Arthur Stace “Mr Eternity” Memorial
From his place in eternity we remember “Mr. Eternity” - a man inspired by something higher.
Mr Arthur Stace became a Sydney legend for chalking the word “Eternity” on footpaths across Sydney, spanning 35 years. On the 30th of July 2018, Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park will be dedicating a special Bronze Memorial for the 51st Anniversary of his death, a significant date on which Arthur Stace entered “Eternity”.
Born in Redfern in inner west Sydney in 1885, Stace grew up in poverty, stealing bread and milk and scrounging for scraps in bins to survive. By the age of 12 he was working in a coal mine and was made a ward of the state. As a teenager he became an alcoholic and was sent to jail at 15. Afterwards, he worked as a “cockatoo” or a lookout for a Two-up “school” and as a scout for his sisters’ brothels. Later he served in World War 1, and was discharged in 1919 after recurring bouts of bronchitis and pleurisy.
From these harsh beginnings, Stace went on to gain fame as a reformed alcoholic who converted to Christianity and spread his message of hope by chalking the word “Eternity” on footpaths in and around Sydney, from Martin Place to Parramatta, from 1932 to 1967.
Stace was inspired to what became his life’s working after hearing two separate sermons on the notions of eternity.
In an interview, Arthur Stace later said, “Eternity went ringing through my brain and suddenly I began crying and felt a powerful call from the Lord to write Eternity.” Even though Stace was illiterate and barely able to write his own name legibly, the word “Eternity” poured out of him in beautiful copperplate script. Driven by the hope his message might inspire others to lead a better life, he wrote the word an estimated 500,000 times on footpaths, railway station entrances and anywhere else he could think.
When Stace died in 1967, his final act of benevolence was to bequeath his body to science, so that it might help others. Perhaps inspired by his own visions of eternity, his final act of giving his body to science was one of the greatest gifts of all to human kind.
Two years after his death, his earthly remains were laid to rest with those of his wife at Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park.
In 1999, at the start of a new millennium and as a fitting tribute to Stace, “Eternity” was emblazoned across Sydney Harbour Bridge as a part of Sydney’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.
On Friday, 28th July 2017 Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park held at intimate graveside service 50 years after Mr Eternity transcended to Eternity. Many of those present at the service took it in turns to write in chalk over the word Eternity from the passage from Isaiah 57:15 which motivated Arthur Stace to his great mission:
For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth Eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and hold place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
At the 2017 intimate service, the blackboard with the passage from Isaiah 57:15 in chalk was temporarily placed on Arthur Stace and his wife Ellen Esther Pearl Stace’s grave, after which those attending the service placed a spectrum of flower colour over the passage from Isaiah written in chalk and on the grave.
Following on from the service, the footpath immediately adjacent to Arthur Stace’s grave has been installed with the word “Eternity”.
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