Mayor Mark Riley

Bayley, who was a total stranger to Jill, dragged her into a laneway off Hope Street, where he raped and strangled her.

He was arrested five days after she disappeared and her body was recovered later that night. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2013 and the case led to a review of parole laws in Victoria.

The community response to Jill Meagher’s death was one of shock and anger. Thousands of bouquets of flowers were laid in tribute to her outside a Sydney Road wedding gown shop where her final moments alive had been captured on CCTV, and also at the Baptist church nearby. 

Two days after the discovery of her body, on September 30, an estimated 30,000 people marched in Sydney Road in tribute to Jill, including her mother, and on October 20, another 3000 attended a Reclaim the Night protest. 

Mr Payne said the memorial service on Sunday will be simple and modest.  

“We will share some stories, some silence, and some reflective space,” he said.  

“There will be an opportunity for people to share a story if they feel the need, and I will read some of the numerous messages that were left for Jill on the porch of the church at the time, where some local women hosted a vigil following her death.” 

Last Wednesday, the Moreland Council meeting held a minute’s silence in memory of Jill Meagher. 

Mayor Mark Riley said: “Jill Meagher’s murder shocked the community and resulted in a public outpouring of grief and anger with demands that more needed to be done to keep women safe.” 

Sunday’s memorial service will begin at 10.15 and will be followed by light refreshments.