Vale Sandra Pankhurst The Trauma Cleaner

Show Notes Ep 218 of Australian True Crime with Meshel Laurie and Emily Webb

The legendary Sandra Pankhurst, made famous as The Trauma Cleaner in the brilliant book by Sarah Krasnostein, passed away last week. Although she battled health issues for some years, Sandra never lost her sense of humour, her incredible generosity or her capacity for love. She was genuinely one of the most loving human beings I’ve ever met.

A lot of the actual cleaning that Sandra and her team of trauma cleaners did, was in the homes of hoarders. They were hired by councils around Melbourne to go in and clean up homes that were made literally uninhabitable by people who were emotionally unable to throw anything away.

Hoarding is actually a mental illness, and Sandra understood that implicitly. She approached hoarding clean up jobs as mental health jobs, and she went into those people’s homes with compassion and sensitivity, and never wearing any kind of protective gear, not even rubber gloves which is extraordinary given the various bio hazards she often faced.

We're re issuing our Sandra Pankhurst episode this week in her honour. She will be greatly missed.


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