‘Tent city’ romance leads homeless couple down the aisle


HOMEIT was over one of the brightly coloured tents that have controversially been pitched in Sydney’s Martin Place for months where homeless pair Kellyanne Luke and Matthew Mawson first locked eyes.

She was sweeping Autumn leaves off the pavement in the public thoroughfare to keep the squat tidy.

He was newly settling into the homeless community, known as ‘tent city’, which both would continue to call home for the next two months.

“Matthew was watching me sweep leaves up there, on the top of Martin Place and laughing at me,” Ms Luke, 43, told news.com.au of the pair’s first meeting on May 18.

“He took me under his wing and pretty much looked after me from there and that’s how we connected. We were pretty much in the same situation emotionally.”

Mr Mawson, 42, said romance was the last thing on his mind when he found himself destitute and living on the street earlier this year. “I wasn’t looking for any sort of relationship or anything,” he said.

“I hadn’t been in a relationship for 10 years and what can I say? I just saw her and I knew straight away.”

Talk between the pair about life and love quickly turned to marriage.

“The first three days we were together he sort of said to me jokingly, ‘Would you marry me if I asked you?’ I said, ‘Yeah, are you asking me?’ And he said, ‘No, I’m just checking’,” Ms Luke said.

“Then three days later, under the Harbour Bridge, he asked me to marry him.”

Mr Mawson had earlier requested permission to propose from Ms Luke’s father. He was given the green light so presented her with a cubic zirconia ring as he popped the question under Australia’s most iconic bridge. Ms Luke said ‘yes’.

The couple plans to have a medieval-inspired wedding within the year. “It will kind of be a pagan, Wiccan wedding like Robin Hood, in a little temple by the sea,” Ms Luke said.

Another tent city resident, known by other occupants as “mum”, will be the couple’s matron of honour.