With SBS TV’s eagerly anticipated Deep Water drama series and documentary set to go to air this week, progress is being made in relation to a memorial artwork in Bondi to victims of the gay hate crimes on which the TV programs are based.
Following representations from local residents and LGBTI* health organisation ACON, Waverley Council has endorsed the commissioning of a memorial artwork in Bondi’s Hunter Sculpture Park in remembrance of the gay men who were assaulted, and in many cases, murdered in and around this area from the late 1970s through to the early 1990s. Marks Park, located near Hunter Park, was where many of these attacks occurred.
With the SBS programs set to bring this dark chapter of Australia’s history into sharp focus over the next two weeks, ACON and Waverley Council have announced that the memorial project will soon enter into a comprehensive community engagement phase. The purpose of the consultation process will be to gain perspectives on the purpose and parameters of a memorial from all relevant stakeholders including victims’ families and friends, local residents, and LGBTI community members.
The engagement process is expected to begin in the near future. A variety of activities will be organised throughout the project’s community consultation period including community forums, online engagement and fundraising activities.
ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said 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. “SBS’s Deep Water content serves as a chilling reminder of a time in our state’s recent history when the LGBTI community was confronted not only with the devastating impact of HIV and AIDS, but also this horrific spate of murders,” Mr Parkhill said. “The willingness from so many quarters to support the planning, commissioning and construction of a memorial to honour and bring justice to the victims of these events recognises how we far we have come as an inclusive society.”
Waverley’s Mayor Sally Betts said it was the right thing for the memorial to go ahead to pay respect to anyone who lost their lives during this terrible time. “It’s a long term project,” Mayor Betts said. “It’s at the very early stages but we are committed. We need to do a lot of preparatory work on the site and ACON intends to raise the money for the artwork.”
People interested in finding out more about the memorial project can contact ACON’s Michael Atkinson on (02) 9206 2032 or [email protected]. All enquiries will be completely confidential.
ACON can also provide services for any community members or victims’ loved ones who may be distressed by the Deep Water content. ACON provides counselling, care coordination and referral support for LGBTI people and those affected by HIV. To make an inquiry please call (02) 9206 2000 or visit www.acon.org.au
Anyone with information that may assist police with their investigations are encouraged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or contact ACON on (02) 9206 2032 or [email protected].au
The Deep Water drama series premieres on October 5 on SBS TV and is followed by the feature-length documentary, Deep Water: The Real Story on Sunday October 16 at 8.30pm on SBS.
ENDS | *LGBTI = Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex
For more information please contact:
David Alexander, ACON Media and Communications Officer
E: [email protected] T: +61 (02) 9206 2044 M: +61 (0)428 477 042