Waverley Council and ACON unveil The Bondi Memorial

22 October 2021

Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos and Chief Executive Officer of LGBTQ+ health organisation ACON, Nicolas Parkhill, have unveiled Rise: The Bondi Memorial at Marks Park, Tamarama*.

The Bondi Memorial is dedicated to the gay and transgender people who were targeted in homophobic and transphobic attacks from the 1970s to 1990s in Sydney and is a result of a collaboratively- managed program between the Council, ACON and UAP.

Waverley Council has been working with ACON since 2015 to establish a permanent memorial site in Marks Park to honour the victims of and to heal together as a community.

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill and Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos at the memorial in Marks Park, Tamarama.

Mayor Masselos said The Bondi Memorial serves as a place of quiet reflection where the community can acknowledge its devastating history whilst recognising the progress society has made through acceptance and celebration of diversity.

“I am honoured to have been a part of such a profoundly meaningful project and to have worked alongside ACON to make it a reality,” Mayor Masselos said.

“John Nicholson and UAP’s design responds beautifully to the project’s guiding principles of remembrance, diversity, inclusion, justice and acceptance.

“Having a permanent catalyst for the ongoing building of an inclusive, accepting and resilient society will ensure that this dark history will never be repeated.”

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said: “This memorial will help acknowledge and heal the pain, grief and trauma these events have caused that are felt by so many in our communities, and ensure that the memory of those we have lost will never fade from our collective consciousness”.

Council contributed $100,000 to the project and ACON has contributed a further $64,000 through a philanthropic gift explained here from LGBTQ community members Stephen Heasley and Andrew Borg.

“I’m pleased to see that this contribution has helped to build a monument that not only shines a light on the impacts of prejudice and discrimination, but also underscores the importance of celebrating diversity in the society,” Mr Heasley said.

"It is a great honour to assist in the creation of this public artwork which commemorates the past and stands as a beacon for healing, unity, progress and inclusion,” Mr Borg said.

Mr Parkhill added: “We are extremely grateful to Stephen Heasley and Andrew Borg for their generous donation towards this important structure. Their contribution underscores the significance of this project and has gone a long way in helping the memorial become a reality.”

Managing Principle and Senior Curator for UAP, Owen Craven said: “Completing and helping deliver this project with Waverley Council and ACON over the past year has been a humbling experience and is a significant milestone for everyone at UAP”.

“This artwork will play a special role in nurturing life in the community as it becomes a place of remembrance for the victims of hate crimes, but also celebrates the bravery of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals who have come out and lived openly, no matter the risks,” Mr Craven said.

“We hope this memorial helps raise greater community awareness on the importance of inclusion, diversity equity, and belonging for all.”

Rise features sculpted stone in six layers with each layer representing one of the six bands in the pride flag and is located in an area of natural amphitheatre on the south-western side of the park.

Its compositional arrangement was informed by the strata of the cliffs that descend towards the ocean but re-imagined as a staircase flipped to ascend towards the horizon; the act of climbing inverting the act of falling, the pathway forward away from the history of violence.

UAP has worked with hundreds of acclaimed artists and creatives from around the world including Ai Weiwei, Tamara Dean and Ben Quilty to assist them in developing concept designs into reality.

“We are all keenly aware of how important it is to mark this moment with an open community event and will do this when it is safer for us to do so,” Mayor Masselos said.

*Due to current restrictions, the formal unveiling of the Bondi Memorial has been postponed to early 2022.

-ENDS-

To access high-res images of the Bondi Memorial, visit Google Drive here. Please credit images: John McRae.

To find out more about the Bondi Memorial, visit bondimemorial.com.au.

Media Officer
Tel: 0416 075 532
Email: media@waverley.nsw.gov.au