Thursday, 25 March 2010

In praise of ordinary people

Statues of notable people crowd the city. They can be found in landscaped parks, on busy street corners, on the ediface of standstone buildings, and in cultured courtyards. But what of ordinary people, of the hoi-poloi, the madding crowd. Where are their memorials? I went in search of some.

Driving East along New South Head Road, you will come upon this stunning art-work on the left part way up the ridge just before Edgecliff Station. She is the "lady of Edgecliff", with various dedications over the years since she first arrived in 1989.

Always drawn from the back, she is regularly updated with different surroundings and mottos. This version is dedicated to "Rebecca - life is a palette of colour to express beauty". The artist is Bruno Dutot.
A row of terraces is being restored on the corner of Bourke and Stanley Streets in East Sydney. Once the restoration is complete, this face will be lost to us. I think of it as a "dead christ", but more likely it is a dedication to a former tenant who passed away from HIV and other needle-borne diseases.
Lisa Marie Smith was serving time in a Bangkok gaol for being a drug courier. However, in early 1997, the Australian Embassy in Athens renewed her passport, someone paid her way out of the gaol and she simply disappeared. This memorial is on Oxford Street just before the Paddington RSL club on the left.
It is important that we remember the little people, whether they are goodies or baddies. This is the first of an occasional series.

19 comments:

Joan Elizabeth said...

Hey I've been first two day's in a row ... working late again! The top shot is really stunning. Interesting subject matter ... the bottom one remindd me of the roadside memorials which seem to be popping up everywhere these days.

Shelle said...

great subject, i see many memorials around here...i think it's a bit of a south american tradition.

Lois said...

These pictures are amazing Julie! The face in the bricks is such a haunting image.

Clytie said...

I love it that you are seeking out the ordinary people. Your post today touches my soul. Especially the face on the bricks, soon to be lost forever. I'm so glad you captured it before it was gone.

altadenahiker said...

I seem to recall another Australian woman was arrested as a drug courier in -- Indonesia, I think. And she isn't so lucky.

Marla said...

This was so interesting. I never tire of real life stories.

lizziviggi said...

Ordinary people are the real voices of the world... that is one reason I enjoy the city daily photo blogs so much. Experiencing life in places around the world from the perspective of ordinary people, rather than seeing the images we're "supposed" to see.

brattcat said...

I do hope there will be more. The theme is fascinating and your exploration of the theme is remarkable. Thank you, Julie, for what you contribute to the world each day.

Ann said...

That really is good grafitti, never heard of the lady of Edgecliff.

Bruce Caspersonn said...

OK then, how about Mr. "eternity" ?

Steffe said...

Some really nice things here. Great post.

Julie said...

Bruce, don't know if there is anything still existing on the footpaths which are original to Arthur Stace. I shall check it out. I have two already in my kit bag, so am looking for my third. Onto it ...

Bruce Caspersonn said...

Good show Julie. I had an idea there was still one somewhere high up, perhaps in a clock tower such as the GPO one. He was a classic. He gets a mention in the National Museum in Canberra or at least "ETERNITY" does. I must check that.

Julie said...

Yep, I have researched him already. There is only one existing and that would need to be DNA'd. The bells in the GPO tower were taken down during WW2 and put back in the '60s. No good being too speedy about these things. The workmen noticed an "Eternity" inside one of the bells. This is challengeable as the bells were locked up, supposedly. The bells are back in the clock tower. There are two other recreated examples, in addition to the one on the SHB for the millenium celebrations. The first recreation is on Stace's grave in Botany Cemetery and the second is in Town Hall Square. It will take me a couple of weeks to tie all this into a post. But should get the Town Hall sample today. The National Museum website has a photo of Stace.

Bruce Caspersonn said...

That is very interesting Julie. Thank you.

diane said...

An interesting concept. I find stories about oridnary people just as interesting as well known people. I'm just interested in other people and their lives. That is why i like blogging.

Bill said...

According to Wikipedia Lisa Marie Smith is supposed to be an international fugitive. Interesting story.

Jilly said...

What a wonderful post. You are so right, we need to remember. I always think that when someone dies, that person lives on in the memories of those they knew but what happens when they go? Your photographs of art as a memorial are wonderful.

J Bar said...

These are quite interesting. I may not have paid as much attention if I was passing by. Glad you did.
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