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Canberra farewells Northbourne Avenue's Lindsay

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In a simple wooden coffin and an Italian three-piece suit, Lindsay Mitchell was farewelled in an emotional ceremony.

Days after the death of the man known as the Northbourne Avenue window washer brought about a discernible pause in the Canberra community, 50 friends joined his longtime partner Jody, sister Anne Gibson and brother Billy Mitchell at the Norwood Park Crematorium to say goodbye.

The suit - provided by Lindsay’s close friend and confidant Chris - was chosen for a man ‘‘who helped others see the day more clearly’’.

Details of Mr Mitchell’s life have emerged since his death on November 7, with tributes from around Australia and overseas read to the mourners. 

His funeral had been announced by a makeshift death notice, scrawled on the side of a plastic bucket at his regular post, on the corner of Barry Drive and Northbourne Avenue.


Celebrant Sharyn Gunn said Lindsay was a father of two, an uncle and friend to many, who believed in working hard and caring for others.

Born in Melbourne’s east in 1966, Lindsay was estranged from his family in 1990 but reconnected earlier this year.  

In a 2008 interview, he told The Canberra Times he had a criminal record and was taking methadone.  

Ms Gunn said, ‘‘He was certainly a local legend.’’

‘‘He had the gift to be able to understand people from all walk of life. He never discriminated, washing the windows of chief ministers and local blokes on the street.’’

In a written tribute, Ms Gibson said her brother’s life had been changed by the death of their parents in 1986.

‘‘Six months ago an old neighbour heard he was living in Canberra and got a message to him to ring us,’’ she said.

‘‘He called a couple of days later and a catch up this Christmas was planned but that was not to be.’’

Lindsay’s son Kevin died at age four, and his daughter Sharni lives in Queensland.

The short service was brought to a close with a poem and the song Working Class Man by Jimmy Barnes.

ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher paid tribute to him this month, offering condolences to his family and friends.

She called Lindsay a hardworking and kind man.

"My children and I always looked forward to getting one of his windscreen washes whenever we saw him," Ms Gallagher said in a statement.

"Through his dedication to his work he became known to thousands of Canberrans and the immediate response to his death shows how much a part of Canberra he had become.

Lindsay was cremated on Wednesday, before a wake at the Canberra City Uniting Church.