Gay beat Marks Park, just south of Bondi Beach, has been set as the site of a memorial to the victims of the gay hate crimes which plagued Sydney from the 1970s to the 1990s.
Waverley Council has approved the park as the site of the memorial two years after it was initially announced to be constructed in the Hunter Sculpture Park.
The park’s position on the Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk also lent significance, with $100,000 being set aside for the project.
“I see this as a very important monument to these tragic events,” said Waverley Mayor John Wakefield.
“I believe it has a very strong political angle as well. This is a clear, public expression across the community that this was done.”
The memorial will be built on the Tamarama side of the park in a naturally sloping amphitheatre near a cluster of trees, looking south towards the ocean and Waverley Cemetery.
ACON has been working with Waverley Council alongside local residents and advocates since 2015 on establishing a memorial to victims of anti-gay violence at a site in Bondi, with CEO Nicolas Parkhill welcoming the selection of Marks Park.
“The focus of many of these violent attacks was in, and around, Marks Park,” he said.
“This memorial will help acknowledge and heal the trauma these events have caused for the families of the victims as well as the LGBTI community and many local residents.”
The endorsement comes as the Bondi Memorial Project becomes the recipient of a philanthropic donation of $64,000 from Stephen Heasley and Andrew Borg.
The contribution was made under the terms of the couple’s settlement with an online printing company following an incident that resulted in the company apologising to the men.
“We chose the Bondi Memorial Project for its purpose of shining a light on the impacts of bigotry, prejudice and discrimination, and the importance of valuing diversity in the community,” Borg said.
“We’re proud to be part of this important project.”
Councillors will seek tenders for the project and hope the memorial will be built in the next 12 to 18 months following a public consultation period.
One instance of a murder at Marks Park was Wollongong newsreader Ross Warren, who went missing in July 1989.
The 25-year-old was last seen by a friend in Oxford Street, and was reported missing when he did not keep an appointment.
His friends contacted police before searching the Marks Park area, where they found his car. The next day they found his keys on a rock ledge below the park’s cliffs.
The news comes just a month after a New South Wales parliamentary inquiry was established into gay and transgender hate crimes between 1970 and 2010, to which submissions remain open until November 7.