Monday, 6 February 2012

Monday Mural -The Battle for the 'Loo


Wooloomooloo is a tiny suburb in the very inner city, bordered on one side by a steep escarpment, and on another by the harbour. In the late 60s and early 70s it was the battleground for a no-holds barred war between property developers, residents, and the Builders Labourers Federation (BLF). I touched upon this in my post about Juanita Neilsen for Taphophile Tragics a couple of weeks ago.

In 1973, as the Green Bans were proving pivotal, the viaduct for the Eastern Suburbs railway was also slicing through the southern portion of the area. The viaduct can be seen here near the intersection of Bourke and Cathedral Streets. After the battle was over, the residents and a group of artists coalesced on the creation of 16 massive murals to be attached to the pylons of the viaduct. Over the years, 8 were either lost or destroyed. The preserved murals were rehung last year. The story is too long and involved to rehash here, but those interested may care to read this. The murals have been preserved rather than restored, at the behest of the artists. The complete set of 16 murals, in their original (1983) condition, can be viewed on Matthias Tomczak's Flickr page.

I will show more of the murals on Wednesday and Thursday this week, together with the story of the activists involved. There is also the story of what they were fighting to stop, and what was built instead. Join me then.

This is my contribution to the Monday Mural community.

19 comments:

Dave-CostaRicaDailyPhoto.com said...

I look forward to this series. We had dinner at a restaurant outside on a pier at Wooloomooloo when we were in Sydney several years ago. We had an astounding sight as the bats left the botanical garden and flew across the sky in the distance. We look forward to our return visit later this year.

Birdman said...

I'm coming back too, Julie. Quite a history on these walls.

VioletSky said...

It sounds like it was a turbulent time during those green Bans era of the 1970s. That viaduct is a massive mess of concrete to have in your neighbourhood. I look forward to more of your posts on this.

AL said...

Murals are such great pieces of art and recount history so clearly. Looking forward to the series Julie.

Mark said...

I always think of the film clip for Midnight Oil's 'The Power and the Passion'.
Look forward to finding out more later on in the week.

Ann said...

I've never realised there are so many murals scattered around the city and suburbs.

Julie said...

Ahha ... I have watched the clip on U-Tube and yep, I would say it was filmed beneath this same viaduct, just with a different lead mural. I will include a reference to this in my posts later this week. Even though it shows a Federal minister dancing abominably ...

Carole M. said...

interesting mural and informative post Julie; have never been this part of town.....

Jim said...

I like how you included Sydney Tower in that shot.

Julie said...

I was trying to locate it for you guys!! St Marys is there, too.

Bergson said...

une fresque très réussie

Andy said...

I would be ecstatic if I found a catch of murals like these.

Julie said...

*grin*

biebkriebels said...

This one is beautiful painted, it could almost be exposed in a museum. A great peace of art.

Mo said...

Fascinating to follow the street art invarious countries

Linda said...

I always enjoy seeing the art from different countries - especially when I also get to know some of the history! Thanks for posting this - looking forward to more!

Dorian Susan said...

whoops...posted in the FB section rather than here. Still like the piece just the same, in Wooloomooloo.

RedPat said...

I'll be back to see the rest too!

Oakland Daily Photo said...

Freeway supports are also a favorite canvas for muralists here. This mural looks like it has layered historical references. I'm particularly curious about the guy in the Zorro hat. I need a lesson on what "Green Bans" means. I'm guessing something to do with what we call "environmental justice." In the name of urban renewal, so many neighborhoods and cities were partitioned from one another by newly built freeways. The social and health repercussions continue to this day. I look forward to your continuing the saga of Woolloomooloo. Thank you again for participating in Monday Mural. Did you see that Gemma made a badge for the meme? That makes us official!