A young indigenous activist and political aspirant violently mugged and left unconscious while jogging in regional Victoria has urged her attacker to hand themselves in.
Sissy Austin, 29, was running through the historic Blast Furnace Picnic Area in Lal Lal, near Ballarat, between Saturday 4:30 and 5pm on Saturday evening when she was attacked by an unknown male wielding what was understood to be a stick with a rock attached to it.
Ms Austin, who ran on the Greens Senate ticket in the most recent federal election, was forced to walk four kilometres back to her car after she regained consciousness, before she called police and was taken to hospital.
“Please just hand yourself in,” Ms Austin wrote in a message to her unknown attacker on Facebook on Tuesday.
“Today’s wearing off of shock has been hell on earth. I can’t reply to or read everyone’s love and support right now but thank you,” she said.
“Nothing will deter me from being out in the bush.”
“Grateful to the ancestors who guided me safely back to my car.”
“I am OK.”
On Tuesday, Detective Senior Sergeant Tony Coxall said people should consider jogging in pairs in the area.
“They are horrific injuries,” Senior Sergeant Coxall said.
“Anyone that loses consciousness is at risk of losing their life, so we take it seriously,” he said.
Senior Sergeant Coxall said the man appeared to be caucasian, “rough-looking”, shirtless and barefoot, wearing a pair of black jeans.
“It’s all speculation. Was he laying in wait? Did he pre-prepare it, was it just opportunity?” he said.
Senior Sergeant Coxall said police were increasing their controls in the area.
Ms Austin, a Gunditjmara, Keeray Wurrung, Peek Wurrung and Djab Wurrung woman, is also a former member of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria.
On the weekend, she wrote “women should be able to safely go for a f****** run in this colony.”
The Blast Furnace, about a two-hour drive east-north-east of Melbourne, is a popular tourist attraction due to the presence of the original furnace, a relic from a late 19th-century attempt to smelt iron ore, among the native bushland.
As of Thursday afternoon, no arrests in relation to the attack had been made.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.
Story Credit: news.com.au