Wind phone to help grieving 

City of Bayswater Councillors Dan Bull and Sally Palmer with Bayswater resident Merle Taylor (centre) at the wind telephone at Claughton Reserve, Maylands.

A “WIND telephone” has been installed at Claughton Reserve for bereaved people to feel closer to lost loved ones.

The project was driven by Bayswater resident Merle Taylor, whose son Chris died in his sleep in 2018 aged 34. 

She had heard about the concept of the Japanese “kaze no denwa” (phone of the wind) built in Otsuchi Japan in 2010. Japanese garden designer Itaru Sasaki made that first wind phone to help cope with his cousin’s death, but the following year he opened the phone up for public use after the 2011 Tohuku tsunami struck and left many thousands of families bereft.  

Since then wind telephones have been installed in locations across the world; the phenomenon has inspired fiction writing, and the phones have started to become a subject of research for bereavement scholars. 

This looks to be the first one in the southern hemisphere according to an online directory.

Ms Taylor asked Bayswater council permission to install a wind telephone in Claughton Reserve, a favourite spot for her son and his family. 

She wrote to councillors saying “my hope is that others who have suffered loss may find this phone a tool to ease their grief” as they could be “very therapeutic and emotionally soothing”. 

After consulting with Aboriginal Elders on the location it’s now been installed.

Bayswater mayor Filomena Piffaretti said in a statement announcing the installation: “I was so pleased council supported Merle’s idea of installing a wind telephone at Claughton Reserve.

“I can’t imagine what it would feel like to lose a child, and I can see how this could help people deal with the grief of losing someone they love.”

by DAVID BELL 

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