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Activists Honoured With Pride Seats
Seven special-edition rainbow Pride Seats, donated by Street Furniture Australia to the Inner West Council to celebrate marriage equality, have now been installed.
Each seat recognises a local activist who has advanced LGBTIQ human rights, equity and inclusion. They are found in the suburbs of Newtown, Rozelle, Marrickville, Leichhardt, Summer Hill and Lilyfield.
The unveiling …
The first rainbow seat, installed in Newtown, was unveiled in an emotional ceremony attended by many of the dedication nominees, their families, friends and the community.
Particularly moving speeches were given by the loved ones of those recognised posthumously.
Elder Aunty Jenny Thomsen opened the event with thoughts on rainbows as symbols of healing and love, saying the seats will “reflect light out” into the community.
“Public art is very important because it expresses who were are as a community and it makes us belong to that community. You feel happy, you feel safe, you feel as if you belong,” she said.
“Bless all you mob who have fought hard, never given up for the rights of people to live how they want to live.”
Locals gathered to celebrate the Pride Seat launch.
Mayor Darcy Byrne thanked the nominees for their work, as well as the Council selection committee, LGBTIQ working group, and Street Furniture Australia.
“Street Furniture Australia have very generously donated the rainbow seats, seven of which we will now see across the Inner West Council area,” he said.
“I’d like to thank the Council officers for the idea that we could use the opportunity of rolling out these Pride Seats to acknowledge the people who did the heavy lifting to achieve civil rights and marriage equality in this country. That has been a long and bitter struggle.”
Nominees and Councillor Pauline Lockie unveil the Pride Seat.
The dedications …
Roberta Perkins, Newtown
A trail blazer for Australian transgender people, Perkins was also an academic and writer who used her platform to fight for sex worker rights.
She established a refuge in Petersham for homeless trans people, now The Gender Centre, and was a founding member of the Australian Prostitutes Collective NSW, advocating for decriminalisation to improve lives. She passed away in June 2018.
Pride Seat dedicated to Perkins in Newtown.
Peter ‘Bon’ Bonsall-Boone and Peter de Waal, Rozelle
Bonsall-Boone and de Waal were founding members of the Campaign Against Moral Persecution (CAMP) NSW, started the first gay and lesbian phone counselling service in NSW in their home and are credited with Australia’s first on-screen male same-sex kiss. They took part in the first Sydney Mardi Gras in 1978.
“My partner Bon, who passed away about eighteen months ago, and I, were together as a couple for fifty years. We started campaigning for marriage equality because we wanted it, but also we felt it was a most important thing for our community to achieve. Unfortunately Bon passed away about five months before the legislation was passed,” said de Waal.
“The appreciation shown by the Inner West Council and its community is overwhelming, thank you.”
For more on their story, read ‘Trailblazing Couple Honoured’ by the Inner West Courier.
Peter de Waal gives a speech at the Pride Seat Launch. Video: William Brougham.
Alexander ‘Lex’ Watson, Marrickville
Said to have been the face of gay activism in Sydney for many of his generation, Watson was a foundation member of CAMP, a pioneer AIDS activist, organised the first Australian gay rights demonstration and advocated for homosexual law reform and anti-discrimination legislation.
Lex passed away in 2014, and was posthumously awarded a Queen’s Birthday Honour.
Lex Watson’s sister and her husband. Photo: Inner West Rainbow Community.
The Pollys Club, Marrickville
The Pollys Club formed in 1964 and is said to be the longest running LGBTIQA+ social club in Australia, if not the world. They continue to raise money for charity through dances, with funds raised for men’s health, women’s health, youth health, mental health and animal welfare.
The Pollys Club with their Pride Seat. Photo: Inner West Rainbow Community.
Robyn Plaister, Leichhardt
Plaister worked on the Executive of CAMP and served on the organising committee for the first Mardi Gras. She nearly lost her job as a teacher when she appeared on the front pages of the Telegraph after Mardi Gras.
She started the Lesbian Mothers’ Group in 1976 and Lesbian Teachers Group in 1978, and was portrayed in the film Riot in 2018.
Robyn Plaister visits her Pride Seat. Photo: Inner West Council.
Timothy J Bishop, Summer Hill
Bishop has worked for 25 years to enhance the inclusion and equity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the Australian LGBTIQA+ community. His ongoing project, blackmardigras.net preserves the history of Indigenous involvement in Mardi Gras through stories, photographs and rare archival footage.
Timothy J Bishop with the Newtown Pride Seat.
The Feminist Bookshop, Lilyfield
Opening in 1974 and co-owned by sisters Jane Waddy, Libby Silva and Gail Hewison between 1982 and 2011, the bookshop and served as a meeting place offering advice and support to women coming out and questioning their sexuality.
“I’m very touched that we have been honoured in this way. We ran the bookshop together for 29 years. We’re very proud of the work that we did and of the community that we’re part of. Also I’d like to honour the women who started the bookshop, Julia and June,” said Hewison.
Support for The Feminist Bookshop.
The nominees …
Some of the nominees’ family, friends and colleagues also spoke of their loved ones’ contribution.
Ross Higham, also known as Rose Leaf, was represented at the ceremony by his mother. “Ross, or Rose Leaf, was very active back in the eighties, nineties, 2000s, and he raised a lot of money to help people with AIDs. He used to go the hospitals to perform. I was always very proud of him, and I’m sure he would be proud of this too,” she said.
The full list of nominees:
- Alan Brotherton
- Alexander ‘Lex’ Watson
- Katherine Cummings
- Lauren (Loz) Foy
- Liz Dods
- Liz Newell, Donna Ross and Maya Newell
- Local Labor – Penny Sharpe, Mary O’Sullivan and Laura Wright
- Major Peter McDonald Trebilco
- Matthew Howard
- Norrie mAy-Welby
- Peter ‘Bon’ Bonsall-Boone and Peter de Waal
- Rainbow Families
- Roberta Perkins
- Robyn Plaister
- Ross Higham aka Rose Leaf
- Summer Hill Rainbow Crossing
- Teresa Savage
- The Addison Road Community Centre
- The Feminist Bookshop
- The Flying Bats
- The Pollys Club
- Timothy J Bishop
- Two Boys in Saris
Some of the nominees and their representatives, with Mayor Darcy Byrne.
The story and contribution of each nominee is recorded on stickers on the footpath in front of the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre.
The Inner West Pride Seats are Street Furniture Australia’s Park Seats, with battens powdercoated in Lobster Red, Sensation Orange, Brilliant Yellow, Viper Green, Bondi Blue, Jaybird Blue and Dark Violet, and Telemagenta Pink frames.
The Linea range is sleek and minimalist. 100% stainless steel frames support many colours, lengths and mounting types, including plinth and wall-fixed options.
ASLA San Diego, AILA NSW and Street Furniture Australia proudly present this online event connecting landscape architects from the US and Australia. US participants (Pacific Time): Thursday February 25th, 2021 at 5pm Australian participants (AEDT): Friday February 26th, 2021 at 12pm Registrations essential via Zoom. Topic: Homifying Sydney Olympic Park Public space owners, managers and designers in the US and Australia are dealing with the impacts of Covid-19. This webinar presents an Australian case study: Homifying Sydney Olympic Park, for discussion. This Olympic precinct turned business-and-events hub has pivoted towards its growing residential population during Covid. Human-centred design methodologies have been applied to understand how to ‘Homify’ the park’s everyday spaces. The aim is to recreate the comfortable ambience of home, to support the community and local businesses. The presentation …
Street Furniture Australia will donate five special edition rainbow Pride Seats to the Inner West Council, one for each ward, to celebrate the legalisation of marriage equality. The motion was brought to Council and championed by Councillor Pauline Lockie, with approval received at a meeting last night. “Many of our staff and our clients, particularly from the design community, are passionate about marriage equality and LGBTIQ rights, so we wanted to do our part in celebrating and recognising the recent legalisation,” says June Boxsell, Marketing Manager. “Our factory came up with a Pride Seat, made from standard parts and different powder coat colours. It looked so fantastic, we wanted to share it. “Inner West Council has a strong LGBTIQ community, with supporters and campaigners for marriage equality. We are thrilled …
Nicholas Camerer’s prize-winning Hatch Seat is the new centrepiece of a community garden for Karen refugees. Street Furniture Australia manufactured the seat as part of the Intergrain Urban Timber Project competition, which challenged graduate and student landscape architects to design a meaningful piece for the Historic Farm Precinct in Victoria. The resurrected kitchen garden is a place for Karen refugees from Burma to learn new skills and share their culture, the result of a volunteer program by Parks Victoria and Werribee Park in partnership with AMES (Adult Multicultural Education Services). Camerer’s design features red, white and blue panels to represent the colours of both the Karen and Australian flags. Robust timber cross beams double as a leaning rack for gardening tools when not in use as a seat. The landscape architect, from …
Selfie competition winners, the Merri Stationeers, are grassroots activists in creating better community public space. They won three yellow Sun Lounges for their entry, “Surfin chicks,” at This Public Life Festival of Landscape Architecture in Melbourne last year. In the lead up to our next festival pop up park (bigger and better than ever for Canberra in 2016) we check in with Jela Ivankovic-Waters to see how their mission is progressing. The Stationeers had been looking for seating for their Common in Melbourne’s north-east for more than three years, says Jela, but had not been able to afford furniture to complement their site. “The lounges add a bright spark that reflects the character of the community, not just any old furniture,” she says. “They have been used for gatherings, basking in the sun reading and …