Bondi beat murders memorial seeks artistic vision

Bondi beat murders memorial seeks artistic vision
Image: A 1989 news report about Wollongong news presenter Ross Warren’s disappearance.

A planned memorial to honour victims and survivors of homophobic and transphobic violence in Sydney is seeking a creative vision, with ACON and Waverley Council putting out a call for artists to lodge expressions of interest for the project.

Marks Park, between Bondi and Tamarama beaches, was the site of a number of high profile murders, bashings and disappearances, with as many as 80 gay or bisexual men killed over three decades in Sydney and its surrounds, and the park will be the location of the memorial.

John Russell was found on the rocks below Marks Park in 1989, while Wollongong TV presenter Ross Warren’s car keys were found at the cliffs’ edge in the park earlier that year.

Three youths were convicted of killing Kritchikorn Rattanajurathaporn by throwing him off the same cliffs a year later.

Several other gay men are also believed to have disappeared along that stretch of coastline around the same period.

30 suspected murders of gay men in Sydney across the 70’s, 80s and 90s remain unsolved, including the death of American university student Scott Johnson in December of 1988 at Manly for which a million dollar reward for information is still available.

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said the opening of submissions marked an important milestone for the Bondi Memorial Project.

“Since 2016, ACON has been working in partnership with Waverley Council towards the Bondi Memorial Project, which will see the construction of a monument along the Bondi coast in remembrance of the many members of our communities that fell victim to the epidemic of homophobic and transphobic violence that gripped Sydney from the 1970s to 1990s,” Parkhill said earlier today.

“This public art work will serve as a memorial to the deaths of these people and also help heal the trauma these events have caused for the loved ones of the victims and survivors, as well as the LGBTQ community and many local residents.”

“The public art work will also help raise greater community awareness of this issue and serve as a reminder of the importance of valuing and celebrating diversity in our community.”

“We thank Waverley Council for their continued support for the Bondi Memorial Project and for the broader LGBTQ community.”

Waverley Council endorsed Marks Park as the site for the memorial in October last year and has also committed up to $100,000 for the design and installation of the artwork.

Further fund raising efforts are still underway for the project.

Waverley Mayor John Wakefield said the memorial would be a permanent reminder by which the community can pay respect to these men and women, their families, friends and the LGBTQI community.

“It will be a place where inclusion, acceptance and diversity will be celebrated by the community,” Mayor Wakefield said.

“We are excited to see the shortlisted concept designs which will be placed on public exhibition for community feedback.”

Parkhill hopes to see bold concepts for the art work, which he hopes will not only acknowledge the past, but also look to the future.

“The violence and hate our communities were subjected to in the 1970s through to the 1990s were unacceptable and for many, this has left a painful legacy that continues to be felt today,” Parkhill said.

“We have been working with a range of community partners over the years to address the residual trauma these tragic events have caused. This public art work will become a beacon of hope, justice, diversity and inclusion.”

The Request for Tender documents can be obtained by registering through Tenderlink. Go to Deadline for submissions is 27 September 2019.

For more information about the Bondi Memorial Project and to assist the fundraising effort, visit

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One response to “Bondi beat murders memorial seeks artistic vision”

  1. I was often cruising there during this period, and enjoyed some of the best times of my gay life at Marks Park.

    So can I urge everyone to create something that, while acknowledging the tragedy of the deaths and the brutal thuggish nastiness of the killers, above all else celebrates the undeniable thrill of transgressive sex in semi-public places.