'Painful legacy': Bondi Memorial to victims of gay hate crimes

Six designs have been shortlisted for a memorial to the victims of gay hate crimes, which will be built in Sydney's eastern suburbs.

7/06/2020 6:30:00 AM

A series of white concrete columns, broken to depict lives cut short, is among artworks shortlisted for a monument to the victims of gay hate crimes that will be built at Marks Park in Tamarama | smh_andrew

Six designs have been shortlisted for a memorial to the victims of gay hate crimes, which will be built in Sydney's eastern suburbs.

Very large text sizeA series of white concrete columns, broken to depict lives cut short, is among artworks shortlisted for a monument to the victims of gay hate crimes that will be built at Marks Park in Tamarama.The Bondi Memorial project is designed to honour the gay and transgender victims and survivors of crimes that resulted in the killing of at least 88 gay men and transgender women in NSW in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

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The Bondi Memorial to the victims of gay hate crimes will be placed at Marks Park in Tamarama.Credit:Waverley CouncilMarks Park on the cliffs between Bondi Beach and Tamarama Beach was a gay beat and the scene of several murders and gay bashings, some of which remain unsolved.

“It is both sobering and distressing to think that some of these violent crimes took place right on our doorstep and in the not-so-distant past,” Waverley mayor Paula Masselos said.AdvertisementCr Masselos said she hoped the monument on the Bondi to Bronte coast walk would be a place for peaceful reflection.

“My own personal experience of racism has made me extremely sensitive to intolerance and hatred of the ‘other’ and helped shape my values,” she said.Jane Cavenough's colourful light boxes is one of the designs shortlisted for a memorial to victims of gay hate crimes.

Credit:Waverley CouncilNicholas Parkhill, the chief executive of the AIDS Council of NSW, said the memorial would also help to heal the trauma caused to victims’ families, survivors and the LGBTQI community.“Many killings were brutal, including stabbings, strangulation, bludgeoning, shooting, sexual assaults and frenzied attacks,” he said. “Some were crimes shaped by prejudice, targeted towards people based on their perceived homosexuality, and in some cases fuelled by HIV stigma.”

The Sydney Morning Herald’s art critic John McDonald said meeting the memorial design brief, which calls for “a symbol of healing, justice, hope and inclusion”, was no easy task for an artist or designer.Jane Cavanough’s coloured light boxes was his preferred work for its clarity and simplicity.

“If it were up to me I’d prefer a plaque in a prominent place that listed the names of the victims and made a few respectful comments,” he said.The shortlisting of designs follows the NSW Policecharging a man last monthover the gay-hate killing of Scott Johnson, who fell to his death from a cliff near Manly's North Head in 1988.

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Mr Parkhill said the breakthrough in the case highlighted the importance of continuing to investigate gay hate crimes.Loading“The events of this dark chapter in Sydney’s history have left a painful legacy that continues to be felt today,” he said.James Brooking, whose cousin John Russell was found at the base of the cliff at Marks Park in 1989 in what police have called “a probable gay-hate crime”, said the memorial was an acknowledgement of the victims of horrific crimes.

“Far too many people were taken away from us during this period and many cases, like my cousin John, remain unsolved,” he said.“A definite place to go to reflect, seek comfort and pray John is at peace.”Other proposals for the memorial include jagged columns and stone steps with brass plaques documenting the history of the struggle for gay rights.

Waverley Council has contributed $100,000 to the memorial, while the ACON has raised about $80,000 as part of its fundraising effort. Read more: The Sydney Morning Herald »

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_andrew How many people died to gay hate crimes? More than 5? _andrew Hopefully they will pick something will last and not rust away or be damaged by storms. Some the of 'sculptures by the sea' were definitely not designed for a coastal environment. _andrew Pentecostal Scott Morrison's religious privilege law makes gay hate violence legal...

74Barbara _andrew _andrew Good idea. 👍 _andrew Ooh boy/girl/other, I can see this going well.......or not. _andrew Why are they white? _andrew Will it get in the way of Sculptures of the Sea? smh WaverleyCouncil nswpol _andrew Why is this something to commemorate? Why are GAY HATE crimes something to build a monument about? Seems wrong and stupid. Same can be said about the ridiculous Northern Beaches beachescouncil BeachesMayor COVID-19 artwork that’s being commissioned. Why commemorate COVID-19?

_andrew The ocean does not need such an ugly embellishment...total waste...put it somewhere else. SeanBradbery _andrew The replies to this are so crook _andrew They call this 'The broken dildos' as they are a group of dildos with the heads broken off to symbolize how gays felt after getting bashed. _andrew Only in Sydney 🤷

_andrew Are the columns dildos with the heads broken off? 'The broken dildos' _andrew Worthless tokenism. _andrew thought they were tampons for the femo nazis! _andrew Taxpayer money is being spent on this? Disgusting.

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