The Bondi Memorial – a public artwork dedicated to the victims and survivors of homophobic and transphobic attacks that gripped Sydney from the 1970s to 1990s, was unveiled at Marks Park in Tamarama. 

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“For decades, our communities have endured the pain and trauma of these horrific acts of violence. We know that many gay men and trans women were killed, tortured or assaulted across Sydney, including along the city’s coastline and eastern suburbs. These events have left a sorrowful legacy that continues to be felt today,” ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said in a statement. 

Sydney Hate Crimes

There were around 88 suspected deaths of gay men and trans women, part of a hate crime wave in NSW between 1970 and 2010. Around 23 remain unsolved to this day. 

Gay men were attacked in parks or pushed from the clif tops on Sydney’s coast to the sharp rocks below.  The cliff top park Marks Park, a popular ‘gay beat’ was also the site of many attacks and killings. 

A bipartisan NSW Parliamentary committee had in May recommended the setting up of a judicial inquiry to investigate the historical hate crimes

Bondi Memorial. Photo: John McRae

A memorial to honour the victims was a long standing demand of the community and ACON worked with Waverley Council to make it a reality. The artwork titled ‘Rise’ at Marks Park designed by John Nicholson of United Art Projects (UAP), is located on the south-western side of the park in an area of a natural amphitheatre. 

Informed by the rock strata of the cliff, the artwork  comprises a six-level stone terrace representing the bands in the pride flag. A series of plaques that honour the lives of the victims are embedded in the artwork 

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Waverley council contributed $100,000 to set up the memorial and ACON’s fundraising campaign raised donations from the LGBTQI community and supporters. 

A Monument To The Victims And Survivors

“This memorial will serve as a monument to the victims and survivors and help heal the trauma these events have caused for their families and loved ones, as well as broader LGBTQ communities and many local residents,” said Parkhill, adding that the memorial would also help raise awareness of anti-LGBTQI hate crimes. 

Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos had told Star Observer in an interview that a permanent memorial was a way to acknowledge the hate crimes that took splace from 1970 to 1990s. 

Bondi Memorial. Photo: John McRae

“The memorial is a place of quiet reflection,” said Masselos. “It is also a way to make sure that this awful dreadful history is not repeated.”

Waverley council had in July held a round table with LGBTQI organisations, businesses and community stakeholders in the lead up to plans for a community strategic plan in June 2021. “The discussions are around ongoing work to make Waverley much more inclusive,” said Masselos. 

“We are engaging our community and key stakeholders to understand the community’s vision and the priorities for the next 10 years. These will be very much entrenched within Council policies and processes by incorporating it into our Community strategic plan,” added Masselos.

 

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