Have your say on designs for the Bondi Memorial to Gay and Transgender Victims of Hate Crimes

ACON Bondi Memorial compilationACON and Waverley Council are calling on community members to have their say on shortlisted designs for the Bondi Memorial public artwork in Tamarama’s Marks Park, which will honour victims and survivors targeted in homophobic and transphobic attacks.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people were the targets of violent hate crimes from the 1970s to 1990s, resulting in many gay men and trans women losing their lives in NSW, including along the Bondi coastline and Marks Park.

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said the shortlisted designs embody the spirit and themes of the Bondi Memorial Project in their own special way: “The events of this dark chapter in Sydney’s history have left a painful legacy that continues to be felt today,” said Parkhill. “The recent breakthrough in the case of Scott Johnson highlights the importance of continuing to strive for truth and justice.”

“Since 2016, ACON has been working in partnership with Waverley Council towards the development of this artwork, which will help in acknowledging the past and also in looking to the future. Each of the shortlisted designs are unique, and I urge our communities to add their voice in shaping this important monument.”

James Brooking is the cousin of John Russell, whose body was found at the base of the cliff at Marks Park, Tamarama in 1989 in what police have called “a probable gay-hate crime.” He said the memorial will be an important tribute to those we have lost to hate and prejudice.

“Far too many people were taken away from us during this period and many cases, like my cousin John, remain unsolved,” said Mr Brooking. “The Bondi Memorial will acknowledge the victims of these horrific crimes and become a symbol of remembrance and healing for our family and all left behind. A definite place to go to reflect, seek comfort and pray John is at peace.”

Following an open tender process, six concept designs have now been shortlisted and the community are being invited to provide feedback. The six shortlisted artists and their design proposals are:

Community Consultation on the shortlisted designs is now open and will close on 5 July 2020. Visit: www.haveyoursay.waverley.nsw.gov.au for details.

“This artwork will serve as a place for people to reflect and seek solace as well as be a beacon of hope for an inclusive future,” said Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos. “I encourage all corners of the community to provide their feedback on the designs as this will assist in us selecting a final design to be commissioned.”

ACON provides services for community members or victims’ loved ones who may be distressed by this content, as well as the issue of abuse and violence towards LGBTIQ people in general. ACON provides counselling, care coordination and referral support for LGBTIQ people and those affected by HIV. To make an inquiry please call (02) 9206 2000 or visit acon.org.au.

For more information about the Bondi Memorial Project and to assist the fundraising effort, visit www.bondimemorial.com.au for details.

Image: Compilation of Bondi Memorial Designs – courtesy of ACON and Waverley Council