A PASSIONATE Indigenous advocate who was caught up in a security scare on a peak hour Melbourne train on Thursday morning says there is a silver lining to his involvement in the incident.
Daylesford resident Will Austin was on his way to deliver a Yidaki, or a didgeridoo, as well as a "massive bag full of artefacts" for one of his Yarn Bark cultural immersion sessions when he was searched by police.
"I guess I looked like a country lad travelling through with a big black bag and looked pretty suspicious," Mr Austin told The Courier.
City Loop train services were halted and Flagstaff Station evacuated following a report of a man with a gun on a train around 8.30am.
Mr Austin described the whole incident as "pretty hectic".
"At first everybody thought it was a problem with the signals and whatnot but we then found out it was a police operation. Everyone scattered - people started ringing their families when word got out that there may have been a gunman," he said.
Victoria Police confirmed the chaos was sparked by a passenger who thought a busker doing breathing exercises and grasping a duffel bag was acting suspiciously, prompting the critical incident response team to swarm the station and board the train.
Flagstaff Station was reopened after police declared the area safe at 9am.
Mr Austin rose to fame after taking to Facebook to post about his bags being searched. It was initially believed he could have been at the centre of the incident but it is now understood a trumpet performer who regularly performers at Southern Cross Station was the involuntary suspect.
However, Mr Austin said there was a positive aspect to the whole ordeal: his post included a cultural lesson.
In my Facebook post, which has now gone viral, I called a didgeridoo 'Yidaki' so people now know the Aboriginal name for a didgeridoo. So there's a little bit of cultural education there and that's what Yarn Bark is all about.Will Austin
"But really, the essence of it is that everybody is on their toes given what happened in Christchurch so people are suspicious of the tiniest things, which is a bit sad. We don't want to live in a world where you have to be suspicious all the time. It's a reminder that people just want to be safe."
Mr Austin said some people had been sharing his post with the view that police had been racist in targeting him but he believes it was purely a case of police doing their jobs.
"They were really nice and reinforced quite a few times that the only reason they stopped me was that I looked suspicious. It's a testament to the police for responding so quickly and getting the situation under control. At the end of the day everybody is safe and gets to go home."
Mr Austin founded Yarn Bark as a way to immerse the wider community in Indigenous culture last year and it has since taken off. This week alone he estimated he has educated 500 young people.