WAVERLEY Council has endorsed a public artwork commemorating the gay men who were murdered at Bondi and Marks Park in the 1980s.

The artwork, which will be constructed in Bondi’s Hunter Sculpture Park, has been welcomed by LGBTI advocates.

 Between the 1970s and 1990s as many as 88 gay men were murdered in Sydney with hundreds of more incidents of assault and disappearances involving gay men, many of which occurred around certain areas of Bondi, in what became known as the ‘Bondi Badlands’.

For decades the murders remained unsolved with increasing pressure for the government to hold an inquiry into the hate crimes and SBS funding a multi-media documentary investigation into the murders called Deep Water to air later this year.

NSW Police has confirmed it was launching Operation Parrabell, a new and current investigation into the deaths of gay men in that time period.

ACON and several local residents have been lobbying the Council for the last two years for a permanent memorial to the victims to be constructed along the Bondi coast.

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said the decision by Waverley Council to support the proposed artwork is a major step towards making the memorial a reality.

“We believe a memorial to the victims will help acknowledge and heal the significant trauma these events have caused for the families of the victims as well as the LGBTI community and many local residents,” he said.

“A memorial will also help raise greater community awareness of this issue, promote the continuing need for relevant information to be brought to the attention of police, and serve as a reminder of the importance of valuing and celebrating diversity in our community.”

Director of the Inner City Legal Centre, Vicki Harding added: “This memorial will be an important symbol for acknowledging injustices of the past, and moving forward into a much more respectful future.”

Mr Parkhill says while the process for creating the memorial is yet to be determined, he encouraged the Council to engage in a period of consultation with victims’ families, the LGBTI community, local residents and other stakeholders prior to any decisions being made. ACON stands ready to assist with a fundraising initiative to create and install the memorial as well as manage and maintain the site in the future.

Hunter Park, Bondi. Photo: Waverley Council

Hunter Park, Bondi. Photo: Waverley Council

The process for creating the memorial is yet to be determined, although a period of consultation with victims’ families, the LGBTI community, local residents and other stakeholders will occur prior to any decisions being made. A fundraising initiative will also be developed to generate the funds required to create and install the memorial as well as manage and maintain the site in the future.

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